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Backcombing 101: Are You Doing It Right?

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The backcombing hairstyling technique was used to create the bouffant style worn by Patsy Cline, the Beehive style worn by Robert Smith, and the worldwide famous hairstyle (dreadlocks) made popular by Bob Marley…  

WHAT IS BACKCOMBING?

Backcombing is also known as teasing or ratting hair to achieve a matted type hairstyle, more- specifically, for creating dreadlocks. This will cause the hair to tangle and knot up differently on all hair types. This can be used in sections of hair to create starter locs for dreadlocks.  

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

The combs and brushes you will need, other ways to achieve dreadlocks without backcombing, and potentially hair damaging information associated with the backcombing technique.

SPECIFIC HAIR COMBS & HAIR BRUSHES DESIGNED FOR BACKCOMBING

They make special brushes and combs for backcombing your hair into locs. It is very time-consuming to backcomb the hair, especially thin curly hair. Thankfully they created a special tool.

WHAT ARE BACKCOMBING BRUSHES?

This specialized brush is great at creating starter locs from natural hair as well as increasing the hair loc volume. The brushes are specially engineered with short and long bristles throughout the comb; a definite, must-have loc maintenance tool. The different sized bristles allow you to grip onto hair and also achieve smoothness whilst styling. This means more friction for every brush stroke. This greatly cuts down on styling time. Backcombing brushes are a great tool for helping hairstylists create those wonderful looks. With so many tutorials on the internet and great tools, it isn’t hard to style your hair yourself. Especially if you want to achieve that big hair look with extra volume. A backcombing brush is your best tool for loc creation & functionality. To increase the results from backcombing they made a better backcombing brush. The popularity of the backcombed hairstyle grew, and so did the innovations. They make special hair brushes for backcombing to increase efficiency and minimize the time to complete. The innovative brushes are designed to add friction with every stroke. This can create even more volume when combing fine hair. When you have to brushless you might be able to lower your chances of potentially damaging your hair strands. Backcombing can cause progressive hair damage, especially to hair’s integrity. This can create lots of frizz and rough-textured looking hair. Continued damage leads to weakening and breakage. This is not what you want. Click here to learn more about how you can control frizzy faux locs.

OTHER WAYS TO ACHIEVE DREADLOCKS WITHOUT BACKCOMBING

Some stylists recommend using hairspray or gel for better results to create volume. Using hair products instead of continuous brushing can have better results. Depending on the hair type and moisture will determine how much extra product one might need to use. Someone with regular kinky Afro hair would not require a lot of product or hairdressing to achieve such hairstyles.

POTENTIAL HAIR DAMAGING INFORMATION

Backcombing actually goes against the direction of the cuticle cells. Backcombing can rip cuticle cells from the hair. Hair cuticles normally lay flat, when dry and damaged they point outward and begin to peel. The added friction causes cuticle damage which can expose the inner layers of the hair strand. Continue wear on the hair can cause cuticles to rip off and fully expose patches of the cortex.  

HOW TO KEEP & MAINTAIN YOUR LOCS AFTER BEING BACKCOMBED

There are many great ways to hold your backcombed hairstyle. Some involve locking techniques and others involve using a locking product. Both are great ways to help you achieve your look and help you keep that style through the whole night!  

WITH PRODUCT

If you need extra hold try using hair spray or gel. There are many products that will hold your hair with different kinds of styling. Products like gel and hair spray help different sections of hairs hold their styling. Hair spray allows you to control your hair styling and then lock it in. Hair spray works best for when you need to rock that bird’s nest hairstyles. With hairspray, all the backcombed hair can hold and stay longer with more volume than natural hair. Backcombing can cause dry hair, with hair spray you can manage that dry hair and lock in the curls needed to rock that styling.  

GREAT TECHNIQUE

To help hold in the backcombing on short hair and on thicker hair, try starting at the root first. Start backcombing at the root. once the hair starts to lock up move to the ends and begin regular backcombing. this will give you that extra hold you need to really style those sections of hairs. The roots are what hold your hair up and give it the look of volume. Managing the roots early will give you the structure to hold your masterpiece!  

STOP TEASING YOUR HAIR & LOCS EVERY DAY!

Hair teasing or backcombing is a process of brushing the hair back against itself to add volume and fluff. This can be used in sections of hair to create starter locs for dreadlocks. This process requires repeated stroking of the hair strands. Repeated backcombing can strip the cuticles from the hair. Over time the hair strands will weaken, create split ends, and ultimately lead to breakage. This can be very damaging to the hair and might be irreversible. To help keep your hair healthy and strong, use a revitalizing conditioner in between hairstyling sessions. Also, try and keep the hair brushing to a minimum.  

HOW TO WASH BACKCOMBED HAIRSTYLE LIKE A PRO

Water can essentially relax teased hair. If you want to keep a hairstyle that has been backcombed we recommend some sort of shower cap. Washing a backcombed hairstyle can cause the hairs to slip past each other and create tighter interlockings. This will make it harder to remove the teased hairstyle.

FRESH START

It’s easier to remove a backcombed hairstyle, shower, and then add the style again. A fresh start is always the best idea. Just remember to take a break between hairstyles to limit the damage to hair. Also, use a hair mask to treat the hair after the removal of backcombed styling. This can lock in moisture and nourish the strands.

SHOWER CAP

Sometimes you cant take the style down. If you can stop the hair from moving around you can manage the hair better. This would be the concept behind a shower cap. Satin caps and silk shower caps work great at not sticking to hairs. You can wash and rinse your hair without all of the hair shifting and interlocking.

DRY SHAMPOO

They make dry shampoos that also help clean the hair while it’s backcombed to allow the hair to be untouched for the longest of time so avoid more backcombing. Dry shampoo is a powder that will absorb the oils and excess sebum containing dirt. This will help hair appear clean while limiting the build-up. Since dry shampoo needs to be combed out, don’t use too much. This isn’t a permanent solution to washing your hair and should only be used to extend the life of the hairstyle.  

FAQ

HOW LONG DO LOCS LAST AFTER USING THE BACKCOMB TECHNIQUE?

Typically the hair will not hold and you will probably need a loc gel, hairspray, or beehive wax to create perfectly locked dreadlocks. Backcombing can be used to create great volume as well as to start dreadlocks. Since backcombing creates matted hair quickly, it’s a quicker way of creating dreadlocks. The longer matted hair is left to mature and lock, the harder it is to remove the styling.  

HOW CAN I GET THE MOST OUT OF BACKCOMBING?

There are many ways to create bouffant hairstyles without having to do a lot of backcombing. Because of the potential hair damage from backcombing, a lot of hair salons use hair products to achieve these looks instead. The more a stylist can avoid backcombing the better. With new products coming out all the time and less actual combing needed, you can achieve all those tease hairstyles without damaging your hair. Some styles can be achieved by just using fingers to ruffle hair.  

HOW DO YOU GET YOUR ROOTS TO LIFT?

Flat roots are the worst! Your roots not holding their volume and style can ruin the entire look. Luckily we got you on some awesome tips and tricks:

1. MOUSSE

Your roots are starting to look flat. You have already backcombed your hair and now the roots are growing. You need a touch-up. What to do? Give the area a little dab of volumizing mousse. We don’t recommend going to heave on the mousse. Simply add a dollop on the roots and brush the hair to evenly spread the product. You want to use a pick or ceramic brush with a hairdryer to lift the root hair and lock in the volume.

2. HAIRSPRAY

When you start your hairstyle add a little hairspray. Everyone knows the foundation you build your house upon is as important as the house you build. When creating your unique styling, expose your roots and give them just a light spray. You can even dab them with a lint-free cloth. Spraying your roots before you style will allow the roots to dry and hold as you style. This can give you added volume and hold to achieve those Grammy-nominated red carpet faux dreadlocks hairstyles.  

FINAL THOUGHTS

Backcombing can be a great way to achieve dreadlocks as well as those volumizing hairstyles. We have discussed safer and more efficient ways of teasing as well as things to consider in extending the life of tease hair. If you have any questions don’t be afraid to comment below!  

SOURCES:

PHOTO GALLERY

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