Morning Routine: How Celebrity Hairstylist Jen Atkin Starts Her Day

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Jen Atkin Morning Routine
Photo: Courtesy of Jen Atkin

Successful people around the world have their morning routines down to a fine art. So just how does celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin start her day? Savoir Flair gets a peek into her morning rituals, from the beauty products she swears by to the songs that get her up and ready to go.


I’m not a morning person or an evening person. I don’t know what I am. I’d say I’m a mid-afternoon person. I always dread waking up, and I’m that person who keeps hitting snooze, but I really force myself to get up early to tackle the day! I usually wake up between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and hit snooze. It’s so funny with my husband – when we first moved in together, I’d hit it about four or five times, but it got to the point where he couldn’t take it anymore! So now I only hit snooze once or twice, which gives me an extra 15 minutes of sleep. I’ll usually yell at him to wake up if he’s not up and, if he is, it’s normally a case of, “Don’t talk to me!” Let’s just say he’s much more of a morning person than I am…

Jen Atkin Mike Rosenthal
Photo: Courtesy of @JenAtkinHair

The first thing I do is grab my phone. I usually have one eye open while I’m still waking up and skimming over my e-mails, seeing if there’s anything urgent going on. I’ll check the weather, and then I’ll put on a hip hop playlist to really get me up and ready. I’m such a cliché – that “drink some coffee, put on some gangsta rap, and handle it” meme is so me! I’ll listen to Jay Z, something from The Life of Pablo by Kanye, and some Tupac for sure. It’s all gangsta rap and hip hop, like Ice Cube or N.W.A. It’s weird, but that really gets me going!

I’ll read WWD every morning, just to get the lowdown on business stuff. I also check Twitter to get all the entertainment and political news and see what’s going on with pop culture. I’m on a bunch of mailing lists, so I’ll read Fast Company and Glossy, and I’ll look at Mane Addicts to see what we’re showing that day. Then, if I have time, I’ll try to figure out what I’ll be posting on my Instagram that day. I know from using insights that the best time for me to post is usually between noon and 3 p.m., so I try to plan accordingly. I do all my social myself, so it’s pretty time consuming in the morning!

Jen Atkin interview
Photo: Courtesy of @JenAtkinHair

I usually drink a lot of water at night because I feel it makes your stomach flatter in the morning, but it does mean that I have to wake up to go to the bathroom at around 3 a.m. I usually have an English breakfast tea with a little bit of almond milk every morning, and that’s about it. I’m really bad; I don’t cook, so my husband will make us breakfast if he’s awake. Otherwise, I just eat cold cereal. I’m a Cheerios girl. Sometimes, I’ll grab a banana or a juice before I leave in case there is no food on set.

I’ve been really bad recently, but I usually try to work out in the morning. I mix it up between Barry’s Bootcamp, Pilates classes, and modelFit in Los Angeles. We just moved houses, so I haven’t been close to workout spots, but I’m going to get back into it. If I don’t work out in the morning, I won’t work out at all, so I have to find the time!

Jen Atkin modelFIT workout
Photo: Courtesy of @ModelFit

If I work out, I shower in the morning. I have so many shower caps because I don’t wash my hair every day. Instead, I blow-dry it every four to five days. I just came out with a dry-shampoo foam, which is trouble for me because it’s getting me through an extra two days outside of just using a regular dry shampoo! But I always have my go-to ways of getting around it. For example, on day three, I’ll go for a side part and use the dry-shampoo foam. On day four, I’ll do a center part with a sleek bun if it’s really greasy – that gets me through!

When I do wash my hair, I love the Christophe Robin scalp scrub. I then use the Ouai ‘Volumizing Shampoo’ at the roots and the ‘Repair Shampoo’ on the ends because my ends are really dry from color, followed by the Ouai ‘Treatment Masque’. I always use the Dyson ‘Supersonic’ hairdryer to blow-dry my hair, and I’ll click through my Snapchat whilst I dry my hair to multitask! I spray the Ouai ‘Wave Spray’ throughout my hair and then I’ll take sections and fold them up like an accordion and diffuse using the Dyson diffuser.

I do this until my hair is about 70 percent dry, and then I’ll let the rest air-dry on its own. The Dyson has made my routine so much quicker and has helped me massively because I’ve learnt how to manipulate my hair quickly. I use the smoothing nozzle as I tend to get a little frizzy. It has an intelligent heat control, gaging the temperature of your hair whilst you blow-dry, so my hair is definitely less damaged. It’s life changing!

I’m getting better with my skincare regime. I use the Ayur Medic ‘Orange Blossom Exfoliating Cleansing Milk’ that I got from [celebrity surgeon] Dr. Raj Kanodia. I use that to scrub, then an amazing moisturizer called ‘Firm & Fade’ that is made with hyaluronic acid, which was given to me by Dr. Simon Ourian. I use that morning and night. Dr. Ourian was actually the one who scolded me as I never used to wash my face in the morning! He was like, “Are you kidding?!” It’s the same thing with me – I scold my clients for not washing the ends of their hair and their scalp with two different shampoos. I think about my skin now, and I’ve noticed a big difference.

I love the KNC Beauty lip masque, which I use once a week. The SK-II masks are great to hydrate, especially if I have an event or am getting on a plane. Skinceuticals has these liquid drops that really hydrate your skin. I’m always about hydration, hydration, hydration – especially the older I get. I go to Shani Darden in LA for facials every once in a while and she uses an amazing array of products, so I’m lucky. I’m really hooked up!

I wear makeup every day – unless I’m on holiday – and it’s always the same look, which I do in my car on the way to work. I do it at traffic lights or sometimes I pull over – it’s my thing! The mirror is really close and it saves me precious time. On my face, I use Kevyn Aucoin foundation, Tom Ford concealer, and the YSL compact powder in number two. All the makeup artists I know said it’s a great combination for me as I have really big pores.

Next, I use the Anastasia Beverly Hills ‘Brow Wizz’ and the Glossier ‘Boy Brow Gel’ on my brows. My blush is Charlotte Tilbury’s ‘Cheek to Chic in Love Glow’, then it’s a L’Oréal mascara from the drugstore, Dior’s liquid liner for the edges of my cat-eye flick, and a YSL eye kajal that I got from Sephora in Dubai to do the line.

My everyday lip-color combination is ‘Coachella Coral’ by Charlotte Tilbury mixed with the Kylie Cosmetics lip kit in ‘Kristen’ for the liner, and then I put Lorac ‘Flowerbomb’ on top of that. Oh, and Huda Beauty’s ‘Icon’. It sounds like a weird combination, but it really works for me! For eyeshadow, I use Anastasia’s ‘Master Palette by Mario’, which is amazing, and I love the brown shades from NARS. I’m also obsessed with the Troy Surratt eyelash curler.

I follow a lot of fashion influencers, most of whom are actually from Australia, like Elle Ferguson and Jenna Isaacman. I also follow Julie Sariñana in LA. I like that very casual, effortless vibe, like teaming ‘Stan Smith’ sneakers with a good pair of jeans. I’m obsessed with my Good American jeans that Khloé Kardashian came out with. I wear those a lot. Clothing wise, I have ten things that are my go-tos, and I swap them each morning. My Gucci loafers? I’ve worn those to death, so I have to figure out what my next shoe is – the fur is all gone!

About 15 people share my calendar, which is categorized so I can see what my assistants are doing for the day and visa versa. We use Trello, which is an app for our shared to-do lists, so we can all update it as needed. I have my own list, and my assistants have theirs. We use iCal too, with different colors for personal or business meetings, which keeps us all organized! My agents have access to all my calendars too.

What time I leave home in the morning depends on my day, but it’s usually between 9:15 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. I always leave thinking, “What did I forget?” and I always get to the car without my keys, so I then have to figure out where I left them – happens all the time.

Jen Atkin Mane Addicts
Photo: Courtesy of @JenAtkinHair

Now find out Jen Atkin’s take on the biggest hair trend of 2017.

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