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A Man's Job: Learning To Style Girls' Hair, From Father To Father

Adora Namigadde
Ash Khanboubi came to the Daddy Daughter Hair Factory with his daughter Yasmeen.

At the Daddy Daughter Hair Factory, it's O.K. if you know nothing about hair. None of the men here do.

But they're all eager to learn.

"So we’re just gonna start off with some really easy stuff, just some basic haircare conversation," Mike Sherron tells the assembled dads.

Sherron's free class has a new location every month, and this time it’s in Grove City, where he lives. Each of the three dads here receive a kit to take home, with things like ponytail holders, hair brushes, and detangler.

Before they leave, though, the dads will walk through some of the basics of hair care.

"Every time you do wash it, we suggest you run conditioner through it as well," Sherron says. "That way you make sure it starts in a good place."

Sherron and his six-year-old daughter Adeline have been holding a monthly class around Ohio for about a year and a half.

"So my dad went through a divorce with my mom and he didn’t want me to come in school with my hair all crazy and messy," Adeline says.

So Sherron started practicing.

Credit Adora Namigadde / WOSU
Mike Sherron teaches a free class every month to fathers about how to take care of and style their daughters' hair.

"We were doing ponytails and basic three-strand braids. We were doing some French braid work," Sherron says. "And a lot of it we learned by trying it, practicing it. YouTube has some amazing things."

He’d then post pictures on Facebook. One day about two years ago, a friend showed Sherron a video of Phil Morgese and his daughter, who founded the Daddy Daughter Hair Factory.

So Sherron reached out to them. The organization had around six dads involved in teaching at the time.

Now Sherron says there are about 25.

"With the number of single dads these days, it becomes important that they be just as good in these opportunities," he says.

That’s why Ian Parker showed up with his 5-year-old daughter Genevieve.

"Trying to do my daughter’s hair has always been challenging, especially not having someone else there to kind of coax me along," Parker says. "So we’ve always been a kind of ponytail type group."

Credit Adora Namigadde / WOSU
Ian Parker, a single father, came to the class with his 5-year-old daughter Genevieve.

But after an hour with Sherron, he can do a more advanced style.

"I like the fishtail braid here at the end," Parker remarks. "That looks really cool."

Ash Khanboubi is not a single dad; he came because his wife was tired of his argument that he couldn’t help with his daughter’s haircare because he couldn’t braid.

Today, as Sherron helps him along, Khanboubi's been texting his wife pictures of their 3-year-old daughter Yasmeen’s stylized curly black locks.

"She was amazed at how fast I learned it," Khanboubi says, laughing. "She said she didn’t know how to make a fishtail braid, so I guess I’m gonna have to teach my wife how to do that."

Khanboubi said when he tells his dad and grandpa about the class, they’ll probably be surprised because it’s something they would have never thought to do.

Credit Adora Namigadde / WOSU
Ash Khanboubi says he was encouraged, strongly, by his wife to learn how to style his daughter's hair. Now he says he can teach his wife how to make a fishtail braid.

"I take absolutely no alternatives into being part of my daughter’s life fully," he says. "If that means I have to do things my father never did, then so be it. I want to learn everything that will allow me to have a full experience with my daughter and be part of her life."

Sherron says his next class will be held in Chillicothein October. He hopes to eventually bring in dads of different ethnicities to teach a broader range of hair care options.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.