Kim Kardashian’s hair stylist Jen Atkin chats all things hair
The woman behind the hair
Celebrity hair stylist Jen Atkin is the mastermind behind some of the biggest names in Hollywood. You name it - she's styled them. But the American-born hair stylist rose to fame as the woman responsible for the hair transformations of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, and is now a staple (and the most important) member of Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall and Kylie's glam squad. She is perceptibly, the most in-demand celebrity hair stylist around. And without even realising, she has influenced the way we all style our hair today. So it makes sense that Atkin has since launched her own range of hair-care products called Ouai (pronounced: way), which has excitingly landed on Australian soil. We caught up the queen of hair when she was in Sydney recently:
What was the reason behind creating Ouai?
I felt like something was missing in the hair space. Having Mane Addicts and working with my celebrity clients, I was sent every single product under the sun, but I felt like I needed to create something that was modern and related to my friends and me. I wanted a dry shampoo that didn't have a white streak, a hair oil that wasn't too heavy but still works and didn't make your hair look like you had product in it, and I wanted a texturing hairspray. I also wanted to create something that didn't have alcohol or salt in it so it didn't dry out your hair. And I love really simplistic packaging.
What is something you wanted people to get out of your brand?
I wanted women to know how to do their own hair. So if you go to the Ouai site, a lot of the models do their own hair, on my supervision of course, but I'm teaching you the tips and tricks I did on the runway. I didn't put my name on the bottle, I didn't want it to be about me - it's just about the everyday woman being effortless.
Was this inspired by your celebrity clientele?
I'm inspired by every person that I work with, but it's not even about my celebrity clientele, it's about my friends - I created a line for everyone. At the end of the day I wanted to stop false advertising of a model with five wigs on her head, you know?
If you had to choose, what's your favourite product out of the range?
Biggest seller out of the past year would be the hair oil, texturing spray, and wave spray - but my favourite is the dry shampoo foam - it's seriously like dry shampoo on steroids. It's such a game changer. I wanted to create a solution for women to not wash their hair all the time, [washing my hair] is my biggest burden of life - like I'm in a sleep bun right now for a reason. I also love my texturing spray; I describe it as if dry shampoo and hairspray had a baby.
Kim Kardashian West has been sporting a super long haired look recently; do you think this is going to be a popular style this year?
I think Kim has made sexy, long and silky hair very popular. So I'm always telling clients, if you're going to have your hair long, wear it really long and shiny. If you don't have it genetically, you can buy it. I have my line of extensions that are amazing quality, and in today's world there's no shame in having hair extensions, no one is going to break up with you or get freaked out.
Can the everyday girl sport this long-haired look too?
Absolutely! Everybody can straighten their hair, and it's actually super easy to achieve. Buy it, straighten it out, and you'll be absolutely shocked. You'll look amazing.
What do you always tell your celebrity clients when it comes to hair?
Treat your hair like you would treat your skin. I purposely did my mask in a sachet because all my clients have amazing long hair. I encourage everyone to literally throw on the mask before you go to the beach, spin class, gym whatever. Oh, and don't cut your hair really short if you're going through a breakup!
What do you think of Australian beauty?
I really love Australia. I feel like Sydney and Los Angeles are like sisters in a way. As far as style, you just have such a cool vibe going on!
You're always coming up with new looks, where do you go for hair inspiration?
Maneaddicts.com. For every single celebrity that I sit down with for a red carpet look, we jump on Mane Addicts site and on Mane Addicts Pinterest. We have a curated section for colour, cut, extension, red carpet and I literally use it every time.
With this social media age you want to have Pinterest-worthy hair.
You've also brought out a hair accessory line, is this something you think we'll be seeing a lot more of?
Yes! And my hair accessory line is now shipping to Australia which is great. A lot of the hardware I would see was just not affordable, I saw a lot of it in Paris on the runway but it's just so not accessible. So I made it US$50, it's all fun and easy and they are chic, not adolescent. With this social media age you want to have like Pinterest-worthy hair.
You're unstoppable at the moment! What's next for Jen?
I'm going to try and do a couple of Mane Addicts classed here in Australia; we've got some exciting things going on as far of content. And then with Ouai, we're now in seven countries, so for me, it's just focusing on the line and creating quality product.
Ouai haircare is stocked exclusively in Sephora Australia.
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