Meet Michael Duenas: the man behind Noah Cyrus' hair

Have you ever wondered how Noah Cyrus gets her hair looking weightless and perfectly texturized? How about Abigail Spender's enviable, tousled waves? Say hello to Michael Duneas, Garnier consultant and the man behind those 'dos. From transforming the humble bobby pin indryto a high fashion accessory to artfully manipulating hair into a texturized dream, Michael's celebrity client list includes the like of Mariah Carey and Modern Family's Ariel Winter. Read on to find out how to create that red carpet worthy fullness in your hair, and how to create Michael's favourite 2 minute hairstyle.  

How did you get started in the beauty industry? Did you always know you wanted to be a hair stylist? 

I got started in the beauty industry from watching 2 friends I surfed with have a schedule I always dreamed of having.  They were able to surf in the mornings and then go to work at a later hour.  I saw that as something I really wanted.  I was 13 at the time, and knew right then and there what I wanted to do for work.

What was your “big break” in the industry?

I think my big break in the industry was when my then agent booked me with Mariah Carey.  After that job, a lot of other doors started opening up, with bigger name clients being open to working with me.

What would you say is your signature as a hair stylist?

I would have to say that my signature as a hairstylist is using bobby pins in a visual way in the hair.  I would call it bobby pin art.  I make them more of a hair accessory instead of keeping them hidden.

What are the most challenging things about your career?

The most challenging part of my career is, never knowing when I am going to work, or when I will have a day off.  It does make it hard to plan things! 

What is the most rewarding thing?

The most rewarding part of my career is that I get to make people look and feel good! I can change a person’s mood or mind sent in a heartbeat.  As well on another note, it is rewarding to know that I will never hit a ceiling in my career, there is always more I can do, and more I can achieve.  So I will never be bored!

Tell us a bit more about what it’s like working as a consultant for Garnier. 

Working with Garnier is like working along side a close friend.  We share a lot of the same views and philosophies about hair.  It is great to know that I have such a great partner in this industry.  I am in a position to bridge the gap between editor, product and consumer.  That is essentially my role with them and I could not ask for anything more, it is a dream!

What has been your most memorable learning experience?

My most memorable learning experience was getting the opportunity to work side by side the hairdresser I had looked up to and followed the most, Orlando Pita.  I will never forget the fashion week shows I was able to work along side him for.  I learned a different finesse with hair and a different work ethic.

Who are some of your favourite clients to work with and why?

Naming some of my favorite clients, now that is a hard question.  I love every moment with every client, and feel lucky that they choose to work with me.  I do however turn into a little kid and fully let my guard down with Noah Cyrus and Tiffani Thiessen.  We are so unbelievably similar in certain respects; it feels like I have known them forever.

What are your fave hair trends at the moment?

I absolutely love the soft airy texture coming back.  It is a slight resurgence of the 70’s, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.  It is all about getting hair to look natural and not forced.

What trends do you foresee for 2018?

Bangs are coming back, choppy textured bangs that look natural and not forced. Soft workable texture throughout the hair. Bobs, long short medium, you name it, we will be seeing it!

Any styling secrets for those at home?

To get that perfect air texture in your hair, with hold and no sticky feeling, apply hairspray to wet hair, and then dry shampoo on top of it.  You will love the feeling and fullness it gives you.

What’s your ultimate go-to “2 minute” hairstyle on a busy day?

A knotted topknot is my go to 2 minute hairstyle.  Pull your hair up to the top of your head, gather it into a high pony, split the pony in half and tie one half into a knot, pin it to the side so the knot stays, and then tie the other half into a knot.  Combine both sections into one by tying it, and pin!

What is your favourite way to use hair extensions?

I love using hair extensions for fullness, It is a simple no fuss way to get dream hair, that looks like you constantly have wind blowing volume into it.  Can’t forget faux bangs though, I utilize those constantly!

What is your number one must have hair accessory?

My number one hair accessory is bobby pins.  You can create almost anything with them, as well as create jewelry like pieces in the hair. They are so versatile.

Who is your favourite hair stylist at the moment or someone you would like to work with?

I can’t say that I particularly have a favorite stylist at the moment.  I am overwhelmed with the creativity of the hairdresser community.  So many amazing stylists are making a name for them selves and being recognized.  I just love the opportunity to work side by side with any stylist, as I am usually the only hairdresser on set.

You also are a talented photographer - can you tell us a bit more about what it is about photography that you are drawn to?

There is something amazing about capturing a fleeting moment in time.  It looks gorgeous in that moment and its gone.  Photography lets you capture that moment for eternity, as well as it lets you put an entirely different perspective on it.  It is a form of art like no other, and frees you from traditional creativity.  Some shots land in your lap, others push you to the brink of exhaustion.

Who is your dream client?

Oddly enough, I do not have a dream client.  I just want to work with as many people as I can, and build relationships daily.  I feel so lucky I get to do what I do and who I do it with, that every opportunity that comes my way is truly a dream.

Who is your “hair muse?”

Right now, I would have to say Noah Cyrus.  She lets me put texture in her hair like no one else!

What advice do you have for any newbies starting off in the industry?

Except for a handful of people, nothing falls into your lap.  It takes a lot of hard work, practice and dedication to perfect your craft.  There are no short cuts or easy ways to go about reaching your goals or dreams.  Decide where you want to be in life and work harder than you think you need to, to reach your goal.

What’s next for you?

My next goal has nothing to do with furthering my career, but it is to focus on raising my daughter Saylor! She is 2 months old and has given me an entirely new perspective on life.

-As told to Luxy Hair

All photos courtesy of Michael Duenas, Lens of Michael Duenas, and Tomlinson Group

Posted by
Azra Kassam

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