I Tried to Re-Create the Hairstyle Jen Atkin Made Famous
About a month ago, I had the opportunity to hair model for one of Jen Atkin's master classes. (So exciting, I know.) Yes, for about an hour, the famed hairstylist instructed an audience on how exactly to re-create her signature beach waves. They're undone, they're cool, and they're Kendall Jenner approved.
So when it came time to choose a look for a friend's upcoming wedding, I knew I had to try my best to re-create the look on my own. I reviewed all my videos and photos from that night, took some notes, and got down to business. I'd also like to point out that I had exactly 30 minutes to pull it off because I was running late before the ceremony. Below, I detail exactly what I did (with a bit of advice from Atkin herself) with a photo of the results. Did I pull it off? Keep reading and decide for yourself.
FYI: This photo below is what it looked like on the night Atkin did it herself.
A post shared by Hallie Gould (@gouldhallie) on I started by washing and conditioning my hair with Ouai’s ($28) and ($26)—you know, to stay on brand. Afterwards, I prepped my wet hair with ($26) to give it some volume and shine, exactly as Atkin’s assistant had done pre-master class. As I blew it out (with a Dyson , $399, of course), I made sure not to blow-dry it completely straight. "Just go through and take a little of that frizz away," Atkin instructed, "but, leave some texture. "
To start my hair experiment, I hopped in the shower and began washing and conditioning my hair with Ouai Volume Shampoo ($28) and Conditioner ($26)—you know, to stay on brand. Afterward, I prepped my wet hair with the brand's Wave Spray ($26) to give it some volume and shine, exactly as Atkin’s assistant had done pre–master class. As I blew it out (with a Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, $399, of course), I made sure not to blow-dry it completely straight. "Just go through and take a little of that frizz away," Atkin had instructed the master class, "but leave some texture. For those with fine to medium hair, you want to keep in some of the natural texture as you blow-dry it so it doesn't fall flat later on."
Once my hair was dry, I took out a one-inch curling iron and wrapped the hair around the iron (with the top of the iron facing down). "Each section should go in a different direction—first away from the face and then toward it," Atkin had explained to me. "That will give you the most full, natural look. It's like a brick layering effect. It doesn't seem like it would make that much of a difference but when you want volume and fullness, it really does."
During the master class, after going through with the curling iron, Atkin switched to a flat iron to create those coveted "S" waves. So I did the same. She would quickly move the iron through, patting it open and closed as to not damage the hair (watch this video tutorial for more tips), and just make slight bends. Then, she broke it apart to keep it looking natural. Again, I tried to copy exactly what she did it. The flat iron waves proved to be a bit more difficult, and I had to redo a few as I made my way around my head.
Next up? The dry shampoo. Ouai Dry Shampoo ($24) was "purposefully heavily fragranced," Atkin admitted during the master class, "because who knows what gets in your air by day three." She had spritzed around and under my roots for a more lifted, texturized look, so I followed her lead there as well. Things were looking pretty good, if I do say so myself. After the spritz, she performed the "butterfly effect," a technique that allows for that signature Kardashian piecey look. I put a bit of Ouai Matte Pomade ($24) in my fingertips and warmed it in my palms. Then, I put one hand on the inside of my curls and the other along the outside and began moving them together—back and forth. This musses up any curls that are too perfect or polished, really giving it an undone quality.
The final step is something you or I would never expect, but it's vital to Atkin's styles for every red carpet. "The same way you would fill in your eyebrows, I just fill in that hairline really lightly," Atkin explained. She uses Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Pro Palette ($88) for access to the majority of base colors. "It makes all the difference in the world," Atkin said while she powdered my part. "It looks amazing in photographs." I dusted a bit of powder along my middle part—just enough so it would match my base color—and did a quick mirror check. I was pretty proud of my handiwork.
What do you think?