November 29, 2022

Vernon François

More fathers are taking pride in learning how to care for their child’s hair, and we see an increased representation of this in media. For example, Matthew Cherry’s Oscar-winning short film Hair Love beautifully depicted many Black fathers’ journeys while learning to style their daughters’ hair. On Instagram, you’ll discover several hashtags (like #dadsdohairtoo and #dadsdoinghair) highlighting thousands of fathers who are finding joy in taking the lead on their child’s hair care routine.

Ahead of Father’s Day, we asked five dads to reflect on what it’s been like doing their child’s hair. While everyone’s experience is different, they all agree it has been full of precious moments. Below, they opened up about how the haircare ritual has helped strengthen their relationship with their child, their favorite kid-friendly hair products, and their advice for other dads. Keep scrolling for their stories.

Vernon François

Vernon François
VERNON FRANÇOIS/DESIGN BY TIANA CRISPINO


What do you enjoy most about doing your child’s hair? 

It’s a privilege to fill my daughters’ first hair experiences with joy, relaxation, and excitement. It’s the opposite of how I felt about having my hair done as a child—I dreaded it. It’s humbling and something that I never take for granted. But, most importantly, the feelings and memories that we create together are precious.

What are your favorite products to use on your child’s hair? 

Every morning I use Mist Nourishing Water ($12) by Vernon François Haircare to refresh, detangle, and add moisture to my daughter’s hair. I use this as a spray-and-go styler or revive her hairstyle from the day before. It’s made with the purest water with amino acids to help strengthen and protect strands from everyday damage.

My daughter also loves chilling out with a gentle head massage. I do this with a dab of raw coconut oil every couple of days. It can be a relaxing part of the bedtime wind-down routine. In addition to keeping hair moisturized, it softens the scalp, which is especially good when her hair is styled in cornrows, and her delicate skin is exposed to the elements.

For dads wanting to learn how to do their child’s hair, what tips or words of encouragement can you share with them?

It would help if you approached a child’s head of hair with permission, kindness, and patience. If possible, pick a time of day when you’re not pushed for time so that you can break the process into stages. Pause and come back to it if things start getting stressful. Putting some music on can help set a good mood. Involving the child can lead to successful outcomes. Let them touch products, help detangle, or do their toy’s hair at the same time.

What lessons about beauty do you hope to impart to your child?

I want my daughter to know there are many forms of beauty—each is unique to the individual—and while hair is a part of that, it does not define who we are. I want her to feel confident and excited about exploring the beauty and versatility of her hair. She’s already well on her way with that.

I want her to understand and accept the responsibilities around maintenance that go hand in hand with any significant hairstyle decisions she might make in the future. I want her to freely express herself through her hair and not feel like she must wear it in a certain way because of anybody else’s expectations. Most importantly, I want her to shine and be unapologetic about what makes her look and feel beautiful.

Linwood Darkis

Linwood Darkis
LINWOOD DARKIS/DESIGN BY TIANA CRISPINO

What do you enjoy most about doing your child’s hair? 

My oldest daughter is ten-years-old, and I do a lot of braided styles on her. I learned to braid when I was a kid, and I love the creativity it allows me to express, which happens to suit her personality perfectly. Braiding takes time, so we use those moments to chat and bond.

 My youngest daughter is five-years-old, and she’s never been a huge fan of getting her hair done. Even shampooing was initially really scary for her. As a result, doing her hair requires much more patience and empathy. I intentionally use it as bonding time to avoid negative memories attached to tasks like getting her hair done. I never want her to dread getting her hair done. As a result—and with much work—she is more at ease about having her hair done.

What are your favorite products to use on your child’s hair? 

The Giovanni 2chic Ultra Moist Shampoo ($9) and Conditioner ($9) are great for hydration, which is especially necessary for my oldest daughter’s high porosity strands. I also like the Giovanni 2chic Ultra Moist Leave-In Conditioning & Styling Elixir ($9) for my oldest daughter, which helps keep her hair soft and supple. For my youngest, I use Aunt Jackie’s Knot on My Watch ($12). Her hair is very tangle-prone, and this makes detangling a breeze—especially since she is tender-headed.

Bronner Bros Foam Moisturizing Wrapping Lotion ($4) is excellent for little ones that need regular daily touch-ups of their styles. It doesn’t leave any buildup on the hair. Wetline Xtreme Pro Styling Gel ($3) is ideal when you want more hold. It adds definition without flakes like many other gels. It’s alcohol-free and reactivates when you get it wet. I also like the Wet Brush Pro Flex Dry ($21), which helps to detangle without the pain.

For dads wanting to learn how to do their child’s hair, what tips or words of encouragement can you share with them?

The best advice I can give to dads is: Be gentle. Progress is always the goal, not perfection. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People are always willing to share tips, techniques, and what works for their little ones. Keep your little one distracted by talking, giving them a book, or putting on their favorite television show. And always detangle hair from the ends and work your way up, which will save you lots of tears and drama.

What lessons about beauty do you hope to impart to your child?

I hope to teach my daughters that beauty is individual. Hair is just an accessory to express yourself, but your actions, kindness, empathy, and compassion are what adds to your beauty. All of the physical stuff is just creative expression.

Michael Worthington Jr.

Michael Worthington Jr.
MICHAEL WORTHINGTON JR./DESIGN BY TIANA CRISPINO

What do you enjoy most about doing your child’s hair?

I enjoy doing Asia’s hair. She enjoys the different styles I create. She also enjoys picking different looks she may come across on the internet. Sometimes she’ll send me a style that she wants to wear to school, and I try my best to do something similar and add some flavor of my own. Over time it definitely has created an unbreakable bond. Each style and conversation brings us closer.

I try doing Asia’s hair once a week. During this time, the floor is open for discussion, and we can comfortably talk about all sorts of topics. We usually eat snacks together while doing her hair, so it’s a fun activity that has become a family ritual.

What are your favorite products to use on your child’s hair?

I like to try several products on my daughter’s hair. There are no specific products that are my favorite to use yet because each one usually gives you a different outcome. I’ve been doing Asia’s hair for quite some time now, so I have several options to pick from. Someday soon, I hope to have my own hair products.

For dads wanting to learn how to do their child’s hair, what tips or words of encouragement can you share with them?

There’s no right or wrong way to do your child’s hair. As long as they like the style and feel confident, I think it’s a job well done. You will become more comfortable with each style. Ultimately, your kid’s smile and the confidence you’re instilling in them will be worth it in the end.

What lessons about beauty do you hope to impart to your child?

I hope to instill a great level of confidence, encouragement, love, and self-esteem in Asia. I want her to be prepared for the real world and not seek validation from anyone. It’s important to me that she knows every person is beautiful the way they are.

Junior Rivera

Junior Rivera
JUNIOR RIVERA/DESIGN BY TIANA CRISPINO

What do you enjoy most about doing your child’s hair? 

I enjoy my one-on-one conversations with my kids. I especially love seeing my daughter smiling and happy with her hairstyle.

What are your favorite products to use on your child’s hair? 

Our favorite products are from “Just For Me.” I use the Curl Peace 5-In-1 Wonder Spray ($8), Nourishing Hair & Scalp Butter ($8), and Nourishing & Defining Slime Styler ($9). Both of my kids have long, naturally curly hair, and the products help me create styles that last all day.

For dads wanting to learn how to do their child’s hair, what tips or words of encouragement can you share with them?

It takes a lot of patience, but explain to your child that you’re trying. I also recommend giving them snacks or breaks if necessary. There are some tutorials on YouTube and in the Just For Me Facebook group that can help you learn. Most of all, using the right products will make a huge difference in the process.

What lessons about beauty do you hope to impart to your child?

I intend to teach my kids to embrace their natural curls and love themselves first, and let the world adjust. Beauty starts with the person in the mirror liking what they see and knowing that it’s essential to take care of how you show up in this world.

Greg Wickherst

Greg Wickherst
GREG WICKHERST/DESIGN BY TIANA CRISPINO

What do you enjoy most about doing your child’s hair?

What I enjoy most about doing my daughter’s hair is the reaction I get from her when I make her proud. The first time I got a more complicated hairstyle done, one that took longer than usual, my daughter looked in the mirror and said, “You did a good job, Daddy!” At that moment, I realized she was proud of me, and I wanted to do that repeatedly. I think it has brought us closer because she knows it’s not something dads typically do. She knows I have her back.

What are your favorite products to use on your child’s hair?

My favorite product to use is It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Conditioner ($38). It detangles her hair and makes it feel like silk. I have started to use the Lite version, which is not as heavy on her hair. It is a bit pricey, but a tiny bit goes a long way.

For dads wanting to learn how to do their child’s hair, what tips or words of encouragement can you share with them?

I used to worry about making sure the parting lines were perfect, every hair was in place, and everything was impeccable. I was unrealistic. My daughter didn’t care about that stuff. She was just happy I was there and part of her life. So I don’t think it’s about being perfect, but about being present.

What lessons about beauty do you hope to impart to your child?

I hope to teach my daughter that she’s always beautiful if she is kind towards others. You can be the most physically gorgeous person on the planet, but if your actions and words are hurtful or mean, then that’ll show.