Back combing would be needed in the front of this hair style to give the height

This look from Hair Machine in Adelaide, South Australia, has been back-combed just behind the front hairline on the top of the head to create the extra height needed then the fine section of hair from the hairline itself is smoothed over it and sprayed into shape to hide the back-combing.



back comb for height at the crown of the head

This look from Carol Hadad uses back-combing to create height at the crown.





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Back combing also called teasing simply means creating a tangled base of hair on which to support a style. It's great if what you are after is either height or volume to build up those big hair looks. This hairdressing technique was used in the sixties to create the high crowns and quiffs sported by the likes of the Supremes and James Dean. It is an essencial part of most up styles, wedding and prom night hair do's and for those wanting to create something in hair that is alternative like a punk look you will also need to master the backcomb.

It is not something that we would recommend you do every day as it can lead to hair breakage and surface damage of the hair due to the stress you put your hair under.

How to do it:

  • Taking small sections of your hair at a time, you hold the ends or tips straight out from the head with one hand.
  • With a fine toothed comb in the other hand you run it down the hair towards the scalp in short sharp strokes, this will tangle or matt some most or all of the section depending on how many strokes and what you want.


  • The smaller the sections you do at a time the longer the shape will last because it makes the whole thing more condensed.
  • Short hair can be made to stand out on end this way.
  • Long hair will get more volume and some of those great messy catwalk, just- got-out-of-bed looks, are created in this way.
  • If you are backcombing curly hair, you will get masses of volume but it can be a nightmare to remove the tangles.

To remove backcombing, use a cushion or paddle brush, starting at the ends of the hair and getting closer to the scalp as the tangles are removed. You need patience with this so don't get frustrated and start tugging as you could snap your hair.

I would not recommend that you back-comb your hair if it is very fragile from chemical treatments like relaxing or bleaching as it can be easily damaged by this method of styling leading to it literally snapping off.

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