What is the South’s most renowned hairstyle? You guessed it….BIG! The bigger the better, we like to say. Of course, not everyone has naturally big hair like I do. Some folks have to work at it, using lots of great products, and a little technique called “teasing”, or technically, backcombing.
You don’t have to use a teasing comb to backcomb (tease) hair, but it works wonderfully, especially on fine hair. I meant to show you mine, but I forgot to take a picture of it, so you get this one I snagged off of Google shopping. It looks just like mine, except mine is gold. Because I’m special.
The shorter teeth positioned close to the longer ones, and the fact that it’s metal, make it a very indispensable tool in the salon. I use it on weekly sets more than anything, but it comes in handy for weddings and formal events, as well. If you don’t like the look of this one, Google “teasing combs” and you can check out hundreds of varieties!
You can also use a regular comb, like I’m using in my demo pics, or even a brush. When doing formal upstyles, I like to backbrush more than backcomb, because the end result is usually smoother.
The trick with backcombing, which eluded me for years, is to NOT remove it all on the smooth-out. I would get so frustrated in the early years of hairdressing when I would try to backcomb a set, only to have it all picked back out in the end trying to remove the curl marks. I had a coworker who loved to make fun of me about it, but never offer a solution. Then, there was Shuh-Wanda, who patiently showed me the way to perfect backcombing.
First of all, backcombing literally means to comb the hair back towards the scalp. You don’t want to peel each hair strand like a banana, but you want a firm push of the comb toward the scalp, and it takes more pushes for thick hair and fewer pushes for fine hair. You still want a decent amount of hair in the hand you are holding your section with, because that’s the hair you use to hide the “teased” part. Take a section of hair, about ½ inch thick, and place your comb behind the section. Comb backwards, pushing the hair toward the scalp firmly about 3 or 4 times, depending on the thickness of your hair. Then, let go and move on to the next section.
Secondly, you want to hide the teased part. Begin with the last section, the one that will be underneath. Lift it up again, then push the backcombed hair down a little more with your comb. Then, spread and place your ends. Continue through the rest, doing the same thing, until you reach the outer layer, or the first section you backcombed.
Lastly, you will smooth out the top layer of all the sections, gently and barley combing just the outside layer, until the whole lot of it looks smooth…just bigger. Again, this is where you need to be careful to not comb all of the backcombing out! Just a gentle smoothing of the very outer layer.
This is great for volume in the crown, or even all over volume when you want a full head of waves or curls! Just backcomb a little at the base of the hair shaft all over, and your curls will reach maximum volume!
Here is a great before and after of my gorgeous model, showing just how polished a little bit of “big hair” can be!
It doesn’t hurt that we just finished her color service, and my tried and true Matrix SoColor has earned it’s keep once more! Look at that shiny, gorgeous, non-gray hair, non-purple hair!! (I swear…there’s no purple anywhere in her hair! It never was purple! Nor for one second! Gah!)
I hope you all have a BIG hair day!