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Celebrity stylist Jen Atkin on the secrets to having great hair

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A globe-trotting hairstylist to the stars with over one million Instagram followers, Jen Atkin's client roster includes Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone, Jessica Alba and the Kardashian clan. 

Here, Stylist meets the hair maestro to uncover her top tips for getting your look perfect every time. 

jen atkin

How did you get into celebrity hairstyling?

When I was a teenager in Utah no one could give me the haircut I wanted, so I started cutting my own hair. Soon, I was cutting all of my friend’s hair too.

Eventually, I got a job assisting Andy Lecompte just before he went on tour with Madonna, so I joined. 

What’s the most requested red carpet style lately?

Braids. I did Katy Perry’s hair for a party she hosted recently and I did double braids.

Chrissy Teigen also asked for a braid for the NWCP Awards. We did this really gorgeous braid with heaps of added volume from extensions. I think braids are having a major comeback.

What insider tricks do you use to ensure every hair stays in place?

I spray a toothbrush with really good hairspray and then lightly comb down the hair with it.

What beauty products would you recommend for creating the ultimate hair volume?

K Beauty have a really great volume mousse (not available in the UK).

I also love Christophe Robin - he does this amazing rose scent volumising mist (329, lookfantastic.com).

Do you have any rules when it comes to choosing a shampoo and conditioner?

Definitely go sulphate free. Sulphates cut through dirt but they also strip your scalp of natural oils.

Beauty Works has one called Pearl Nourishing Sulfrate-Free Shampoo (£12.99, very.co.uk) and Ouai has one called ‘Clean’ (£19.90 plus shipping, sephora.com) which is really gentle, so works well if you’re washing extensions.

Wavy hair seems to be one of your signature looks. How do you get it so perfect?

I’m obsessed with my Ouai Wave Spray (£18.48 plus shipping, sephora.com) – it dries into a really natural wave. Kevin Murphy makes some amazing pomades too (£20, kevinmurphy.com). I use them for off-duty waves, to give them a bit a grit. 

What product are you always restocking?

All of my clients are crazy for the Colour WOW concealer (£22.40, beautyflash.co.uk). I use them to conceal hair lines where the extensions have been clipped in, which make them look a little more perfect then they are naturally.

Do the Kardashian clan have particular styles that fit their hair personalities?

For sure! I think what’s great about the girls is that we all relate to them in different ways, they have such different personalities. I love how Khloe and Kylie are up for changing their looks and having fun. You never know what kind of mood they’re going to be in. I feel like they make glam look fun.

I love that Kourtney knows her style and sticks to it. That classic Ally McGraw kind of look, she just gets it. 

What celebrity hair secret should we know about that we don’t know about?

Extensions are used more than you think. I work with a lot of girls who are known for changing up their look and they talk openly about it, which is really refreshing.

I’m lucky that I have a platform I can use to stop the extension shaming. I Instagram about it a lot. I see comments after I’ve done a client’s hair and they’re like, ‘I bet she is wearing extensions’ and I think, ‘yes she is, and who cares?!’

You know, you can also wear extensions.

The Jen Atkin by Beauty Works hair extension collection launches on 21st March and is available from beautyworksonline.com (prices start from £133)

Words: Natalie Lukaitis

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