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Philip Kingsley, Hair and Scalp Expert, Dies at 86

The hair and scalp expert who coined the term "bad hair day" served a long list of celebrity clients.

Philip Kingsley, a leading authority on hair and scalp health whose clients ranged from Sir Laurence Olivier to Victoria Beckham, died Saturday, according to his family. He was 86.

Kingsley, who coined the term “bad hair day,” wrote four books on hair care and, for a decade, wrote a hair advice column in London’s Sunday Times Style magazine.

He is credited with creating the first pre-shampoo hair masque, Elasticizer, in 1976. Initially formulated for Audrey Hepburn, Elasticizer has grown into a bestseller, with one being sold every two minutes.

Kingsley’s daughter, Anabel, recalled: “While Audrey Hepburn was filming the movie ‘Robin and Marian’ with Sean Connery, her hair was in terrible condition — flat and dry — because of all the styling and coloring the studio beauticians employed on set. Distressed, she went to see Philip Kingsley for help. Philip went straight to his laboratory and formulated Elasticizer just for her. The star was so pleased by how shiny and soft her hair felt that she ordered pots and pots to be sent over to her home in Switzerland — and seeing its success, Philip brought it out as a permanent product in his hair-care range.”

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Among his other celebrity clients were Cate Blanchett, Eva Herzigova, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sienna Miller and Jane Fonda.

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Kingsley was one of the first to link hair health with nutrition and well-being. He believed the hair classifications of normal, oily and dry were inaccurate and zeroed-in instead on textures such as fine, medium and coarse.

In recent years, he focused on helping women who had hair loss and developed a Trichotherapy at home hair-care range designed to stimulate hair volume, shine and elasticity.

While Kingsley worked for decades among celebrities, he started out early and modestly, leaving school at 14 to help support his parents and four siblings.

He apprenticed at his uncle’s hair salon in London’s Bethnal Green and saved money to take a correspondence course from the Institute of Trichologists, recognizing early the psychological significance hair can have for both men and women.

Kingsley opened his first London clinic in Marylebone in 1957. Twenty years later he was treating actors from the National Theatre, on the personal recommendation of Sir Laurence Olivier.

He also opened a flagship on New York’s Fifth Avenue in 1977. The hair-care range he created, which started with five products, has grown to include over 50 bespoke formulations. In recent years, Kingsley researched female hair loss at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

He is survived by his wife Joan and their daughters Anabel, Kate, Sue and Helen.