As anyone who’s picked up a magazine in the last 15 years knows, Jennifer Aniston is Hollywood’s go-to hair goddess, as well as a loyal and longtime friend to her BFFs. And she’s parlayed that expertise with the former (in her role as the co-owner of Living Proof haircare line) into major perks for the latter — as they end up being guinea pigs for formulas even before they hit the market.
“Chris and I usually get samples like six months before so we get to try it out and see how it lasts over time and then give feedback for it,” Aniston tells PEOPLE of testing new Living Proof launches with her hairstylist and best friend Chris McMillan. “It’s so much fun; it really is a wonderful thing to be a part of.”
The actress also enlists her close group of girlfriends, including Courteney Cox (who just got a “lob”!) and yoga instructor Mandy Ingber, to try out new products like the Blowout styling and finishing spray.
“They allow me to sort of use their hair, they’re like Barbie dolls,” she says. “Courteney has gorgeous hair, and Mandy’s is really curly so she loves the No Frizz line. Plus, everything smells incredible, that’s my other thing that I love about these products. For me that’s always a big thing, that it isn’t too fragrant-y or perfume-y. It’s so fresh and so light, so incredible.”
So do people ask Aniston for hair advice now that she’s involved in Living Proof? “No, thank God!” she says, laughing. “I so do not want to be the poster child for anyone’s hair problems. I would just say use Living Proof and you’ll be great to go.”
And she’s learned to trust the company’s scientists behind the product.”They really have it under control, and they think out of the box,” she says. “There’s almost not one thing that they haven’t thought of.”
Among her latest faves? The Night Cap Overnight Perfector. “I’m in love with it. When they said to me,’Okay, you put it on your hair at night.’ And I said, ‘So I’m going to put a cream on my hair right before I go to bed, and I’m supposed to wake up loving it?'” she recalls. “And honestly, I don’t know what they did or how they did it, but I woke up in the morning and my hair was so shiny and vibrant and the color looked great and it wasn’t dirty or greasy and there wasn’t a spot on my pillow. I don’t understand it. It’s kind of like magic.”
Another pro tip from the minds behind the hair brand: Don’t wash your hair every day. “That’s the tip I took from Chris,” Aniston says. “I was never able to do that because of all the silicones and oils in other products. I wasn’t able to go two or three days like I can now. And that really saves the healthier hair.”
As for the secret to tying that healthy hair into her signature perfect, swingy pony? The only secret is to be besties with a top hairstylist. “There’s no ponytail that doesn’t move, every ponytail should move,” she adds, laughing. “I just put it up and go. If it looks right, that’s Chris.”
What do you think of Aniston’s hair tips? Do you use your friends at guinea pigs for new products? Sound off below.
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