The secret to The Queen’s hair: she never had a blow dry

Words by
Lisa Barnard
Photography by
By permission @Linocarbosiero Instagram

21st September 2022

In a new commemorative publication from Illustrated London News, The Illustrated Queen Elizabeth, together with rare archive images, new stories emerge. Hairdresser Lino Carbosiero MBE shares his tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and reveals one luxury Her Majesty missed out on throughout her life – a blow dry.

The Illustrated Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Edition Tribute Queen Elizabeth II
The commemorative magazine published by Illustrated London News

Our special commemorative edition is published on 23 September 2022 as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II by Illustrated London News (ILN), the parent company of SPHERE. In addition to rare archive material, tributes to The Queen and our lead article by the royal commentator and author Robert Hardman, The Illustrated Queen Elizabeth includes priceless anecdotes from hairdresser Lino Carbosiero MBE of Daniel Galvin. Our publication's distinction is the rich archive material, combined with some new gems, such as Lino's hair-raising experiences at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.

A personal tribute to The Queen from the hairdresser on standby

Lino Carbosiero has stood in for The Queen’s appointed hairdresser, Ian Carmichael, on the rare occasions he was not available. He was put forward by Angela Kelly, the Queen's Senior Dresser, and a client of Lino's. We are now able to mention this connection  – previously it was "Ma'am's the word". The Queen's hairstyle was distinctive, and it's astonishing she didn't have a proper blow-dry over the years. 

In his day job, Lino tends the locks of his A-list celebrity clients – over the years from Adele to Paul McCartney to Sharon and Kelly Osbourne to the late Helen McCrory, and the Queen’s 12th Prime Minister, David Cameron and his wife Samantha, with Lino making regular visits to Downing Street.

So I'm feeling a little proud that my own locks have been tended by the hairdresser, who has tended the Queen's locks, and he even shampooed those sovereign locks, which caused him a degree of panic. He is also special to me as we were born on the same day of the same year (such year not to be revealed). But more to the point, Lino makes everybody's hair look wonderful, no matter if you are Queen, Adele or a humble, unknown working commoner, such as me. He makes us all feel like queens.

Her Majesty deserves a blow dry in heaven.

The Queen visited The Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospital in London in February 2020
Shortly after Lino Carbosiero did the Queen's hair for the first time, Her Majesty visited The Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospital in London
My interview with Lino Carbosiero MBE

“The first time I cut Her Majesty’s hair, I had received a phone call from Angela Kelly [Senior Dresser to Queen Elizabeth] asking if I’d be able to come to Buckingham Palace at short notice. Ian Carmichael, The Queen’s longstanding appointed hairdresser, was unable to attend and I was on standby as his backup. He’s a true gentleman and he briefed me immaculately.

"I had never done the Queen’s hair before. I was then called back a few more times to Windsor Castle, including when Ian had Covid. You might presume that the Queen has a hair salon in her castle, but no. She had a simple stand-up attachment to a sink, where you can sit back and have your hair washed. I always have an assistant who shampoos my clients’ hair in the salon, so that in itself was stressful —  the first person I shampooed in 42 years was The Queen. I had soapsuds and water everywhere and I thought I might flood the Palace. She knew I’d made a mess, including on her carpet, but she didn’t bat an eyelid and was very sweet to me.

"What was amazing was that you’re in her private chamber — somewhere not even the staff that work there get to see. It was in the bathroom that Queen Victoria would have used back in the 1800s."

Tribute Queen Elizabeth II by Lino Carbosiero MBE hairdresser on standby to Her Majesty
Lino Carbosiero MBE, hairdresser on standby to The Queen, refrained from giving Her Majesty her first blow-dry

“There are two moments that really stand out for me from those visits. After shampooing her hair, we left through the bathroom door and she suddenly stopped in her tracks. Luckily, I didn’t crash into Her Majesty from behind. She swung her arm behind the wall and without looking, switched the light off and then she carried on through to her dressing room. It was such a simple movement, but it made me think: ‘Wow, you are The Queen, yet you still have the presence of mind to not waste electricity whenever possible.’ I said to her: ‘I wish my children would switch off their lights like you do.’ This was well before the current energy crisis. It goes to show the type of person she was.

Lino Carbosiero with Angela Kelly, Senior Dresser to the Queen, Tribute Queen Elizabeth II
Lino Carbosiero MBE with Angela Kelly Senior Dresser to The Queen - the introducer

“The second occasion was when she commented that not many people nowadays can do her style of hair. I agreed. I said I was pushing for youngsters to learn the old techniques. And then she asked: ‘What do you think about blow-drying?’ And I replied: ‘I love blow-drying.’ Then she said: ‘Well, I’ve never had a blow-dry. What do you think about trying it on me?’ This was in 2022 — this year. I said: ‘Ma’am, I’d love to give you a blow-dry, I absolutely would. But you’ve had your hair a certain way for so long. And besides, if I blow-dried your hair, they would have to change all the stamps.’ She laughed, and I sensed she found it very amusing, while I carried on doing her hair.

“I can say that as a hairdresser, you have an intimacy with your client that I don’t think anyone other than doctors or dentists have. Most people who meet The Queen would at most shake her hand. On my first visit not only did I shake her hand and bow, but then the next minute I’m shampooing her with her head back in a basin. It was a surreal experience.

Lino Carbosiero MBE with Harriet Walter Tribute Queen Elizabeth II
Lino Carbosiero with Dame Harriet Walter
Lino Carbosiero and Adele
Lino Carbosiero gives Adele a trim
Hairdresser Lino Carbosiero and Hillary Clinton
Lino Carbosiero and Hillary Clinton

“I’ve had the most incredible career, working with some of the world’s A-list actors, sports personalities and politicians, but no one could ever come close to The Queen. She was everything.”

The Illustrated Queen Elizabeth is on sale from 23 September at Sainsbury, M&S, Tesco, Morrison and independent retailers in the U.K. and at Barnes & Noble in U.S. It is available to order online at Or further information [email protected]

Lino Carbosiero and Sir Paul McCartney
Lino Carbosiero and Sir Paul McCartney
Lino Carbosiero and David Cameron former Prime Minister ,Tribute Queen Elizabeth II
Lino Carbosiero and David Cameron, the 12th Prime Minister appointed by Queen Elizabeth
Lino Carbosiero with the late Helen McCrory
Lino Carbosiero with the late, wonderful Helen McCrory
Lino Carbosiero and Sharon Osbourne
Lino Carbosiero and Sharon Osbourne
Hairdresser Lino Carbosiero and Kelly Osbourne
Lino Carbosiero and Kelly Osbourne
Lino Carbosiero and Zara Tindall
Lino Carbosiero and Zara Tindall