Kansas-born in 1960 and corn-fed growing up, Baker had no clue where he would go or end up…but he knew deep in his heart that there was a bigger world out there than the flat lands and blue skies of Kansas.

At a young age, he argued with the local barbers about their methods for cutting his hair, asking them, “Why would you do that?” until most barbers in town wouldn’t cut his hair anymore. So, off to the beauty salons he went, asking, “Can you fix this?”

By the time high school ended for Baker, most of the good salons in town refused to cut his hair because he was so picky. He thought, “Maybe I should go to beauty school, I can do this better than they can…besides, that’s where all the girls are in the daytime.”

That’s how this all started…

Baker spent his first five years working behind the chair in Wichita, Kansas, learning how important it is to see your own work in a photograph. With the help of his mentors Richard and Patty Walters, he developed an eye for the difference between good and great. He later became a salon owner.

Michael BakerAlways taking classes to better himself, Baker met Dwight Miller (Creative Director of Zotos) who noticed something unique in Baker and invited him to be a platform artist and travel around the world. With the advent of music videos, Baker moved to Chicago to learn editorial hairdressing for fashion advertising. With hopes of working one day in New York City, he connected with an up-and-coming director named Jim Sonzero who talked him into making the move. In New York, Baker landed an apprentice job with Christiaan, one of the top editorial hairdressers of our times. These connections, including Baker’s friendship with makeup artist Sonia K., started opening the many doors of his career. Magazine work included Italian Vogue, W, Allure, Elle, Interview, and Vogue.

After five years in N.Y. working with the real 1980s super models, Los Angeles came calling: Hollywood, movies, big music videos, and celebrities living in the Hills. His client list: Jennifer Lopez, Stevie Nicks, Marisa Tomei, Johnny Depp, Don Henley, Brad Pitt, Billy Idol, Robert Palmer, R.E.M., Tom Petty and Janet Jackson, just to name a few. He worked with directors as well: Michael Bay, David Fycher, Gore Verbinksi, Julian Temple, and Jake Scott.

When his L.A. days were over, he turned in his freelance lifestyle to be a working man behind the chair as a Colorist and Creative Director for Van Michael Salons in Miami Beach, then Atlanta, re-involving him in the beauty industry. He is now a four-time nominee for the North American Hairstylist Awards and currently the Creative Director of Neill, Family of Businesses.

Author, 5×5: The Stage

This educational session brings about a new way of thinking—looking at every client as a new performance at your station.  Baker has taught this session across the country to hundreds of students and hairdressers.

Founder, Second Hand Scissor Project

Master hairdressers pass on or “cut forward” a personal pair of scissors with the story behind it to young hairdressers.


Inventor, De-Bulker

Inventor and Founder of the De-Bulker—a texturizing trimmer and a whole new way to create hair art.