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Q & A

Here are some of the commonly asked questions we've received over the years.
We've organized them by category so you can easily find answers.

ISSUE: Dry Scalp and Hair Loss

September 21, 2009 | African-American Hair, Color-Treated Hair, Damaged Hair, Dry Hair

Dear Philip,

I’m an African-American woman with chemically-treated hair. My hair feels dry all the time, and my scalp itches in the center. I’m constantly rubbing it to stop the itching, and as a result, I have a lot of breakage and my hair is falling out. What type of regiment do you recommend?

You can’t believe how often I see this situation – I’m so sorry to hear of your struggles. The good news is that I have the perfect remedy. It involves three steps:

  1. Coat your hair with my Rejuvenating Oil and work it into your scalp to loosen any dead cells and flaky patches. Let it sit for 20 minutes or so.
  2. Put a dollop of the Peppermint & Avocado Clarifying & Volumizing Shampoo on your hair, work it into a lather and let IT sit for 2-3 minutes. You’ll feel your scalp tingling as the therapeutic levels of peppermint oil in the formula do their healing work. Rinse.
  3. Immediately apply the Anti-Flake Relief Shampoo, work it into a lather, and let IT sit for another 2-3 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

If you like, you run some conditioner through the ends of your hair, or apply a leave-in conditioner – avoiding your scalp. Repeat the 3 steps as needed. You should see a huge improvement in your scalp and your hair within a week.

ISSUE: Katira Lover Wants Specifics

September 21, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Hair Masque

Dear Philip,

I just used the Katira Masque for the first time, and I LOVE it! I have 3 questions that aren’t answered by the tube or your website:

  1. How frequently can/should the Katira masque be used?
  2. Does the Katira Masque have to dry? Will it work if I wear a shower cap over it outside of the shower to hold in body heat?
  3. Is the Katira Masque safe for color-treated hair and hair that’s been treated with (non-formaldehyde) keratin?


  1. You can use the Katira Hair Masque twice a week, or even as a daily leave-in gel. I often mix a dab with an equal amount of Lovin’ Leave-In Conditioner and use it as a styling aid/stealth revitalizing treatment.
  2. Wearing a shower cap might help the Katira gel sink into your hair, but a blow-dryer might be faster. You really want the gel to dry into a hard, Gordon Gekko-style helmet before you rinse it out.
  3. Yes! Go to it!

ISSUE: Does Philip Take Personal Clients?

September 21, 2009 | Special Cases

Dear Philip,

Does Philip take personal clients? And if so, how can I make an appointment with him?

Philip is only seeing personal clients in Europe right now. If you’re in the U.S., we can schedule something next year – ideally, 3 months in advance.

ISSUE: Clown Hair

September 21, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Damaged Hair, Dry Hair, Fine & Limp Hair

Dear Philip,

I have fine, colored hair and an oily scalp. My hair appears very dry and damaged at the bottom, and the texture is both frizzy and lifeless. When I sleep, it gets all roughed up by the pillowcase, so by morning I look like I have the hair of a clown! I’m interested in the Russian Imperial shampoo and Katira Masque. Would any of you other daily shampoos and conditioners work for me? Are the White Truffle shampoo and conditioner too moisture-rich for fine hair? I’ve just tried a small sample of the African Shea Butter Shampoo. My hair looks less frizzy, but I’m not sure if this is what I should order first.

For you, the perfect fix would be the Four-Step Hair & Scalp treatment, followed by Katira Masque, followed by Lovin’ Leave-in Conditioner. Trust me: Throw in a satin pillowcase at bedtime and your clown-hair days are over!

ISSUE: Chronically Dry, Itchy Scalp

September 21, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Dry Hair, Sodium Lauryl Sulfates, Where to Buy

Dear Philip,

I have had problems with my scalp since I was born. It’s very sensitive – dry, itchy, flaky and red. My thick, wavy blonde hair is highlighted and in general, very dry. I’ve been color-treating it for the last 15 years (going from black to super-silver-white). Of course not so good for my poor scalp but…

I think that I’m sensitive to SLS and SLES because those ingredients just seem to aggravate the problem, but it’s hard to find good shampoos that are sulfate-free. I’ve wasted a lot of money on natural products that don’t clean my hair adequately or trigger a bad reaction.

I’ve heard that your shampoos are very good. Can you recommend some for me? Also, do you have samples that I can try just to see that I’m not reactive to them? I live in Sweden.

It’s hard to say, since I can’t see your scalp in person. But most of my clients with itchy, flaky scalps benefit hugely from the Peppermint & Avocado Volumizing & Clarifying shampoo.

I’d recommend starting with my Four-Step Hair & Scalp Treatment. The oil in the kit will loosen and lift away dead cells and flakes, and the therapy-level dose of peppermint oil in the Peppermint & Avocado Shampoo (also in the kit) will leave your scalp feeling fresh, clean and healthy. (Leave the shampoo lather on your hair for 3-5 minutes to let the therapeutic dose of peppermint oil in the formula do its work.) For everyday, the Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo would be perfect for you – it’s so nourishing and strengthening for chemically battered hair and has a calming effect, too. You can get samples at any NK department store in Sweden.

As for sodium lauryl sulfate, you’re right to be wary. SLS alone is very destructive to hair and skin — it’s as harsh as some dishwashing liquids. If you want to burn your hair, destroy your color and get a skin disorder, go right ahead and throw straight SLS on it.

That said, in some cases, SLS can be amazing. It’s all about balance. I buffer down the SLS in our shampoos with such a high level of essential oils that it becomes gentle and creamy — the best possible way to clear away any dirt or build-up while distributing conditioning oils throughout your hair, even to the ends. In some cases, I use so many plant and flower oils that the SLS is rendered all but inactive: It’s just there to carry the oils and help you lather up.

That’s because my shampoos aren’t the conventional detergent-water-fragrance mix. They’re made from intensely conditioning oils used at active, therapeutic levels and gathered from exotic places around the world. So, in this case, fear not. The sulfates we do use are specifically designed to deliver nutrients and potent conditioning agents to your hair, not to counteract their effects!

ISSUE: My Hair is One Big, Dry, Frizzy Mess

September 21, 2009 | African-American Hair, Curly Hair, Dry Hair, Thick Hair

Dear Philip,

I’m so unhappy with my hair. People tell me all the time that I have lovely thick, curly hair; that they (women) would love to have it; and I should love and appreciate it. But I don’t. I have very, very thick Afro/Caribbean hair with tight curls and a lot of volume – when it dries, it starts to pouf out. I’m 27 and have rarely worn my hair down: My confidence suffers and I always end up putting it back up. I’ve spent lots of money on products that don’t work.

It sounds silly and people always tell me, “It’s just hair and there’s more to life,” but I feel like I have to do something about it. The only time I like my hair is when I’ve just stepped out of the shower or when I’ve just had it styled and the volume isn’t big and my curls fall long and loose. But once it dries, it expands and you can’t see the lovely curls – just one big, dry, frizzy mess. I don’t want to keep battling with my hair. Can you recommend the right products and give me some tips?

Absolutely. Hair like yours is tricky, but with a little know-how and the right products, you really CAN learn to love it, I promise. Let’s start by giving you a new hair-care mantra: Moisturize constantly. That means not shampooing your hair often – once a week, tops – and building moisture into every step of your regimen.

  1. Start with a Rejuvenating Oil treatment. Saturate your hair with the oil, apply heat, and leave it in for an hour (or all night).
  2. Follow with a gentle shampoo, like the African Shea Butter or White Truffle shampoo and follow with the Light-Weight Deep Conditioning Crème Rinse (Classic or Paraben Free) and Katira Hair Masque. Leave the Katira on your hair for an hour or so until it dries completely (it should feel hard and helmet-like). Then rinse.
  3. When you get out of the shower, pat your hair dry (no rubbing), spritz on a bit of the pH Restorative Detangling Toning Mist, which will help seal the cuticle of your hair and ward off frizz.
  4. Next, mix a dollop of Lovin’ Leave-In Conditioner with a drop or two of Anti-Frizz Formula 57 and run the mixture through your hair. Comb it through, shape your hair with your fingers and then DON’T TOUCH IT. AT ALL. (Every time you handle your hair, you rough up the cuticle and encourage frizz, so a strict hands-off policy is crucial.)
  5. To style your hair between shampoos, just smooth some more Lovin’ Leave-in Conditioner over the surface. And try to go easy on the heat styling. The more moisture and pampering you give hair like yours, the more gorgeous it will look.
  6. Use the Rejuvenating Oil and Katira Hair Masque regularly – every time you shampoo, if you can. Your hair will love you and vice versa!

ISSUE: How Often To Use The Peppermint Shampoo?

September 21, 2009 | Fine & Limp Hair, Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

I’ve just started to use your Peppermint and Avocado Volumizing & Clarifying
. How often should I use it for best results?

If your scalp is oily or itchy — or if you have limp hair and simply want extra lift at the roots — you should use Peppermint & Avocado Shampoo every day. You don’t need to apply more than a capful; just focus on cleansing your scalp and let the lather drift down through the rest of your hair when you rinse it out. Follow with a conditioner, and use it only on the ends if your hair is on the finer side. Enjoy!

ISSUE: Are Philip B. Products Vegan?

September 21, 2009 | No Animal Testing?, Special Cases

Dear Philip,

Are any of your products vegan –no animal by-products, not tested on animals?

Mainly, yes. We only use animal-derived ingredients in four of our products: Crème of the Crop Original Formula, which contains acetylated lanolin oil and lanolin alcohol. (Our new version, Crème of the Crop Lite, does not). The Anti-Flake Relief Shampoo contains a very low percentage of Tallowtrimonium Chloride. Meanwhile, our Thai Tea Mind & Body Wash and Chai Latte Soul & Body Wash do contain honey – a natural humectant that softens and hydrates skin like nothing else. We are, as we’ve mentioned before, very grateful to the bees.

ISSUE: Chemically-Straightened, Colored Hair – REBORN!

September 21, 2009 | Accolades, African-American Hair, Color-Treated Hair, Dry Hair, Where to Buy

Dear Philip,

Through my Lucky magazine I learned of your products and just went to Blue Mercury in Philly to buy the Anti-Flake Shampoo and the Anti-Frizz Formula 57. I’m a black woman with chemically straightened hair that’s also colored. Plus, I’ve suffered from dry, itchy, flaky scalp for a few years now. I just put in a couple of drops of your Rejuvenating Oil in my hair this morning and my hair is frizz-free and I didn’t even have to use my curling iron! I love that! Listen, if just one of your products is so amazing then I can’t wait to use the other products and buy more. I believe that my hair products will be solely Philip B. Botanicals. I even plan on buying the Russian Amber Shampoo. I don’t care what my husband says! Once he feels the softness and notices the growth and shine, he will beg me to use it. Hey, you know what they say: “Happy wife, happy life!” Thanks, Philip B. So, when are you going to open a salon in Philly?

Thank You for writing in — your message cheered me immensely. You sound very cool and I’m thrilled that the products are helping you. I also have some great news: One of our all-time favorite Philip B. experts, Ross Poole, will offer our professional treatments at Bean’s Beauty in Philadelphia, starting in mid-October. We’re so happy that he’s bringing his love of Philip B. products to you and the City of Brotherly Love!

Look for Philip B® products at fine retailers, salons & spas worldwide.