Celeb stylist and dad Dean Banowetz talks how and why dads should get involved in doing their daughters' hair.

Deans Daddy Dos Man Styling Little Girls Hair
Credit: Kamy Bruder

Dads—and inexperienced moms—need to get over their fear of their kids’ hair, and Dean Banowetz, author of The Dean's List of Daddy Dos and stylist for shows like Shark Tank, So You Think You Can Dance, and American Idol, offers a plan for tackling hairdos of all ponytail-making skill levels.

Why Dads Should Do Hair

It’s important bonding time. “I always say that as your ponytails get better so will your conversations.”

How He Got Into Hair

Raised on a farm in Iowa as the 13th of 15 children, Banowetz shaved heads for his platoon in the U.S. Army. His brother (No. 12) was the one who suggested he go full-time. “He told me, ‘You used to braid the tails on the cows when you were supposed to be milking them.’ ”

His Coolest Trick

He shows gamers how to braid using cords from a PlayStation 3 (cross the red cable over the yellow, then the white over the red, then the yellow over the white, and so on).

Where Dads Can Start

Go through your toolbox with your child and have her pick out her favorite washers, nuts, and bolts. Get cheap nail polish and a plain barrette. Polish the pieces she selected in different colors, then superglue them to the barrette. Finish the whole thing off with another coat of glittery clear nail polish. “Now she has a super-cute hair accessory that she and her dad made,” Banowetz says. “And every time she wears it, she’ll think of him.”

Keep It From Becoming a Chore

“The whole thing is to get the children involved. If you’re trying to brush out some tangles, I would have a separate brush for your child and have them work on one side while you work on the other side. That sort of camaraderie really helps. You have to make it a fun event instead of one of those tasks that nobody wants to do.”

What Dads Do Best

"I honestly think that dads are at a disadvantage, so they try even harder. When they work on the hair, they’re just really focused, which is what I love."

Parents Magazine