Known as "The Most Influential Hairstylist in the World," via New York Times, Jen Atkin has styled the tresses and has the most loyal clientele of some of the influential people including Kourtney Kardashian, Katy Perry, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid. In addition to being a Celebrity Hairstylist, she launched OUAI haircare line in 2016, a range of Beauty Works hair extensions, her line of Chloe + Isabel hair accessories and works closely with Dyson to bring their innovative Supersonic blowdryer to market.
With a passion to unite the hair industry and to create a community for hairstylists, she created ManeAddicts.com in 2014 and provides access to top hairstylists as well as featuring products and instructional videos. Due to its success, she expanded to Mane University, a global education resource that brings top stylists to major cities around the world to inspire hairdressers.
We took a moment to chat with Jen about her career, her favorite summer hair looks as well as a new pop, OUAISPACE that is being held at Gurney's in Montauk.
ATHLEISURE MAG: What was the ah ha moment that drew you to being a hairstylist? Tell us what your journey has been as you have built your name in the industry to being one of the most sought after hairstylists?
JEN ATKIN: I’ve always loved doing hair and was obsessed with Natalie Imbruglia’s short haircut in her ’Torn’ music video when I was a teenager in Utah. No one could give me the cut I wanted, so I went to the store, bought a pack of shaving razors, and started cutting my own hair. Soon I was cutting all my friends’ hair in my parent’s garage. After high school, I drove to California with literally only $300 and my Honda Civic hatchback. I called al the salons in Allure's beauty directory until finally someone returned my call and I started working as a receptionist at Estilo Salon in Beverly Hills. I remember running out to feed meters for Bette Midler and I was so excited and thought “I could move back home that was enough for me” lol.
I’ve just really worked hard and tried to be an honest good person. I’m so lucky I’ve had such support from my clients and friends.
AM: In 2016, you created OUAI - why did you want to add a haircare line to your ecosystem?
JA: It felt very odd to me that there were a lot of men in boardrooms making decisions about what women want for our hair. I wanted to create the first product line a community helped create, promoting a realistic lifestyle that feels inclusive. It was important for me to have a group of women talking to other women about their haircare needs. I think that more brands are trying to empower women. I want to change the conversation in business and beauty! I wanted to stop making the conversation only about women being pretty and start celebrating the spirit and power of being a woman in business.
AM: Why and how did the partnership between Gurney's Resorts come about?
JA: We’ve had pop-ups in NY & LA before so it only felt natural to partner w/ Gurney’s in Montauk.
AM: Will there be future integrations of OUAISPACE of this nature like this and if so why did you start at Gurney's first?
JA: Yes! The look and feel of Gurney’s is so relaxing and just feels easy. Which goes hand-in-hand with what OUAI’s aesthetic is.
AM: With summer hair dreams in our minds what are 3 products that are a must to give you perfect beach hair?
JA: OUAI Rose Hair & Body Oil – Rosehip Oil reduces the appearances of scars and redness and is known to lock in moisture, so it’s great for both skin and hair.
OUAI Sun of a Beach Ombré Spray – In the summer people want to spend more time outdoors and less time sitting at their salon. There are new trending ingredients (like the coconut water in our Sun of a Beach) that help keep hair hydrated and give this fun throwback product a modern update.
OUAI Wave Spray – Give your hair natural wave & body without the crunchiness and it’s made with rice protein instead of salt so it won’t dry out your hair.
Christophe Robin Prickly Pear Balm - This is a non-sticky, multipurpose balm infused with all butter and oils to nourish the hair and skin so you can use it all over. Rub some together in your hands and rub it on your ends for a more textured look. To tame frizz, rub a little on your hair and smooth down those flyaway. And for curls, it can be used to redefine and add shine/hold.
AM: What are your favorite products from your line?
JA: My favorites would definitely be the OUAI Treatment Masque because I love the individual packettes that are perfect for throwing in my purse or gym bag and doing a treatment while I work out. I’m also obsessed with the OUAI Dry Shampoo Foam because it’s unlike any other hair products on the market. 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.
AM: What classic updo hairstyle do you suggest should become our go to look this summer? Let us know how we can achieve it and what products we need to have on hand to make it happen.
JA: I suggest the Textured High Pony
1. Pull hair in back into half pony
2. Add the rest of hair and secure with an elastic at the crown of the head
3. Use OUAI Dry Texture Foam to pony for added volume and fullness
4. Finish with a toothbrush and OUAI Medium Hair Spray to smooth flyaways
AM: When you're not working, where do you go for a cocktails and a great meal, where do you work out and where can we find you shopping?