What is a Teasing Comb?

G. Wiesen

A teasing comb is a comb designed specifically to help in the process of teasing or backcombing hair to achieve greater volume and lift. Most teasing combs have a solid handle for use and many teeth above the handle for combing. Below the handle there will often be one or more long teeth that can be used to help in separating hair into smaller sections for working with. These longer teeth are similar to a pick or rat tail comb and give the teasing comb a distinct appearance.

Curly or wavy hair may need to be flattened and straightened before teasing.
Curly or wavy hair may need to be flattened and straightened before teasing.

The teasing comb is typically used during the process of teasing hair to add volume or to create a big hairstyle, such as a beehive or bouffant. Though these particular hairstyles have lost popularity since the 1950s when they were most common, the process of teasing hair has remained in use to create body or volume in otherwise thin or flat hair. While a teasing comb may not be strictly necessary to tease hair properly, the handle and pick at the bottom usually make the process easier and more manageable.

Hair that is going to be teased is usually flattened and straightened before teasing. Curly or wavy hair may naturally have more lift and body to it, but hair that is not flattened is more likely to tangle and be damaged during the styling process. This straightening is often more easily accomplished using a natural bristle brush to ensure even brushing and thorough untangling. After the hair is straightened and untangled the actual teasing can be done.

A person’s hair is separated into smaller bunches of hair that are worked with individually. The pick at the bottom of the teasing comb can be used to help separate the hair for working with, or a person can use his or her hands to do so. For a professional, the pick at the bottom of the comb can often make the process faster, especially as training and practice has made the entire procedure of separating hair with the pick and then teasing with the comb into a seamless and fluid motion.

Using one small bunch of hair at a time, the hair is pulled away from the head, usually held upright in one hand. The hair is then combed in the opposite direction than usual, starting at the tip of the hair and working toward the scalp in several short, sharp strokes. Usually, the regular teeth on the teasing comb are used for this process and the quick bursts of combing create the volume and body typified by teasing.

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