My name is Scott Cooper, and I'm from Glasgow. I've been hairdressing for nearly 40 years, and growing up, my mother was also a trained hairdresser. When we decided it was time to start a family, I really only wanted girls, and I was blessed with three! My reasoning was that I was good with hair, so I thought this would translate into a superpower for my daughters. How wrong was I? When you become a parent, even though everyone warns you, there’s no way you're prepared. I was so sure I would be fit and healthy. I'd never eat McDonald's; we would cook fresh and always eat organic. But the reality is that life gets in the way. Between work, school runs, and everything else that comes with being a parent, it's not always possible to stick to your ideals.
My wife and I both have curly hair, so all three of my kids do too. I remember the shock at them losing their baby hair...all at different rates! Mya, ended up with bald spots. Bailie, the next one, had an actual mohawk! By the time the third one came along, Io, the other two were actually able to help. This was lucky! Their hair grew back, of course, with a vengeance...my girls have a lot of hair!
So here are some tips for parents: make bath time fun. My kids had no idea how good a hairdresser I was, and that was a slap to my ego. Telling my 2 and 3-year-old about my vast wealth of experience didn't stop the tantrums at bath/hair time (to be clear, these were my tantrums). iPads or iPhones are amazing distractions to allow me to get them to sit still.
My go-to is a soft bristle wet brush; I like the Tangle Tamer types. Always hold the hair at the root with your hands to avoid tugging on the scalp, then work from ends gently to roots. Always make it fun and remember that kids don't care what others think, so don't plant that seed. Oh, and if possible, avoid strong baby shampoos! It used to be that the focus was on nothing too stingy on the eyes, but it played havoc with hair condition. Another thing I would recommend is if your kids are swimmers, start them with swimming caps ASAP as chlorinated hair can be so troublesome.
Get colourful clips to hold the hair off or away from their face. Soft band ties for hair made from nylon (the same material as tights) are better for the hair. A simple ponytail (check YouTube for tutorials) can be a game-changer for sports and other activities. And also - learn how to do a simple plait. It's a great way to keep detangled hair neat and tidy.
So here’s the thing: as much as I do hair every day, quite quickly I realised that my idea of fashion and what my kids thought, were often poles apart. How quickly they have opinions and thoughts of their own. Thank goodness for online resources. Cartoon characters, the latest pop sensation, and those pesky YouTubers were now influencing me, and yes, eventually I became redundant as they grew in confidence and ability. That's life, I guess.
In conclusion, doing my daughters' hair every day has been a challenging but rewarding experience. Through trial and error, I've discovered the best brushes to use, the top tips for doing their hair, and the go-to hairstyles that work for us. If you're a dad who's struggling with doing your daughter's hair, my advice is to keep practicing and don't be afraid to ask for help. With time and patience, you'll get there!
Owner Belle and Blackley
Co founder of @crossculturalcurlcollective
2023 team member @fellowshiphair Project Afro