How to backcomb the hair

Backcombing the hair will create lots of height and fullness as seen in this bouffant

Large backcombed beehives and French Pleats were iconic symbols of the 60’s, I don’t think there were any hairstyles that didn’t start with backcombed hair. Backcombing not only gives the hair lots of height and volume it also creates a knotty texture which stops the hair grips from moving around so it’s great for holding the hair in place all day. Here are some of my tips to point you in the right direction: 

backcombing tools
Backcombing tools

The comb on the left is called a backcomb and on the right is a bristle brush/comb which some prefer to use instead. I use the backcombing comb to put in the backcombing and then smooth the hair over using a bristle brush.

backcomb the hair
Make sure you push the hair all the way down to the roots

Take approximately one inch of hair the same width as the comb you are using and hold it upwards, start to push the hair down towards the roots several times. Each time you push the hair down take the comb back out before placing it back into the hair again. The more you backcomb the higher the lift will be. Continue this with all the hair you want lifted.

The roots of the hair should stand up

Good backcombing should stand the hair up at the roots, if it flops down when you let go then you haven’t pushed the hair down far enough at the roots.

backcombed hair
It’s better to over backcomb the hair than not do enough and lose the volume while styling

The hair will look pretty wild by the time you have finished but it’s better to have more backcombing in the hair than you need as it will start to get brushed out while you are styling the hair. If you don’t have enough backcombing in to start with then you are going to end up redoing it, it’s much easier to brush out too much backcombing than to redo it all again. Leave a thin layer of hair out around the hairline without backcombing so you can just sweep this on top when you have created the desired shape for a super smooth finish.

Smooth out the backcombing and mould the hair into shape

Using a bristle brush/comb smooth the hair into the desired shape, finish by sweeping the hair left out around the hairline over the top. Pin into place and finish styling the rest of the hair.

french pleat
French Pleat with a bouffant

The finished look is a bouffant at the front with a French Pleat at the back finished off with the long hair folded on top. When pinning the hair make sure you conceal your hair grips and don’t apply too much product to the hair when styling, with good backcombing and proper pinning the hair should be securely held in place. Hairspray is a finishing product and is only needed at the end and lightly sprayed onto the hair to gently hold down the stray hairs.


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