I never had shiny hair until I tried the $28 deep conditioner that Audrey Hepburn was obsessed with

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We can thank Audrey Hepburn for this cult-favorite product. (Credit: Getty)
We can thank Audrey Hepburn for this cult-favorite product. (Credit: Getty)

If you haven’t heard about Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer, you’ve missed out on 46 years of hype.

The heavy-duty deep conditioning mask works on all hair types, protects hair from heat styling, helps prevent breakage and restores bounce, brilliance and shine to your mane. It’s no wonder a tub of this $28 product sells every two minutes.

The Elasticizer mask is a favorite among beauty editors, stylists and celebrities—but one icon in particular put this product on the map. Audrey Hepburn couldn’t get enough of this deep conditioner, which she used religiously to keep her iconic locks in tip top shape.

It all started when the screen legend approached renowned hair expert Philip Kingsley in 1974 with a host of hair concerns. Her hair was in terrible shape and felt flat and lifeless from the rigors of over-processing and constant on-set styling.

Hepburn called on Kingsley to help replenish and fortify her fine, damaged hair without weighing it down. Kingsley rose to the occasion by whipping up a unique concoction in his London lab. And that’s how Elasticizer—the world’s first deep conditioning pre-shampoo mask—was born.

Audrey Hepburn on set of Robin and Marian (1976). (Credit: Columbia Pictures)
Audrey Hepburn on set of Robin and Marian (1976). (Credit: Columbia Pictures)

The iconic product got its name because it was literally designed to retore elasticity to hair. Healthy hair stretches, rather than breaks, when wet. Elasticizer’s formula improves the strength and stretchability of each strand, helping to prevent breakage and snapping in the process.

Needless to say, Hepburn was pleased that the product gave her back a shiny, supple mane with lots of healthy bounce. In fact, she loved Elasticizer so much that she ordered tubs of it to her home in Switzerland and reportedly used it for the rest of her life. These days, it’s beloved by celebrities including Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, and Georgia May Jagger.

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Deep-Conditioning Treatment. (Credit: Philip Kingsley)
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Deep-Conditioning Treatment. (Credit: Philip Kingsley)

But Elasticizer isn’t just a celeb trend—it’s accessible to everyone. The magic of this deep conditioner is its ability to transform a variety of hair types, from Audrey Hepburn’s very fine hair to my coarse curls.

I was first introduced to Elasticizer when I visited the Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic in New York for a hair and scalp health diagnosis. After taking a holistic look at my health (they even requested my blood work!), the team at Philip Kingsley sent me home with a seven-product hair and scalp routine to maximize growth, boost scalp health, and improve the condition of my dry, breakage-prone hair.

I’ve now been following the routine for two weeks and have already seen significant improvements—but Elasticizer is the standout product. My hair is significantly less frizzy, my curls are more defined, and for the first time in my life, my hair is shiny!

Perhaps most surprisingly, though, it seems to be sealing my split ends, and I’ve noticed significantly fewer of them—and much less breakage—since I started using it.

Elasticizer is formulated without parabens or fragrances, so it’s safe on even sensitive scalps. Its key ingredients include hydrolyzed elastin—a protein that gets into your hair shaft to restore elasticity—and castor oil, which stimulates growth and adds shine. It also contains olive oil, which is high in vitamin E and fatty acids to nourish hair, and glycerin to help hair retain moisture in the long term.

For most hair types, you can use Elasticizer weekly for at least 20 minutes as a pre-shampoo mask. But if you’re looking to treat brittle, damaged, frizzy, bleached or color-treated hair, use it as an intensive overnight conditioner instead. And for those of us with very coarse, coily curls or super-porous, processed hair, Philip Kingsley also developed Elasticizer Extreme, which is a richer version of the original.

Suffice to say I’m just as addicted to Elasticizer as Audrey Hepburn was, but instead of ordering tubs of it to my home in Switzerland, I’ll have to settle for tubes delivered to New York via Amazon Prime. It’s still a good deal—and like Audrey (sort of) said, Elasticizer is always a good idea.

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