HipSilver visits the Philip Kingsley team: Hair Chemistry, Customized Products, and More!
Our founder, Gail Bruce, modeled in Paris, London, and NY. The constant and varied hair styles models are given involve combing/teasing, hairsprays/products, and heat styling which can take a major toll. This was no exception for Gail, which is why she sought out the help of Philip Kingsley in the 1960’s when he first opened his London shop.
She remarks upon those earlier experiences by saying: “Thank heavens for Philip Kingsley! My hair was suffering so much from the photoshoots and he saved it”.
After all this time and with new hair needs arising, Gail still swears by the Philip Kingsley method. We at Hipsilver took a trip to visit the New York clinic to talk about hair care with the experts.
WHO IS PHILIP KINGSLEY?
Philip Kingsley was a man who specialized in Trichology and hair health. He had a widely acclaimed reputation for the work he did and had a successful 65-year career in the field.
He opened two clinics, the first being in London and the second being in New York City.
The New York City team is headed by Consultant Trichologists, Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips and Stephen D. Pullan.
WHAT DO THEY DO?
The clinic boasts a tried and true 3-Step process: Consult, Treat, Care.
In this write up, we are going to walk you through the process from start to finish so you can learn about all the ways this method can be of particular benefit to the Silver generation.
STEP ONE: CONSULT
Gail sat down with Elizabeth for the first leg of the day and a Q&A about what goes into optimal hair health and performance.
The consultation is a time for the Trichologist to get to know you, your hair texture, health habits, and to do a hair/scalp examination in order to give comprehensive advice on what treatments and products are best for you.
Elizabeth: “A little bit about our process: Hair health is systemic and that’s why we start with the blood labs and the one on one consult and then layer on the topical. Finding good products is the second step to getting and keeping the results that you want. Some of the things we talk about or look at when asking for people’s blood labs -- Iron, Zinc, Vitamin D, B12, and interestingly, if someone talks a lot about fish intake when discussing diet, we ask about that person’s mercury levels. If someone is potentially exposed to lyme disease, we test that. We look at things that may seem obscure, or less obvious, but that do affect hair function. I want to know about your allergens, chronic illness (Headaches? Migraines?) and so on.
This is so we can really understand the individual’s chemistry and what’s affecting them.
Questions we go on to ask: what do you eat for lunch? What are your snacks? Where are your proteins coming from? And then we’ll layer that over and say “here is what YOU need for hair function” -- so you can meet all known personal dietary requirements.
The most common or typical question is: “what is the best thing to eat for hair growth?”
The answer is balance and moderation!-- there is no one thing. Don’t take gaps longer than 4 hours between meals, eat a balanced diet, and hydration being primary and key.
Furthermore, what are your sources of protein; how do you choose them?
If you’re vegan, where is your Zinc and B12 coming from? Making sure you are supplementing those dietary restrictions so you meet your body’s needs.
We take all of this into account when working to understand your individual narrative and what your hair needs. Using your labs to make sure you’re not on a deficit and that you are getting all the nutrients needed to positively affect your hair.”
Gail: “This is really fantastic. Lots of invaluable information, especially for people my age who might be experiencing changes in their hair. If people want to get in on what Philip Kingleys has to offer but don’t live in NYC or London, can they skype, conference call, or video call in order to have a Philip Kingsley consultation?”
Elizabeth: “We do oral phone consultations, but don’t do the visual the same as in office consultations.
I like to get the visuals before, however--any recent lab data they might have. I ask them to send me pictures of their head and scalp. We send a questionnaire -- there is a formalized process, a general starting point, to have before getting on the phone. Part of the structure is to have the conversation and then build into that a plan of products/treatments we think are appropriate based on that conversation. Whether it be the twice a week scalp treatment, elasticizer, etc”
Gail: “I think it's a very good idea. I think that kind of accessibility could inspire people to come to NYC for the official treatment. As for what products you recommend based on the consultation, do you offer them pre-developed products or do you design custom products for them?”
Elizabeth: “We do both, actually. Mostly, we have such an array of products that the client usually fits in to what we already have to offer. But that being said, there are some clients who have specific needs and require additional tweaking or customization.”
Gail: “Can you talk a little bit about clients dealing with hair thinning, breaking, or dryness?”
Elizabeth: “I like to say clients, who are sometimes anxious when they sit down, don’t be.
Asses the scalp in its entirety, look for anything that shouldn’t be there, Part lines and hair thinning. Also, going through periods of stress or grief can affect your hair and pattern of hair thinning, shedding, etc.Things to help with dry scalp is to incorporate scalp moisturizing. The Elasticizer is a great product. There is also a hair mask that helps.”
Gail: “How does the hair mask affect the weight and heaviness of hair? Is it oily?”
Elizabeth: Introducing elasticity to the fibers is what we’re looking to do, not neccessarily weight. A great thing about our products is that we have formulas specifically catered to those needs. Some hair needs weight and some do not, and our range of products can accomodate these variant needs. Product selection is key.”
Gail: “Many people dealing with changes in their hair will go to doctors, dermatologists, and still don’t get the results they are looking for. Can you speak to that?”
Elizabeth: “All of these specialists serve an individual need in the conversation, but what we’re trying to do is talk about and marry all these factors as it relates to hair function.”
Gail: “Is it better to wash your hair more frequently or less?”
Elizabeth: “We are huge advocates for a cleaner scalp.The tissue on the scalp is just as active as the facial tissue; it’s skin that benefits from being cleansed. And with finer hair specifically, it has more body, life, and movement when it’s freshly washed. So, we want to say don’t avoid daily wash because you’re worried about damaging it. There’s an endless body of hair myths: the “no shampooing” trend being one of them. Clean scalp is the bedrock to the follicle.
Hair grows a quarter to a half inch of hair a month. Hair is a non-essential tissue, our system views it as completely superfluous. But that’s different than the psychology of hair, how we feel about it and it’s emotional impact.
It’s the first tissue to be withheld from and the last to receive.
So when we talk about nutrients and why those matter in relation to hair growth, it’s because it really is how you can build hair. Your body has to support all its other processes before it starts sending nutrients to the hair. You have to make sure you’re taking care of everything else first, and then you’ll see better hair performance.”
STEP TWO: TREAT
Step two is a tailor made, in clinic Philip Kingsley Treatment for your type of hair and scalp condition. This is the part of the process when we met up with Stephen D. Pullan.
He applied a specially selected scalp mask followed by a Pomegranate and Cassis Elasticizer.
Next, they placed Gail under a hair steamer to ensure full absorption of the products.
They then massaged the scalp while shampooing and conditioning while under a light apparatus to improve upon the effect before finally styling Gail’s hair with products selected specifically for her.
STEP THREE: CARE
The third step actually happens once you leave the clinic. Follow up care and maintenance are so important. The P.K. team will send you home with the perfect products and instructions for your hair needs, and now it’s your job to use them!
Gail went home with such products as the Stimulating Weekly Scalp Mask ($28), After Sun Scalp Mask ($30), Tricho Complex Nutritional Supplement ($68), and the Elasticizer ($28-$135).
Gail later said, “I walked out of the clinic feeling so informed and my hair came out the most beautiful silver color and my split ends were under control. I can’t wait for my next visit!”
We at Hipsilver were more than happy to be invited to the clinic and hope you all get to have your own experience with this incredible team. Give the specialists at Philip Kingsley a call and take control of your hair’s narrative today.