Older hair health advice from Philip Kingsley

A few weeks ago we were at the M&S Oxford Street beauty hall launch (more on that in another post) and met the UK’s best known hair expert Philip Kingsley and his daughter Anabel.

I am currently growing my hair (channelling Patti Smith-crossed-with-Emmylou Harris look..try not to laugh) although it’s not really going that well as the bouncy luscious locks I had in my mind’s eye are a touch thinner and tired looking in reality. And I’d forgotten that long hair is SO high maintenance, needing more intensive conditioning to stop it looking frazzled. My sister pointed me in the direction of the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, a super-moisturiser for restoring dried-out long hair, which is excellent. At the press event, Anabel told me that Philip had invented the elasticizer originally for Audrey Hepburn, who was a client of PK’s and was tired of her hair looking rubbish after film shoots so he produced a deep-intense moisturiser for her to restore her tired locks. So if it’s good enough for Audrey…

I was really interested to hear what Philip had to say on older hair, does our hair age like the rest of us? He’s a real enthusiast and happily answered our questions….

TWR What happens to hair structure as it gets older?

PK Hair ageing usually involves changes in structure such as a diminishing of hair’s diameter leading to finer hair with less ‘body’.  Also, the hair tends to be drier with less resilience.

TWR And what about the colour, does everyone eventually go grey?

PK The vast majority of the population finish up with grey hairs to some extent. This can range from a full head of grey (white) hair to varying percentages of grey. It is extremely rare not to have any grey hairs after the age of 60.

TWR Is there anything we can do to keep our hair in good condition?

PK The best way to keep your hair in good condition is to shampoo and condition it frequently – even as much as daily – which is really best. Choosing the correct products to do so is important and these days premium brands make the choice easier. Scalp masks and hair masks should be used on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

TWR As well as using good products, should we be eating or doing anything externally to keep our hair in good condition?

PK Eating correctly and taking the right supplements will promote better hair. For example, eat protein at breakfast and lunch. Take a good multi-vitamin and Philip Kingsley makes protein tablets called PK4Hair. You take 4 a day and it takes 4 months to see the difference. Remember that hair in bad condition is not going to benefit with good nutrition – it is only the hair that is growing from the scalp whilst eating correctly that will be better.

TWR So, I want to go from my current grey/highlighted blonde to white-grey immediately, is there any way I can achieve this and skip that horrible salt-and-pepper stage?

PK The short answer is No. However it is possible to bleach the hair to white-grey, but this is not recommended because of the potential damage. Patience in this instance is certainly a virtue!

I guess Philip would say you need to wash your hair daily, what with his range of products to sell ‘an all, but he does know what he’s talking about and his products are always winning awards. Also the Philip Kingsley range is on special introductory offer on the M&S beauty website, look out for my favourite, the Elasticizer and the well-recommended Silver Shampoo and Silver Conditioner for grey hair. Anabel also rates the new Damage Defence spray to protect hair, she freely admitted to over bleaching her hair (much to her dad’s annoyance) and claims the daily defence is very helpful at limiting damage.

Come back on Thursday, when we’re doing hair accessories…..


  • mary says:

    I’m not convinced that washing hair daily is very good for your hair or scalp.

  • Sue says:

    I am beyond fed up with having my roots coloured every six weeks ( the time! the cost!) and have been seriously considering the possibility of having the lot dyed pale grey.However, everybody I’ve mentioned this to so far (colourist, husband etc) has looked aghast. But, I don’t know, how ageing can grey hair be if you have a decent cut and dress with care? And, if I washed it every day (it’s quite long) I’m pretty sure it would turn into straw. Nora Ephron wrote a very good article on maintenance and upkeep of hair etc in I Feel Bad about my Neck.Maybe we just have to accept that hair is going to be a big deal as we get older.Sue

  • Amanda says:

    Marv, I would expect nothing less than advanced cynicism from you and you are right to be cautious as the man is selling product…but he is, y’know, an expert and has spent a lifetime in hair…You don’t want to do a Matthew Parris and never wash it again, now do you?
    Sue check some of the posts we’ve done on how lovely grey hair can be…I can’t wait to be an all over grey it’s this weird in-between stage I hate. I think you hit the nail on the head, hair is a big deal as we grow older, End Of. A

  • mary says:

    Amanda, do you have me confused with someone else?? I’m an expert on my own hair and it does get damaged by frequent washing, regardless of the brand of shampoo and conditioner. There is a happy medium between never washing and daily washing – once every 4 or 5 days is perfect for my hair. Besides, why pay a fortune for natural organic foods and then just put more chemicals on your hair? I may have to check out the Nora Ephron reference.

  • Amanda says:

    Oh Mary I thought that said MARV….my very cynical friend…you might have seen her comments on the blog before, I am VERY sorry to have mis read your name….I enjoy ribbing Marv about her deep distrust of everybody else but wouldn’t DREAM of doing it to you! You must have thought me a right bossy knickers!….Nora Ephron, btw is right about everything in my eyes….a humbled Axx

  • Lizzie T says:

    Yes, I’ve always read that washing your hair too often removes the natural oils.

    And actually, his own hair looks a bit odd to me!

  • mary says:

    Haha Amanda, no problem, I do have an issue about consumerism so you weren’t completely wrong! Sounds like we agree on Nora though! BTW -I wish we could see a photo blog on someone growing out their dyed hair to grey.

  • Jane says:

    Shall we accept the challenge Amanda. We could do a grey hair diary? I will if you will but think I’d crack first!
    On the washing subject, for me one if the advantages of older hair is NOT having to wash it all the time. I’m like Mary and only wash it every 3/4 days and what a relief after all those years of daily washing. My hair would be so dry if I washed it every day. J

  • Amanda says:

    To be honest I’m almost out of colour on my hair at the mo anyway due to my hairdresser being booked up until next March ( I am NOT joking) so I could claim to be currently half way there…but I totally adore going to the hair dresser and love the whole ritual of sitting and reading Hello -it’s the only time I do- A

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