Two years ago, Nate Denton, 42, the co-director of a digital marketing agency in Stoke-on-Trent, England, became a single father to 5-year-old son Dexter and 6-year-old daughter Nevaeh. After tiring of sending his little girl to school each day with a ponytail, he decided to step up his game.
“I’ve never had to handle long hair before, and it was tricky,” Denton tells Yahoo Beauty. “I had to learn everything — what type of brushes and sprays to use, and how to stop Nevaeh from saying ‘ouch’ every time I ran a brush through her hair. It was just alien to me.”
So Denton began watching online tutorials, learning to fashion his daughter’s waist-length locks into braids and ponytails. Each morning, Denton spends about 30 minutes styling his daughter’s hair, depending on the complexity of the ‘do. “Sometimes we finish over the breakfast table,” he says.
Denton runs the Instagram account @DetanglingDad, with almost 1,500 followers, and in it he shows off his daily masterpieces: a “distressed” Dutch-French braid; three-braids entwined with nearly 20 feet of wire and a power pack for “comic relief”; a ponytail sculpted into a heart; and stegosaurus-inspired knots. He’s even given Dexter a mini-makeover to resemble a cartoon character named Ben10.
For Denton, the style sessions offer life lessons and quality time. “It’s a lovely way for parents to demonstrate with clear results the value of perseverance to achieve a goal,” he says. “Sometimes it’s a complete failure. Other times it looks nothing like the tutorial, but you don’t know until you try. Other times the simplest styles are the hardest.”
He adds: “It’s also an amazing way to bond with your daughter — if she asks you to make an Elsa braid for a party and you can, that’s a gift. And it’s nice to give mothers a run for their money in what is considered ‘mom territory.’”
Nevaeh’s hair is always a hit at school, and Denton says that due to demand, the pair will create tutorials for other parents who want to learn about hair (he’s already shot a fishtail tutorial for one of Nevaeh’s teachers).
“I hear a lot from mothers whose kids spend time with their fathers and return home with their hair a mess,” says Denton. “Dads, come on — step up your game.”
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