Jen Atkin Predicts the Biggest Hair Trend of 2021 (and the One She's So Over)

Plus, the silk pillowcase she swears by and her morning rituals.

Jen Atkin

Byrdie / Jen Atkin

Our series The One Thing is a Sparknotes version of the products, rituals, and moments your favorite celebrities and influencers swear by—their go-tos, must-haves, and can’t-live-withouts. So go ahead—take a brief, intimate peek into the lives of your favorites through the things (and people, and moments) they hold dear.

“I’m looking at a wall in my office of over 400 products, so I'm ready to go,” says Jen Atkin as soon as we hop on the phone. If you’re not familiar with the hair guru extraordinaire, you’re undoubtedly familiar with her work. She’s only touched the most famous heads on your Instagram feed—Chrissy Teigen, Hailey Bieber, probably every Kardashian family member, and too many more to name. She’s also the woman behind the popular haircare brand, OUAI. And since 2014, she’s been an ambassador (and fan) of Slip, the brand responsible for those luxurious silk pillowcases you've likely heard so much about.

So yeah, when Atkin dishes on her most coveted products, you listen with ears wide open. We naturally chatted about what’s in her beauty arsenal during our conversation, but we also spent time discussing the things that helped her thrive during the intense year we left behind. For Atkin, Slip’s new Rose Gold Collection and her morning routine have been a few of the essentials that have made her look and feel her best these days. Ahead, Jen Atkin talks to Byrdie in detail about it all.

Rose Gold Zippered Pillowcase
Slip Rose Gold Zippered Pillowcase $89.00

The One Thing You’ve Dubbed Your Holy Grail Winter Savior

"The reason I love sleeping on a Slip pillowcase ($89) is because it doesn't damage your hair, especially during the winter months because the air becomes drier. In quarantine, I've appreciated having it because this year has been all about health and hydration. The other benefit is that Slip doesn't create that static or friction you can get from cotton, and it makes it so that the hair you go to bed with is the hair you wake up with. Before switching over to Slip pillowcases, I never knew how bad cotton was for your hair and how drying it was. Traditional pillowcases can actually soak in your makeup and your skincare and build up bacteria, so that's another thing that I love about it. Plus, it makes you just feel like a queen. I use the Slip eye mask ($50) every morning too. There's a certain time of day that sunlight just comes beaming through my bedroom, so I have my Slip sleep mask next to my bed every night."

The One Thing That You’d Recommend to Make At-Home Styling Easier

"For sure the Dyson Airwrap Complete Styler ($550) because it has six or seven attachments, you can do any style on any hair type or length, and it doesn't have extreme heat, so it's going to help to salvage the health of your hair. It uses the Coanda effect, which is basically like pressured airflow versus extreme heat. [It attracts hair to the barrel, then wraps it for you, using only air.] So, I would 100% recommend it. Everybody that I know that I've either gifted it to or have bought it are obsessed with it.”

hailey bieber


The One Hair Trend That You Predict Will Take Over 2021

"My spidey sense is telling me that we're going to have a lot of Y2K fashion and Y2K hair. So, I personally think that this is going to be kind of what the roaring ‘20s was like after the Great Depression. I think that a lot of people have been making Pinterest boards and getting businesses together and are just amped up on creativity. Once we're back in our normal lifestyle, I feel like everyone's going to have more fun with makeup and hair. In the same token, we're going to have people who also have embraced their natural texture and maybe have toned down their regular makeup and beauty routine too. It's going to be fun to see what happens. But I definitely think Y2K is going to be in the mix."

The One Look You Always Get Asked How to Recreate

"I get asked a lot how I do center part buns and ponytails. I did a couple of reels to show how to do it yourself. But I always say that was something that we were really into for 2020—very sleek center parts on a top knot, ponytail, or bun. It just gives you that professional look. You just feel put together when your hair is off your face. I definitely feel like I've been very influenced by the ‘90s, but I'm kind of over it. I'm ready to move on."

Jen Atkin

Byrdie / Jen Atkin

The One Thing That Everyone Can Do to Support the Struggling Salon Business

"I think it's super important right now to help support your hairstylist and salons. If you can call the salon and possibly buy a gift certificate or gift somebody a haircut or hair color session, that’s something small you can do to help. Then also, if you're looking through old photos and find a great selfie of you coming out of the salon, just tag the hair artists. That's something you can do to boost their spirit and also try to keep their business going." 

The One Ritual You’ve Adopted Through the Intense Year We Just Left Behind

"I have been a big advocate for meditation this past year. It's been maybe a year and two months since I started practicing it daily. I have a chair at the bottom of my bed that's my meditation chair, and my sleep mask is right there, and I use it every time I meditate. It gives me that little boost of luxury and helps me block out light and concentrate on relaxing. And that's my biggest tip for hitting pause—meditation. Whether it's using the Calm app or Headspace, or I do the Hoffman Process mediations [that they share on their] Instagram every day. I just really look forward to it, to be quite honest. If I'm starting to get stressed or feel a headache coming on, it's the best thing I can do."

The One Thing That’s Helping You Stay Energized and Motivated Everyday

"I'm kind of obsessed with my morning routine. I get up early now at like 6:30 AM, take my dogs out, and have coffee. I've been using The Five Minute Journal ($25) and making a gratitude list every morning, and then usually doing my meditation. Then, I'm obsessed with Melissa Wood Health’s streaming workouts like a Pilates yoga mix. Or, I work out with Train With Danny for more cardio and heavy weightlifting. And then my shower routine now starts with our OUAI Body Cleanser ($28). I'll usually use OUAI detox shampoo ($30) too. I'm lucky enough because we have so many great products now for in the shower, and we just launched a new Treatment Mask  ($38), so I'm using that for my hair. Out of the shower, I'm obsessed with our new Hand Lotion ($32). I have been using that all over my body. On my face, I use Dr. Barbara Sturm products. Her Glow Drops ($145) are amazing. I love the  Kylie Skin Clarifying Facial Oil ($24), and then Dennis Gross has a great exfoliating face wash ($38) that I use. I don't look at my phone till about 9:30 AM. That's when I shower, get ready, answer whatever texts and DMs I need to, and then I'm usually in my office by 11 AM to do calls and stuff."

Treatment Mask for Fine and Medium Hair
Ouai Treatment Mask for Fine and Medium Hair $38.00

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