Just like that - vague and glossed over, leaving you wondering...
"Backcomb?... how exactly do I backcomb?"
It's with this in mind that I've created a step by step series of photos and instructions.
This article shows precisely how to backcomb, (or backbrush) to add lift to fine hair, funk things up a little bit or support an updo hair style.
Click photos to enlarge
I refer to the technique as "backcombing", mainly because of the familiarity of the term. In actuality, I rarely ever use a comb. A small brush works far better (not one with knobules at the end of the bristles).
The tool I've used in these photos is specifically for backbrushing and updo styling (that's where the pointed tail on the end comes in handy). Great tool to have.
After many inquiries on where to find such a brush and MUCH searching online, I finally found the Monroe Teasing Brush available at Folica.com.
Start with a small (about 1 inch thick) triangular section at the front of your crown right where you want the part to end and the hair to start moving back.
If you're looking for volume right from the front hairline, then take your first section there and, in both cases...
Direct it forward so the section is about 45° from the scalp, and comb the hair down to the root in short, deep strokes. Only work in the bottom 2 or 3 inches.
Hold the section firmly near the ends so as not to pull down too much, which results in bulky, tangled clumps at the root and thin ends to display the unsightly mess prominently. No thanks.
You'll know you're done when the section can stand up on it's own. (as seen in the photo)
Part off another section just below the first (also about an inch thick).
Comb both sections upwards and forwards and grasp the ends together. Repeat the technique in step one. You'll know you're finished when the two sections are joined and standing as one.
As you move down the back of the head (only 1/3 of the way down is necessary if you're creating volume) hold the sections upwards.
This way, as the scalp slopes down you still have your extreme angle for volume.
Repeat step one again, with slightly less backcombing in the lower sections so it'll blend well with the bottom pieces which aren't in need of the big-hair treatment.
Check out all the volume! If it's big hair you want, you need volume. Lots of it.
As you lay the sections down, run your comb (or brush) through the ends of all the sections lightly to help blend (unless you're going for a messy, unkempt look, in that case, leave it as is).
You'll notice in the photo that the sides aren't backcombed and blended in yet, so...
Take a section at the side/top, right at the part, over-direct the hair, as always, by combing it in the opposite direction.
Repeat steps 1,2,3, and 4. Then do the same on the other side.
If you'd like extra volume in the bangs... guess what! Repeat all steps in the fringe section and a tiny bit on the other side of the part as well, to prevent a noticeably flat spot in contrast to the heavy side.
Anywhere you want to craft some big hair, create a support "cushion" for an updo hairstyle, or just give a little lift... repeat all steps.
Smooth down that big hair!
Backcombing can leave the surface of the hair roughed up. Create a finished look by running your comb (or brush) over the top sections of hair.
Not too deep, just enough to remove any visible snags and get the final shape just right.
From here, you can either finish your big hair style with a good hairspray or start crafting your updo.
If you're trying to create a messy, highly textured look, forgo the smoothing. Just use the brush to pick through any visible snags. Then use a hair wax or puddy and scrunch it through the ends and up underneath. Use your fingers to slightly twist sections that naturally clump together to accentuate the piecey texture.