A conversation with Anabel Kingsley

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It's always been a family affair.

Anabel Kingsley runs the renowned trichology institute founded by her late father, Philip Kingsley. The Philip Kingsley Clinic has tended to the locks of the great and the good since the 1950s. Audrey Hepburn was famously a client and more recently, Prince Harry is rumored to be one as well. Anabel likes to say that they are the Sherlock Holmes of hair loss, never leaving a stone unturned.

With outposts in New York and London and an extensive product range, I talk to the new mom about running a business, developing products and juggling the demands of career and family. Of course, we would be remiss not to get into the topic of optimizing hair health and we also touch upon a promising new treatment for hair growth.

Click below to listen …

In case you were left wanting more from Anabel (I know we were!), we thought to ask her about the biggest misconceptions women have about their hair.

In Anabel’s words:

Anabel as a child, with her father, Philip Kingsley.

That regular shampooing is bad for your hair. Many of my female Clients with fine hair come in with this misconception. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had someone say ‘I really try to leave it as long as possible between shampoos, as I know shampooing is bad. But my hair gets so greasy!’ There is a huge look of relief on their face when I say this isn’t the case.

In particular if you have fine hair, daily shampooing is really beneficial. This hair texture has more oil glands and so the roots get oily and weighed down fast. Daily shampooing also keeps your scalp clean and healthy — an essential for hair growth. Your scalp is the bedrock of your hair follicles. I wish the term hair washing was changed to ‘scalp cleansing’ — as that is the aim when you shampoo. Your scalp is skin and benefits from similar care to the skin on your face.

That female hair loss is uncommon. 1 in 3 women experience hair loss at some point in their life. Unfortunately, female hair loss is still a taboo topic, and this often leaves women feeling ashamed and isolated when they experience it

When women come to see me, they’ve often either tried things they’ve read about online, which invariably don’t work. Dr. Google is usually incorrect. Or they’ve been to see a GP or dermatologist who does not specialise in hair loss and they have been given the wrong information and treatment. Basically, the women I see are fed-up and understandably rather jaded. It does often take a bit of time to win their trust — but I get there!

Anabel with her baby boy, Leopold.

That shampoos and supplements are the cure-all for hair loss. Firstly, shampoos don’t treat hair loss. They can give stellar body and make hair appear instantly fuller – but they can’t treat the cause. For one, they aren’t left on the scalp for long enough to have an impact. Also, they are applied to a dilute environment (i.e. wet hair/scalp) making the actives unable to perform.

Supplements definitely have a place in optimizing hair health. As hair is a non-essential tissue it is the last part of you to receive nutrients you ingest and the first to be withheld from. This means it’s rather difficult to meet its needs through diet alone. Indeed, if you are losing your hair due to a nutritional deficiency, supplements can be essential. However, if your strands are losing density because of something unrelated to your diet, they aren’t going to help.

That hair gets used to the same products. Totally false. But what can happen is that the condition, length or colour of your hair changes and it requires different products. For instance, if you recently bleached your hair, or it has been exposed to a lot of sunlight, it may be more tangly and dry. If this is the case, you may want to swap your conditioner for a more moisturizing one — or use styling products that add extra hydration. Or perhaps you got a cut and your ends are in much better shape than they used to be, making your go-to arsenal of products for ‘dry, damaged hair’ too weighty.

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