Jen Atkin on DIY hair care and self-care during covid-19

Have you been missing your hairdresser recently? While the general advice is to be patient and wait until after social distancing measures have been reduced and to get your hair cut or coloured by your regular hairstylist if you’re hair is due a trim or if your hairstyle is cropped and short you might be feeling the urge to DIY it.

So we spoke to celebrity hairstylist and {OUAI Haircare}’s founder Jen Atkin about how to navigate DIY hair cuts at home as well as some insight into how she’s approaching self-care during the social distancing measures across the globe.

{CB} While everyone is WFH and unable to see their stylists, could you share your top tips for keeping hair in great condition?

{JA} Take this time to incorporate realistic healthy hair routines. When we know we don’t have to go anywhere, we tend to not do anything to our hair. We skip brushing. We don’t wash often. We pull our hair back. We go to bed with a wet head. Overall, we tend to neglect our hair because we’re not going anywhere or seeing anyone, so we think, what’s the point, right? A few easy reminders to keep us on track during this time at home:

Brush hair 

Add a treatment to your routine 

Experiment with different looks

Lay off the hot tools 

Watch tutorials on YouTube 

Create a Pinterest page and share with your stylist

Another thing, with everyone focused on wellbeing and health at the moment, this is a great time to start from within. I really strongly believe that you will not see changes in your hair by just doing external remedies. You need to do internal as well – eat well, get lots of rest, take some multivitamins based on your needs… And if you want to take it further, the OUAI {Thinning Hair Supplement} crush it.

{CB} What products do you use when you want to really treat your hair?

{JA} Definitely the OUAI Treatment Masque. It really is a 5-minute hair makeover. Most of us don’t have time to sit with deep conditioning treatments in our strands for hours. This mask gives dramatic results after just one use and comes in easy individual use packets for on the go. I personally always bring one with me when I go to the gym and sometimes slather it on during a workout.

{CB} And which products can help create a polished finish when you just can’t be bothered?

{JA} When you can’t be bothered, always go for a stylish but super easy up-do. Part your hair using your fingers, pull all of your hair creating a ponytail in your crown area, secure with a hair tie and spray it with the OUAI {Texturizing Hair Spray} for volume, create a bun and clip into place, then finish off with the OUAI Soft Hair Spray and you have a top knot. This is an easy no-fuss way to look like you’ve made an effort.

{CB} A lot of Team Cult Beauty have fallen back on air drying and styling their hair, do you have any tips, tricks or techniques you could share with us?

{JA} If you’re going to get some heat on your hair, always use a heat protectant. The OUAI {Hair Oil} creates a UV barrier, protecting the strands and hydrating them at the same time. If you can though, use this WFH time to lay off the hot tools… I always suggest my clients dry their hair with an old cotton t-shirt instead of a towel after they shower. Wet strands are much more fragile and prone to breakage, and the harsh fibres of a towel can be too aggressive. You should also be wary of what kind of brush you use on damp hair. Something with too much tension will stretch the hair too much, which also exposes it to breakage.

{CB} It’s Sunday, you’ve got the bathroom all to yourself – what’s your go-to ritual?

{JA} Dry body brushing is great to do at-home – it completely removes the dry dead skin cells from your skin’s surface, unclogging your pores and improving overall appearance. I’ll take a bath, throw some oils or OUAI {Chill Pills} in there, and I even just got into face masks, my friend {Shani Darden} always recommends the best ones…

{CB} And finally, what’s your opinion on DIY cutting your fringe/bangs or giving hair a trim during lockdown?

I’m super into it if you couldn’t tell from my Insta… Although it’s very controversial, and you have to be super confident before you embark on that. Otherwise, you don’t want to end up having to spend more money at the salon getting your mistake fixed when this time at home ends. What better time to let loose and play around with your style. If you’re too scared though and worried about split ends but want to wait until your salon is back open, there are lots of ingredients that can help seal a split end, preventing further breakage.

Keep hair hydrated – using a wide tooth comb in the shower can help ensure the conditioner reaches the entire hair shaft.

Use heat protection when heat styling – heat is the worst thing for fragile hair.

Hair oils can help temporarily seal a split end – ours contains three different types of oil (ama, borage, baobab seed oil) that help to seal and hydrate.

Thanks Jen!


Emmie Thornhill

Emmie Thornhill

Deputy Content Editor

Emmie is Cult Beauty’s Deputy Content Editor. Her love of skin care began in primary school when she first learned the term “hormonal acne” and has been in a love-hate relationship with tea tree oil ever since. She lives in East London – where you can normally find her baking, tending to her plant jungle or planning her next tattoo or hair cut/colour appointment – and is known to start DMCs with you about your birth chart placements, the importance of wearing SPF every day and the difference between a vagina and vulva.