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Dads bond with daughters while learning to do their hair

'It's important that they feel that love.'
/ Source: TODAY

When you're looking for a hair stylist, your dad might not be your first thought — but these fathers are taking classes to learn how to do their daughters' hair properly.

Ohio dads Frank Whitfield and Ricardo Benson are among the fathers who are trying to learn the delicate art of brushing and braiding.

Whitfield has three daughters, Octavia, Sophia, and Eliza. Hair is a big part of the daily routine in his house.

"I came into Octavia's life when she was eight years old," he told TODAY's Craig Melvin. "Immediately, I had to learn how to figure out how to do her hair when we wanted to go out somewhere. Sophia doesn't let me do her hair yet, because she doesn't feel like I'm good enough yet. Eliza, she doesn't know any better, so I get the chance to do her hair quite often."

Benson frequently asks his daughter, Colby, what he can do to make sure his styles are better in the future.

"Her hair is so curly, it's kind of hard to do sometimes," he said. "I just hope that I can continue to put that smile on my daughter's face after I do her hair."

Stylist Tieya Riggins has gotten lots of requests from dads who aren't quite sure where to start when it comes to haircare, so now she hosts quarterly workshops to teach parents the basics at her salon, Natruelly Me Studios.

"Because I have a passion for hair and passion for teaching, I thought that that would be a great opportunity to step in," she said. "We expect dads to be about sports and we expect them to be about other things, but there are things you can do with your child... Doing hair is actually really fun and interactive."

Benson and Whitfield both take the class, but it can still be tricky to pick up the skills.

"That's the challenge, people don't want you to practice on them," Whitfield said. "They want you to have it right, so classes like this give me a chance to figure it out."

For these two dads, though, the time spent styling not just an opportunity to help their kids look their best — it's a great time to bond and connect.

"When we do her hair, we do it at night," explained Benson. "We sit on the couch, we watch a movie, she'll read a book, and it's just time for us to really just sit down and talk about how her day was going. It's a bond, for sure, and I want my daughter to understand that she can talk to me about anything."

Benson explained that during these styling sessions, his daughter is more relaxed, and she's more likely to open up about what's going on in her life.

"I wouldn't change it for the world, whether I'm messing up or if it looks great," said Benson. "Every moment that I get with my daughter — that's all that matters."

"Being a father, it's about being present," said Whitfield. "It's important that they feel that love, and that they feel that care and protection... and I think things like being able to do their hair are just pluses. It shows that I want them to feel and look beautiful. The ability to bond with your daughters like this is something that's irreplaceable."