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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: Rejuvenating Oil/Ingredients

July 13, 2011 | Product Ingredients, Sodium Lauryl Sulfates

Dear Philip,

I noticed a slightly different ingredient list for this product. If you go to Beauty.com, their list is not the same as yours. Their list is the same as what was on an old bottle I bought years ago. Yours now has all but one ingredient, that being Ylang Ylang flower oil and others that were not on the original list. Why is the list different now and is the original ingredient list better or worse than the newer one?

Also, I noticed 2 ingredients I am familiar with on 2 other products. Why would you use propolene glycol and sodium lauryl or sodium laureth sulfate? These are really unhealthy and I was surprised to see them in your ingredient list. I will buy the Rejuvenating Oil but will not buy anything containing harmful ingredients.

Eva

Dear Eva,

Thanks for your thoughtful message. As you noticed, we’ve recently reformulated some our products to improve their quality and to reduce their carbon footprint. That’s reflected in our new ingredient lists.

Now, to the two ingredients you cited:

  1. You’re right to be wary about sodium lauryl sulfate. 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!

  2. Most of our formulas were created years ago, when there was no question about propylene glycol’s safety. Even today, the Food & Drug Administration maintains that propylene glycol is “generally recognized as safe,” and it’s used in everything from toothpaste to baby wipes. We use a touch of propylene glycol in a few of our formulas as a carrier for botanical essences. Again, it’s hugely buffered with essential oils and other nurturing and beneficial ingredients. As we modernize the formulas going forward, however, we may phase out propylene glycol altogether. Either way, we’ll definitely keep your comments in mind. Thanks for taking the time to write to us.

Kind regards,
Philip B.

ISSUE: Brazilian Keratin Treatments

July 5, 2010 | Product Ingredients, Sodium Lauryl Sulfates

Dear Philip,

Are Philip B. shampoos suitable after a Brazilian Keratin treatment? I’ve heard that you shouldn’t use shampoos containing sulfates.

Good question. Unlike permanent straighteners or chemical relaxers, Brazilian Keratin treatments condition hair, and can leave it feeling silkier and smoother. The effect washes out after several weeks, so — to help the treatment last longer — experts recommend using very gentle, non-stripping, sulfate-free shampoos.

Many shampoos containing high concentrations of sodium-lauryl sulfate (SLS) are indeed stripping and drying. But in our case, because Philip B. shampoos contain such a high level of healing plant oils and extracts, we have to use a touch of SLS simply as a emulsifying agent, to make the formulas feel velvety and creamy.

So, the short answer is that yes, most Philip B. shampoos are suitable for use after Brazilian Keratin treatments. To be extra careful, I’d avoid clarifying and volumizing formulas like Peppermint & Avocado, Scent of Santa Fe and Nordic Wood. But Philip B. Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo, African Shea Butter Gentle & Conditioning Shampoo and White Truffle Ultra-Rich Moisturizing Shampoo would all be ideal.

ISSUE: Sulfates & Hair Color

February 24, 2010 | Color-Treated Hair, Sodium Lauryl Sulfates, Special Cases

Dear Philip,

Do you have any sulfate-free shampoos? My hairdresser has told me I need to use only sulfate-free shampoos, because sulfate will wash out my red color.

Your colorist is correct: In many cases, shampoos that contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) can be too harsh for chemically treated hair. But 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. For you, I’d recommend the African Shea Butter Gentle & Conditioning Shampoo, the White Truffle Shampoo or Russian Amber — all super nurturing and supremely hair-color-friendly.

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!

Everything you need to know about… SODIUM LAURYL SULFATES

June 1, 2009 | Sodium Lauryl Sulfates

These days, you’re probably hearing a lot about sulfates and how bad they can be for your hair. Since I pride myself on having educated consumers — and because you’ve all sent me so many great questions about sodium lauryl sulfates — I’d like to officially weigh in on the subject.

True: 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!

Best regards,
Philip B.

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