Michael and Darlene were also popular on the convention circuit, participating in hairdressing events in Toronto, New York and Chicago. The couple taught advanced styling classes, presided over hairdressing exams, judged hair competitions across North America and trained dozens of apprentices. Michael alone trained 65 stylists. “The vast majority of those individuals went on to be very successful,” says Michael proudly. By 2010, however, Michael was ready to slow down and let someone else take over. “Every dog has its day,” he says. “Isn’t that how the saying goes?” With new owners came new ideas, a new look and eventually, a new name: Lux Salon and Spa. As for Michael, he’s happy to be doing what he loves: hair. “I rent a chair and work about three and a half days a week,” he says. “I love it.” Meanwhile, current Lux owner Sarah Balega is thrilled for the chance to work alongside the legendary stylist. “I feel so privileged to watch Michael work,” says Sarah, who bought Lux this past June. “I catch myself sneaking glances over there while he’s working and marveling at what he can make hair do.” “It’s incredible,” she says. “With the 70s styles coming back into fashion, there’s no doubt in my mind that Michael could still do runway work if he wanted to.” Remarkably, after nearly 49 years in business, Michael still takes courses annually.
(Above) Lux Salon and Spa offers a full range of hairstyling and esthetics services, including sugaring and waxing. The salon also carries the Eminence Organics line.
“I like to stay current and bring new ideas back,” he says. “Continuing education is so important in our industry, and Michael sets a great example for the younger staff here,” says Sarah. “He knows so much, and yet he still has that drive to learn and improve.” Equally impressive is Michael’s heartwarming devotion to his customers—many of whom have
been with him for decades. “He takes such good care of his clients,” she explains. “He brings them chocolate or a coffee when they’re under the dryer, and even picks them up for appointments when they aren’t able to drive anymore.” “They’re like my family,” says Michael with a twinkle in his eye. “It’s what I’d want someone to do for me.”
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