The Hair Channel

What NOT to do when you’re backcombing your hair

Like anything in life, backcombing is a skill. And it takes a certain amount of finesse to get it right.

Nail it, and you’ll end up with resplendent volume and lift. A style that naturally stands out from the crowd, thanks to its dramatic halo effect.

Fall short, and you could end up damaging your hair, causing matted knots and breakages.

Below, we reveal two golden rules from experienced hair stylists on the danger points to avoid. Read on for quick and brilliant backcombing, and forever healthy locks...


Beyoncé does it right with the backcombed beehive (pictured in 2008)

Don’t tear through your hair

“Extreme teasing on your hair can be very rough and damaging, so it’s important to do this right,” says Michelle Paterson, hair manager at Pouts & Pinups

“Be sure to start with dry, brushed, straight hair prior to backcombing. Always be gentle when backcombing and never aggressively tease the hair, as this is what leads to damage.

“When you’re ready to get your hair back to normal, be gentle on the hair and use a soft-bristled brush in small sections to lightly brush the hair out. If you want to give your hair some extra care, treat it to a deep-conditioning hair mask to make it feel soft and smooth again.”

Penelope Cruz

Follow Penelope Cruz's lead to backcomb like a pro

Don’t brush your hair up and down repeatedly

“When it comes to backcombing, they key is to use your backcombing brush and gently brush the hair down towards the scalp in one move. Then take the brush out of the hair and start at the top again,” says Neil Barton, owner of Neil Barton Hairdressing.

“However, many people think that backcombing involves brushing your hair up and down. This is a backcombing no-no and is very damaging to your hair.”

Images: Rex Features and iStock