The Pickens Technical College Cosmetology department in the Human Services pathway teaches students how to not mess up hair and nails. The program of course also gives students plenty of time to hone their craft, learn from mistakes on mannequins, and get enough hours in the salon to earn their Colorado licenses. Your training in the classroom and in Pickens’ on-campus salon is a direct path to hitting the ground running in the cosmetology field. Several former Pickens students have gone on to start their own salons in the area.
The “Hair Dad” is not a typical student of Cosmetology. Since he achieved Internet stardom in 2015, Greg Wickherst, dubbed the “Hair Dad” after story about him by the Huffington Post story went viral, is trying to help other dads become “Hair Dads.”
From Learning to Teaching
Single father Wickherst was at his job as a college admissions office near his home in Pueblo one day when he decided to take a lunch break in the cosmetology department. He was determined to learn how to put his two-year-old daughter’s hair into a ponytail. After two and a half hours learning how to style a little girl’s hair from the cosmetology department, Wickherst succeeded and posted a picture of his success on social media.
After the Huffington Post article, Wickherst became an Internet celebrity. Dozens of blogs and magazines wrote stories about him, including Cosmopolitan. He appeared on the local Pueblo news, then national news networks, then the Rachael Ray Show.
After a few years of perfecting his newfound talent, Wickherst and his daughter Izzy started to appear more regularly on social media. Wickherst started posting nearly daily pictures of his latest hairstyle creations on Facebook. This was when he christened the “Hair Dad.”
At first, commenters offered him tips, but after a while, they started asking him for tips. In response to his growing legion of fans, Wickherst created his own Instagram account for sharing “Hair Dad” tips. He started a YouTube channel where he posted tutorials. Today, his most popular tutorial, “How to Make Straw Curls,” has 421,000 views. He created a website, where he even sells his own styling products, apparel, and other merchandise.
A New Career
Last spring, Wickherst quit his job to focus on helping “Hair Dads” full time. After teaching himself dozens of hairstyles and challenging himself to help style Izzy’s hair in new and beautiful ways, Wickherst is now a professional cosmetologist. He’s partnering with local businesses in Pueblo to hold workshops for dads who need to learn how to style their daughters’ hair. The next step? Workshops around the country. Wickherst says: “It’s not about being perfect. It’s about being present. I talk about being present in your kid’s lives. Money comes and goes, but memories are forever.”
Wickherst took the back door to become a professional cosmetologist, but you don’t have to. With excellent training, instruction, and opportunity to work in a real salon with real customers, you’re already on your way to a long and lucrative cosmetology career.