12 Questions With Ouai Founder Jen Atkin | sheerluxe.com

12 Questions With Ouai Founder Jen Atkin

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One of the most in-demand hairstylists in the world, Jen Atkin has become synonymous with good hair (her A-list client list speaks for itself), and, having recently launched haircare brand Ouai (which garnered a cult following before it even hit the shelves), is continuing to change the beauty game. Tending to the tresses of the Kardashian clan and myriad others –  you name them, she’s styled them  and working everywhere from Vogue cover shoots to Paris catwalks, it’s clear this self-made entrepreneur isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon. We sat down with the guru herself to find out how she does it...

Firstly – how did you get into hair?

Hair’s always been my thing. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t find anyone to give me the cut I wanted so I bought a pack of razors and did it myself. When I finished high school, I drove to California with $300 to my name and started as a receptionist at a hair salon in Beverly Hills. I then started beauty school and an apprentice programme at the salon where I was assisting Chris McMillan (the man responsible for the ‘Rachel’ cut). Within six months, I was on tour with Madonna and when we got back, Chris gave me a chair at his salon and I started taking on my own clients and working on celebrities.

So tell us about Ouai…

It's always been my dream to have my own range of hair products. I've been listening to my clients and followers for years and they all have the same complaints – they want healthier hair and they have a lack of time. I created Ouai to fit with real life – it’s for the girl on-the-go who only has five minutes to do her hair. No more unrealistic campaigns, just multi-use products that cut styling time and promote healthier hair. 

And what's been the biggest challenge? 

Before starting Ouai, I wasn't aware how much was involved in starting your own product line. From the outside, you don't know all the details and can’t see how many moving parts there are. However, having such an amazing team and leveraging crowdsourcing has definitely helped push my vision forward.

What's been the most memorable moment to date?

Launching both Ouai and Mane Addicts (a content platform dedicated to all things hair) were ‘dream-come-true’ moments, but both are also the result of a lot of hard work.

How involved are you in the Ouai development process?

Very. For years, I’ve been sent so many products from such a variety of brands, so Ouai is a mixture of favourites – some that were discontinued, some that were a little different. For example, I wanted a hair oil that wasn’t too heavy, a dry shampoo that didn’t leave white residue and a wave spray that wasn’t filled with alcohol. The entire product line is heavily influenced by what our followers want – we consult them a lot and go from there.

Where do you find inspiration?

Instagram – I religiously follow @stylemefresh and @knighttcat, as well as @maneaddicts and @theOUAI of course. And @khloekardashian is my go-to for fitness inspiration.

On a Similar Note

What's the best career advice you've ever received?

A-list hairstylist Serge Normant said not to be threatened by your peers, but be inspired by them. I truly believe there is enough work for all of us and we should support and encourage each other.

Any recent beauty discoveries?

The Anastasia Brow Gel, £16.50 is amazing. It helps keep my brows intact all day and conditions them at the same time.

What's your favourite Ouai product?

Without a doubt, the Rose Hair & Body Oil, £25 – it’s made with rosehip oil, which reduces the appearance of scars and redness, as well as locking in moisture. I'm also obsessed with Ouai supplements – I really believe healthy hair comes from the inside out. Before we launched our supplements, I was sending clients to health food stores to stock up on biotin and fish oil pills.

What are your make-up must-haves?

The Anastasia Beverly Hills palette in Modern Renaissance, £41, and Huda’s Rose Gold Palette, £56. I also really rate Boy Brow by Glossier, The Master Palette by Mario and Kylie Matte Liquid Liner in Mary Jo K.

Favourite under-the-radar beauty products?

KNC Beauty’s Lip Masks (available on Amazon) and a SLIP silk pillowcase.

Finally, what's your ultimate tip for great hair?

You shouldn't have to spend 30 minutes every morning styling with hot tools. Effortlessness is central both to the Ouai brand and to my styling philosophy, but the look is impossible to achieve without healthy hair. Also, don’t be afraid to invest in a great cut and colour – then you won’t need to style it all the time for it to look good.

Shop Jen's beauty picks below...

Rose Hair & Body Oil, £25 | OUAI

Textured Shadows Palette In Rose Gold Edition, £56 | Huda Beauty

Clear Brow Gel, £16.50 | Anastasia Beverly Hills

Clean Shampoo, £22 | OUAI

Embroidered Silk Pillowcase, £62 | Slip  

Dry Hair Supplement, £26 | OUAI

Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette, £41 | Anastasia Beverly Hills

Dry Shampoo Foam, £10 | OUAI

All Natural Lip Masks, £19.50 | KNC Beauty

Visit TheOuai.com



Inspiration Credits: TheOuai.com, JenAtkinHair.com, ALittleLeopard.com, YouBlush.com
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