Hairstylist Michael Dueñas on How to Create Noah Cyrus' iHeart Radio Awards Performance Hair: Exclusive

Labrinth and Noah Cyrus perform at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards at The Forum on March 5, 2017 in Inglewood, Calif.
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Labrinth and Noah Cyrus perform at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards at The Forum on March 5, 2017 in Inglewood, Calif. 

When deciding his career, Michael Dueñas wanted two things: creative freedom and very little time spent in an office. He got just that eight years ago when he created Hair Room Service, a mobile beauty service in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orange County, California. Moving from state to state, Dueñas serves a wide range of clients, including Beyoncé and Lady Gaga, for a variety of photo shoots and events. 

Noah Cyrus and Dueñas connected through a test run set up by his agency. After clicking in both style and personality, the two became fast friends, creating many of Cyrus' wispy banged looks, including the high ponytail she wore during her performance of "Make Me (Cry)" with Labrinth at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on March 5. Billboard caught up with Dueñas to discuss the performance-ready look and what it's like working with Cyrus. 


A post shared by Michael Dueñas (@michaelduenas) on

What's it like working with Noah?

We have a great relationship! Just like all my other friends, we can be sarcastic and joke with each other. She knows what she wants, and also trusts me completely when I say we should do something. 

How did you come up with the iHeartRadio performance look?

I saw her outfit a few days before so I was able to think about what we wanted to do. We were definitely going to keep her hair off her face. When I put in the extension piece for her top knot she wore on the red carpet [at the iHeartRadio Music Awards], we both said we should do a ponytail for her performance.


A post shared by NC (@noahcyrus) on

How did you create the look?

I first had to blow dry and smooth out her hair using Garnier Fructis Smooth Blow Dry, and flat iron the hair using Garnier Fructis Flat Iron Perfector.  Then I brushed all the hair back and secured into a tight ponytail. I pulled out hair around her face to add softness. Then I took the extension piece and wrapped it tightly around the elastic and secured with a few pins. Finally, I flat ironed all the hair together and added wave her bangs, finishing the look off with R+Co Outerspace Hairspray and Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray. It took us approximately 45 minutes to create the look.


Now that is a ponytail! @noahcyrus killing it! #iheartradioawards #iheartradio

A post shared by Michael Dueñas (@michaelduenas) on

What was it like seeing Noah up on stage with your look?

Honestly, I was more excited and proud of her nailing her performance than I was to see my hairstyle up there. She just did so well!

What's the difference between prepping hair for the red carpet versus performance?

Time. Even the simplest looks take longer for performance. Everything has to be perfect. You have to layer products to make the style last, essentially, forever, but make sure it still looks touchable. It's tough to keep hair in shape when you have to factor in sweat, heat and movement. 

What's a tip you have for creating the perfect high pony?

Always look up with your eyes at the ceiling when securing your hair into the elastic. This pulls the hair much tighter at the nape of the neck when the head comes back down. That way, you will never have a baggy ponytail. 


A post shared by NC (@noahcyrus) on



The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.