I’m quite bullish about my belief that gestation and lactation are the only things men cannot do as parents. I do however, recognise there are skills that have to be learned. If you are a father with daughters, hair care and hair styling are probably two of them.
For many men it’s uncharted territory. The majority of us have never had shoulder length hair. Looking after someone else’s long hair is entirely foreign to us.
In the interests of equality, yes, there are skills that mothers of sons have to learn. I know of a mother who had to seek the advice of male relatives in relation to looking after her young son’s penis (but we’ll leave that story for another time).
A little while ago my daughter was having a play date with one of her friends. Her mum and I were chatting about swimming and mum made a simple remark; “I find it’s best to put a French plait in Holly’s hair before she goes swimming.”
I think the blank look on my face said it all. I had no idea what a French plait was. When I thought about it, I’d never even attempted to plait my daughter’s hair and she was forever accusing me of failing to remove the knots from her beautiful, shoulder-length locks.
I resolved to learn more about girls’ hair and what I should be doing to look after both my children’s hair (in the case of baby Elizabeth, there isn’t much to look after, but she’ll get there eventually). I’ve spent some time trawling the Internet looking for hints and tips.
I present a few of my favourites here. If you have any more then please do leave a comment. Trust me, any advice will be very gratefully received!
Use a comb, and accessories
This is a great, very simple video put together by a dad facing the same issues as I do. I shall probably come across as a complete oaf for admitting this, but it had never occurred to me that a comb could be used to define my child’s hair parting. I’d always relied on a hair brush. Also, check out the crochet doo dah thingy that Mindy uses. I want one.
Use detangling shampoo
My daughter’s life changed for the better when my wife introduced me to this stuff. I’ve learned that the trick is to work the shampoo into the hair really well and leave it in for several minutes. Wash it out too soon and it just doesn’t do the job. Believe it or not, I’ve heard that some of this shampoo is based on detangling hair spray for horses! If you’re interested in the science, here’s how detangling shampoo works.
How to plait hair
This should be simple but I still have a way to go to perfect my plaiting (braiding) technique. I’ve watched numerous YouTube videos on this subject and the one common theme is spraying the hair with water before starting to plait it. This will stop stragglers breaking away from the plaits and make the job easier. This video demonstrates the whole process very simply and the father involved claims it was the first time he’d ever plaited his daughter’s hair. Damn it, he even finished the plait off with a ribbon which seriously puts me to shame.
What not to do
I shall finish off with a video I came across demonstrating how not to look after your child’s hair, although the schoolboy in me did find it very funny. Watch and be amazed as this dad creates a perfect pony tail using nothing more than a hair band. Oh, yes, and a vacuum cleaner.