Daddy's beauty parlor: How to do your daughter's hair

When your wife is out of town, doing your daughter's hair may be daunting. Be prepared for success by learning how to do simple hairstyles. Who knows, you might even be good at it.

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  • What’s the worst thing about your wife being out of town? Having to do your daughter’s hair! My husband knows this terror all too well, as we have three daughters. He does try, but keeping baby fine hair tangle-free and out of the face is hard for the inexperienced. In the photos he texts me the girls look happy, yet slightly bedraggled. Dads, summon the courage to channel your inner hairdresser and make your wife proud. You can do your daughter’s hair. Here are some tips to coif your little princess.

  • Begin by brushing

  • Getting rid of bed head is the first step. Take a brush or comb and gently remove all tangles. If you need to distract your daughter, let her watch a show or read a book. You can also try telling a story. If you can’t do anything else, at least do this.

  • Grab a spray bottle

  • I find it easier to put in ponytails and clips when hair is slightly damp. If your daughter is used to this, lightly mist her hair all over, or on the part you’re working with, and then comb the water through. Most people have a natural part in their hair. Keeping her natural part as you style her hair will make it easier.

  • Slip in a clip

  • Clipping back bangs or the hair that falls in her eyes is a very simple way to do your daughter’s hair. Unfortunately, most clips will not stay in for the entire day. If you choose this method be prepared to re-clip.

  • Head off trouble

  • For older girls (3 and up), a headband is a good option. It keeps hair out of the face and is easy to put in. Comb or brush hair back from the face and put the headband on, sliding it over her forehead and behind her ears. Slightly damp hair will hold better, and consider spraying the hair with hairspray to discourage flyaways.

  • Practice the ponytail

  • Hair elastics are a dad’s worst nightmare. You will need to practice with them. I find the plastic Ouchless kind work best for younger girls. Have your wife or another experienced hairdresser to show you how to use them, and expect to try a few times to get it right. Use a comb to section off the hair you want to pull back. Pigtails (two ponytails on the sides of the head) often stay in better than one ponytail. A common and easy hairstyle for a toddler is one ponytail on the top of the head, which keeps hair out of the eyes.

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  • Watch a tutorial

  • YouTube has a wealth of information. Tutorials like this one are geared toward helping dads with simple hairstyles. Watch first before you attempt one, as your daughter might not have the patience to sit through too much trial and error.

  • Go pro

  • You might find that doing hair is easy and maybe even fun. If so, try braids, twists or multiple ponytails. You daughter might enjoy adding clips or ribbons. Curling irons are recommended only for the most experienced dads.

  • If all else fails, cheat

  • When I was a teenager my neighbor brought his daughters over so I could do their hair one morning before church while their mom was out of town. I thought it silly at the time, but now I realize how resourceful he was. If you have a favorite babysitter or neighbor with hairstyling skills, don't be afraid to ask for help.

  • The next time your wife takes a day or two off, take charge of hairstyling. Ask your daughter to come to daddy’s beauty parlor and see how it goes. If your hairstyling attempts aren’t perfect, don’t worry. What matters is you tried, and mom will be home before you know it.

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Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.

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