Celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan
Celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan

Justine Marjan on Making Hair Magic Happen

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What do the Kardashians, Ashley Graham, and Olivia Culpo have in common? Their secret hairstyling weapon, Justine Marjan. Jen Atkin’s former assistant is making waves—literally—on the Hollywood hair scene, tending to the tresses of some of today’s brightest stars. A self-proclaimed workaholic, Justine’s hustle is inspiring—it’s clear she’s all passion when it comes to her profession and doesn’t take her jet-setting life for granted. Here, she chats about the valuable lessons she learned from Jen, the number one hair mistake most women make, and the secret to achieving her signature effortless beach waves.

Justine Marjan
Photo courtesy of @JUSTINEMARJAN

What does your day to day as a celebrity stylist look like?


What I love is that no two days are the same! Some days I’m running around from client to client’s house, or I’m traveling around the world, or I’m on set for a photoshoot. I love that I’m constantly surrounded by different people and new locations. It keeps me inspired being able to meet so many different artists and to collaborate with so many models, photographers, makeup artists, etc.

Ashley Graham

Photo courtesy of @JUSTINEMARJAN

Kerry Washington

Photo courtesy of @JUSTINEMARJAN

How do you balance an epic social media page, a full client list, and a brand and business that just keeps growing?


I’m still trying to find balance! I’m a workaholic and I love what I do, so it’s hard for me to stop or say no to jobs. Most of the time, my job doesn’t feel like work, but other times I’m under-slept and tired. When I’m really busy, I wait until the end of the day to post on social media when I have the time to go through all the content I captured or search for photos of my clients online. I meditate every day for 30 minutes which really helps to keep my energy even and give me perspective. When I have time, I also love to work out and do yoga.

What’s the most challenging aspect about your job? Most surprising? Most rewarding?


The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the finished product and traveling the world. I love to see the final shot from a photoshoot, see my work on the cover of a magazine, or photos from the red carpet. I love when I can make my client feel good and see them work their look! Nothing beats when someone feels confident and beautiful because of you and you get to see the results of all your hard work and effort.


The most challenging part of my job is staying calm under pressure. Most the events of shoots we do have a lot riding on them, and you have to be able to roll with the punches and be prepared for anything. There will be times where I’ll have no idea what I’m going to be doing until I arrive for the project, so I need to be prepared for anything and be able to accommodate whatever I’m asked to do. Sometimes I only have 20 minutes with someone from start to finish and I need to make that work without getting stressed, especially because people can feel our energy!

braids
Photo courtesy of @JUSTINEMARJAN

You used to be Jen Atkin’s assistant – what is the most valuable lesson you learned from her?


I learned so much from Jen! She is such an inspiration to me and will always be my biggest mentor. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with her for years and really appreciate all the opportunities she gave me in my career. One of the biggest lessons I learned from her is that there is enough work available for us all to be successful. It’s so hard in this industry to not take it personally if someone else books a job over you, but it’s important to realize that it’s not a competition and everyone’s fingerprints are different. We are all unique and have something different and valuable to offer. We can rise up together! I love that she has a platform, Mane Addicts, to uplift and support the work of up and coming stylists.

What is the most common hair question you get from your clients, and what’s your response?


The most common hair question I get is what they can do to prevent breakage! There is so much I recommend. We all have to do out hair homework for beautiful hair because there’s only so much I can do if someone is not taking care of themselves on their end. I would suggest washing with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner like Tresemme Repair and Protect 7 and using a hair mask weekly like OUAI Treatment Masque. In addition, I suggest using only non-damaging hot tools like ghd and investing in a pillowcase from The Hollywood Silk Solutions to prevent breakage and friction while you sleep. Buy some of Olly’s Undeniable Beauty gummy vitamins, which help promote healthy hair growth from the inside out. And finally, instead of over processing hair with bleach for color, add highlights with Hidden Crown Hair extensions.

What’s the most common misconception or mistake you find women making when it comes to haircare?


Using the wrong shampoo and conditioner for their hair type. If you have fine hair and are using too heavy of a shampoo and conditioner, you will never have volume, and if you have dry hair but are using a volumizing shampoo you will never have shiny strands. It’s important to get a great recommendation and start using something that works for you. This will help create the right foundation for any hairstyle.

What are the products and tools for haircare that you swear by?


I prep every blowdry with Tresemme Repair and Protect 7 Leave-in Conditioner and Virtue Labs Split-End Serum. I love to use OUAI Volume Mist or R+Co Blowout Balm on damp hair and I always use ghd hot tools because they work quickly and I know they won’t damage the hair. For finishing, I love Bumble and Bumble Dryspun Finish Spray, Tresemme Micro Mist Hairspray, Leonor Greyl Eclat Natural, R+Co Pomade Mousse, and Oribe Gold Lust Oil.

What’s a stylish updo that makes everyone happy? How do you get the look?


Everyone looks amazing in a high ponytail! It’s universally flattering and pulls the eyes back, lifting up the whole face. I suggest starting with a half-up ponytail, then adding the rest of the hair to it so that you can really control the tightness. For added volume, lift up the length of the hair and backbrush using Tresemme Micro Mist Hairspray and a Mason Pearson Bristle Brush.

Everyone looks amazing in a high ponytail! It’s universally flattering and pulls the eyes back, lifting up the whole face.

You’re known for creating gorgeous beach waves. Can you break down your tricks to getting the look?


My favorite way to create waves is with the Gold Styler by ghd. It’s a flat iron with rounded edges that make it really easy to create the perfect bend in the hair. I suggest starting with dry hair, taking one-inch sections, then clamping the hair with the iron at the root and slowly rotating your wrist to create a bend. Release the iron and re-insert it on the hair right below the bend then rotate your wrist in the opposite direction as you create an S-wave all the way down to the ends. Leave the ends straight, then spray with Bumble and Bumble Dryspun Finishing Spray and work through Leonor Greyl Eclat Natural Styling Creme through the ends.

Ashley Graham, Kourtney K, Olivia Culpo and many more—all your ladies are getting the blunt bob! What advice do you have before making the cut?


Don’t cut your hair when you’re going through a dramatic time in your life, like a breakup, because chances are you’ll regret it! Find reference photos of haircuts you like and make sure you go to an experienced stylist whose work you trust. Always show your stylist pictures because everyone interprets words differently, but pictures speak a thousand words! Overall, I suggest women be adventurous with their hair. It will grow back anyways!

Ashley Graham

I love how sleek, healthy hair is back in! Girls are opting for more blunt cuts, less layers, less shattered ends, and really clean, shiny, 90’s inspired looks.

We love how you use hair bling. Any easy ways to use bobby pins, clips, and scarves to add some edge to our look?


I love a good decorative bobby pin or snap clip because they are so easy to apply and can really dress or edge up any look. Kitsch has a great variety of fun and playful accessories that are easy to apply.

Do you use hair extensions on your clients? Are they worth the hype?


I am the biggest fan of hair extensions! They make any look possible! I use them on nearly every client so that I can customize their haircut, add highlights or lowlights, length, fullness, or layers. They are so versatile and make any head of hair your canvas. Hair actually looks smaller when photographed, so extensions are especially essential for my job. My favorite is Hidden Crown Hair Extensions because they are great quality, super thick, and easy to apply.

What are the most requested looks from your clients at the moment?


I love how sleek, healthy hair is back in! Girls are opting for more blunt cuts, less layers, less shattered ends, and really clean, shiny, 90’s inspired looks.

What’s next for Ms Marjan?


I’m traveling to New York for Fashion Week and am leading hair backstage at a few shows that I’m excited about! I have some fun partnerships coming out next year, and hopefully more tutorials and classes in the future!

For more hairspiration on the daily, follow Justine Marjan on Instagram.