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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: Seeking Strength – and a Major Change

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

Dear Philip,

I have very thin, red hair. I want to make it really strong and dye it black. What do you suggest?

First of all, a question: Are you sure you want to go that dark? If you have a redhead’s peaches-and-cream complexion, very dark hair can look harsh and unnatural. So consider the possibility of just taking your hair one or two shades deeper – you’ll get drama but more believable color (not to mention, less obvious re-growth). In any event, please use Rejuvenating Oil or Four-Step Treatments – religiously – for a week or two before you color your hair. It will help the dye take more evenly and last longer. And I recommend the Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo, too: It’s dynamite for correcting brassy tones and giving color-treated hair gorgeous luster and depth.

ISSUE: Minimizing Damage

June 2, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Curly Hair, Dry Hair

Dear Philip,

I have highlighted blonde hair that’s wavy and a little on the dry side. But my big problem is my scalp, which is really sensitive and dry; I’ve had problems with it since I was a baby, and easily react to most shampoos and conditioning treatments. What do you think about Katira — do you think I’d be able to use it?

Absolutely. Like all of my products, it’s phthalate-, paraben- and petrochemical free; plus, the primary ingredients are water, glycerin and Katira, a pure, all-natural plant extract. (As with every product you use on your scalp, do a patch test before you apply it all over your hair — but I think it will work for you. Please let me know if it doesn’t.) My Rejuvenating Oil — a gentle mix of pure plant and flower oils — is another great option for sensitive types. Run it through your hair, blow-dry for a few minutes (so the oils sink in) and shampoo away the excess. The result will be bouncy, shiny, healthy perfection.

ISSUE: Fried Hair, Reborn!

June 2, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Damaged Hair, Dry Hair

Dear Philip,

I have been using your Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo, White Truffle Conditioner, Katira Masque and 4-Step Hair & Scalp Treatment since the new year. My hair was so dried-out and straw-like from years of hair color and medicinal side effects. But today my hairdresser says my hair is healthy and strong. I’d been doing weekly jojoba-oil treatments overnight for years and while that made a difference, it was nothing like what happened over the past 4 months. I’ve been washing my hair daily and the texture still improved like crazy. Thank you — I’m so happy. The Russian Amber shampoo and Truffle conditioner are definitely worth the price. I’ve used the Russian Amber daily for 4 months on my long hair and still have a third left! It really is a miracle.?

That’s wonderful news — I love hearing success stories like yours. You chose a perfect combination of products, too: As you’ve found, they really do give seriously damaged, lifeless hair a whole new look and feel. Thanks so much for writing in!

ISSUE: Thin, Dull, Frizzy – Hair at Age 50+

June 2, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Damaged Hair, Dry Hair, Fine & Limp Hair, Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

I’m a haircutter from St. Louis, Mo, with over 30 years experience. As my clients get older, I’m faced with a reccuring challenge: Women over 50 with hair that’s getting thinner, drier and losing its sheen. If I use volumizers, their hair gets frizzy. If I use smoothing products, it lies thin, flat and lifeless. Whether or not the hair is colored, it has somehow lost its youthful shine. (It’s difficult enough dealing with this personally, but most of my clients are in the same boat.) I haven’t tried your products, but would love to know what you recommend for women over 50 — especially because we’re such a fast-growing age group.

I’m so glad you wrote. I see this problem all the time and you’re right — the challenge is finding the perfect treatments to moisturize and gleamify your hair without weighing it down. It’s totally worth the effort: Restore the youthful sheen and bounce of a woman’s hair and you take a decade off her appearance, just like that. I worked for years to come up with just the right solution for my celebrity clients, and here it is: My Four Step Hair & Scalp Treatment, followed by Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo and Katira Masque. Take a look at some of my how-to videos; even the models couldn’t believe the results.

ISSUE: Author, Author

June 2, 2009 | African-American Hair, Color-Treated Hair, Curly Hair, Damaged Hair, Dry Hair, Fine & Limp Hair, Hair Masque, Special Cases, Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

Is Philip B. going to write any more books?

Funny you asked: I’m thinking about doing a book or a TV show and am gathering material. Please let me know if there are any particular subjects you want me to address!

ISSUE: Hair Lightening

June 2, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair

Dear Philip,

I’ve been coloring my hair for several years, but now it’s too dark. Do you have anything to lift color so I can start new or do I need to go to a hairdresser?

Good question. One reason why your hair color is so dark might be because you’re dragging the dye all the way to the ends each time you color. It works better if you just treat the new growth; your hair is more porous at the tips, and thus more likely to sponge up dye and go to the dark side. (Not to mention, the ends should be a little lighter than the rest of your hair — that’s how it works in nature, and creates a more believable effect.) Unfortunately, there’s nothing in my line that will strip color — even my Peppermint & Avocado Clarifying and Volumizing Shampoo is tempered with so many botanical conditioners that it deep-cleans your scalp without affecting your color.  In short: It’s time to go to the salon.

ISSUE: Tight, Poufy Ringlets

June 2, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Curly Hair, Fine & Limp Hair

Dear Philip,

I have color-treated, baby-fine curly hair that barely seems to grow! As much as I enjoy the ease of wearing my hair curly (I usually let it air-dry), my ringlets always look frizzy and tight. Plus, they really shrink up by the end of the day. Any products that might relax my hair a bit and prevent frizz?

The trick is to load your hair up with the right blend of products before it dries: The more moisture you add initially, the less likely it is to expand and frizz. I suggest mixing some leave-in conditioner (like Lovin’ Leave-In Hair Conditioning Creme) with my soft-hold Styling Gel to make your curls supple and bouncy. If you see any flyaways, tamp them down with a touch of Anti-Frizz 57. (Simply rub a tiny bit between your fingers and smooth it over the surface of your hair.) As for maintenance, use a gentle shampoo like my African Shea Butter for All, and a Rejuvenating Oil or Katira Masque treatment once a week to boost strength and shine.  And finally, my cardinal rule: Try not to touch your curls once they’re dry — that’s a surefire recipe for puffiness and frizz.

ISSUE: Fading Red + Highlights

June 2, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Curly Hair, Fine & Limp Hair

Dear Philip,

My hair is very fine, a mixture of curly and wavy. It’s also flat on top with overall puffiness and the ‘ear muffs’ on the side. Recently I’ve noticed some thinning along my hairline and at the crown of my head: I used to have to search for my part; now it’s a bit more apparent. (I attribute the hair loss to peri-menopause — I’m in my late 40s — and heredity.) I want to nourish my hair and scalp and get it in the best condition possible. I like to wear my straight on most days, but want to be able to wear it curly (without frizz), too. What products do you recommend?

I love fine, wavy hair because it can look so angelic — while it’s silky, the natural bend gives it built-in volume. The catch, as you’ve found, is that it’s crazily prone to frizz. To keep the poufiness factor to a minimum, you need to plump your hair up with moisture before you style. I recommend a 4-Step Hair & Scalp Facial to start, followed by a Katira Hair Masque. Here’s how to do it: Once you complete Step 3 in the 4-Step kit, rinse off the Light-weight Deep Conditioning Creme and comb a generous dose of Katira through towel-dried hair. From there, blow it dry or let it dry naturally till the masque hardens; then rinse. Finally, spray on a bit of the pH Detangling & Toning Mist (included in the 4-Step Kit) and style. You won’t believe how manageable, thick and unpuffy your hair will be.

A side note: If your hair loss progresses, please see your doctor to make sure there’s not a hormonal issue or underlying medical condition at fault. And talk to a dermatologist, too: There are a few promising hair-growth treatments out there; used consistently, they might help stop your thinning or even reverse it a bit.

ISSUE: Thick, Prematurely Gray Hair That’s Thinning

March 15, 2009 | Color-Treated Hair, Damaged Hair, Special Cases, Thin Hair

Dear Philip,

I’m a 32-year-old Polish American woman with long, ash-brown hair that’s curly and very, very thick. I don’t blow dry it or use any styling products. Nevertheless, in the last year or two, I’ve noticed that while my hair is still thick, the top is thinning in a few places. Also, I’ve had my hair colored in expensive salons, and after the last trip I’m seeing what looks like gray cowlicks, like the hair broke off or something. I’ve very concerned and so is my panicked mother. (She says that I have no reason to have thinning hair or gray hair – all the women in my family gray at 50.) Whatever. I need an exact product prescription, before the family drama kicks in at the next Polish wedding. I’m lean and healthy and have been checked for hormonal imbalances. I don’t take any medications. Help, help, help. Also, should I stop coloring my hair for now?

Ring the alarm for Hair 911. We have two issues here. One is the health of your hair. I’d get a second opinion from a dermatologist and/or endocrinologist, just to make sure there’s nothing going on internally. If not, you might want to look into using Rogaine, an over-the-counter, topical hair-loss treatment that can be very effective when used consistently. My Peppermint & Avocado Shampoo is a very good scalp stimulator – I’d get that for your regular shampoo. And proper brushing – with a boar-bristle brush, from roots to ends – can help, too. The second issue is addressing your breakage. That means Rejuvenating Oil Treatments and the Katira Masque: Both of those will help to replenish your hair’s moisture levels from the inside out, leaving each strand shinier, stronger and more resilient. Finally, I’d recommend a nourishing conditioner like the White Truffle Conditioner. For now, stick to single-process color with built-in conditioners; your colorist should be able to steer you to the gentlest formula. And let me know how it goes. I’m rooting for you.

ISSUE: Fine, Color-Treated Hair

December 31, 2008 | Color-Treated Hair, Fine & Limp Hair

Dear Philip,

I read about your products in the Nov. issue of Vogue and tried the Peppermint Avocado Clarifying Shampoo. I am more than hooked! I love this shampoo! I was hoping you could help me figure out the correct regimen for my hair type. My hair is extremely fine with a good amount of wave, which I typically try to straighten. I just ordered the Russian Imperial Shampoo and Katira Masque and can’t wait to try them: I figure with all of the processing, I can’t go wrong! I’d appreciate any advice on other products that would be appropriate for me. Thanks for such wonderful products!

Excellent choices. If I were you I’d simply integrate the Four-Step Treatment into your regimen – you can do that once  every 1-2 weeks and alternate with a Katira Masque and Russian Amber Shampoo. As for styling, Shinade Pomade is great for making the ends piecey after a blowout; a little dab of Drop Dead Straight before you dry your hair can be wonderful, too. And if you want a little more texture and volume, I’d recommend Maui Wowie.

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