How This Salon Owner Caught the Eye of Queen Elizabeth

Patrick Cameron, hairdresser and award-winning educator, was recently awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2022 Birthday Honours List. The native New Zealander, who has been based in London since 1987, was recognized for his extraordinary work during the COVID-19 pandemic, when he began his popular Education in Isolation series on YouTube.

With a career spanning more than 40 years, Cameron was already well-known throughout the hairdressing world for his exceptional long hair work and unique educational skills, which he’s been honing since the 1980s when he was one of Wella’s global ambassadors. American Salon contributor Emily Goldfischer chats Cameron about what inspired him to start the videos and trends he sees coming up.

What inspired you to create Education in Isolation on YouTube?

I felt many people were very isolated and felt lost when lockdown happened, so I thought I could create an outreach digital show that hairdressers might enjoy. It was designed to say “Hi, I’m here, and let's use our superpower of being creative to lift us all out of the dark." So, in March 2020 Education in Isolation was born. My digital show went out to over 300,000 hairdressers around the world and still continues today every Monday evening 8pm GMT on Facebook and Instagram on Patrick Cameron Hair.

I had to learn a whole new skill-set, from filming, editing, and voiceover, and learn how different social media platforms work. My digital work is now a major part of my life; whenever I travel my studio set up now comes with me, including lights, backdrop and everything I need. It’s important for me to stay true to my brand and offer great education, so being consistent is important. I would hate to be called an influencer but I am proud to be an educator. 

How many videos did you post during the pandemic?

Since March 2020 I have created 250 to 300 videos—my digital content is massive. I produce at least four educational videos a week for Facebook, Instagram Reels and TikTok. Each style I create must be disseminated to four video formats.

I have a members club, AAA [Access All Areas, at where people can view over 300 long hairstyles. It's living and breathing with new content almost weekly. We are looking at what our members want and we are about to look at creating live events, especially for them.

What was your biggest learning from creating educational videos?
Don't give everything away for free. This is now my life—with physical shows and seminars being more infrequent, my digital platform is now the window into Patrick Cameron's education, so it’s very important to get it right.

Are you still doing videos?
Yes!  And loving doing it—the feedback I get is brilliant.

Now that the pandemic is (hopefully) well behind us, what trends do you see coming up?
COVID will never be gone—we will just all learn to live with it, much like we do now. I see hairdressing education remaining a mixture of both physical and digital, as it is now.

The trend I see from at chair is "client entitlement"—demanding things they see on social media, so hairstyles that are accessible are very important.

My hairstyle trend predictions are soft-casual, simple braids and smaller elegant lower looks onto the neck—and let’s not forget ponytail power, both sleek and messy.