First he wanted to be a veterinarian. Then a surfer. But after observing how picky his Cuban mother was about her hair—and realizing he loved his stint as a salon receptionist—a young Michael Dueñas decided to pursue hairstyling. Today Dueñas, 36, lives in Los Angeles and splits his time between editorial shoots, fashion shows, celebrity-styling gigs, and Hair Room Service, a mobile salon he founded five years ago. “Back then, only celebrities could get pro beauty services at home,” he says of his business, which is available in New York City, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. “I capitalized on that need.” Here Dueñas (who, by the way, still loves to surf) reflects on the career lessons he picked up along the way.

1. You get only one shot. “My mother raised my brother and me to get things right the first time. That Hispanic-parenting thing of motivating with a little fear has really influenced my work ethic.”

2. Keep your cubanos close. “On a beauty set [for a photo shoot], Cubans tend to migrate toward each other. This commonality helps us bond.”

3. Stay grounded. “Never let your ego get the best of you. Keep pushing and forging your own path.”

His Power Products:
It doesn’t matter how intricate the style, according to Dueñas he can create any look with these three go-tos. (Follow him on Instagram @michaelduenas to see how he uses them.)

Unite GO365 Hairspray:

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray:

Schwarzkopf Professional OSiS+ Mess Up:


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