A question I get asked a lot at workshops is 'Will teasing damage my hair?' The short answer is, No, but Yes. You have to learn how to tease your hair (and remove the tease!) properly, otherwise you run the risk of causing damage to your hair that will have you cursing the pinup hair gods.
(The stunning Beatrice will be my hair model for today's lesson)
So let's get nerdy with the science of hair (because you all know how much I love my science!).
Each strand of your hair is covered by a cuticle which is of porous nature, like overlapping tiles on a roof. When we have 'dirty' hair, the natural oils on our scalp and some products we use will open up the porous cuticles in our hair. This added texture to your hair is why many vintage hairstylists will suggest that 'the dirtier, the better' to create vintage styles and these styles often involve teasing to create volume, height and stability. The act of teasing (downwards against the hair shaft) opens up more of the hairs cuticles and increases porosity.
(Image source: Merlin Professional Hair Care)
Now, this stage of your hair is not 'damaged', you can easily close the cuticles in your hair with a good quality, high protein conditioner or leave in treatment (keratin is the main protein in hair). However, if you are not careful when you are removing the tease you can create more damage to your hair that is irreversible -such as breakages.
Why is teasing important for vintage hair styling?
Teasing or backcombing the hair creates beautiful volume and stability. When you are doing rolls such as victory rolls for example, teasing the hair first will not only make it easier to form a uniform roll, but it adds security to the style as you are placing the bobby pins right through that teased hair and it helps keep them in place and the style secure all day long.
So how do you safely and effectively tease your hair?
Take small sections of hair
Use a comb or teasing brush
Push down the hair in a 'C' shape to cushion the hair at the root
Work your way from the root to the ends (if necessary to tease that much)
Tease underneath and smooth the top
How to safely remove tease:
Gently brush your fingers through the teased section starting from ends to root
Once it is easy to run your fingers through the section, then move onto a wide toothed comb or hair brush
If you follow all of these steps, then you should be back to your perfectly smooth and healthy hair after you wash it as usual.
Here is a really great video all about teasing for vintage hair styling by The Cherry Dollface:
Still a bit sacred to tease? - I know I was when I first started!
Check out this great 'No Tease' hairstyle by The Vintage Vanity:
We go more in depth into teasing and troubleshooting how to tease your own hair in our hands on pinup hair styling workshops. These even include a kit featuring my favourite teasing/smoothing brush - yes it does both!
Check out what workshops we have coming up here.