If you ask any parent, they'll likely tell you that raising a child is one of the most challenging jobs in the world. While parenting can be difficult even for a well-equipped couple, it can be even harder for single parents who are expected to perform a job that is usually done by two people. That was the case for Greg Wickherst, a single father living in Pueblo, Colorado with his young daughter Izzy. Greg was navigating the waters of being a single parent and felt like he had most things covered — that is, except for doing his daughter's hair.
Being A Single Parent Isn't Easy
After he and his wife went their separate ways, Greg Wickherst received primary custody of his three-year-old daughter, Izzy. Although he had become comfortable with almost all aspects of parenting, when it came to properly styling his daughter's hair, Greg felt like he was clueless.
In order to solve his problem, Greg claims that "I saw an area that I was lacking as a parent and wanted to fix it, so I asked for help."
Seeking Out Help
While still struggling with Izzy's hair, Greg was working as an admissions representative at the at the IntelliTec College. Remembering that there was a cosmetology department at the school, he decided that it couldn't hurt to start his search for answers there.
After contacting some cosmetology students about his problem, Greg began spending his lunch breaks with the students, learning the basics of female hair styling. This way, he wouldn't be completely useless when it came to his daughter's hair.
Determined To Learn
One student, in particular, named Ashley Rosha, volunteered her time to help Greg learn the basics. During his lunch, he could be found in the salon at the school practicing braids, buns, and ponytails on a mannequin.
He remembers getting odd looks from the other clients at the salon, but he didn't care because he was determined to accomplish what he set out to do. Practicing in his free time at work, he began to feel more confident with every passing day.
He Was Amazed By The Simplicity
When learning to do various styles on a mannequin, Greg was taken aback at how simple some hairstyles were, no matter how complicated they may have looked.
In an interview, he admitted that "It blew my mind how easy it was to do a bun. I thought that it was something super special, like really intricate, especially the one where you don't finish pulling the ponytail. I thought, Oh my god, that's so pretty for something that's so simple...I don't think many guys know that it's that simple."
Taking His New Skills Home
After getting some much-needed help with his daughter's hair, Greg figured that it was time to take his new skills home and practice on his daughter.
After trying on his Izzy for the first time, not only was he successful with some of the styles, but he also realized that the two had a lot of fun together. Not only was it a great way for the two to spend time together, but Izzy really enjoyed it as well.
Becoming A Regular Routine
After he had mastered the basics, Greg made styling Izzy's hair a part of their regular routine. While styling Izzy's hair may have come out of necessity, it soon grew into a hobby.
Greg would look videos up on YouTube and then practice them on Izzy in their free time, particularly during the winter months when the two were snowed in. It became a great way for the two to spend one-on-one time together.
Becoming Better Than Decent
After spending so much time practicing on Izzy, it didn't take long for Greg to begin doing elaborate styles on her hair. He learned more and more each time he practiced and was soon more skilled than he ever thought possible!
In an interview with Huffington Post, he claimed "In no time, I was able to do a simple braid, then a fishbone braid, and a French braid. I learned how to do a ponytail, then flip it through itself either under or over. I call that an inverted ponytail."
He Began To Share His Work On Facebook
Proud of his accomplishments, Greg began sharing pictures of the different ways he would style Izzy's hair on Facebook. Not thinking much about it, Greg was caught off guard by the amount of people that were amazed by his work and he began to get in contact with him.
Seeing a single dad doing these intricate and impressive hair styles on his young daughter was heartwarming for many people, and they wanted to learn more about him and share his story.
The Article That Changed Everything
Everything changed in January 2015 when Greg saw a post in the Huffington Post about what motherhood meant. The article also asked for photos of fathers, and Greg happily sent some in. Yet, the reply he received wasn't exactly what he was expecting.
They responded saying that they didn't just want to add him into the article. Instead, they wanted to write a new articled specifically focusing on Greg, his daughter, and his story about mastering how to do Izzy's hair.
The Article Brought His Story To The Public
The article was written by Jessica Samakow and was published in February of 2015. It told the story of Greg's struggles with Izzy's hair and the steps that he took to fix something that he felt that he was failing at as a father.
Greg even gave some friendly advice to other single fathers in the article, encouraging them to enjoy every minute that they spend with their daughter. The article also exhibited numerous photos of Izzy's hair from Greg's Facebook, which brought him nationwide attention.
His Story Spread Like Wildfire
After the article was published, the father and daughter's story went on to become an international sensation. Even the people who knew Greg personally were reaching out for advice about hair whether they were dads or moms.
Greg was also contacted by countless television networks to try and get he and his daughter to make an appearance on a talk show. In the end, Greg chose to go on The Rachel Ray Show, because she had always been a personal favorite of his.
An Appearance On The Rachel Ray Show
The father and daughter duo appeared on The Rachel Ray Show in February 2015. Rachel introduced Greg and Izzy to the world and discussed Greg's journey from being totally hopeless about Izzy's hair to essentially becoming a mentor and an expert to others.
Greg also gave a quick demonstration of a hairstyle that he developed which took him less than a minute, showing others that hair might not be so daunting after all. Greg and Izzy were also gifted tickets to Disney World for appearing on the show.
Other Opportunities Followed
After appearing on the show, Greg was asked by his work if he would be willing to come and teach a hair class for dads at the college's salon. He agreed although he would have no idea how much the class would change him.
When his story first went viral, he just thought that he was a dad doing what was necessary to be the best father he could be. However, after teaching the Daddy-Daughter Hairdo Day, he felt that he had a new purpose.
He Wanted To Help Out Other Dad's
Being a single father, Greg understood the plight of other father's whether they were single or not. He realized that he had something that he could use to help fathers be more involved with their young daughters.
He stated "the more I thought about it, the more I realized that dads have a bad rap. We, a lot of times, are thought of and portrayed by the media as lazy buffoons. I wanted to help change that."
The Hair Dad Was Born
Greg then went on to create the Facebook page known as The Hair Dad, which also became Greg's nickname within his Facebook community. On the page, Greg creates and posts step-by-step hair tutorials for dads across the nation or for anyone that needs a little extra help.
There, followers communicate with each other exchanging stories, ideas, or new techniques that they have found work with their daughter's hair. But don't be mistaken, this is not just a Facebook page specifically for dads. Women are more than welcome!
Bringing Families Closer Together
Everything is free, including the classes taught by Greg. He comments on his website that "I learned for free, and I pass along what I've been taught. I do it because I want to help other struggling parents. This is way more than just doing hair. It's about the bond you create with your kids."
Yes, learning how to properly do his daughters hair was Greg's original goal, but he would have never guessed what it would do for he and his daughters relationship.
He Has Inspired Other Fathers
Other fathers that once struggled with their daughters hair but no longer do have followed in Greg's footsteps to help others. Fathers all over the nation have taken Greg's knowledge and techniques and have began to spread it themselves, teaching classes, starting their own Facebook groups and more.
Greg couldn't be happier to hear this, he didn't start doing his daughter's hair for fame, he did it to help his daughter and learned that he could pass his knowledge onto others.
Greg Teaches Hairstyles For Any Occasion
Even though Greg mostly shows tutorials on either classic hairstyles or some of the ones that he has come up with, he likes to spice it up every now and then. He usually has holiday specials in case someone's daughter might need a certain hairstyle on Halloween, Christmas or some other dress up day at school.
He even has back-to-school hairstyles and hairstyles for specific sports that some girls might play. He gives a few ideas and then posts tutorials on how to do them so that his viewers will have some options to work with.
Izzy Has Been Learning How To Do Her Own Hair
Since doing her hair has become such a large part of Izzy and her father's life, it's not surprising that Izzy has been picking up a few skills on her own. Not only can she put her hair into a few different styles, but she also uses a mannequin for some more advanced techniques.
Surely, it won't be long before she's making tutorial videos of her own. Her dad has also admitted that Izzy enjoys giving him makeovers from time to time.
It's Always Been About His Daughter
Regardless of the attention that he receives on Facebook or how popular he has become, to Greg, he's still just doing his daughter's hair. He loves helping others do the same, however, for him, doing Izzy's hair and spending time with her is his favorite part of the day.
He's thankful that he has a way to connect with his daughter that maybe not all fathers do, although he's doing his best to help give others the same opportunity that he has.