When done right, backcombing can make such a big difference to hair.
I’ve been backcombing my hair a lot over the years for my “messy updos” (which is what I do to my hair 90% of the time), and trust me when I say I’ve been there, done that – and I finally figured out how to backcomb hair without damaging it.
1. Keep it clean.
First and foremost: only backcomb on clean, dry hair – don’t do anything to your hair before backcombing.
When you hair is wet or has any sort of liquid product in it, it becomes “weaker”, so backcombing on top of that makes it worse. Furthermore, do not ever backcomb hair that just had some sorta heat tool on it. Whether it’s a hair straightener or curling iron, wait for your hair to be “cool down” first.
2. Use a proper tool.
Do not use anything fancy or even a hairbrush (it grabs too much hair, and can even break some in the process) when backcombing – a fine-toothed comb is the best, or you can buy a special teasing hair comb, which is incredibly easy to use and works much faster.
3. Go slow.
When backcombing your actual hair DO NOT go fast. Watch any backstage fashion show and you’d see how these hairstylists do it so fast (‘cause they don’t have much time), and it is really damaging to the models’ hair – so it’s vital not to use a heavy hand. Instead, think of the motion of petting a dog – slow, sturdy, soft.
4. Lay off the products.
Don’t go crazy adding products on backcombed hair, which can further add stress and potential tangles to your hair. You can add a very light mist of hairspray, but that’s it.
5. Remove carefully.
When undoing backcombing, add some water and a big gunk of deep conditioner to your hair. Very gently massage the backcombed area, and slowly run your fingers through it, separating the teased hair. The deep conditioner will make it easier to undo the backcombing, and condition it at the same time. Don’t try separating your hair when it’s dry, you will break off a lot of hair (this one took me a long time to learn, unfortunately).
Backcombing your hair is vital in certain styles, but definitely it can be quite damaging – so keep these tips in mind!
P.S. Just in case you made a mess, check out How to… Remove Hair Tangles, Knots & Stiff Hairstyles (without damaging your hair further).