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How Jen Atkin Gave Lily Collins a Major Hair Makeover Basically Every Day at Cannes

"Chameleon" may be an overused cliché in describing style and beauty evolutions, but it's hard not to use the term here.
Lily Collins with a faux perm. Photo: @lilyjcollins/Instagram

Lily Collins with a faux perm. Photo: @lilyjcollins/Instagram

Lily Collins is the type of client glam squads dream of having. It's not simply that she young actress has killer brows or impossibly flawless skin — it's that she can pull off just about any hair or makeup look thrown her way, and (the real clincher) she's actually game to do so. With every red carpet appearance, the Lancôme face seems to push her hair and makeup a step further. Take, for example, her cheeky-yet-elegant beauty nod to Rei Kawakubo at this year's Met Gala. As Collins has come into her own as an A-list actress, she's also become one to watch on the red carpet for her ever-evolving style and the ease with which she can adapt to just about any genre. 

There was no better evidence of Collins's beauty versatility than at last week's Cannes film festival, where she promoted her forthcoming Netflix film "Okja" alongside costars Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Seo-Hyeon Ahn and Paul Dano. The multitude of press appearances in such a short time span meant that Collins and her glam squad (specifically, stylists Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn, makeup artist Vincent Oquendo and hairstylist Jen Atkin) had their work cut out for them. And damn, did they deliver. 

While Collins no doubt demonstrated impressive range with her wardrobe and makeup, it was her hair that went through the most scene-stealing transformations from one day to the next. Among the many different styles Collins wore during the course of the week were a stick-straight look (inspired by Kim, perhaps?), a slicked-back ponytail(ish thing?), a full-bangs topknot, a full-bangs wavy look and voluminous faux perm. "Chameleon" may be an overused cliché in describing style and beauty evolutions, but it's hard not to use the term here.

Atkin, the hair genius behind each of these looks, took some time between working with her many Cannes clients (who also included Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner) to let us in on what the process was like.

What do you think prompted this level of experimentation with Lily's beauty looks?
Lily loves to experiment and have fun with all of her looks. She has such a great eye and knows what suits her. With all of her looks, we really wanted to show the more mature, polished side of Lily, rather than anything too soft or young. 

How much planning does it take for each of these looks and how much are you coming up with on the fly?
From receiving wardrobe images from the stylist about one to two weeks in advance, I then put together multiple mood boards of hairstyles that I think would suit each outfit. When the day of the event comes, the makeup artist, Lily, the wardrobe stylist and myself all collaborate together before starting and decide what the overall look should be. 

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So Lily really has a hand in the creative process as well?
The collaborative process is so much fun when working with Lily because she loves to be involved in the whole process between the makeup artist, stylist and myself. She's so open to trying new things and isn't afraid of change. 

Did you have any specific inspirations or references you were turning to?
Being in Cannes, we were all really inspired by the whole effortlessly put together "French girl" vibe. 

Do you have a favorite look of all of the different ones you've done on Lily? The curls really stood out to me, as well as the ponytail with gold wire.
I am so happy with the way all of Lily's looks came together. I had so much fun experimenting with different fringes and really loved the curly hair on her.

What are you doing to keep Lily's hair healthy given that it's going through so many different styling processes in a short period of time?
I always love to give my clients a Ouai Treatment Masque [Atkin is the brand's founder] the day of the event and tell them to use it the next time they plan to wash their hair. It's such an amazing hydrating treatment that will add moisture back into the hair as well as soften and detangle it. I recommend applying it right after shampooing in replace of your regular conditioner and leave it on for about 15 minutes, then rinse. 

Are there any messages you hope to send by helping Lily change her look so often?
I think every woman should have fun with their overall look and not be afraid of change or experimentation. It's such a great way to express yourself or even your mood for that specific day.

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