By Deanna Pai. Photos: Courtesy of Instagram.
Even if you haven't actually used any Ouai products, you've definitely heard of them. Or seen them while scrolling through your Instagram. Or while watching one of founder Jen Atkin's Snapchat stories, or one of her many client's Snapchat stories — a list that includes Chrissy Teigen, Jenna Dewan Tatum, and just about every member of the Kardashian-Jenner family. In addition to having incredibly chic packaging, a slightly confusing name, and an insane celebrity following, the line is ridiculously thorough. There are the basics — shampoos, hairspray, finishing crème, the works — but also completely out-of-the-box items that you never thought you needed (dry shampoo foam, oily scalp supplements, a hat that says Ouaisted on the front). And while Atkin, and by extension, Ouai, basically live on Instagram, there are still some things you might know about the brand. Keep reading to find out.
1. The name is supposed to be hard to pronounce.
The name "Ouai" is one intimidating jumble of vowels — and, for the record, is pronounced way, which is the slang pronunciation of the French affirmative oui. "I wanted it to be a conversation piece, so you can be the person at lunch correcting your friends on the pronunciation," says Atkin. Your friends might think you're a know-it-all, but Atkin has a point, because you'll probably launch into a deep discussion about her dry shampoo.
2. The supplements are legit
"The whole reason I started a hair care line was to do supplements," Atkin told us last week at the launch event for her three hair supplements (there's one for oily scalp, one for dry hair, and one to help with hair growth). "I teamed up with a doctor to create something that can address the biggest issues women face with their hair that can’t be solved with styling products." And while we take Atkin's word for it when it comes to these pills' efficacy, we consulted a few dermatologists about them for good measure and the reviews were pretty glowing.
3. Mousse is cool again. Really!
Ouai has a massive following. Mousse, on the other hand, does not. Apparently, people are terrified of the stuff. "Unfortunately, people are so wary when it comes to mousse because they’re used to the stiff, crunchy hair from formulas of the '90s," says Atkin. That's why she called it Soft Mousse, which was a strategic move to rebrand it. "This mousse is so soft, touchable, and light on the hair," she adds. "It creates an effortless wave in the hair without an iron." Anything that involves less work sounds good to us.
4. Atkin listens to her fans.
Atkin has a huge following on social media. (At the moment, her followers on Instagram top 1.9 million.) Even though it sounds like a daunting task— and it is — Atkin takes note of all the feedback and input she receives on social media. The most common request she's received so far is a specific hair prescription, which led the creation of #myouai. It's a mini-quiz about your hair type and needs that tells you exactly what to use to get the style you want — for those of us whose last name doesn't happen to be Kardashian.
5. The dry shampoo foam has a learning curve.
Early this year, Atkin debuted a dry shampoo foam. Now, we're always game for a new, innovative texture, but dry shampoo foam sounds like an oxymoron. Naturally, there's a trick to making it work. "Keep rubbing!" says Atkin. "Rub the foam into your hair until it's completely dry to achieve the full effect." It's volumizing and cleansing, but doesn't leave hair with a rough texture the way traditional dry shampoo powders can.
6. She designed the products with her busy celeb clients in mind.
For years, Atkin heard a common complaint from just about all of her clients: All they wanted was hair that looked and felt healthy, but without the time-consuming styling and treatments that made that happen. So she formulated a product that had nourishing ingredients, but also cut down the styling time. Sound familiar? It's the Ouai Wave Spray, which was the very first formula. It was a success: It does condition hair with coconut water and plant extracts, but also harnesses rice protein to help your hair hold a wave.
7. Get ready for some Ouai swag.
Ouai will continue to release new formulations this year to follow up on that dry shampoo foam. But it's not going to be restricted to just haircare products. "We did a poll to see what people wanted, so keep an eye out for accessories and travel bags," hints Atkin. The brand just brought back their limited-edition Ouaisted Dad Hat due to popular demand — and if that's any indication, what comes next will be just as #want.
This story originally appeared on Allure.
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