Go large! How to backcomb your hair (safely!)

S/S13 Jeremy Scott

There are certain styles that just won’t happen without some backcomb. But despite it’s ability to boost volume, create height and ensure you style stays put for hours, backcombing is notoriously tricky to get right – get it wrong and you risk getting your brush stuck in a matted mess, or even causing breakage and damage to your hair. Nightmare.

So, how do you avoid this? Patrick Wilson, principal hair stylist at Electric Hair, is known for his big and beautiful creations – just take a gander at his Insta to see what we mean – so we knew he was the man to set us on the right track to bouncy-haired bliss.

“If you are creating up-dos, big hair or adding extensions then you will most likely need to backcomb,” Patrick says. “If you backcomb hidden, underlying layers of hair it can give the illusion of voluminous hair once this is covered by the top pieces.”

As with all masterpieces, building a strong foundation is key to success. “When backcombing the hair it is important to ensure that it is prepped correctly,” Patrick says. “You’re going to need a prep spray (he recommends Electric Prep Spray), this will give your hair more body and a strong enough base for styling.”

How to backcomb

Buly 1803 Comb“Take a section of hair and use a comb to ensure that it is knot-free. Pinching the end of the section, insert the comb about halfway down and gently pull the comb towards your hair (brushing it backwards). Using a strong, dry hairspray like Electric e.Spray will help to hold this, or create more grip if you are doing this in order to build a foundation for further styling.”

But be warned – make sure your hair is in good shape before you start teasing it. “If your hair is very over-processed and likely to break I would not recommend backcombing,” warns Patrick. “If your hair is very split and generally damaged, it may put too much strain on it.”

When you’re done and your arms are exhausted, lightly spray with a strong hairspray to cement all your hard work.

How to un-backcomb

Mason Pearson brushOnce the fun’s over, you need to brush it out. “Begin brushing the hair with a brush that doesn’t drag,” advises Patrick. A Mason Pearson style brush has always worked for us. “Start at the end of the backcombed area that is furthest from the scalp, slowly work towards the base of the head until the area is combed through. Then wash your hair and treat it with a conditioning mask”. Your hair deserves it!