How to wash your hair: a lesson from hair guru – Philip Kingsley

With clinics in London and New York and a client list that includes stars, celebrities, politicians and royalty, Philip Kingsley is widely recognised as a leading authority on his subject.


Called “The Hair Doctor” by The Times and “The Hair Guru” by The New York Times, Philip Kingsley, born in London, has been a practising trichological consultant since 1957. The list of Kingsley’s clients reads like a world’s Who’s Who. He even created the product Elasticizer specifically for Audrey Hepburn, and has continued to develop a wide range of award-winning hair care products. Philip Kingsley understands better than anyone the meaning of a ‘bad hair day’, after all he invented the term.

Have you ever considered if you are washing your hair correctly? We shampoo alone, and most often do it the same way.  I’m frequently asked how often should hair be washed and the answer is simple – daily! You wash or cleanse your face every day to keep skin looking its best – your hair goes to all the same places so it too needs daily care.

Choosing the right products for your hair
Choice of shampoo is important – choose one according to your hair type: fine and straight, wavy, frizzy etc.

All hair types will benefit from a healthy hair regime that includes a ‘pre shampoo’. This is a conditioning treatment applied before shampoo onto dampened hair, and left in for approximately 15 minutes. The aim of the treatment is to moisturize the hair from within, penetrating deep under the hair cuticles helping to moisturise, condition and strengthen. This pre-shampoo treatment helps repair and protect your hair from weathering and chemical damage caused during processing such as colouring, straightening and perming.Cationic conditioners are particularly effective in pre shampoo treatments as they deposit a molecular layer of ingredients onto the hair surface as well as neutralising static and improving comb through and shine. Simply, using a pre-shampoo treatment prevents the heavy build-up that is often encountered with intensive conditioners. The ingredients used to carry the treatment into the hair cuticle need to be shampooed off otherwise the hair would be limp, sticky and without shine.

How to Dry Your Hair
The secret of safe drying is good timing and every second counts. The ideal way is to first pat your hair with a towel then let it dry naturally, but this is not always convenient. The obvious alternative is to use a dryer, and it is not the dryer which can cause damage to your hair but the way you use it. Overuse of the hairdryer can rob the hair of precious moisture, leaving it dry, dull and brittle. Here are a few simple steps to use your dryer quickly and safely:

Towel Drying
Press your hair with a towel to remove excess moisture. Follow by gently removing tangles with a wide-toothed comb, starting at the ends.

The Right Hairdryer
It should have separate controls for temperature and speed. Special air flow diffuser attachments spread the heat over a wider area, the wider the attachment the better. However, for fast drying don’t use the attachment.

Using the Hairdryer
Hold the hair dryer about 6 inches away. Dry the back and sides of your head first and work towards the crown and front. Start on a high speed and high temperature and as the hair begins to dry gradually reduce the heat. If you use a brush for styling, choose one made of soft, pliable plastic and use it gently.

Adding volume
If you have limp, thin or straight hair, as you finish drying, bend over, still using the hairdryer, let your hair hang down towards the floor. Gently brush or comb your hair in this direction with the dryer following behind. This improves scalp circulation and generally increases volume and body.

Finishing Off
When the hair is almost dry, turn down the heat and reduce the speed. Check the hair constantly. Do not over-dry your hair – stop when your hair is just dry. That extra few seconds of heat can dry out the moisture and lead to dullness, breakage and split ends.

It is better to use a comb than a brush – a comb is easier on your hair. Vigorous brushing weakens your hair by removing some of the hair’s cuticle. Brushing may break hair off of the cuticle. The constant traction, pulls the hair out. Sharp bristles will also scratch your scalp.
Brushes are often an essential styling tool – but you need to be careful. Choose a brush with a long, widely spaced plastic (not natural) bristle, as plastic bristles are smoother, blunter and kinder. Preferably the bristles should be ball-tipped. Natural bristles are sharper and tufted close together. Above all, avoid anything with metal prongs. Use a ‘saw-cut’ comb in which each tooth is cut into it, making it smoother. They are available in plastic or vulcanite (hard rubber). Avoid cheap plastic combs made from a mould as these can cut into the hair. Metal combs are even worse as their edges can lacerate the hair. The best styling results are obtained when using a comb to ease out tangles and a brush to style the hair into shape while using the blow dryer. It is vital to make sure they are cleaned regularly as they are prone to collect dirt, which will be deposited back on to your hair.

Check out Philip Kingsley’s full list of products…..