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Ouai's Head of Education says the anti-frizz creme is perfect for our climate – 'There are no words to describe the humidity here'

Ouai's Anti-Frizz Creme conditions, moisturises and hydrates the hair, reducing and repairing split ends.

Ouai's Anti-Frizz Creme is now available at Sephora. (PHOTO: Ouai; Yahoo Life Singapore)
Ouai's Anti-Frizz Creme is now available at Sephora. (PHOTO: Ouai; Yahoo Life Singapore)

On a rare occasion, execs from beauty brand Ouai made their way from Los Angeles to Singapore to meet with press members in a get-to-know session. As a user of Ouai, I was impressed with the quality of the products and the level of comfort when using them so I took this chance to meet with Diana Pratasiewicz, Ouai's Head of Education and James Tuffin, Ouai's Director of Communications at The Singapore's Edition.

Ouai was founded by hairstyling influencer Jen Atkin who claims more than five million Instagram followers. Ouai is the first digitally–native prestige hair care brand to grow into a lifestyle brand, and was acquired by Procter & Gamble Beauty in 2021. The LA-based brand continues to operate independently, led by current CEO Colin Walsh while Atkin continues in her role as founder and Chief Creative Officer.

With the launch of the latest Anti-Frizz creme product set to hit shelves this April, I chatted with both Pratasiewicz and Tuffin to find out more and learned about Ouai's culture and why collaborating with celebrities or personalities needs to feel natural and organic first.

Plus, be the FIRST to try this new product, as we are giving it away, along with other mysterious beauty products you can shop from Sephora Singapore! Click here to find out more. The giveaway ends on 29 April 2024.

S$45 at Sephora Singapore RM139 at Sephora Malaysia


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So why specifically an anti-frizz creme?

Diana Pratasiewicz: We sort of broke the barrier of having that easy conversation about Ouai's new product, because it's not easy. We felt like here (in Singapore), because of all the moisture and the humidity, a lot of people are embarrassed to talk about dandruff. We were just, like, pleasantly surprised by the reaction that we were getting about making it super approachable and continually seeing the difference.

I was like, how bad is it there? And when I got here, 'I was like, oh, yeah. There are no words to describe the humidity here. I totally get it because we have a detox shampoo that, back in the States, we use once a week as it's really cleansing. And everyone in Singapore was using it every day and saying they hated doing it because it was like they had to wash their hair every single day.

As we started to come here and communicate with people, we realised in Singapore and Southeast Asia, we have to talk about (humidity) a little differently. That's what's so great is like we're not stuck in one single lane. You can use different things in different ways and it works.

Tell us a little bit more about the ingredients?

Pratasiewicz: So we wanted to create a product that really just spoke to us. There are a lot of anti-frizz creams out there, and we totally respect that. But we felt that when you use the word 'cream', you kind of get stuck a little bit where the versatility is gone. So we wanted to make sure that when we came out with the first product, first and foremost, it really just spoke to us.

We wanted something with a 72-hour claim on it, which we have, and that's very important because we're not going to lose our message of healthy hair.

There's also heat protection up to 232 degrees Celcius in there, and what's most important is that we wanted the flexibility: We want you to use this on wet hair and dry hair and be able to have touchups. This will protect you from frizz; we have upcycled jackfruit and squalane to hydrate and retain moisture at the same time!

We also have a claim here, which we're not really talking about; we like to make it more of a surprise and delight. The product also repairs and seals split ends. So, applying from mid-shaft to ends, you'll notice that it's smoother throughout. A lot of people think sometimes split ends could be a little frizzy because hair follicles split a little. This takes it and seals it down. So it's like this is a straight route to tip product.

I noticed key ingredients like chaga mushroom and Siberian ginseng, which can be found in Asian countries. I wondered how the team thought about incorporating such ingredients.

Pratasiewicz: This is a killer question. So all those ingredients are found in our scalp serum. And we just found that we weren't too influenced by our community, but we were severely influenced by our research team. The scalp is so sensitive, and those ingredients are not only going to help with the hydration levels but also the calmness of keeping the scalp from whether you're pulling for styling or heat.

We think of Ouai as a haircare brand but the brand is doing much more like expanding the lifestyle category to include body products and even perfumes. Could you share the brand and product positioning with me? Does it differ for each product?

Pratasiewicz: It's funny, you know when we first started out, we were called Ouai haircare, and we were like, we're only going to be haircare. But fragrance is so important to our brand. It was a natural request from our community from our fans and basically, everyone that touched it and being like, you have to make us a perfume, or you have to make us a body product. So I think our natural progression from haircare to body just kind of ebbs and flows really nicely together, right? We actually don't come out with a fragrance until it's in either a haircare or body product.

Our St. Barts fragrance, which is our very warm, gourmand fragrance, helped launch us into a body brand. I want you to think of it as, you know, when you have a dessert, and they mix it with sweet and savoury? We like it when someone smells it and they're like, 'Oh, this smells like a vacation or this smells like my honeymoon.' So I think that way does a great job of going back and forth between body and hair.

There seems to be an influx of celebrity haircare brands like Beyonce’s Cecred entering the market. Is that a welcomed competition?

Pratasiewicz: We'll give you a line: We don't compete, we collaborate. Bring it on Beyonce and Taylor Swift! The more people talk about hair, celebrity or not, the better it is for the community. And our founder Jen Atkin, taught us that, there's enough hair in this entire world for everyone to have a haircare line. But I feel like we all get it in the beauty world. We all love each other. We all know that we're not buying every single product from one Brand. We're experimenting, we're trying and we're buying again. And the beauty world seems to me a little more welcoming.

So, are there any requests from celebs or personalities who want to collaborate for now?

Pratasiewicz: It's something that we've never really talked about because our founder is a celebrity hairstylist herself. However, she didn't want the brand to solely rely on who she was styling. She does a really great job at that. I think we are probably a little bit more open than we were a few years ago. So it's not a no, but it's a let's wait for the right opportunity and see, yeah.

James Tuffin: First, as being responsive to our community, I would say you want to make sure that, yes, that partnership feels very organic. You're not closing a door to some people or others. So it needs to be very authentic for us. It needs to be kind of like a natural collaboration.

CALABASAS, CA - JUNE 25: Founder and She-E-O Jen Atkin (L) and Khloe Kardashian attend OUAI And Jen Atkin Personal Appearance Event At Sephora at The Commons in Calabasas on June 25, 2016. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Sephora)
CALABASAS, CA - JUNE 25: Founder and She-E-O Jen Atkin (L) and Khloe Kardashian attend OUAI And Jen Atkin Personal Appearance Event At Sephora at The Commons in Calabasas on June 25, 2016. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Sephora)

After being acquired by P&G now for over 3 years, how has Ouai flourished?

Pratasiewicz: I think people would be shocked at how long (pause) I've been at Ouai from the start. And I was a little nervous at first, you know, being like, 'Oh my gosh, what is this gonna change us?' Yeah, I feel like P&G has been a great collaborator in the sense of, 'Live life your way, babes. You guys are doing a great job." Even Jen feels the same way. I think from a product development perspective, they give us some insight on like, 'Okay, consider saying something like this or considering using that ingredient.' I think the best word to describe the relationship is that they give us consideration and are a great partner.

It's just like an older, cooler sister. It's not like we're going to assign a gender to it, but it truly is where they feel like they're proud of us.

Tuffin: They actually said some really nice things. One of the things that really attracted them to us was our internal company culture. Jen and Colin Walsh, our CEO, have been like this since the beginning. They created this sort of harmonious collaborative space, which we also kind of love. P&G was so inspired by that; they really want to take those sorts of learnings and ideas that we created and really inspire other brands.

One of the most asked questions on Google was, ‘does Kim Kardashian use Ouai?’ What do you think about that? Is it important that a brand is aligned with a certain personality or celebrity’s brand image?

Pratasiewicz: Kim's a big fan of Ouai but we don't like to attach ourselves to a celebrity. She's posted about us before because she's friends with Jen and she's a fan of the brand. First of all, her daughter just posted that Kim uses Ouai's leave-in conditioner (laughs)>

Right from the beginning, the Kardashians were kind of becoming very popular. And they turned their cameras around and showed you the really hard people that were working with them. For example, Jen was doing their hair and they were like, 'Hey guys, get to know Jen.' They weren't gatekeeping their people and even introduced Mario Dedivanovic, who was doing makeup, and Chris Appleton, who was doing Kim's ponytails. So we think, love or hate the Kardashians, but what they have done for beauty has been pretty incredible by sharing the experts with the world. And what Jen did was kind of, you know, she went with it.

Share with us what's that culture like on a normal day in the office.

Pratasiewicz: I feel like we still have many of the same teams that were there from the beginning. But we've also brought in some new people. Since P&G acquired us, we have been able to grow our team a little bit. And I think as we grow internationally, we have more. So, what is it like on a day-to-day basis? I would say a lot of laughing.

The fun part is we still have that quickness; we can make changes fast and get stuff done fast. I mean, we obviously need to work a little bit more in the future. We're a little bit like sometimes, we can get there a little faster. Okay, so for example, when we first launched, we were very much like this, blonde hair, Californian woman, right? A lot of feedback was, 'I don't think you're for me if I have this hair type, or I'm of this ethnicity.'

There were a lot of growing pains for Ouai when we had to kind of work through that. And I think because we're a brand that listens, internally, we had some hard things to hear about ourselves. We're also part of our Diversity and Inclusion team.

Tuffin: Having worked a long time for other brands, I've never seen so much admiration and importance that's put on diversity and inclusion. It feels amazing to be part of something like that, where you actually can differentiate change, not just for our internal community, but what we do as a company and as a brand.

What's great about working at Ouai?

Pratasiewicz: I can tell you that I'm not a typical, blond-haired woman from Los Angeles. I'm a harsh-talking, fast-talking redhead from Staten Island, New York. And Ouai has never said to me, 'Don't say that or you have to say it like this.' (pauses) Why am I getting emotional? This is so weird. I just feel like they've truly embraced who I am.

I feel like you're Barbara Walter-ing me!

I have that effect on people.

Pratasiewicz: I've never felt I'm comfortable being myself around people until Ouai. I just feel like they've worked with me and guided me professionally and personally. And Jen has been a really big influence in my life, and how she runs a company. I think the word compassion is best suited for understanding what you're going through whether at work or outside of work. And this is gonna sound also very cheesy, but I kind of believe in the products, as they've never overskewed.

Tuffin: I think Ouai just really believes in the greater good, like, added value. I got lucky the day I got that email saying, 'Hey, there's this job; we'd like you. Are you interested?' It just came in with all these benefits. And it was like pages and pages. It just can't be true. I've known Jen a little bit from my previous jobs and stuff and I've always admired her.

I was so touched by these incredible people in the leadership team who are driving this brand. And it's all about people; it's not about them. It's all about the teams. It's all about collaboration, and so it really struck me as a place that was a thoughtful, honest, good and fun environment.

SG Telegram banner. (PHOTO: Yahoo Life Singapore)
SG Telegram banner.
A diagram of the benefits and application process for Ouai's Anti-Frizz Creme. (PHOTO: Ouai)
A diagram of the benefits and application process for Ouai's Anti-Frizz Creme. (PHOTO: Ouai)

How to use Ouai's Anti-Frizz Creme

According to Pratasiewicz, you can start off with just one pump but if you have long hair, you can use up to three pumps. Pratasiewicz also likes to layer in a volumising product or a scalp serum for hair styling. But her tip is to apply the Anti-Frizz Creme first before the other products to have that formulation in there first. She suggested "work it into your hands and then you can go to the root." She added, "This is not something that will weigh your hair down or feel super heavy."

The scent and texture of Ouai's Anti-Frizz Creme

The scent is similar to the Ouai's hair conditioner, which is the North Bondi scent, a concoction of Italian lemon bergamot.

Ouai's Anti-Frizz Creme is a water-based product so you don't get that sense of stickiness that stays on your skin. Plus you'll get all the hydration goodness that stays in your hair!

Is Ouai's Anti-Frizz Creme worth the buy?

This writer tried Ouai's new Anti-Frizz Creme under Singapore's sweltering heat. L to R: Before and after application. (PHOTO: Reta Lee/Yahoo Life Singapore)
This writer tried Ouai's new Anti-Frizz Creme under Singapore's sweltering heat. L to R: Before and after application. (PHOTO: Reta Lee/Yahoo Life Singapore)

I tried Ouai's Anti-Frizz Creme, and this is what I think. Because I have long hair, I gently use three pumps for my whole head. As you can see in the picture, it immediately soothes flyaway and frizzy hair. My hair seems to have a bit of shine, and it feels sleek even after I tie it in a ponytail.

After a whole day out under the scorching sun and a temperature of 32 degrees Celcius, I found that my hair stayed put with no frizz in sight! The scent was a lovely added touch and it does invoke vacation memories. Best of all it comes in two sizes, 179ml and 80ml, so you can pop the smaller one in your carry-on bag for your next travel!

S$45 at Sephora SingaporeRM139 at Sephora Malaysia

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