Thursday 15 November 2018

A man who knows the stars' true roots

Ciara Dwyer meets Hollywood celebrity head man Philip B who is now in Dublin AS FAR as the Hollywood elite is concerned, Philip B is the head man. And now he is in Blue Eriu, beauty emporium, Dublin, talking to me. He may not yet be a household name in Ireland but in the US, the stars love his haircare products.

@@STYL fi,9 "I was at a movie premiere and Robert Redford walked over to me. He said 'Philip B? Bob Redford. I just gotta tell you, you make the best shampoo in the world. Thanks for making it."'

"And I just go, oh my Gawd." Philip gasps at the memory.

You might think of Redford, all Naval testosterone in The Way We Were, but you do not imagine him fizzing about shampoo.

Boston-born Philip B has plenty more stories. "I used to do Sandra Bullock when she lived in a one-bedroomed apartment. She used to always say, 'Do you ever think I'll make it as an actress?' And I used to say, 'Of course you'll make it. You're so funny, you're so brilliant.' She used to make me laugh all the time.

"Most of my clients don't pull a Hollywood-star attitude with me. Everyone is very real."

Which is fair enough, given that a hairdresser plays a huge role in so many stars' lives.

Philip's philosophy is that a healthy scalp means healthy hair. "Everyone was giving facials and body rubs and salt glows on the body. But no-one was doing it for the scalp. All they were giving it was detergent, water and fragrance." With his products, Philip set about changing that.

"Sharon [Stone] was shooting a movie and her hair was breaking off. The hairdresser got really nervous after he put the wrong toner on it. Her hair turned into a grey-green. She was flipping out. They couldn't shoot. They were losing millions of dollars. I got a call from the movie set." He rescued Sharon's roots and became a firm friend.

"Lauren Bacall always tells me that I talk too much and that I should shut up. She is a woman of very few words, very straight to the point and very funny."

But not all the stars are sugar-candy sweet.

"One time in a store I walked over to Goldie Hawn. I was about to introduce myself I know she uses my products and she cut me short: 'I didn't ask you to come up to me. I don't need you harassing me."'

Philip's encounter with the singer Courtney Love more than made up for Goldie's growls.

"I introduced myself to Courtney at a party. She grabbed me by the back of the head and gave me the biggest, longest kiss. As she left me, she said, 'Thank you for making such beautiful product.' I was in shock."

Then there was the night when Philip's office received a fax from Brazil and, when he phoned to check who sent the order, it was none other than the Rolling Stones. Ronnie and Josephine Wood are big fans of his products and Philip B is a Stones fan. They all became buddies. "I ended up going to seven concerts backstage. We were on the private tour bus and at all the private parties, just hanging out.

"Mick was the only one who kept himself separate. He has his own dressing room. He subscribes to the philosophy that to create more of a demand you have to stay out of the public eye.

"Gwyneth Paltrow was at Barneys ... " He stops. "Should I mention this? What the hell. She says she can't live without my ... dandruff shampoo."

Philip B is unfazed by it all. Sure, he's happy that the stars use his products, flattered when they approach him. But his tale of a hairdresser friend worn out pandering to the stars explains Philip's motivation for making his own product. For the first time, I hear a darker voice.

"These people take your energy and they zap you. They wanna own you and exhaust you when they're in the peak of their career. They don't give a rat's ass whether you have a business, a family or whether someone's dying in your family. It's not about you, it's all about them.

"I've managed to put myself in a bottle and get myself into their everyday lives and get paid for it. So I can go to sleep and not be harassed and harangued and bothered." He spits out the words as he recalls that on-call hell.

Time's up and I almost forgot to ask. What does the B stand for? "Bea-ut-i-ful," he beams back.

* Philip B's hair products are on sale exclusively at Blue Eriu, South William Street, Dublin

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