Hair & Makeup

How to get occasion-worthy hair in just 15 minutes

Achieving a professional-looking style needn’t require a stylist or a mountain of products. A-list hair guru JEN ATKIN shares her tips for easy and speedy styling tricks that anyone can master…


You don’t have to be going out to want to wear your hair with a little more polish than usual. Whether the occasion is an intimate dinner for two or you just fancy dressing up for Friday-night Zoom cocktails with friends, a quick restyle can help make the event feel all the more special. Thankfully, many of the most wearable and quick-to-style hair looks require little more than an expert edit of dry-styling essentials and a bit of know-how. “Don’t overthink day-to-night hair,” explains founder of Ouai Haircare Jen Atkin, who works with Chrissy Teigen, Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss. “Keep it effortless, and remember: perfection is not the aim.” Here, she shares four super-quick techniques – and the must-have products to create them – that she swears will restyle your hair in no time.

A textured up-do

Quick-fix up-dos should be exactly that – easily thrown up and simply finished with all-important undone texture. You’ll need texturizing spray, a product found in the kit bag of every session stylist. “Part your hair from ear to ear using your fingers and pull the top half into a high ponytail, positioned at your crown,” says Atkin. “Secure the ponytail with a hair tie and mist texturing spray over the entire length of your hair to add a bit of a kick.” Then let your fingers do the work: use them like a comb to distribute the product evenly, then loosely bring up the remaining strands of hair and secure around the ponytail with grips, creating a bun shape. The messier and more informal the result, the better. This is especially true if you have curly hair, as a few loose curls can look really beautiful.

A super-smooth ponytail

A low, sleek ponytail is one of the most chic and simple ways to transform everyday hair into something a little special. “It’s the ideal way to re-spin pre-styled hair without heat,” says Atkin. “Smooth a hair oil from root to tip to tame frizz before dividing your hair into a sharp center parting with a tail comb and securing into a low, tight ponytail.” Using the center of the bridge of your nose as a guide to the perfect spot for your parting is another Atkin-approved tip – one you’ll notice her client Kim Kardashian uses often.

Big hair without the blowout

If you have yet to discover the joys of the right dry shampoo, then now is the time. “Adding instant life and volume to flat hair is what a dry shampoo does best,” says Atkin, whose own Ouai Dry Shampoo is a foam formulation designed to sit invisibly in the hair. “Shake the bottle really well, flip your hair upside down and spray directly into the roots. Finish by shaking your hair out with your fingers and flipping the hair back up.” It’s the quickest way to revive hair and freshen your scalp. Ensure your evening doesn’t go flat by repeating the process periodically – a quick hair flip and finger-tousle should do the trick.

Sleek and straight

Once used to remove any trace of natural texture from the hair, the new approach to straightening irons is quite different. “I just run them through the ends of hair to sharpen and smooth their finish,” explains Atkin. It’s a small but effective touch that elevates your style and gives a fresh-from-the-salon appearance to your look.

The models featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown