Yesterday morning I sat down with Celebrity hairstylist: Jennifer Atkin to ask her a few questions
about her career and about hair tips. Jennifer is an incredibly talented hairstylist! She has worked
with an endless list of A-list celebrities such as; Jennifer Lopez, Cindy Crawford, the Kardashians,
Jessica Alba, Kate Moss, Katy Perry and the list goes on and on. Personally I think that she’s such
a role model because she started from the bottom and worked her way to the top by herself and I
really admire her for that.
She’s currently in Dubai doing hair sessions at the ‘Belle femme Salon‘ on JBR. She gave me a lot
of helpful tips that I’m forever grateful for! And of course, I will share these tips with you! 😉
When did you started working as a hairstylist and why have you decided to become a
I started doing hair when I was in high school and I felt inspired by fashion since I was really
young. I always loved everything about pop-culture I just loved the 90’s music video’s and 90’s
super models and for me I grew up on an Island (Hawaii) so it was kind of my escape. I was
obsessed with MTV and I just loved everything about transforming women. I loved Kevyn Aucoin’s
book and I loved the idea of making people look really glamorous.
I started doing hair when I moved to LA. I worked in a salon as a receptionist and then a manager
so I could learn the business side of things. And then I started assisting a salon in Los Angeles and
I knew I had to assist as many people as I could so that I could learn different techniques and then
create my own.
How did you go from a starter to a celebrity hairstylist?
If there’s anything I learned it’s about putting yourself out there and being fearless. I felt like all the
things that I wanted to do I just had to work really hard for and ask for it. I started of by assisting in
salons then I started working with session stylist and doing editorial work. Then I started doing the
fashion show’s in New York. From there I started going to Paris. I would book my own flight and
stay with friends. I started doing the show’s there and then one thing just led to another. I was
living my dream. I got to work with John Galliano for a few years and I do all of his shows for Dior
and Galliano. And I got to be indulged in pure Fashion in Paris and it was so much fun.
So, how many years have you been working as a hairstylist now?
I’ve been on my own now since 2007 so 7 years.
Have you ever done a course and where did you do the course?
I did an apprenticeship program because I couldn’t afford to go to all the fancy schools or any of
the schools in LA. So I just researched and I found a program through the State which is an
apprenticeship program where you actually go to school and take the courses during the day time
and at night I used to work in a restaurant just to be able to pay my bills. And after you do the
course, you actually work in a salon and you gain hours towards your license by working in the
salon. So I was assisting as I was gaining my license. It was much more affordable and everybody
had told me when I was working at the salon as a receptionist that you don’t really use anything
you learn in the classes, you learn from being next to people that are working.
That’s exactly the same with make-up!
Yeah, you only learned those techniques from people that have experience so that’s what I did!
What challenges have you faced through your career?
Wow, my biggest challenge was competing with gay men. Because to be honest with you women
like to have the attention of a beautiful gay man and in the beginning it was hard for me to be
accepted and to be respected as a woman.
Even in L.A?
Yes, even in LA! I think things have changed a lot in the past 10 years. I think women are now
starting to become more well respected and actually more demanded because I just think that
there’s been a shift. And I think that women are being comfortable being around other women. If I
spend time with a client it’s very intimate and you’re traveling with them and it was hard for me
because I didn’t have many female role models for me in my field there was Sally Herschberger
and Odile Gilbert who did editorial but beyond that there weren’t that many role models that I could
really relate to so that was quite a challenge to be taken seriously.
Who is your favorite celebrity to work with and why?
I get that question a lot… It’s like choosing your favorite child. You build such a great relationship
with everyone and I appreciate all of my clients for different reasons. I don’t really have a favorite. I
have a lot of fun with all of them and some inspire me mentally. I just worked with Cindy Crawford
and every time I work with her I feel like it’s an out of body experience. You know her as a person
but then when you watch her behind the camera you’re like; oh my God that’s Cindy Crawford! So
as far as a favorite I can’t pick one, it’s so impossible, I love all of my girls.
What is THE hottest hair trend at the moment?
One of the hottest trend right now is the sleek look. Middle part and sleek straight hair or a side
part… a sleek bun is also really popular.
I think also a really a big trend is a romantic look like the Valentino runway look. Isabel Marant also
always shows amazing hair. Or Chloe hair, looks also very romantic and messy. I always joke that I
spend a lot of time doing hair that doesn’t look like it’s been done.
That’s also exactly the same with make-up. Everyone want’s a make-up look without it
looking like you’re wearing a lot of make-up.
Yes exactly, and it’s very hard to do that. You really need to have a strong hand that doesn’t look
too heavy. I think runway inspires women day to day. We’re busy women, no one really has the
time to sit and do an actual style. We’re not like our mothers and grand mothers where we know
how to do a roller set. Women are just on the go so anything that’s very easy is really in style.
If you had to create a hairstyle for me according to the shape of my face, which style would
you go for?
What I suggest to my curly hair clients is to get a water filter to put on your shower head when
you’re washing your hair. Especially here because the water here is very salty and it can dry your
hair out a bit. So I would definitely use oils. I love coconut oil… I’m learning from all the emirati girls
here about DIY recipes. All of their grand mothers use coconut oil with black bean that’s sort of like
a home conditioning mask that they do on their hair once a week which I think is amazing! Take
care of your hair and make sure to moisturize it but as far as the style, you have amazing hair!
You’re the luckiest girl, you can just wash and go!
Do you believe in DIY recipes?
Definitely! I’m a huge fan of doing home remedies. I grew up in Hawaii so a lot of times we would
do Macadamia oil treatments or Coconut oil treatments. I think it’s a shame to spend a lot of
money on masks that basically contain the exact same product together with different chemicals so
I think it’s easy to just do like avocado treatments. There are a lot of recipes online with egg yolk
for the hair and I also think it’s great if you go to a spa to do a treatment for your hair and put on a
shower cap on your hair while getting a massage. If you’re going to the beach, I loooove to put
conditioner in my hair and do a sleek bun or a sleek ponytail or even a braided ponytail. Something
to condition your hair while you’re out in the sun and protecting it from UV lights.
Which hair product do you think every women should have?
I always think that women need to have a good conditioner. I work with a company called ‘Clear’ in
the States. They have shampoo and conditioner but we are kind of treating the hair from the scalp
all the way to the roots and teaching women to not only take care of the ends of your hair but also
to care for the scalp because it’s very important. I think the number one thing women should have
is hair vitamin or fish oil pills. Just have it by the side of your bed where you remember to take it
every night. The best thing you could do is to treat your hair from the inside by using Biotin or
Viviscal something that helps your hair to get healthier and shinier.
What are your goals for the future? Can we expect a product line from you?
That’s really an interesting question! It’s so crazy because I feel like in life you always set goals but
when you reach them you’re like oh my God there’s more goals. It’s funny when people say to me;
you’re so busy or you’ve done this and that. And I don’t really remember it’s like I’m just waking up
everyday and working.
I definitely want to do a product line. I’m working with a few people in Dubai and talking about
getting something that’s formulated for the girls here because I definitely think there’s a lack of hair
product here. There are a lot of beauty products and face creams here but when I go to Sephora
or other places here, there’s something that’s lacking. I bring a lot of stuff with me when I do hair
here and everyone is like obsessed and taking photos trying to find it. There’s 5 or 6 products that
I’m working on right now. Hopefully we’ll have it ready for you guys next year.