Celebrity hair stylist Jen Atkin talks to Lind­say Judge about beauty trends as she un­veils a new hairdryer on a re­cent trip to Dubai

Friday - - Contents -

The Kar­dashi­ans love her, and so does Gwen Ste­fani, but hair­styl­ist Jen Atkin loves the hairdryer she’s just un­veiled.

We hate to break it to you, but the rea­son so many of our favourite celebri­ties have such great hair­styles is that they have great hair. You can take it from Jen Atkin – Hollywood’s favourite hair­styl­ist and the woman be­hind one of the hottest new beauty prod­ucts on the mar­ket, Ouai Dry Sham­poo Foam, which has had many of her 1.8 mil­lion In­sta­gram fol­low­ers hash­tag­ging like mad in the weeks since it launched glob­ally. (Note to girls with greasy locks: It is due at Sephora in the UAE early this year, al­though her other prod­ucts hit shelves last week­end.)

Atkin’s lat­est move is prod­ucts, but the US-born 36-year-old is prob­a­bly best known for tak­ing the con­cept of get­ting friendly with your hair­dresser to a ca­reer-defin­ing level. The hair­styl­ist to ev­ery­one from the Kar­dashi­ans to Gwen Ste­fani (she be­came pop­u­lar be­cause of her abil­ity to cre­ate those ef­fort­less beach waves that have be­come Hollywood’s go-to red car­pet look), Jen has be­come friends with many of her clients and hence be­come some­thing of a star in her own right. She’s ap­peared on Keep­ing Up with the Kar­dashi­ans, and hung out with Kim Kar­dashian on her trip to Dubai last month. (Jen comes over to work in Belle Femme on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.)

In be­tween shop­ping and dune bash­ing with the re­al­ity TV star, Jen launched the Dyson Su­per­sonic hairdryer – yes, the com­pany you may know for its vac­uum clean­ers and fans. The dryer has al­ready been hugely pop­u­lar in the US and UK, where it launched last year af­ter Dh225 mil­lion spent on re­search and five years in the mak­ing. Dyson is cer­tain the smaller, quicker and qui­eter tool is go­ing to rev­o­lu­tionise the hairdryer as we know it.

Fri­day sat down with Jen, who also told us why she thinks she would be a bad salon owner and the plans for her hair­care brand. We’ve heard whis­pers of your plans to bring your hair­care range to the UAE… I ac­tu­ally have very ex­cit­ing news. Not only did the Dyson dryer launch in Sephora on Jan­uary 27, so did my line of hair prod­ucts, Ouai. There is such a de­mand here for new prod­ucts so I think they will do re­ally well. Why do you love this hairdryer so much? When I first saw the dryer, I was a lit­tle scep­ti­cal be­cause it was so small and dif­fer­ent to any­thing I’ve seen be­fore. But

when I tried it and found out about the tech­nol­ogy and re­search be­hind it, I knew it was go­ing to be good. How do you think it will do in the UAE? I know the women here very well and they not only em­brace tech­nol­ogy but are also much more in­vested in beauty than I think women in the US are. Beauty is some­thing they do be­cause they re­ally want to, and they take real pride in it. I can imag­ine the dryer is some­thing peo­ple will buy for the whole fam­ily. What would you say to peo­ple who are wary of the Dh1,499 price tag? In your life you would own a num­ber of cheaper dry­ers, whereas with the Dyson you’ll never need any­thing else. I am usu­ally all about work­ing within your bud­get, but this hairdryer is my one ex­cep­tion. It’s go­ing to be bet­ter for your hair as well so it’s a no-brainer. How of­ten do you rec­om­mend wash­ing your hair? It re­ally de­pends on your type of hair. If you have overly oily glands then you need to wash ev­ery three days. If your scalp is drier you can go five days be­fore wash­ing. I usu­ally wash my hair ev­ery five days. What is the so­lu­tion to the dry hair we ex­pe­ri­ence here in the UAE? I’m all about do­ing treat­ment masks. I think it’s also re­ally im­por­tant to take time to care for your hair, es­pe­cially when you live in a hot cli­mate. I also have some sup­ple­ments com­ing out in May that will be per­fect for this but I can’t tell you too much yet. What about dry sham­poo – do you think it’s a good thing or is it bad for your scalp? I’ve ac­tu­ally just launched a dry sham­poo foam. If you have re­ally dry hair, though, use a fin­ish­ing cream to stop the dry sham­poo dry­ing your skin out. Which prod­uct can you not live with­out? I would say a tex­tur­is­ing hair­spray. What is so spe­cial about your prod­ucts? They are com­pletely nat­u­ral, of course, but I think the thing that makes them dif­fer­ent is that they re­ally are the prod­ucts of the peo­ple. From the start I have been ask­ing my fol­low­ers what they want from a hair­care range and work­ing so closely with them to pro­duce some­thing that peo­ple are re­ally go­ing to want to buy. What do you love most about the UAE? I love that ev­ery time I come here there are new hid­den things that I didn’t know about be­fore, or things that have popped up since my last visit. What are your plans for this trip? I’m go­ing to be work­ing with a client that’s com­ing over from the US for a few days. Then I’ll be work­ing in Belle Femme salon, see­ing my clients there. I also have one day off so I’m go­ing to be see­ing friends too. Which of your celeb clients has the best hair? That’s the most im­pos­si­ble ques­tion. So many of my girls have such good hair and that’s why I think they are the trend­set­ters for new styles and can try any­thing they want. You have a very close bond with the Kar­dashi­ans. They are con­stantly chang­ing their hair – how are you al­ways think­ing of new ideas and looks to do with them? It is a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort – and I’m not just talk­ing about me and them. It’s a whole team – make-up, wardrobe… We are con­stantly com­ing up with new looks and ways of styling. I also love in­tro­duc­ing my younger clients to old-school icons that they haven’t heard of. I have a col­lec­tion of more than 5,000 pho­tos of ideas. Is there any­one you haven’t worked with yet that you would like to? Cher – I would love to do some­thing crazy with her hair! Do you see any new hair trends for 2017? I think with the Dyson dif­fuser we might see tight curls mak­ing a come­back. Also thick fringes with a shaggy cut. Ul­ti­mately, I think women are look­ing for some­thing that is low-main­te­nance and easy to do on their own. We have seen a lot of celebrity hair­dressers and stylists open­ing their own sa­lons. Is this some­thing you would ever con­sider? Hon­estly, I like peo­ple to do what they are good at and I don’t think I would be a good salon owner. I’m con­stantly trav­el­ling and I wouldn’t want to open a salon if I didn’t have the time to be there and run it prop­erly. I also love that I can travel the world at the mo­ment and have clients in so many coun­tries. You travel reg­u­larly be­tween here and the US – do you take ideas be­tween the two? Def­i­nitely. Ev­ery time I travel to one or the other I’m full of fresh ideas. I think com­ing here as well I’m able to bring new ways of styling and new ways of work­ing with tools to the re­gion that stylists and clients here have never seen be­fore.


Jen Atkin is known for her work (and play) with the Kar­dashi­ans; be­low, her hair­care range and the Dyson hairdryer.

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