How to Tease Your Hair

6 secrets to get the right amount of oomph and volume in hair

Amaia Salamanca. Carlos Alvarez // Getty Images

Teased hair is so 1960s, right? Wrong. It turns out teasing the hair is one of those great hair secrets that All the Cool Girls Know but no one seems to tell. Knowing how to properly tease your hair can mean the difference between flat, lifeless hair and fabulous hair. 

Just don't go all out -- a full head of teased hair doesn't look good on anyone, I don't care if you were born, bred and currently reside in Dallas (I can say this as I hail from Texas).

Here's how to get a great head of mildly teased hair.

Focus on the Crown & Roots

Teasing at your crown and the root -- rather than all over -- will give you just the right amount of volume. These tips work on all hair textures, whether you have thin, fine, wavy, straight, curly or coarse hair.

Use a Rattail Comb or a Boar Bristle Brush

While some stylists recommend using a flat-backed boar bristle brush instead of a comb because brushes can be easier on your hair, a rattail comb is very safe if you use it correctly..

Either way, you can't go wrong.

The Pre-Style

To prep your hair for volume-inducing teasing, you need to create texture in the hair. The best texture is hair that hasn't been washed, but because most of us like clean hair, you can wash your hair, just skip the conditioner in the shower and avoid any serums or oils that add a slickness to hair. You need your teased texture to hold.

Adding texture is 3-fold:

  1. Salt spray spritzed on the roots when hair is damp will help give texture to hair. Make your own with my recipe or try a store-bought version. I recommend Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray.
  2. Once hair is dry, sprinkle a bit of baby powder or spray dry shampoo on the crown and roots. See my list of the Best Dry Shampoos.
  1. After a section is teased, spray a flexible hold hairspray before moving on to another section. This will hold your "tease" in place. You can buy a good spray from a drugstore. I recommend Nexxus New York Salon Care Comb Thru.

Go From Bottom Up

The idea is to tease from the bottom on up so that the top section lies flat and perfect atop your nest of hair.

To do this, you'll want to section hair into a top layer and a bottom layer. The top layer is a very thin layer that won't be teased and that will lay flat over your next of hair.

Section the top layer using the long end of your rattail comb and clip it into place.

Work Section-by-Section

Depending on your style, you may choose to tease just the back portion of your hair or the sides as well.

To tease, grab a section of hair that's about half and inch wide and pull it taut and away from your head. Use the comb to gently backcomb hair starting from about 4 inches from your crown. The idea is to get your shorter hairs to scrunch together at the crown. Comb 3-4 times before laying down your hair and moving on to another section.

"Be sure to fully remove the teeth of the rattail comb from your hair after each precise, downward stroke," says Dove hairstylist Mark Townsend in Allure magazine.

"That way, you're actually building up the mass of hair, not just pushing it around."

Spray each section with the hairspray.

The Finish

Now that your roots are teased, it's time to smooth back the top section over the teased bottom section. Gently comb your top layer in place and finish with hairspray.

You can now get creative: curl your hair in rollers, slick hair back in a low -- or high -- ponytail or pull a headband into place. I also love it when a basic curled hair has oomph from teased hair. Have fun with your new volume.

To remove the tease from your hair, gently comb it out from the ends of your hair to your crown, working your way up. You can also slather on conditioner to remove knots in the shower.