With this new series, my intention is to help foster and nurture an open and profound bond between father and daughter, one that transcends the awkwardness of puberty. (I wrote about it in more detail here.)
And in that spirit, I’ve agreed that once a week I will answer – honestly – any question my husband puts to me.
So, here’s what hubby has come up with for me this week…
Hubby: We have a daughter, she has hair – granted, it’s currently quite sparse, but it’s doing what hair’s supposed to do (you can wipe that smirk off your face), and growing all the time. So my question is: what am I supposed to do with it?! On the off-chance there’s an occasion that you’re not around (I don’t mean anything morbid, more like if you’re out on the razzle dazzle or something) – I’ve no idea about all that gumf you put on your hair. Or how to style it!
Me: Good question! I’m impressed; and I know you’ll take great joy in plaiting it once you’ve mastered the art – presuming you don’t become overwhelmed with hair-envy, of course… ?
Here are some of the different aspects you need to know about:
I’d hope you have some idea about this from your teens, but just in case… Hair can be dry, normal, or greasy. It can also be fine or coarse. For the purposes of our family, you need only concern yourself with fine, normal to greasy hair. (I’d love to help out dads of children with other types, but honestly – I’d be making it up. I wouldn’t know which products to recommend, so I’m not going to pretend. I can only point you in the right direction: your wife or Google are probably your best bets!)
I currently use the well-known and much-loved brand of shampoo that promises not to sting delicate little eyes, which is perfectly sufficient for Pixie at the moment, and will be for quite some time to come.
As she matures and reaches a certain age, however, she’s likely to start suffering with the dreaded grease… At that point she’ll require shampoo designed to specifically for that issue. Fear not, it will be labelled accordingly.
Sadly, our little girl is clearly going to inherit another annoying issue with her locks too: fine, flyaway hair. In the past couple of years, I’ve discovered a quite superb product which works well – it gives my roots (limited) lift and doesn’t weigh it down. Hurrah! The rather wonderful brand I use is L’Oreal Elvive Fibrology. It’s been a game-changer for me – and the one time ever that the over-enthusiasm of an actress has been vaguely mirrored my own reaction to a product.
N.B. Once she starts using more than just baby products, always shampoo and condition.
A few months ago, I came out of the swimming pool and, watching a clueless dad dragging a brush through his daughter’s wet hair, I wanted to cry. She was so young and he was really hurting her – and I was very tempted to intervene. I wish in those types of circumstances I was a little braver – he may have even been grateful for the help! And his daughter certainly would have been.
So this may seem pretty obvious, but just in case: if hair is knotty, start brushing through the ends and work your way up as the knots are removed. Never drag the brush from the roots to the ends – it really hurts and damages the hair.
Just to complicate matters, there are a wide variety of hairbrushes available. Unless something terrible happens to me, I’ll make the purchase myself anyway. But again, just in case – because you never know, do you? (Think of this as insurance for if I’m not around. Also insurance against tempting fate. Is that weird? I don’t mind being weird – better safe than sorry.)
Just buy the gentlest brush you can find. In fact, use this test:
If it doesn’t hurt your follicley-challenged head, then it should be perfectly fine.
Towel dry first and then use a hair dryer. Tip her head upside down to encourage body and use your fingers to completely dry the roots off. Then sit her back up and lift and dry the hair in sections using the brush. I use a product to prevent heat damage, and of all the ones I’ve tried, Mythic Oil is my fave. It leaves hair soft, but again, it doesn’t weigh it down. It’s perfect for our hair type but may not suit others.
For simplicity, I’ll just explain the basics here:
No explanation required (I hope).
Pigtails or Bunches
As above, but with one each side of the head. Use a comb to divide the hair evenly from the forehead to the nape. Try not to create a wonky parting as we will be judged on the neatness of our daughter’s hair. (I may be joking, I’m not sure – we’ve not reached that stage yet. But honestly, if I see a little one with a rubbish parting I do tend to wonder why their parent didn’t spare an extra thirty seconds to making it straight!)
Start at the top of the head and divide into three; you only need to worry about the hair you can easily pick up at the roots. I’m assuming you know how to create a plait (left over centre, right over centre, repeat. Repeat. Repeat.) Continue picking up more hair as you work your way down past the crown and towards the neck. You can either secure with a band at the nape, or continue plaiting through the lengths.
I’ve already covered shampoo, conditioner, and heat protector. These are really all you need to worry about at this stage – anything more is a want than a necessity (in fairness, there are many people in the world who get by without the products I’ve described too…)
By the time we reach the stage of coveted luxuries, Pixie will be quite capable of looking after her own hair!
Ah, I’m actually quite excited by this prospect – our little poppet was born such a baldy, at 19 months she still doesn’t have enough hair even for an adorable hair slide! However, it won’t be long now: the beautiful, tiny curls beginning to form at the back will soon take a little clip.
Here’s what you need to know:
Clips and slides
To pretty up plain styles, to hold hair off the face, or to neaten up any strands too short to be tied back in a ponytail.
Ensure you only ever use the covered elastics, without any metal parts. Anything else will damage her fragile hair.
Padded Alice Bands
No. It’s no longer the nineties and these are not acceptable for our daughter; don’t concern yourself with them.
Again, anything beyond these basics is not necessary for a small child.
There you have it, a comprehensive-ish list of all you need to know about a little girl’s hair! Of course, she may have other ideas as she grows up and the latest trends become immediately, vitally essential!
Like this? You can check out more of my hubby’s ponderings (and my attempts to answer them) here.