Sunday, November 29, 2015

Daddy Daughter Hair Factory 101 (Beginner's Course)

     The purpose of this course is to go over the basics of hair maintenance and design. The information comes from years of practicing on my daughter and researching the web. I am not a professional, but perhaps you can learn something from this information I have organized for you. This is loosely based on the things I teach in my class and this manual was created for beginners :)

Here is a picture from one of my classes. I love the dedication from these fathers :)
Our growth in the last year. Teaching classes across the nation.

Daddy Daughter Hair Factory Intro

    The Daddy Daughter Hair Factory was created to help the fathers in the community learn how to do their daughters hair. I found it to be a great way to bond with our girls and it helped build confidence in the daughters as well. Learning how to do hair is a simple way to play an important part in your daughter's day to day life. I knew it was a struggle for most dads that I came across, so putting together this little class seemed like a necessary thing to do.  When the story went viral and gained worldwide attention, I knew I had to create this manual to help guide people that couldn't make it to my class. I hope it serves you well :)

,Philippe Morgese
Daddy Daughter Hair Factory
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Related Media Links:
The Doctors Interview
NBC Nightly News
Upworthy Video
60 Second Docs

Our Facebook Live shows (added regularly)
Life of Dad - Ponytail Tricks
Life of Dad - Christmas Inspired Hairstyle
Life of Dad - 7 Simple Styles
Life of Dad - Going over the Fishtail Braid
Metdaan Creative - Going over the basics of brushing, braids and buns
Metdaan Channel - Fishtail, Bubbled Fishtail and Mowhawk
Metdaan Creative - Jagged Edge Fishtail Braid
Metdaan Channel - Double Dutch Ribbon Braid

Disney Interactive / Babble "Dad Hair School" with Phil & Emma
Simple Ponytails
Rope Braid (Twist)
Jagged Edge Fishtail
Easy Princess Leia Buns (Dual Braided Buns)
Aquatic Princess Braid

The course is divided into 6 sections that will guide you through your adventure with hair.
  1. Basic Hair Care and Maintenance 
  2. Getting Started
  3. The Tools
  4. Taking Care of Tangles
  5. Ponytails
  6. Basics of Braids and Buns


     In this section, the best practices with hair will be described. I will discuss washing, conditioning, cutting and other random tips I learned about keeping the hair healthy.
  • Cutting the hair and why it's important: The hair should be trimmed every 2 to 3 months. This helps keep the ends healthy and stops split ends from forming or splitting up the follicle. Split ends are responsible for creating tangles and destroying the appearance of hair. 

So Cozy hair products are Emma's favorite :)
  • Washing the hair: I only wash the hair when it is necessary. This may depend on your hair type, but I have found that washing every second or third day is the best for us. The temperature of the water is not as important, but really hot water can irritate the scalp. When researching for shampoos, you may be overwhelmed. I recommend trying a few and seeing what works best for your hair type. I good shampoo will have your hair feeling clean and it should rinse clean as well. You should only shampoo the roots regularly and sometimes you may need to do it twice to help wash away dirt/oil. 
  • Conditioning the hair:  Conditioner should be used after shampoo to help keep the hair healthy and tangle-free. I recommend buying a few and researching what works best for your hair, with so many hair types, it is hard to give an opinion on a particular product. What I can say about conditioner is that you should condition the hair, not the roots, and leave it in a few minutes if possible and rinsing with cooler water will make a noticeable difference. 

  • Things to consider when swimming with hair: Most people don't consider this, but your hair is like a sponge. When you jump into a pool with chlorine water or an ocean with salt water, those chemicals and minerals are absorbing into your hair. Chlorine will damage the texture of hair along with turning it a shade of green in some instances. If you can put your hair into a bun and get it wet with clean water first, it will help reduce the possible damage while swimming. I have my daughter get her hair wet using the pool shower before she gets in and I have her rinse when she gets out. This saves us from the headache of repairing the hair when we get home. 
  • Protecting your hair from the sun:  If you spend a lot of time in the sun, you should consider wearing a hat or investing in a product to prevent the UV rays from damaging your hair. 
  • Shower filters:  Something to consider when washing is the quality of your water. I recommend getting your water tested and at the very least, get a shower head filter. Reducing the chlorine can help keep the hair healthy. A shower filter also helps keep your shower free of water spots and leaves your skin feeling clean after a rinse. 
Emma brushes her hair here every morning and night
  • Brushing routines: We found it best to brush and braid her hair once in the morning and once in the evening to keep the hair free of tangles that build up over time. It helps you catch little tangles before they leave you with painful knots that are difficult to remove.
  • Hair is delicate when it is wet: A healthy strand of hair can stretch up to 30% when it is wet, so it is important to be gentle when brushing. If you style wet hair, do it loose so the hair has the opportunity to shrink. Tight hairstyles with wet hair can cause breakage especially when you are doing tight braids or other styles that are typically tight to the head. 

  • Braiding before bedtime: I found that braiding before bed helped prevent tangles that would come from a night of sleep. It is important to consider how your child sleeps and position the braid in a comfortable spot for them. Waking up with waves in your hair is a bonus!


Children are not always willing to sit still without entertainment, so I will discuss some tips I've learned to help you keep your child distracted. It is important to consider your child and plan hairstyles that are possible with their age or ability to. Most basic styles can be done in just a few minutes and most children can sit through that. We are trying to make this process a pleasure for them, so follow these tips to make that happen :)

  • Be Gentle: This is the most important thing to consider because you don't want to cause discomfort for your daughter. You can start by a gentle massage to the scalp to help get them comfortable. The scalp is sensitive and even the tiniest tangles can produce pain along with causing breakage to the hair. Make sure to open the line of communication with your daughter and have her alert you if she is uncomfortable. Her opinion matters more than a hairstyle, so please work with her. 
  • Be Quick: Be prepared with supplies before you start and work swiftly to get the process over with. If you are just going to brush the hair and leave it in a ponytail, this should be no more than a minute. Don't let your pursuit for perfection get in the way of completing the hairstyle, you will get better as you practice. 

  • Seat Position: Find a comfortable place for your child to sit. With shorter hair, you can get away with them sitting on your lap. Longer hair will require a stool or another chair that allows you access to the hair. Chairs with backs on them will get in the way and make this process more difficult. This is a great opportunity for you to work on their posture by guiding them to sit upright with their chin up.

  • Distracting your child: This can come in many forms, but I encourage you to choose some of the better options out there. You can distract your child by simply talking to them and explaining what you are doing with their hair step by step. You could also get them into reading a book, my daughter is a fan of Garfield comics while I'm doing her hair and it keeps her attention, plus I get the occasional laugh which is always great. You could use the TV, phone or tablet as well, just make sure you don't get distracted yourself. When you reach a point in doing their hair that you need them to look up, instruct them to look at something in particular and count to 10 or 20 seconds; this makes that process much easier for them to follow. 
  • Reward your child: Use this opportunity to compliment your children on how well behaved they are and how proud you are of them for sitting still. Show them their hair either with mirrors or by taking a picture and sharing it. You will find that they enjoy the reveal and love the encouragement.  Sometimes in the class, we use lollipops, but you may consider a healthy fruit snack that they would like as a reward, instead of candy. 


The right tools can help make the process much easier and faster. I will share some of the tools I use and information that I have learned along the way to help you pick out what you will need.

The biggest mistake I see parents make is coming at this with the wrong tools
These tools are designed to make basic hair maintenance EASY

  • The Hair Brush:  This should be in everyone's toolkit or hair drawer. This tool is the most used and will get you farther than anything else. Some things to consider about hair brushes is that they have a lifespan, and should be replaced every other year at least. You should look for a brush with soft tips that flex and a cushioned head to help prevent hurting your child. I don't recommend cheap brushes, they are often very hard and painful against the scalp, also they don't have the give necessary to prevent breaking the hair when you encounter a tangle. Spend a little extra and find a brush that works best for you. Your daughter will appreciate it. 
  • Detangling Spray:  This spray helps coat the hair and allows it to slide to undo tangles. Some detanglers change the PH of the hair which prevents it from sticking to other strands. They make many different types of detangler and I recommend shopping around. You'll find a spray that works great for your child's hair type, which makes the process much easier. The spray can also help for those with fine hair, by making it more manageable. Try to avoid Parabens and Sulfates in your hair products, they are known for causing cancer. 
  • Wide Tooth/Detangling Comb: When you come across a tangle that won't easily undo itself, it is time to pull out a detangling comb. This will allow you to work out the tangles easily if you use this with a detangling spray. 
  • Fine Tooth/Styling Comb: This comb will come in handy when you are trying to smooth out hair or prep it for a braid. The pointed end is great for creating parts in the hair or dividing groups of hair for a style. 
  • Elastics: They come in all different shapes and sizes. Find the elastic that works with the hair thickness. I prefer to stay away from elastics with metal clamps because they often catch hair and cause breakage. 
  • Hair Clips: These handy clips can be used to hold hair in place and to add some style in the process. 
  • Bobbi Pins: These are used to hold hair in place and are usually meant to be hidden. They can be used to keep a bun secure or to secure a braid. 


Learning how to properly detangle hair is one of the biggest skills you can learn when doing hair. I think it is important to evaluate the hair to see how severe it is tangled. If the hair is in bad shape or is sticky from food/candy/childhood, you'll be better off getting your child to shower and properly wash it and using a conditioner combined with a wide tooth comb to get out the tangles. If you can get away with using detangling spray and a brush, you may not need that. Experience will teach you when it is necessary to use more than just a brush and spray. In this section, I will go over the basics of detangling to help you create hair that is ready to be styled in your fashion.

  • Evaluate the hair: Use your fingers to comb through the hair and see how it will be. If the hair feels extra dry and sticks to your hand when you comb through it, you may want to use a detangling spray.

  • Detangling: With all of the hair back, start with one section of the hair on either side. Grab the section of the hair and brush out the tangles starting at the bottom of the hair. As you brush out the tangles, you can work your way up the hair  until you eventually  get to the top of that group of hair. One section at a time, you will brush out the tangles and then pull that group of hair to the side and get started on the next. Working in small sections prevents the head from being pulled so much and allows you to work out tangles in smaller groups. 
  • Preventing Tangles: There are many ways to prevent tangles, but these are some that have helped me along the way. Braiding the hair is my best weapon against tangles. If your child is active like mine, you will find that braids keep the hair together and prevent it from creating knots while it is moving around. Another thing I use to prevent tangles is leave-in conditioner. It coats the hair and prevents it from sticking together. 


In this section, I want to go over tips on doing a ponytail. The ponytail is a common hairstyle that most girls use. It is quick, easy and keeps the hair off of the neck. The position of the ponytail is up to you and it is the start of many hairstyles that girls like. For most girls involved in extra curricular activities, they need ponytails and buns to even be a part of the activity.. At the end of this section, you should have a better understanding of how to create a ponytail and how to work the elastic.

  • Low Ponytail: This is one of the easiest to do. You will brush the hair down and capture if with your hand near the neck. Put an elastic in place to hold it together. 

  • High Ponytail: Start by brushing the hair out and then use your hand as a cradle as you brush the hair. You will slowly raise your hand as you brush the hair to prevent it from bunching up and to keep the hair smooth. When you get to the position you want, you can put the elastic in place to hold it together. 
  • Combing out bumps: If you are going for a perfect ponytail, you can start  by combing out the bumps in the hair. I found that spraying detangler in the hair and using a fine tooth comb allowed me to keep everything smooth and it left me with a very clean ponytail. 

  • Using an Elastic: This can be tricky for someone that has never done it before. Using an elastic is similar to using a rubber band to hold things together. You should put it on your wrist and have it in position, this will make it easier to put it in place when the time is right. 


Putting your hair in a bun is a great way to get it out of the way. Most dance and ballet classes require a bun, which is why it is important for me to go over it.  A bun starts with a ponytail, it helps to make sure the ponytail is secure because the strength of the bun depends on that. In this section, I'll go over the steps to do a bun and how to keep it secure.

  • Start with a Ponytail: You'll need to begin with a high ponytail. Make sure the ponytail is tight to the head, so it has a good foundation. Typically a bun is positioned near the top of the head in the center, but the position is up to you. 

  • Beginning the Bun: You'll begin by twisting the hair and working it around the base of the ponytail as it goes around the base, you will continue to twist it until you get to the end of the hair. At this point, you'll secure it with bobby pins or a hair pin. 
  • Other Bun Ideas: When you get the hair in a ponytail, you can braid it and wrap that around the base of the ponytail to create an interesting bun. I have seen 3, 4 and 5 strand braids wrapped into buns, as well as rope and fishtail braids. Each of them make their own unique look, so you don't need to fear a boring bun. 

The braid is a simple way to contain the hair and can be used for style just as much as it is used as a function. It keeps the hair together, preventing it from getting tangled or dirty. It can also be used to add a cool look to your hair. Braids can be used in so many ways, but in this section I will keep things basic by going over the 3 strand braid.

  • 3 Strand Braid: This is the most common braid and one of the simpler braids to do. You will begin with 3 even groups of hair. The first step will be to take one of the outside groups of hair and cross it over the middle group; this will now be the middle group for the next move. Now, take the group from the opposite side and cross it over the new middle. Those two steps over and over will create your 3 strand braid. When you get close to the end, you will want to hold it in place with a small elastic. 

  • Braided Elastic Cover-up: This is an interesting trick I use often just to conceal an elastic. You'll begin with a ponytail and grab a small group of hair from the side of that ponytail. You will braid the small section of hair till the end and place an elastic on it to hold it in together. Now you will wrap that braid around the base of the ponytail to cover up the elastic. When you reach the end, tuck it under the elastic you are hiding and adjust it to completely conceal the elastic. 


     Hopefully, you have learned some things about hair to help you on this adventure. It is important to remember that all of this takes practice and, in time, you will produce styles that you and your child will be proud of. Even if you mess up, you had quality time bonding with your child and that is the best part. I find that even after 9 years of doing my daughter's hair, I am still learning new things every day. I am not a professional, I am just a dad that wanted to make my girl happy. It has turned into more of a bonding experience than anything else and that motivated me to offer this free service. I would appreciate any constructive criticism. Thank you!

,Philippe Morgese
Daddy Daughter Hair Factory
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They grow up so fast! <3


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