Kathryn Hahn on 80s beauty: perms, Sun-In, Jean Naté, Nair, Aqua Net

I’m not going to post any WandaVision spoilers because that would make me a hypocrite (although I’ve been called worse) and I would ask that you avoid them in the comments. It’s not a spoiler to say that Kathryn Hahn is a standout as Agatha. Everyone wants her to star in all the things because she is an incredible actress. Kathryn, 47, is also somewhat of a throwback in that she’s not on social media and only got a computer this year when her family insisted on it. (She used to use an iPad and get their help for tech things.) Kathryn has a new interview with Vanity Fair where they asked her about her experience in the 80s. She answered in terms of technology, beauty and fashion, which I could really relate to.

The show hops through sitcom eras. Which period did you find yourself wanting to linger in?
I think the ’80s because I’m a kid of the ’80s, so it always feels really nostalgic—that kind of music; even the clothes I got to wear were just my dream clothes. I was, like, Oh, just like Isabel Marant right now: fold-over black pants and mules and a French cuff. I would say probably the ’80s because it’s all closest to home, style-wise. I love big hair.

What was your own experience in the ’80s growing up in Ohio? Did you have a perm or feathered bangs full of hairspray? Was there a Jane Fonda cassette in the VCR?
There was not a Jane Fonda cassette, but my dad, I remember, purchased a rewind machine. I don’t even know if you know what those are, but if you wanted to preserve your VCR, you would get a separate machine that would just rewind your tape before you returned them to the library or Blockbuster. It was as big as your VCR, and it would sit on top of or beneath your VCR—and it was just simply to rewind, so you wouldn’t wear out your VCR. And I did all of it. I had a perm, but then I never got another perm, so I had straight hair and then just fried perm hair on the bottom. And I would put in Sun-In—do you remember it? It was a [lightening] spray. Going back to the ’80s, I smell Nair. I smell Jean Naté After Bath Splash, of which we had, like, a gallon that turned into probably rubbing alcohol. You never could finish it. I just see so much Aqua Net on my hair, trying to get my bangs to pick up and they just never did. I got a leather motorcycle jacket, for, like, a hundred bucks, that I wore the shit out of. And then I had a mesh—literally a mesh—vest that was hot pink that I would wear over a shirt with a piano keys tie. I just thought I was so cool. And maybe I was! Probably not. I really wanted it all to go together, but it just never gelled for me.

[From Vanity Fair]

I had a big perm and huge hair in the 80s too! I never had those dumb storybook bangs though, I like to think I was too smart for that. She really captured our beauty products with that list. I would also add Avon Skin so Soft and Love’s Baby Soft. Plus she nailed it with the expensive leather jacket! I still have the one I bought when I was 17 and it still fits, although I got a really big one because that was the style. As for the technology we didn’t have a rewind machine but my friend Jen did at her house. They had it set up on a side table and I remember thinking how handy it must have been for all the tapes we would borrow from the local video store. When we got a VCR it was a game changer for our family.

Later on in the interview Kathryn talked about how director Matt Shakman writer Jac Schaeffer pitched WandaVision to her. She said she was “flabbergasted that this can exist in the MCU.” I was too. I was amazed at how audacious it was and how well it worked. Once I started to realize how it tied in to the Marvel universe it impressed me that much more. I’m a Marvel stan now and I’m definitely a Kathryn Hahn-looney.

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15 Responses to “Kathryn Hahn on 80s beauty: perms, Sun-In, Jean Naté, Nair, Aqua Net”

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  1. Oatmeal says:

    Lmaooooo, my mom had the whole Jean Nate kit!

    Iirc I believe included a big bottle of the liquid soap, a huge container of powder including a poofer, lotion and think a bar of soap and a small bottle of perfume

    My mom loved her some Jean Nate in the 80s lol

  2. Merricat says:

    I love Kathryn Hahn! And I also had a perm, a leather jacket, and wore Love’s Baby Soft. Also Charli. Lol. Half punk, half new wave.

  3. SmalltownGirl says:

    Our rewind machine looked like a model car, it was red and sat on top of the VCR and I hadn’t thought about it in years until reading this.

    • ChiaWombat says:

      Welp, I’ve been reading this site for a decade and this is my first comment ever, because I got so excited. ME TOO! And I thought it was the coolest thing at the time, but it was also VERY aggressive and sometimes ended up breaking the actual tape in the VHS.

  4. Nicole says:

    She’s how old? Damn. I only have 8 years to get that hot. Anyone want to join a step aerobics class with me?

  5. Kersplasha says:

    Ahh sunin. My hair went so very orange.

  6. Margot says:

    The powerful smell of Exclamation! and Navy come to mind.

  7. Sayrah says:

    Both Kathryn and Elizabeth were excellent in WV. The first thing I saw her in was stepbrothers and she was hilarious.

  8. Lady Keller says:

    She’s always been a supporting actress or had bit parts, but for some reason every single time I see her in something, even if she only has a few lines or a few minutes of screen time I get excited. She usually does fun roles and I feel like she truly cares about the art of acting way more than she cares about being a celebrity. For years I didn’t even know her name, but I’d always perk up when seeing her. I’m glad she’s getting some much deserved recognition.

  9. Marigold says:

    Yep. Perms, wings, aqua net and sun in. So much sun in. I also used lemon in my hair to lighten it. I had a leather jacket, mini skirt, pants and a dress! I still love 80’s clothes. They were so baggie and comfortable. I hate tight clothes to this day.

  10. North of Boston says:

    “Sun In and sunlight and you’ll be blonder too-nii-ight!”

    How is it possible my brain has squirreled away that jingle for 40+ years? One mention of Sun-In and poof! There it was … and it’s going to probably linger for the rest of the day as an ear worm LOL

  11. JanetDR says:

    I love her! I’m a bit older, but absolutely Sun-in and what was the name of the first self tanner? QT! So now I’m singing a jingle too! You get a quick tan with QT, a double tan you’ll see. 🎶 So both my skin and hair were orangish. 😄 Love’s Fresh Lemon was my cologne, shampoo, conditioner and Sun lotion.

  12. Kate from Canada says:

    She’s my favourite part of Parks and Rec. She steals every scene. Love that she’s getting the recognition now.

  13. Testington says:

    Some might say giving her character’s actual name IS a spoiler in and of itself. She is known as Agnes for all but the last two episodes and Agatha is a Marvel comic character with a long history.

  14. a says:

    Sun-in is still available. I know this because my oldest sister has been using it as her quarantine hair dye!