#PLSkinterview: Jen Atkin—on Her Illustrious Career and Why Popping Pills for Healthy Hair Is a Must
Welcome back to #PLSkinterviews! In this series we’ll talk to women who inspire us about skin care—and so much else. This series is about more than just our favorite products, but rather about some of our favorite people. We hope you find their stories as inspiring as we do!
Here at Peach & Lily HQ, we spend a lot of time thinking about our skin. Hair? Well yes, (see here)—but tbqh, not as much. So when the opportunity arose to bring Jen Atkin into the impressive #PLSkinterview family, we were elated. If anyone could get us excited about hair care, it would be her. (which, BTW, no excuses—we should be, Alicia is quick to remind us that the skin begins at the scalp, and often recommends scalp massages to prevent sagging skin from the top-down). Atkin started out as a receptionist at L.A.’s Estilo Salon, but these days, starts many days as a key member of Khloe Kardashian’s glam team. With 1.4 million followers on Instagram, and two companies under her belt, it’s safe to say Atkin might be the world’s most famous hairstylist.
On Her Own Success
I had very humble beginnings growing up in Utah. When I was 20, I drove to LA with my best friend with literally only $300 and a Honda Civic Hatchback. I called every salon in Allure’s Beauty Directory begging them to hire me, until finally I was hired at Estilo Salon as a receptionist, where I would later become manager. I used to be the girl that ran for coffees and fed people’s meters.
Eventually, I went to beauty school, and started assisting Andy Lecompte, went on tour with Madonna, then came back as a stylist at Chris McMillan Salon.
None of it has been easy, and I always say if I knew how much work it was going to be at the beginning I wouldn’t have done it! But I’m so grateful for where it’s taken me today and I feel so fortunate to get to travel the world, work on such beautiful women, and have two great companies Mane Addicts and OUAI.
I’ve been able to work with such talented, aspirational, and inspiring women. I’ve met so many great people all over the world, doing such amazing things that have a positive impact on the world. I’m excited for the future with these industry leaders.
On Her Advice For Aspiring Hair Stylists
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. There’s no need for people in the industry to be cutthroat and competitive. Don’t be entitled. Be gracious and humble to stand apart.
On The Most Definining Moment Of Her Career (You Can Actually Shop It)
Launching OUAI— It’s been a long dream of mine to have my own haircare line. I’m a confused, over-stimulated consumer myself. Throughout my career, I’ve used every hair product on the market. I’ve spent years working around the globe talking to clients about haircare, listening to my followers and ManeAddicts.com readers. With a major lack of cool, curated products in the marketplace, I struggled to find a haircare brand that my friends or I could relate to. OUAI was created to bring a breath of fresh [h]air to the industry. It’s about offering easy to use products that really work! Everything is designed for the girl on the go, with a subscription service online, simple step by step tutorials, and fuss free products that help nourish your hair at the same time as styling. Creating the scents has been so fun for me. I love fine fragrances and I actually got to work with a French perfumer to create each fragrance. I literally had my team running all over town gathering perfume samples so I could figure out each scent. It was so fun.
The products that we launched with are a great start for the line. Shampoos, conditioners, the masque, oil, a few styling products, and then the supplements. These are really the first step to the perfect hair day. Haircare has become so serious. With OUAI, I wanted to create a line for real life, for real women. Luxury products that are simple, affordable, and classic in a world full of loud noise.
I also wanted to create an easy to navigate website, app, and especially a subscription model. Haircare is a necessity in life and I want it to now be easily accessible. It was important for me to engage my customer in a unique digital experience.
Lastly, Luxury is accessibility. We feature an auto-replenish option and your favorite OUAI products will be on your desk or doorstep in no time. We are not just another random monthly beauty box.
The products that will launch in the future will take the line to the next level. It’s about accessibility and I don’t want people to feel like they need to get everything all at once. I also am not looking to tell people to only use OUAI. I want you to find your favorites and mix it in with other brands you like. I am very careful about curating new products and asking my followers what they are looking for. So, every few months, we will be launching new products.
On The Ones You OUAI Need
I’m so obsessed with all the products in the line, but if I had to choose it would definitely be the OUAI Treatment Masque because I love the individual packets 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 Wave Spray. It’s like a sea salt spray without the drying qualities that come from putting salt on your hair. The Texturizing Hair Spray is something I always like to keep on me as it gives an instant hair refresh and root boost (it’s like if dry shampoo and hairspray had a baby!)
On Her Newest Launch (Which Dropped Yesterday)
I’m constantly asked about hair loss, thinning hair, and sensitive scalp. As a hairstylist, I noticed there weren’t any supplements or vitamins on the market that directly addressed these issues. Taking supplements is probably the advice I give the most. Your beauty routine needs to start from within—popping vitamins to ensure scalp health allows hair to grow in faster, thicker and healthier. OUAI supplements address hair loss but dry hair and oily scalp (a huge problem for my gym going girls)! When taken regularly, dramatic improvements to hair are seen, allowing hair to withstand heat styling and processing so much more effectively.
I found myself writing prescriptions, telling clients to run to the nearest health food store to pick up certain vitamins. With the Ouai Hair Supplements, I teamed up with an MD to create something effective that can address the biggest issues women face with their hair that can’t be solved with styling products. Most women know about biotin for their hair, but don’t know that black currant seed oil can reverse hair loss and prevent thin, dry ends. My supplements are formulated with a blend of ingredients that work in tandem to deliver fast and effective results. These supplements address common hair and scalp issues like oily scalp, dry hair, and thinning hair with unique blends of vitamins, mineral, and amino acids that I swear by!
On Her Own Beauty Regimen
When it comes to skin care, it means taking the time to care for yourself. I’ve had melasma for years, so it’s constantly been a struggle for me. Fortunately, I found Dr. Ourian who has transformed my skin so much. It’s so crazy to me that now people ask about my skin! I’m obsessed with the lasers he does for the skin and for treating melasma.
In the morning, I wash with Ayur-Medic Manjista Cleanser or Scrub, then I apply a mist of Mario Badescu Facial Mist with Rosewater and Aloe. Then I put on Glossier Priming Moisturizer and Balm Dot Com. Afterwards, I apply makeup. I use a lot of different makeup brands including Fiona Stiles, Anastasia, Lorac, Cleu de Peu. I love a red lip (Kylie Lip Kit #22) and a lash!
To me, self-care is about making time to do the things that make you feel your best, whether that’s working out, a facial, massage, or your favorite mask at night.
I try to work out in the mornings before the day gets crazy. I’ve been really into Barry’s Bootcamp and ClassPass lately. I love using a sheet mask on the airplane, and a OUAI Treatment Masque makes me feel amazing.
[Editor’s Note: As for what comprises her nighttime routine, Atkin says—] Me being SUPER TIRED.