Meet Jen Atkin, celebrity hairstylist, blogger behind ManeAddicts.com, and founder of OUAI Haircare. Jen is best known for being part of the Kardashians' glam squad and coiffing the strands of the world's most famous, including Jessica Alba, Katy Perry, and Chrissy Teigen (among dozens of others).
As a teenager in Utah, Jen always loved doing hair and was obsessed with Natalie Imbruglia's short haircut from her music video for 'Torn'. After searching desperately for someone to help her achieve the look to no avail, Jen took matters into her own hands with a pack of shaving razor blades.Soon enough, Jen became her friends' go-to gal for haircuts right out of her parents' garage. Post high school graduation, at only 19, Atkin packed up her things and drove to California in her Honda Civic Hatchback with only $300. Once there, she sifted through Allure's Beauty Directory and called every salon until she finally landed herself a job as a receptionist at Estilo Salon in Beverly Hills. Jen recalls running out to feed the parking meter for Bette Midler and being, "so excited." A few years later, she met Andy Lecompte and started assisting him right before he went on tour with Madonna. Jen joined Andy on tour and traveled the world styling Madonna's dancers.
After returning from Madonna's world tour, Jen came back as a stylist at Chris McMillan's Salon. She paid to get herself to Paris and New York Fashion Week to work the shows and study under some of the fashion industry's biggest hairstyling icons such as Bob Recine, Renato Campora, and Guido Palau. She learned hands on and gained experience from professional editorial and celebrity stylists which gave her the confidence to brand out and build a name for herself.
A staple in the lives of every Kardashian, their iconic hair looks have Jen's signature written all over them. Whether it be Kim's sleek bob or Khloe's beach waves, Atkin has made a place for herself in the sisters' glam entourage. Her 2 Million Instagram followers are along for the ride, keeping up with Jen's work and grabbing inspiration for their own manes.
Last year, Atkin was prompted to start OUAI out of her own need. Throughout her career, she's had her hands on every product on the market and has spent years talking to her clients about haircare, and listening to her followers and ManeAddicts.com readers. Jen found that haircare has become serious and over-complicated. She punnily refers to her brand OUAI as, "a breath of fresh (h)air" - a line for real life, for real women. OUAI is a range of luxury products that are simple, affordable, and classic. Jen wanted to get back to the basics and create haircare that works without the gimmicky advertising. OUAI recently launched a line of supplements that promote healthy hair from the inside out.
The brand's airy name was inspired by Atkin's time in France and by the casual and effortless beauty of Paris and the modern Parisian woman. "OUAI is all about the nonchalant attitude of the French, saying yes to good hair every day. I also wanted it to be a conversation piece, so you can be the friend at lunch correcting your friends on the pronunciation", says Atkin.
Of course, I couldn't chat with the one and only Jen Atkin without asking her for some recommendations. Jen gave me the run down on her favorite tools and products.
JEN ATKIN'S FAVES
"It’s super lightweight, incredibly quiet, and speeds up my blow-dry time."
"I can't live without it! It lets me get away with Day 2 and 3 hair with amazing volume!"
"I love hair accessories for summer and fall. It’s such a simple way to upgrade your look or for taking your hair from day to night."
"I literally use it before almost every blow-dry to add volume and texture and I love spraying it in my own hair for a natural wave."
Paul Mitchell 1/4 inch Curling Iron
"This is my ride or die iron. It heats up fast and gives incredible waves."
As you can imagine, no two days are alike for Jen. When she's not traveling the world for events, shoots, and product launches, a typical day for Jen can include anything from driving to Calabassas to style the Kardashians, working on Mane Addicts photoshoots, performing founder duties at the OUAI office, and sitting in meetings. Somewhere in between all of that, Jen somehow finds the time to eat, sleep, and stave off jet lag from her endless travels. How does she do it, you ask? "With 3-4 assistants, many shared calendars, lots of coffee/tea, very understanding friends, family and a superman hubby! It truly takes a village!" Says Atkins.
Jen's advice to young entrepreneurs and stylists is to, "Be humble, work hard, and don’t try to compete with anyone else. There’s enough to go around for all of us to be successful. Don't expect success overnight. It takes years of hard work to start to build a long standing career." A superwoman in true form, Jen Atkin is taking over the world and making waves in the industry (both literally and figuratively).