How to Back Comb

Three Parts:Prepping Your HairBackcombingFinishing the Look

Beautiful, full-bodied hair doesn't have to cost a fortune. No matter what your hair type or length, you can learn how to back comb your tresses to give you the extra volume you've always wanted. Backcombing the underside of your hair and smoothing down the top results in natural-looking volume. Read on to learn how to add height and flair to your hair in a few easy, natural steps.

Part 1
Prepping Your Hair

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    Wash your hair with a volumizing shampoo. If you're going for extreme body, this is a good first step. Pick a shampoo that is labeled as "volumizing."
    • Shampoos labeled as "clarifying" are also a good choice when it comes to getting more volume. They'll clean away conditioning agents and oils that might be weighing your hair down.
    • Don't use shampoos that are made for dry hair if what you want is volume. These contain conditioners that might make your hair flatter.
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    Use a volumizing conditioner. Again, you want to go with a brand that says it will add volume, rather than smooth your hair down. If you want, skip the conditioner; when your hair is on the dryer side, it will have more texture, helping the backcomb style stay in place.
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    Work a volumizing mousse or gel through your hair. Start at the roots, and spread it through to the ends. For best results, run a brush through your hair after applying to help distribute the product evenly.
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    Turn your head upside down, and blow it dry. This helps create volume since the hair can dry virtually weightless.
    • Use a low temperature setting to add volume but prevent heat damage from occurring.
    • Using a diffuser is a way to preserve some natural wave and volume.

Part 2

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    Choose a section of hair to backcomb. Determine what part of your hair needs volume, and grasp a small section of hair in your hand. Hold the hair straight upward, and pull it taut so that none of the strands can escape.
    • A lot of people like to start with the section of hair on top, right above the forehead. Adding a little lift right there can make a dramatic difference.
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    Tease the hair backward. Place your brush or a fine-tooth comb about halfway between your hair's roots and your hand, and apply firm brush strokes downward toward the scalp. Repeat this motion until there is a cushion of hair at the base of the hair section. Use your hair spray to help hold the back combing.
    • At this point your hair will look wild. That's totally normal! If you backcombed it correctly, your hair should look like you haven't combed it in days. You can smooth out the top layer to hide the tangles later.
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    Repeat with the next small section of hair. Continue until you have volume in all the areas you desire. Most people use the technique on the top and sides of the head.

Part 3
Finishing the Look

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    Use a comb to smooth out the top layer. Place your comb at your roots and gently comb out the very top layer of hair so that it hides the backcombed sections. You need enough pressure to blend the hair together to cover or hide the back combed areas but not enough to flatten out the areas where you just added volume. Your hair should appear smooth and full, and the back combing should not be visible.
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    Finish styling your look however you desire. Add extra hair spray where necessary to hold the look.
    • Backcombing can be used to create gorgeous dreads.
    • Backcombing is the first step to creating the classic French twist.
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  • For longer-lasting volume, use a comb and tease only one small section at a time. If you are looking for a softer effect, use a brush and larger sections of hair to achieve the look.
  • For best results, try to avoid conditioning the scalp area, as this can weigh down the roots of the hair and make back combing more difficult.
  • Be sure to hold the sections of hair you are back combing as close to the ends as possible. This will prevent the comb from pulling too much hair down and creating a clump of tangles.
  • Brush over the teased area to avoid tangly or matted hair!
  • If you curl your hair, create the curls before beginning the back combing process. Curling the hair afterward can flatten the back combed hair.

Things You'll Need

  • Body-building shampoo
  • Volumizing conditioner
  • Small brush or comb
  • Volumizing mousse or gel
  • Blowdryer
  • Hair spray
  • Shower

Article Info

Categories: Hair Care