Less than two years ago, single dad Greg Wickherst could barely do a ponytail. Now, just in time for the holidays, the 41-year-old from Pueblo, Colorado — who enrolled in cosmetology classes to learn to do his daughter Izzy’s hair in February 2015 — is transforming the 4-year-old’s locks into reindeer buns, a braided Christmas wreath and a tree complete with presents.

The pre-kindergartner’s favorite look so far: a style Wickherst calls “Izzy the Snowman.” (It took first prize in a holiday hair contest!)

Wickherst, who works in admissions at a local college, reached out to the school’s cosmetology department after he split with Izzy’s mother and obtained primary custody. “I didn’t want her to grow up being that stereotypical girl that didn’t have a mom in her life and had a bowl haircut,” Wickherst tells Us Weekly. “She’s my little princess.”  

In less than two years, Wickherst has mastered everything from bubble fishtail braids to Dutch plaits. “The best part about it is that it’s a bonding experience,” he tells Us. “It’s a way for me to connect with my daughter. It’s not just about making pretty hairstyles. It’s a way we can talk. When we were doing the Christmas ones, we were listening to Christmas music and drinking hot cocoa. We make it an event.”

Meanwhile, Wickherst now has an extra set of hands to help him: girlfriend Jocelyn Jensen. “We met through a friend of a friend,” he says. “She was checking out my Facebook page, and she said, ‘Oh my God, I love what he does with his daughter’s hair!’”

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