Jen Atkin never let herself be defined as ‘just a hairstylist’. After starting her career in Hollywood, Jen soon began working with some of the biggest celebrities in the world – most notably the Kardashian-Jenner clan, Chrissy Teigen, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Jessica Alba and Jennifer Lopez. Known for creating the most enviable hair looks, Jen has been named by the New York Times as ‘The Most Influential Hairstylist In The World’ and has more than 2.3 million followers on Instagram alone.
Inspired by her busy lifestyle, in 2016 Jen launched her own haircare brand OUAI, which quickly became a huge hit with time-poor women who wanted chic, multi-use hair products that wouldn’t break the bank. She also created ManeAddicts.com, a digital magazine for all things hair, and continues to jet all over the globe to tame the tresses of some of the most recognised celebrities in the world. In between, she somehow manages to keep us all entertained with her hilarious Instagram Stories and Snapchats with her famous friends – phew!
During her recent visit to Sydney (she was honoured at the Australian Hair Fashion Awards with the 2018 AHFA Icon of the Year Award!), bh’s Kate was lucky enough to meet Jen and chat to her about all things hair and being a beauty girlboss. You’ll be pleased to read that she spilled (almost!) all of her best hair secrets…
What are the hottest hair cut and colour trends right now?
Jen Atkin: Balayage and dark roots are here to stay! I’m also loving blunt bobs. I’ve been seeing so many women build up the courage to go short and it’s a cut that looks good on just about everyone! Don’t be afraid to go short ladies! Also, fringes are exciting!
What’s your secret to model-off-duty, perfectly undone waves?
JA: One of my favorite tricks for styling hair is ‘the clip trick.’ This is an easy no-fuss way to get incredible natural looking waves. Spray damp hair generously with OUAI Wave Spray ($40, sephora.com.au), then use duckbill clips to create a dent in the hair, pushing the hair up at the root. Then, clipping into place, pushing the hair up underneath it, and clipping into place until the entire head has been clipped and the hair is in an S-pattern. I use the Dyson Supersonic Dryer ($499, harveynorman.com.au) to dry all over then remove the clips, scrunch and you’ve got loose waves!
Okay Jen, give it to us straight – can we really get away with only washing our hair once a week?
JA: Yes – it’s very important to not wash your hair too often! Over-washing can strip your hair of any natural oils from the scalp that create necessary moisture to keep your hair healthy. Using a dry shampoo can help tremendously when it comes to oily hair. The OUAI Dry Shampoo Foam ($18 for 150g, sephora.com.au) works wonders!
bh loves:TRESemmé Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo, R+Co Skyline Dry Shampoo Powder ($53, adorebeauty.com.au).
What are your top 3 hair styling kit MVPs right now?
JA: The Tancho Tique Stick ($12.37, amazon.com) works wonders for slick styles, plus Balmain Session Spray Strong hairspray ($46, balmainhaircouture.com.au) and the OUAI Dry Texture Foam.
What’s the secret to a perfect top knot?
JA: Don’t overthink it! This look is meant to look effortless so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Once you’re done putting it up, you can use French hair pins to hide any unwanted bumps and loose hairs.
Jen working her magic on Bella Hadid.
Image via @jenatkinhair
Curly hair is back in a big way. Any tips on keeping those curls firmly in 2018?
JA: Embrace and enjoy their natural texture, instead of fighting it. One tip for any hair type I suggest is sleeping on a SLIP silk pillowcase ($85 for queen size, sephora.com.au) to keep the hair in the best possible condition.
What’s the key to dealing with post-gym hair?
JA: OUAI Dry Shampoo Foam – you can extend between washes 3-4 days. It’s dry shampoo on steroids. You need it in your purse, your gym bag and your hair right now. It literally cleans your hair without soap or water. Massage a ping pong ball amount through your roots like you’re shampooing and it will dry without messing up your style (promise!). Add OUAI Texturizing Spray to roots for an extra boost of dimension and volume. If you want to ‘tszuj’ your waves and make them beachier, add OUAI Wave Spray by misting and scrunching in your hands.
Your products are multi-use – what’s the most surprising way you’ve used a OUAI product?
JA: One time my hotel room smelled really bad so I sprayed the OUAI Texturizing Hairspray all over to make it smell good!
What’s your favourite thing about Aussie beauty?
JA: You guys really understand effortless and chic beauty.
Jen with Kim Kardashian West
Image via @jenatkinhair
If you could give all women just one piece of hair advice, what would it be?
JA: I strongly believe that skin and hair health start from within. For years I’ve been sending clients to the health food store to buy supplements and vitamins and good food.
bh loves:Viviscal Maximum Hair Growth Supplements for Women, Swisse Ultiboost Hair Nutrition for Women, JSHealth Hair & Energy formula ($29.99, jshealthvitamins.com).
You’re such a girlboss – what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from a fellow female entrepreneur?
JA: Jessica Alba told me don’t let someone who doesn’t have the right to say YES tell you NO.
We’ve come to expect the latest and greatest from your brand – what’s next for OUAI?
JA: We can’t reveal specifics just yet, but trust – we have some more exciting launches in the works. We can’t reveal what it is just yet, but it’s a new innovation that’s going to change the hair game. Keep an eye out on @theOUAI social for the details.
Will you be trying Jen’s hair tips?