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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: 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: 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!

ISSUE: Rehabbing Damaged, Fine, Highlighted Hair

August 13, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Damaged Hair, Fine & Limp Hair

Dear Philip,

I recently bought your Katira Masque, which I love. I have somewhat fine, highlighted blond hair that became damaged and is in recovery. Until recently, I shampooed it everyday because I have oily skin. But now I’ve cut back washing it 4-5 a week and use a dry shampoo on the off-days. What would you recommend for continued hair healing and everyday use, including styling products?

I’m so happy to hear that you’re enjoying the Katira Masque. I recommend that you alternate Katira treatments with Rejuvenating Oil treatments; they have a wonderful synergy that will transform fine, chemically-damaged hair. Simply coat your hair with oil, focusing on the mid-shaft to the ends and on any dry areas. From there, heat it with a blowdryer to help the oil sink inside your hair and let it sit for 30-40 minutes. Then wash it out with the Peppermint & Avocado Volumizing & Clarifying Shampoo. That should give you plenty of oomph. As a finishing touch, rub a touch of Lovin’ Leave-in Conditioner between your fingers and use it to smooth down flyaways and hide (and heal) dry ends. If you want more of a beachy, sexy, bed-heady effect, go with the Maui Wowie Beach Mist: Use it on damp or dry hair (experiment to see which works better for you) and feel free to scrunch away.

ISSUE: Humidity = Frizz

August 13, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Curly Hair, Dry Hair, Fine & Limp Hair, Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

I’m a 56-year-old Caucasian woman with very fine, thinning (peri-menopause), naturally curly hair that ALWAYS frizzes. I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida and we have very high humidity and temperatures for most of the year. My hair is home-colored, very dry and brittle and I’ve been blow drying it for 30 years. I’d love to get it into better shape and control the frizz and the pouffy swelling that I get whenever I step outside. I found your website, but am confused by your huge product line and don’t know where to start. (I also don’t like smelling like a vanilla bean or a coconut!)

Keep in mind is that frizz happens when your hair pulls moisture out of the air. If you fill each strand up with moisture from the get-go, you hair will stay smooth and glossy. In your case, a Four Step Hair & Scalp Treatment will do the trick beautifully: The Rejuvenating Oil in the kit contains molecules fine enough to slip under the cuticle of your hair, so it plumps up and nourishes hair from the inside. From there, the Peppermint & Avocado Volumizing & Clarifying Shampoo will clean away the excess oil from the surface of your hair; the Lightweight Deep Conditioner will soften the ends (use it only from the mid-shaft down); and the pH Balancing Mist will seal the cuticle shut for extra shine and bounce. On fine, dry hair, the results are a wonder to behold.

ISSUE: Fried & Dyed

June 26, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Damaged Hair, Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

I dye my hair and use flat irons. As a result, I’ve noticed that my hair’s become extremely brittle and over-processed. I’m worried that it might be thinning, too.

You’re taking a lot out of your hair; you need to give it something back. In this case, the name of the game is moisture: frequent Rejuvenating Oil and/or 4-Step Treatments; a healing shampoo like White Truffle or Russian Amber; and either a delicate conditioner like the Lightweight Deep Conditioning Crème or something richer, like White Truffle Nourishing & Conditioning Crème. And, at the risk of repeating myself: If you’re experiencing sudden or dramatic hair loss, see a doctor to rule out an underlying hormonal imbalance or medical issue. Good luck!

ISSUE: Curly/Kinky Hair Fix

June 26, 2009 | African-American Hair, Color-Treated Hair, Curly Hair, Dry Hair

Dear Philip,

I’m curious to know what kind of conditioner I need for my curly/kinky hair. I’m African-American and I have usually fragile hair and a sensitive scalp – I can only use peroxide-free hair color and I sometimes get rashes from very strong products. Since ends of my hair are very dry and break off, I have to have a shorter style, but would love a little more length.

The Rejuvenating Oil would be so healing for fragile hair like yours; so would the Katira Masque and White Truffle Nourishing & Conditioning Crème. (Bonus: The extra-gentle formulas won’t aggravate your sensitive scalp.) As for cleansing, I suggest our number-one bestselling shampoo: African Shea Butter. It will restore your hair’s elasticity and much-needed moisture like that.

ISSUE: Ultralimp Hair

June 26, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Fine & Limp Hair, Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

My fine hair seems to be especially limp, and I’m not sure if it’s caused by color treatments. What can I do to improve the growth? I’ve heard that imbalanced hormones can cause hair to thin. Someone also suggested that I need something to remove the build-up of styling products.

It’s true that clearing away build-up (from styling products, dead cells and the natural oils of your scalp) is crucial for fine hair. Start with a boar-bristle brush to move oils off your scalp and down through the rest of your hair. Next, use the Peppermint & Avocado Volumizing & Clarifying Shampoo – really working it in at the roots – to leave your scalp tingly clean and fresh. Follow with a light conditioner (ends only) and the Katira Masque. The combination should give your hair amazing body, plus lots of shine.

Note: If you find that you’re losing more hair than usual, please see a dermatologist or your primary care physician: You need to make sure there isn’t a hormonal or medical issue at work.

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