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Inside Jennifer Aniston’s Vision for LolaVie

Jennifer Aniston talks LolaVie's first year in business, and which products she plans to develop next.

Her hair, her company, her terms.

As Jennifer Aniston marks the first-year anniversary of LolaVie, her d-to-c hair care brand, she remains as committed to the category — and her vision — as ever.

“The impetus for the brand was that I have a deep investment in hair, for numerous reasons,” said the actress, whose hairstyle as Rachel Green on “Friends” entered the pantheon of iconic styles like the bob and the buzz cut. 

“I had really troublesome hair, and always had to deal with it,” Aniston continued. “Then, I worked with a couple of hair companies as an actor for hire with minimal investment. When that partnership came to a close, I still had a serious bug for this industry. I still had more to do, and more ideas, and more products that I wanted to create,”  she told Beauty Inc, referring to her 2012 deal with Living Proof, in which she served as ambassador and product creator .

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Aniston exited from Living Proof amid that brand’s 2016 sale to Unilever — but intellectual curiosity in the science of hair care pushed her back into the business.

“I had a certain amount of involvement creatively,” Aniston said of her time with Living Proof. “[When] that ended, I wanted to be brought behind the curtain, into the lab and understand the science — how you can take these ingredients and shampoos that are damaging the hair, ultimately, and replace them with some new molecule that will enhance the health of your hair.”

“I’m not just a name on a product — I have a financial investment, I have emotional investment, and creative investment,” she continued. “It’s a full-time job, that’s the difference.”

Aniston’s timing was spot on. LolaVie launched in 2021 with a detangler — just as prestige hair care was really taking off. The category maintains its position as the fastest-growing in prestige beauty, having grown 24 percent in the quarter ending in June, per data from the NPD Group. According to the same data, “clean” hair care brands comprised almost 25 percent of sales, a 5-point share gain year-over-year.

Moreover, the appetite for celebrity brands shows no signs of waning, although competition has heated up across all categories. As reported by WWD, though, megawatt founders do not a brand make. Among the most successful are those that have a significant involvement from the founders, efficacious products and operational savvy. To that end, Aniston tapped beauty veterans Joel Ronkin and Amy Sachs, both of whom she worked with at Elizabeth Arden on a namesake fragrance, as cofounders, chief executive and president, respectively.

During Year One, LolaVie launched with Glossing Detangler, $25; Perfecting Leave-In, $29, and Lightweight Hair Oil, $32. The products are vegan and cruelty free, and the emphasis is on results. Executives declined to comment on first-year sales, but sources estimate volume will hit between $15 million and $20 million.

“The brand works well, and when you look at Jen, it is characteristic of her,” Ronkin said. “The products are unfussy, and do what they say they’re going to do. That personality reflects her.”
 
LolaVie has taken a deliberately minimalist approach to expansion, and while Sachs didn’t rule out eventual retail expansion, it’s not on the immediate horizon. “It would be fairly easy for us with our experience to go develop a line of 15 products and go to retail. That would have been one way to launch the brand,” she said. “We made a conscious decision with LolaVie to be direct to consumer, and to allow each product to have its own hero moment in the sun. It also gave us space to let Jen be creative with each product and not launch it until it’s absolutely perfect. We didn’t want to be under a timeline of a retailer.”
lolavie products
LolaVie is also launching shampoo and conditioner. Photo courtesy of LolaVie
 
Next up are Restorative Shampoo and Restorative Conditioner, $29 each — the bread-and-butter of many a hair care business to round out its assortment.
 
Despite the business implications, Aniston said that when ideating the brand, shampoos and conditioners weren’t top-of-mind. “It felt a little obvious to start with a shampoo and conditioner, and it also wasn’t what I was interested in. I personally am always in search of a great detangler, which is why we started with that as our first,” she said.
 
The brand has worked to differentiate itself by developing different ingredients to substitute for category mainstays. For example, bamboo essence stands in the place of water. “We’ve been able to develop all kinds of innovative ingredients, like a vegan keratin alternative so we don’t have to use animal-based products,” Sachs said. “We’ve also developed an ingredient from coconut that’s a natural silicone alternative. We’re able to get all of these luxurious feelings that you get from these synthetic ingredients, but we’ve been able to get them from plant-based ingredients.”
 
Added Aniston on the coconut-derived alternative to silicones, “It all starts in the kitchen sometimes — I would put coconut oil into my hair to smooth it out, and it would feel so lush,” she said.
 
“It’s been a tall order to get the products as natural as possible and remove the bad guys, and have the product perform. That took time,” she continued.
 
More products are in the works for LolaVie’s second year, such as a weekly intensive hair mask and a dry shampoo, according to Aniston, who’s also eyeing a styling paste.
 
“Our biggest challenge is figuring out where to go next as far as innovation,” Ronkin said. “The consumer wants more and we are meeting that demand, but we’re also making sure that whatever we launch is just right. That’s the balancing act that we’re up against.”
 
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