Sharing your name with an internationally recognized artist has its perks, says Toronto-born and -based hairstylist Janet Jackson. “People don’t forget me. I can thank my mom for that,” she laughs.
Jackson got her start back in the late ’90s working on music videos with the prolific Director X and then caught her first big break with Canada’s Next Top Model, through which she met host Jay Manuel. He connected her with model Iman, who was about to start work on Project Runway Canada. “I was her personal hairstylist for that show,” says Jackson. “She taught me a lot about the editorial feel of things; she is a woman who knows how she wants to look. I think her lace-front wig was the first wig I ever worked with!”
Today, between running her salon, JouJou Hair Studio, and working behind the scenes on the debut season of the design competition Stitched (airing this fall), with ELLE Canada editor-in-chief Vanessa Craft, Jackson still finds time for music videos (you don’t turn down working on Drake’s “Hotline Bling”) and has no plans to slow down. “I feel like there is so much more for me to do,” she says. “I’ve only just gotten started.”
Everyone wants to do less with their hair in the summer. How can you work with what you’ve got?
“The key to getting your best look is understanding your hair type and texture—a lot of people don’t. It’s what allows you to know which products to use. ‘The hair chart’ is a huge help—Google it and match a strand of your hair to the strands on the chart. There’s a range from one (straight) to four (curly), and then you have subcategories A, B and C. Really do your research and figure out what your hair likes and dislikes. A lot of the time, we try products and don’t monitor what they’re actually doing for our hair.”
How do you protect a curly style so that it still looks good on day two?
“I always tell people to sleep with a satin pillowcase, which eliminates static, dryness and frizziness. Or wear a silk bonnet overnight—you can do that with any hair type.”
You’re known for helping clients keep their hair super-healthy. How do you do it?
“You want to make sure you get a proper consultation before doing anything different to your hair. If you want to experiment with different styles and textures, it’s important to trim your hair on a regular basis. Otherwise, when it comes to styling the hair, it’s tangled—you’re actually tearing it out because of those split ends.”
How do you style your own hair?
“Right now, I have extensions that are an exaggerated version of my hair, which is about a 4AB curl. In the morning, I get up and mist it with water, and I use ISO Bouncy Curl Crème on a daily basis—it doesn’t build up, and it gives me the definition I need. I love easy hair. Sometimes I start work as early as 3 a.m.—I don’t want anything that slows me down, but I always want my hair to look good. I’m a hairstylist!”
1. “The Joico texturizing sprays are something I always have in my kit. The Beach Shake ($22.60) for medium to thick hair adds sheen and oils that the hair needs, and the Body Shake ($22.60) for fine hair doesn’t weigh it down so you’re able to brush the hair from root to tip. The more I use them, the more I’m in awe.”
2. “Coconut, almond, sesame, olive—those are all great natural oils to use to eliminate frizz. They also make the hair smooth and silky, and that goes for any hair type.” ELLE loves Kopari Coconut Melt ($50).
3. “On-set, I need products that are very versatile. With AG Firewall Argan Shine & Flat Iron Spray ($26), I can do a light mist for someone with really fine hair and just spray more for thick, coarse hair.”
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of ELLE Canada.
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