Audrey Hepburn getting her hair washed and styled. (Photo: Mark Shaw/mptvimages)
Anabel Kingsley is the daughter of 85-year-old famed London-based trichologist Philip Kingsley, whose hero product, the Elasticizer, was originally designed for Audrey Hepburn in 1974. The leading actress was in need of a product that would save her consistently heat-styled hair in between filming, and was such a fan of the Elasticizer that she got them shipped to her home in Italy. Kingsley’s daughter is currently working as his Director of Communications and studying to become a trichologist herself—but she didn’t always want to follow in her father’s footsteps. Just in time for Father’s Day, she tells Yahoo Beauty what her father, Philip Kingsley, taught her about perseverance, hair care, and rebellion.
Philip Kingsley with his two closest friends, Herbie Kretmer, who wrote the lyrics for Les Misérables, and photographer Terry O'Neil. (Photo: Anabel Kingsley)
My father originally wanted to be a doctor, but he couldn’t afford to go to school, so he studied trichology by correspondence instead. When I was a child, he was growing the business, so he was traveling a lot but he always made time for his family around the holidays. It was kind of important to him to have his family around him. When he was home from traveling, he would take us to the theater and read us bedtime stories. He’s always been like that—you know, we always have Sunday dinner together. Nowadays, I live really close to my parents so I go there at least two times a week to chat and watch movies with them.
Anabel Kingsley and her father, Philip Kingsley. (Photo: Anabel Kingsley)
I moved to New York when I was around 21, wanting to be a singer. I needed to earn some money in the meantime, so I asked my dad if I could work in the New York clinic just until my singing career took off. And so after about a month of working there, I absolutely fell in love with the company and I have been there ever since.
He used to have a nervous breakdown when I would sit in the sun with lemon juice in my hair, and tell me to put Elasticizer into my damaged locks afterwards. My father is a huge advocate of everyone washing their hair daily. He used to let us go into his laboratory on Green Street and he’d pretend to let me make up the products—of course I thought everyone was using what I was making! I actually loved going to my friends’ houses for sleepovers because I would try out all the shampoos and conditioners in their showers because we weren’t allowed any non-Philip Kingsley hair products in house! Luckily for my father, none of them lived up to his own products. My father was such a trickster—I always wanted curlier hair, so he’d tell me that eating the crusts of my sandwiches would make my hair curlier. It doesn’t make your hair curlier—he just wanted me to finish the sandwich.
Anabel Kingsley and her father, Philip Kingsley, at the pool. (Photo: Anabel Kingsley)
I wish I paid more attention to chemistry and biology and physics when I was younger because you do need a lot of that in trichology. I was quite rebellious—I didn’t work very hard in school, much to my dad’s dismay. I was terrible at math in school, but my father would sit down with me and help me through it. And it really paid off—I mean now a lot of what I am doing is scientific even though it wasn’t one of my strong points growing up. My second year of trichology school exams is coming up, so he’s going to teach me about microscopy. I’m going into his office and he is going to show me kind of different hair disorders under slides and how to properly set up a microscope. “It’s amazing to see him work cause he gets all the information he needs and then also creates such a good rapport and sets all his patients at ease. He was the first person to connect scalp health with hair growth and he’s worked with leading actresses like Audrey Hepburn. My dad’s philosophy is that if you just work hard or are passionate about something, you can do whatever it is you want to do—just wash your hair daily while you’re doing it.
As told to Noël Duan.