Pick a celebrity, any celebrity, whose hair you envy. Then go to Jen Atkin’s Instagram. Chances are, she’s the girl behind their best looks. Lily Aldridge? Check. J.Lo? Yes. Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone, Cara Delevingne and the entire Kardashian clan? You know it. So when we got the invite to her Mane Addicts University class, we jumped at the chance. Here, the best tips we walked away with.
1. Don’t pre-book your haircut every two months. “People say to go every eight weeks, but no, I always tell clients to wait longer than they think. You might have one bad week, but then your hair will look great the next.”
2. Skip prep products unless your hair is superfine. “I’m pretty old school in that I don’t like to prep the hair unless it’s very fine. Then I’ll use 10 to 15 sprays of Sachajuan Ocean Mist. But when you layer mousses and heat protectants and all that, everything falls faster,” says Atkin. Instead, she recommends building volume and texture with dry shampoos once the hair is dry and styled.
3. Use two more tools than you think you need. Atkin’s signature lived-in waves only look effortless—they’re actually the result of alternating between wrapping sections around a flat iron, a 1-inch curling rod and a 1 1⁄4-inch rod. “I never want the pieces to look uniform,” she says. Pro tip: Always hold the iron vertically and wrap the hair away from the face. “And don’t ever curl the ends; keep them straight,” she adds.
4. Extensions and updos are a bride’s best friend. “I always like an updo for a bride because you know what you’re going to get and it’s going to last all night when they’re drunk on the dance floor,” says Atkin. If you decide to keep your hair down, go easy on the hairspray: “It makes the hair fall the second humidity hits. The trick is extensions [“clip-ins, never glue”] because even if the curls fall, your hair will still look full.” Remember, she says, “hair always photographs smaller, so go big or go home.”
5. Fake full hair with eye shadow. “I’m a huge preacher about putting eye shadow on
the hairline when the scalp is really white,” says Atkin. “It’s all about the picture and this makes the hair look so much better and fuller.” She loves Color Wow Root Cover Up, but a matching shade you already have in your makeup bag works, too.