Invited for a consultation with expert Consultant Trichologist and Brand President, Anabel Kingsley, I excitedly headed across to the Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic in London. Anabel is the late Philip Kingsley’s daughter, with his iconic, world-renowned products initially formulated for A-list stars including Sir Laurence Olivier and Audrey Hepburn.
With a Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic in New York too, this Mayfair location is ideally positioned, close to Marble Arch tube. A timeless and deluxe townhouse, spanning across four storeys, you step into the building and find yourself in a bright and airy reception area.
There are nine Consultant Trichologists based there, each of whom are registered members at the Institute of Trichologists. In a nutshell, trichologists are experts in both scalp and hair- and there is no better place to visit one than at Philip Kingsley, a brand who have been global specialists in their field since 1957.
Having suffered with health issues, due to endometriosis and a recently diagnosed auto immune thyroid condition, it’s fair to say my hair hasn’t been prioritised lately. While there in a professional capacity to interview Anabel, I was also slightly nervous because, I felt a little vulnerable about discussing my hair and overall health niggles.
As noted by the clinic, they are “dedicated to providing expert advice and treatment for all types of hair and scalp concerns”, while also being “here to help with both medical conditions and cosmetic issues”. Because hair health reflects stresses within the body, potential vitamin deficiencies and any other illnesses, it is a valuable barometer which mustn’t be ignored. In fact, the first thing that made me wonder about my thyroid, was hair and scalp changes.
I needn’t have worried at all though, because as soon as I met Anabel, I instantly felt at ease. Warmly welcomed by reception, I filled in a form and admired the beauty of the clinic building itself.
Once Anabel arrived, her kindness and professional intuition shone through from the second she introduced herself, and she gently and calmly took me through the consultation.
Later Anabel told me about her passion for trichology and making clients comfortable, explaining “Setting people at ease is at the forefront of my mind when I meet someone, both for their first consultation and follow-up appointments. As a lot our clients come to us after not being taken seriously by a doctor when expressing concerns of hair loss or texture changes, they can be understandably sceptical at first. Also, some other clinics can scare people or take advantage of their worries, promising hair results that aren’t possible. Clients may arrive feeling a little delicate, and it can genuinely be the first time someone has listened intently. I myself know how debilitating hair worries can be and there’s nothing vain about caring about your hair, as it’s like armour for a lot of people. We take pride in the thoroughness of our consultations, because the psychology of hair problems, hair loss or other scalp conditions is something we take very seriously. People can vent and tell us everything they are worried about, without the fear of judgement or not being understood.”
Sipping herbal tea in her chic office, we covered everything from my daily diet, to medication and health as well as family history. Just from telling Anabel what I eat in a day, I gained an incredible insight into small things I could tweak- for example, she explained the importance of both protein and carbohydrates for hair strength. Looking at the hair and scalp from a holistic angle, Anabel highlighted the importance of optimum nutrition, as well as overall wellbeing.
Anabel, says, “if there was one thing I’d ask people to do in boosting the health of their hair, it’s to look at what they’re eating, and ensure a nutritionally balanced diet, covering vitamins, minerals and all essential food groups. Biologically-speaking, hair isn’t an essential tissue, so it is the last part of you that your body sends nutrients too and the first for them to be withheld from. If you’re deficient in calories, protein or complex carbohydrates, something like hair loss can often be the first way this will present itself. Clients can come in to talk about hair loss and when asked about how they’re feeling, they may realise they have noticed fatigue associated with an issue such as anaemia as well but generally, hair is the first sign they’ll pick up on. As busy women, the ongoing pressures we face can often manifest as problems with our hair. Which is why monitoring stress levels and ensuring you take time out for yourself is so important.”
Then looking at my hair, and examining the scalp, I was really reassured when she told me not worry if she suddenly went silent, it was because she wanted to thoroughly look through. Little touches such as this are vital for a trichologist appointment, and what made the entire consultation so considered and encouraging.
We are constantly bombarded with haircare trends, but I was interested to ask Anabel which are the biggest myths sold to us. She explained her frustration and anger seeing myths peddled on Instagram and online, underlining, “Shampoos advertised for hair loss upset me the most, as there really is no such thing. Because shampoo is mixed with water during the cleansing process, it is simply not left on the scalp long enough for any active ingredients to have any effect.”
Anabel continues, “People are sold false hope which exploits their vulnerabilities and it really frustrates me. The drops we have formulated for example, do have a chance to soak into the scalp and are left on for a minimum of 8 hours, meaning they have time to take effect and act on the hair follicle.”
Speaking of washing your hair, how often have you read or been told that it’s self-cleansing and you should spread out your washes over days or weeks on end? Another complete myth, Anabel breaks down the science behind the misinformation, sharing that “you’re essentially cleansing your scalp and roots when washing hair, and any suds running through then cleanse the strands too. The scalp is skin, and its health is vitally important for hair growth as a support system. If you were to avoid washing your face or body for five days, you’d see oily build-up, flakiness and notice a smell. Your scalp is no different, and a flaky scalp in particular can cause hair shedding because that and inflammation, as a result of dirt and oils, can mean hair won’t grow as well.”
Recommending washing fine hair every day, Anabel explains this is because every hair follicle is attached to an oil gland, of which there are more with this hair type- as a result, the roots can be weighed down more easily, which in turn produces further oil. You could stretch this out a little longer with coarse, curly hair because a daily wash just may be unrealistic and too time consuming, but really no longer than every two to three days for thicker hair is ideal.
Other useful nuggets of information I gathered from Anabel include how contraceptive pills and HRT types may affect hair- of which there are a list of hair-friendly ones. Similarly, if you are genetically predisposed to a condition known as female pattern hair loss, the clinic prescribe specialist drops which help stimulate hair growth again.
After going into the health side of things, Anabel explained she thought it would be a good idea to also have some blood tests ensuring I was on the best supplementation and nothing else had been missed. The clinic used for this is only a few minutes away and it provides absolute peace of mind for any unresolved issues- I went there straight after my appointment, with the results coming in the very next day. A huge relief also to have a belt and braces approach, I felt completely taken care of by Anabel. Plus, my results were fed straight back to Anabel, so I was able to liaise directly with her about any further courses of action afterwards.
Telling me that optimising my hair’s best condition was a journey we were on together, Anabel instinctively demonstrates how invested she is in your complete wellbeing, and you feel thoroughly taken care of. Which, frankly, is a massive relief, whether you’ve been through a lot emotionally, physically, or both.
Following on from this initial consultation, I was then shown up some stairs to a sophisticated and elegant salon and hair spa. Meeting brilliant Head Trichotherapist Jennifer, she has been part of the Philip Kingsley team for over 50 years. Telling me about the passion the clinic has for their clients’ wellbeing, Jennifer reiterated how they will always be completely honest and offer practical, supportive guidance.
Jennifer washed my hair with Flaky Itchy Shampoo and Moisture Balancing Shampoo, before putting a very soothing scalp Tonic #3 and Tricho 7 drops on. It’s well worth telling you, that having used them ever since my appointment, the drops add noticeable volume at the root and are a revelation.
Finishing off with Elasticizer, this is Philip Kingsley’s pre-shampoo conditioner hero product originally created for Audrey Hepburn and today loved by celebs including Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett and Renee Zellweger. Their bestseller, one is sold every two minutes. I got to choose which scent I’d like- and plumped for the divine Pomegranate & Cassis version. Finally, Jennifer applied a richly nourishing ZNS Intensive Scalp Treatment in sections. A steam treatment was used, and I sipped coffee while enjoying how relaxing the process is.
Showing her years of knowledge, skill and experience, I learnt a nifty trick for drying hair super quickly and efficiently from Jennifer, as well as hearing more about Philip Kingsley products and their expert formulation. She used their Paddle Brash to gently brush through without damage, and I knew this would also become an intrinsic part of my new faithful haircare arsenal.
Completing the hair spa TLC with a spritz of Finishing Touch spray, it magically offers a little extra volume and texture and works wonders on ponytails too. Bringing this selection of goodies home with me, I’ve completely overhauled my haircare regime and am looking at the whole hair and health picture in a new and inspired light.
It isn’t an understatement to say that my appointment with Anabel has been nothing short of life-changing, and I’m reassured and empowered moving forward.
A hugely worthwhile move for hair, body and mind, I’d wholeheartedly recommend a visit to the Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic.