Most guys would rather do anything else than read about hair styling, but if you've got a daughter, hair can be an important issue. Hair is generally seen as a sign of beauty for females, and this is impressed upon girls at a very young age-whenever they get a new haircut or wear a cute barrette, everyone tells them how pretty they look, so they start caring about their hair pretty early on. Plus, girls usually wear their hair longer, so at a minimum, your daughter's hair needs to be brushed through and styled in a way that keeps it out of her face (and the fingerpaints). So before we get to the issue of styling, here are a few pointers on brushing and combing long hair.
- Wet hair: Comb through her hair as soon as possible after you wash it (and use a comb, not a brush). Once the hair starts to air-dry, it's harder to comb out the tangles. For girls with thick or very long hair, avoid tears with using conditioner or some spray-on detangler-you can get it at most drugstores or kids' hair salons. Also, for thicker hair, a wide-tooth comb works best.
- Dry hair: If you're facing a serious case of bedhead, you need to work through those tangles with care. Take a handful of hair and hold it at the top, near her scalp, then use a comb to pick through the snarls. (It may be tempting to just yank through the tangles, but that technique hurts. A lot.) When all the tangles are out, give her whole head a once-over with the comb or brush.While a quick brush-through and a barrette are sometimes enough, especially when you're late for school, you will occasionally be called upon to perform a little more artistry. Here are a few basic hairstyles for little girls, from easiest to hardest, and how to create them. (Note: Be sure to use elastics made for use on hair-you can get small ones designed for kids. But NEVER use a regular rubber band, or it will take scissors to get it out.)
- Ponytail: Scoop up all of her hair with one hand, and with the other, comb through the hair on the top and sides of her head to smooth it out. You can make a low ponytail at the back of her neck, a high ponytail up at the crown of her head, or something in between. Then wrap an elastic around the hair. Put a ribbon or scrunchie around the elastic if she wants to look fancy. Once you've mastered that, you can also do a partial ponytail, where you just use the hair on top of her head and pull it back.
- Pigtails: Pigtails are just two ponytails, on either side of the head. Begin by parting the hair into two sections. You do this by taking a comb, placing the tip at the top of the back of her head, and drawing a straight line down to her neck; make sure the part is straight and centered. Wrap each section of hair in an elastic, a little bit behind the ear, at whatever height she likes. When you're done, look at her from the front to make sure the pigtails are at about the same place on each side.
- Braids: Braiding seems hard at first, but after you've done it a few times, it gets easy-it's just a matter of getting the pattern down. Divide the hair into three even sections. Take the right section and cross it over the center section. Then take the left section and cross it over the center section (which was formerly the right section). Keep alternating, crossing the right and left sections over the center section, tightening the braid as you go until you're a couple inches from the end of the hair. Secure it with an elastic. Check out this video to see how it's done. You can also make braid pigtails, parting the hair as described above and braiding each section separately.
- French braids: Don't even try this until you've got regular braiding down pat. French braiding is a little more difficult, and requires a degree of manual dexterity, but little girls just love to have their hair French braided because it looks so pretty. You start by gathering a small section of hair at the crown of her head, and dividing that section into three. Then criss-cross each side section over the center section as described above, but the trick is that before you cross a side section, you add a little more hair to that section. It's not easy at first, but it's also not as hard as it sounds-and probably easier to understand if you see it.