Arizona hairdresser Philip Ring’s journey from missionary household to successful salon hairdresser to internet sensation has been anything but conventional. The larger than life character regularly creates artistic images and videos which travel from international magazines, to Pinterest and beyond.

The Pixel Project-11

Tragically, the young hairdresser was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer, news that devastated the American hairdressing community, who all rallied together to raise both funds and support. Throughout this battle, Phil’s strength and sense of humour (Instagram photos of bags of nuts should give you an indication of his larrikin personality) have never wavered, with Phil raising awareness about regular check-ups to his tens of thousands of social media followers.

But today we focus on his inspiring work. Phil sat down with Emily Ciardiello, owner, founder and creative director of successful hair supplies business Foil Me, to discuss his rise to success, methodology and one of his more famous techniques – pixelated hair. Here are the highlights.

On his journey in hairdressing:

Phil: It wasn’t until I became a hairdresser; all of a sudden I’m doing YouTube videos and what I had learnt about music played a big part in the audio, visual, photography components. I realised it was all meant to be. My career is built on my social media. Preaching in church taught me how to speak in front of large audiences and I got rid of a lot of anxiety that if I had that, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. Everything I was ‘dabbling in’ in the past comes into play in my career now… they have given me depth.

On his idol, Vidal Sassoon:

Phil: Sassoon showed me how rules can be shown in different shades and applied uniquely to become art; that there is a very real mathematical side to creating in colour.

On the famous pixelated hair technique:


Phil: This starts with my choice to go to Sassoon Academy, we are always taught that hair colour is supposed to go up and down, and now I guess pixelated hair is taking all those ideas and turning them sideways – everything horizontally.

On his methodology:


Phil: I take all the ideas that I have learnt and all the cutting theories and turn them into colouring theories. So I create solid lines by doing the same thing I did when I was cutting solid lines. When you lift things up, they blend, and when you hold things down at where the hair naturally falls, they stay the same and so now I colour hair that way – I lift hair up where I want it to move and I lay hair down and I colour it in its natural shape when I want it to stay looking the way I am painting it or colouring it.

On his advice to young hairdressers:


Phil: Spend money on yourself; become educated. Always take risks and educate yourself. Go broke, forgo your personal decisions and go forwards.

Follow Phil’s journey on Instagram through @phildoeshair