Digital editor Renée Reardin sat down with renowned hair guru Jen Atkin to talk about the coolest hairstyles to copy (think Gwyneth in the 90s and French girls in any decade) and how to do your mane as quickly as possible (Spoiler: You’re going to want to invest in a Dyson Airwrap).
Deemed by the New York Times as “the most influential hairstylist in the world,” Jen Atkin has become as adored as her celebrity clients—just ask any one of her 2.5 million Instagram followers.
Being the go-to hairstylist of Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian and having a client list that includes the ladies with today's most enviable manes—like the Hadid sisters and Cindy and Kaia Crawford—Jen’s looked to around the globe for the latest hair trends, inspiration, tips and tricks. Just take one look at her work (which can be found in basically any magazine, any month—or on her Instagram page) or watch one of her how-to videos, and you’ll be hooked, too.
So, when we heard Jen was going to be in Toronto, we jumped at the chance to sit down with her for a chat about all things hair.
Renée Reardin: What’s the coolest hairstyle right now?
Jen Atkin: I’ve been cutting off a lot of length for my clients. It’s mostly what people ask for when they come in to see me. I work in the Middle East cutting hair, and so many of my clients have taken the plunge and ask for collarbone to shoulder length hair—it’s so chic and easy and fun. I love it with a really blunt cut. But, I wish people would go even shorter. I would love to see more of the pixie cut, which is very French, or right above the chin, like Drew Barrymore’s or Gwyneth Paltrow’s in the 90s. And I also love the hair on Friends—when I watch the show now I’m like “the hair was so good!”
RR: What’s the best look for long hair?
JA: If your hair is mid-length to long, I love a really cute layered look. Long Gisele hair will never go away, it’s just really sexy. Like long Victoria's Secret hair.
RR: How can you achieve the undone French girl look?
JA: Use wave spray—it’s incredible. It’s not sticky because it has no alcohol, and your hair won’t feel like you have product in it. Also, a diffuser is great for girls who want to get a really natural wave. A leave-in conditioner or a finishing cream to tame frizz and work with your natural hair can be super key. And, don’t underestimate the power of shampoo and conditioner. Find a combo that works for you—one that will help your hair dry in a better way than others. I always tell girls with long hair to wash with two different shampoos. Your roots are probably dirty and oily and your ends are probably dry and damaged, so you should wash with something cleansing at the root then something hydrating for the ends. It’ll balance out your hair.
RR: What are your tips for styling your hair in the least amount of time as possible?
JA: The Dyson Airwrap! It’s going to be such a game-changer for everybody—it works on every single hair type, and there’s an attachment for everyone. It’s incredible for girls with frizzy hair—they’re able to brush and dry and smooth at the same time. It’s also great for girls who want to dry their hair and get a bend at the same time—it’s just going to cut your styling time down by so much.
Ed’s note: The new Dyson Airwrap is like the new and improved Revo Styler (remember the infomercials for that thing?). It’s a hair styling tool that comes with attachments to offer various hairstyles—straight, voluminous, Old Hollywood waves, beach waves, etc.—and releases air, so it can dry and style your hair at once. The best part is it releases air, not heat, and eliminates the need to use super hot styling tools, which damage your hair.
Airwrap, starting at $599, dysoncanada.ca.
RR: Did you use the Airwrap on yourself today?
JA: This morning, I didn’t wash it, so I used the Airwrap Firm Smoothing Brush attachment to get it nice and sleek and pull it into a bun. Before, it would’ve taken me a brush and a blow dryer and really working at it to get this look, but the Airwrap is a two-in-one. When I wash my hair, I like to rough dry it with the Pre-Styling Dryer attachment and then use the 30mm Airwrap Barrels to get beach waves. It gets me in and out of the bathroom so fast.
RR: What styling products are in your arsenal?
JA: OUAI Wave Spray [Ed’s note: OUAI is a haircare line Jen launched in 2016], Texturizing Hair Spray, Balmain Session Spray Strong hairspray (for when I need to do a really sleek hairsprayed pony or bun), and Rita Hazan Root Concealer (I use it when I’m doing an updo on my clients, because not everyone has the perfect hairline).
RR: Should you change your hairstyle as you get older?
JA: I think you should change your hairstyle at any point! But, I always have my clients go through an interview process if they really want a change—I’m like: “Did you go through something hormonal? Did you go through a breakup? Did you get fired? What’s going on?”—before they do something really drastic because our hormones play a great part in how we’re feeling. That’s why pregnant women always want to cut their hair off—because they don’t have control over their body and just want to do something. Always sit on it! But, I encourage people to play around with different hairstyles because life is short, and you may find something you love.