How to Tease Your Hair in 5 Easy Steps

woman holding long hair upward

Stocksy / Design by Cristina Cianci

Teased hair is so '60s, right? Wrong. It's actually the secret behind transforming flat hair into a full-bodied, head-turning look. Teasing is the method of combing the mid-lengths of your hair toward your scalp to create volume. You do this “if you want to build volume at your crown,” says celebrity hairstylist David Lopez—perhaps in order to add oomph to hairstyles like a braid or a ponytail (like the one Lopez creates in the video).

If you’re wondering if teasing is "bad" for your hair, Lopez says you shouldn't worry. “As long as you’re doing it intentionally, it’s not going to be bad for your hair,” he explains. Ahead, Lopez walks us through exactly how to get a head of teased hair. 

Step 1: Prep your hair by adding texture.

To prep your hair for major teasing, you need to create texture. Lopez does this by applying a dry texturizing spray (his go-to is the IGK Beach Club Volumizing Spray) the way he would a dry shampoo: He sections the hair and spritzes the product toward the root in the areas he plans to tease.

Lopez suggests making space between your texturizing product and your roots. “You want to hold your can a little further away,” he says. “A lot of your dry texturizing sprays can feel a little too wet if you hold them a little too close.” 

Step 2: Map out where you plan to tease.

Lopez’s best tip when it comes to teasing: “Work smarter, not harder.” This means being strategic about where you plan to tease and how much you plan to tease. He says you don't want take your comb and run it back and forth in the same area more than you have to. “That’s where you start to get that mechanical damage and that breakage.” 

He demonstrates how one motion of moving your comb from the mid-lengths of your hair to your root can be enough to get you the volume you need and how crucial it is that you don’t overdo it. 

Step 3: Build volume, focusing on the crown and roots.

The idea is to tease from the bottom up so that the top layer of your hair can lie flat atop the little nest you've created. Take a section of hair from the area you’d like to build your volume and position your comb at your mid-lengths. Then, run the comb toward your roots. If you decide to repeat this motion a second (third, or fourth) time, move your comb closer to your roots. (Lopez places the bristles of his comb three inches from the root.)

Lopez suggests holding the section of hair you are teasing forward toward your mirror—and not straight up—for added volume with less effort. 

Step 4: Smooth out the top layer of hair.

Lopez sweeps a boar and nylon mixture brush from the hairline straight back and down the lengths of hair, smoothing it over the newly volumized sections. This is where he begins to form the shape of the style that he is creating. “Depending on how hard you brush your hair, you can really start to smooth out that teasing and make it really small or really big,” he says. “The goal is to not see any of the teasing.”

Step 5: Create your style.

Once you've created your volume, you can then get creative with the rest of your hair. Curl your hair in rollers, slick hair back in a low or high ponytail, or pull a headband into place. Whatever you do, just have fun with your new volume.

Lopez decides to create a low ponytail, gathering the hair together toward the nape of the neck and securing it with a bungee. Throughout the process, Lopez has a light hand—carefully combing so that he does not break down the volume he just built up. 

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