When it comes to keeping A-listers’ locks looking spectacular, look no further than stylist Jen Atkin. The phenom has created cover-ready looks for the likes of Kendall Jenner, Lily Collins and Khloé Kardashian while maintaining an elite clientele of models that includes Chrissy Teigen, as well as Gigi and Bella Hadid. It’s clear that Atkin has paid her dues for the top reputation. In fact, Atkin grew up on O‘ahu. Later, as a teen in Utah, she was inspired by ’90s ingénue Natalie Imbruglia’s short bob and began cutting friends’ hair, in addition to her own. After high school, the budding talent left for California—in a Honda Civic with just $300. The daring move proved to be worth it, leading to a stint in a Beverly Hills salon and eventually working with top stylist Andy Lecompte—which included styling Madonna’s dancers on tour. From there, Atkin’s career took off, taking her around the world and making her a social media maven. Finally, in 2014, the wonder woman launched Mane Addicts, and in 2016, she took an entrepreneurial leap and launched OUAI Haircare. (Notably, the cruelty-free line of products and supplements has no parabens, sulfates or phthalates.) In the midst of her hectic schedule, Atkin gave us all the essential details and tips.
I heard you grew up in Hawai‘i. Did the islands affect the way you think about hair?
Yes, [I grew up] in Lā‘ie, near the North Shore. I loved learning about nature and the land. Hawai‘i is a mixing pot of culture; it’s so beautiful. In my product line, I really wanted my Hawaiian background to come through with the scent, and I also looked at the name, which comes from ouais—the casual way of saying yes in French. If we take the “s” off, it almost has a Hawaiian moment.
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