This Celeb Favourite Hair Brand Has Finally Launched

Amy Lawrenson

There are few hairstylists cooler than Jen Atkin. Everyone who is anyone in Hollywood has her on speed dial (the Kardashians, the Jenners, Kaley Cuoco and Jenna Dewan, to name a few). She gave Chrissy and Khloé their lobs, which pretty much makes her responsible for the collarbone-grazing waves trend. The thing about Atkin’s signature style is that it’s effortlessly cool—the deconstructed waves and easy updos that she’s created on her clients fill her Instagram feed (@jenatkinhair, well worth a follow). Not only is she talented but she’s a woman on a mission and that’s not just to spread the word about her Ouai Haircare line that’s finally reached the UK, but to educate the world in better hair.

Atkin is not just a celebrity hairstylist and brand founder (as if that wasn’t enough), she also founded Mane Addicts, a website for hairstylists and hair-obsessed women. Keep scrolling to find out all about Ouai Haircare and what our favourite celebrities’ favourite hairstylist had to say on everything from calling Kris her second mom to building her business empire…

BYRDIE UK: You’re successful in so many different ways in the hair industry. What’s your driving force?

JEN ATKIN: I want to refine and change the hair industry. I mean, it sounds so bold that statement, but there was this competitiveness in the [hair industry in the] '90S. With the Mane Addicts website, I wanted to have this platform for hairstylists to be able to get exposure and to help teach them the marketing tips I’ve picked up over the years. It’s a place for hairstylists to get culture from all over the world and to expose the people doing the best work in each city.

BYRDIE UK: What do you think is the secret to your success?

JA: When I was busy in the salon, I didn’t just stop, I was like I want to learn more about hair so I went to Paris and started assisting on Guido’s shows. My clients were like “Why are you doing this? You have a full clientele.” I wanted to further my education. After that I just tried to assist for as long as I could, I was actually quite an old assistant! I just wanted to keep learning, and I felt there was a lack of education, so with Mane Addicts and Mane University (where Jen and other big name hairstylists do teaching events), I feel it’s my duty to get education out there. We’re so used to seeing YouTubers and influencers, who are amazing, but there’s also this whole community of hairstylists who need to have their voice heard, the people who are doing the looks we love on red carpet and in magazines.


We grind from Mon-Fri, eat ???????? Fri-Sun #TGIF #GirlsNight

A photo posted by Celebrity Hairstylist (@jenatkinhair) on


BYRDIE UK: What’s your advice for women who want to start their own business?

JA: You know, it’s hard. The number one thing is just surrounding yourself with like-minded people. I think what’s helped me is watching the female entrepreneurs around me and their work ethic; I think it’s really inspiring. Having girlfriends you’re rooting for, who aren’t competitive, who really try to help promote you. You are the company you keep, so my number one tip for girls is to have good people in your life and people who are pushing you to be better.

BYRDIE UK: Any advice you’ve picked up along the way?

JA: Well, having Kris Jenner on speed dial is not a bad thing in life. I mean, she’s like my second mom; I call her all the time for advice. She is so amazing and so wise and really gives you honest feedback; she’s someone who is fun to bounce ideas off. I think the thing that I’ve learned the most? Everyone who has gotten success around me has worked so hard for it and all deserved it. [The hairstylists and makeup artists] we all work really hard, but we’re not on camera, we’re not in front of crowds and not constantly on display, and it’s been really inspiring to just watch these hustlers. It’s the time for women right now. You know we have Hilary Clinton, a woman running for president. I think it’s so exciting. The main thing I’ve learnt is work ethic—get up, get dressed, go to the gym, hustle and good things will come.


BYRDIE UK: You work with Kim, Khloé and Chrissy a lot. Have they shared beauty tips with you?

JA: Yes, oh my god, totally. It’s like a slumber party every time we’re in glam! I’m obsessed with Charlotte Tilbury’s Clay Mask (£45), and I feel like a lot of the girls have been talking about that lately. Kim’s amazing because Kim just like knows the best of the best of everything and is always trying new products out, so I’m always learning tips from her. I’m watching them in glam, and if I didn’t know how to do an eyebrow or how to properly use concealer by now then I’m an idiot.

BYRDIE UK: You have incredible brows. What’s your secret?

JA: I swear by Anastasia’s Brow Wiz (£16) and Brow Gel (£17). Anything brows I’m obsessed with.

BYRDIE UK: Back to hair, lots of your clients have been going for the chop lately. Does it suit everyone?

JA: I think for girls with fine hair, the lob is so genius. It gives you that instant look of thicker hair. Having a blunt line at the bottom is really nice because it feels like your hair is kind of done and polished, but you can be kind of messy, you know, and let it dry naturally. It’s an easier look. I had long hair forever; I was like Cher. I think the lob is more of a wash-and-go look. Me, Khloé and Jenna Dewan are always talking about “What were we like with long hair?!”


BYRDIE UK: What’s your advice for getting a haircut you love?

JA: You need to get an honest conversation going with your hairstylist. Often hairdressers want to be people-pleasers. There have been times when I’ve literally had to have a heart to heart with my clients, and I’m like, “You’re showing me Gisele… That’s Giselle.” I have to be honest. I’m like “You’re literally never going to do this, that’s for sure extensions. They’ve got a wig on.” I think you have to ask your hairdresser to be really honest with you. Tell them how long you want to spend in the bathroom, whether you’re good with a curling iron or [straighteners]. You definitely have to talk about face shape.

BYRDIE UK: If you had a crystal ball, what would you predict the next big hair trend to be?

JA: It’s always hard with predicting; I think fashion dictates a lot of what we’re into. Clients right now are bringing in pictures from the '90s. Obviously Cindy Crawford, but also '90s updos. When I’m working with Kendall or Bella, we’re always looking at '90s Versace shows and referencing that old vibe. So I would say I definitely think updos that are '90s, messy with pieces coming down, are going to be big. And really pretty brushed blown-out hair will be big for autumn/winter. You either want to look like a '90s model or a '70s rocker wife—the two are on point!


BYRDIE UK: Our readers have two minutes to get out the door in the morning, what should they do?

JA: I have a tip from Katherine Power (co-founder of Byrdie and Jen’s friend). When I cut her lob, she said when it’s wet she puts it into a low pony, loops it around into an S-bend and secures it with an elastic, leaving the ends out. So, when it’s dry and she takes it out she gets that cool bend in the hair with straight ends without needing to use tongs. Then girls with longer hair? A loose braid, you can’t go wrong with that. Use a bit of Finishing Crème (£20) before and it will dry really pretty so you can unravel it from day to night.



BYRDIE UK: We’re so excited Ouai Haircare is finally here. Tell us about it.

JA: The idea came from a mood board of a lot of French models off duty. I wanted to create a line that spoke to my friends and is realistic. I’m sick of seeing a model with four wigs in her head, you know? It felt like it wasn’t shaming girls to go, ‘You know what, we’re going to show you how to get healthy hair, work with your natural texture and become that wash-and-go girl.’

The name came from the French word “ouais”—the casual way of saying yes, which I think is cool and positive. I took the “S’ off so it would become a conversation piece. I wanted it to be something that you could correct your friends at lunch and be like, “No, no, no, it’s pronounced ‘way.’” The way I’ve heard it said so funny like is it “oo-are-ee.” But I love that people are talking about it, I think it’s fun you get to be the cool person who knows how to say it.

BYRDIE UK: What products are in the range?

JA: There are four shampoos and conditioners: Clean, for girls who don’t have any hair issues; Volumising, for those with fine hair; Smooth, for frizzy hair; and Repair, for colour-damaged hair. The curly line comes out in September, which is so exciting for my curly-haired girls. I’m teaching everyone to do a mix and match, say you have an oily scalp and dry ends you shampoo with Clean or Volume at root and then Repair or Smooth on the ends. Supplements will be coming out here soon. When I first thought about the line, I was sending a lot of clients to the Vitamin Shop, so I thought why not make a really cool hair supplement? I think millennials really understand the idea of health. So that’s why there’s juice bars on every corner and everyone’s obsessed with SoulCycle, so the supplements were kind of a no-brainer.

The hair oil is my trick for getting really sleek buns or ponytails. And for those girls with fine hair you can use the oil as a treatment.


Dust to side chicks. ???? #TheHairOil

A photo posted by Celebrity Hairstylist (@jenatkinhair) on


BYRDIE UK: How important was the packaging design to you?

JA: I wanted to make sure the Wave Spray and the Hair Oil were Instagrammable! Honestly, I just wanted them to look like rosé or white wine, I just wanted them to look like vacation; that was the inspiration for the colour! For the packaging, I was inspired by old Chanel bottles that I have from the ’20s. I wanted it to look really expensive but still be affordable. I wanted something that felt modern and would look nice in your bathroom.

BYRDIE UK: You have mousse in your line. Do you think mousse is making a comeback?

JA: I love mousse! The Soft Mousse doesn’t get crunchy. I love the idea of using it with a diffuser to get that model-off-duty look; it’s so easy. I’ve been working with Dyson and the hairdryer comes with this really amazing diffuser.

BYRDIE UK: Which product do your celeb clients love most?

JA: Everyone is obsessed with the wave spray; it’s just instant texture. You can use it when doing a blow-dry to create more volume, and you can use it on dry hair to get that cool-girl wave. It is like salt spray mixed with conditioner, imagine you’re on vacation and you’re taking a selfie and your hair just looks cool. I wanted it to look like that and not overly dried out.

BYRDIE UK: How would we use your Texturizing Spray and Finishing Creme?

JA: The Texturizing Hair Spray (£22) is for the girls who want a bit more grit and volume and fullness. Imagine if dry shampoo and hairspray had a baby, this is it. The Finishing Crème (£20) is great for girls with frizz—it’s basically lotion that hydrates but also fakes healthy-looking hair.

Byrdie UK: If our readers were to start with one product which should it be?

JA: Honestly? The Treatment Masque (£25), everyone who has used it has raved about it. It gives you, like, virgin hair again. That’s the number one thing to get you in and out of the bathroom quicker—getting your hair health back. So I think the treatment masque is a no-brainer.

Watch our quick-fire question round with Jen Atkin about all things hair on Snapchat below, then go follow us: byrdiebeautyuk.


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