Learn How To Tease Your Hair: Tips from Nathaniel Hawkins

Amanda Elser

miranda kerr

This Fashion Week I heard a stroke of genius from Wella hair stylist Eugene Souleiman,”Teasing is the only way to get your hair to do what you want.” And as I caught a glimpse of my flat hair in my computer screen reflection I thought to myself I really need to learn how to tease my hair.

I have always been turned off from teasing my roots. Maybe its the thought of purposefully knotting my hair or images of my mom in the 80s that have scarred me, but I have managed to steer clear.

But over a dinner last week with celebrity hairstylist,Nathaniel Hawkins, he commented how the ponytail style, which I haphazardly threw my hair into, could be completely redone with simple teasing. So I took the bait, and I asked Hawkins to walk me through the teasing process.

1. Start with the right products

Hawkins recommends using a Boar bristle teasing brush when teasing your hair. He says the same way boars’ bristles smooth your hair, they help create that friction when brushed down.

2. In the shower

Hawkins says that if you know you are going to try to do a teased style, don’t put conditioner or any other silicone based products into your hair. “Anything that creates a slick look will prevent hair from locking in the texture,” he explained.

3. The prep work

When hair is damp, Hawkins says to spray a salt spray onto your roots to add texture. Salt spray can be applied to dry hair, but because it is a water based product it will need to be blow dried in.

After you apply the salt spray for texture apply your choice of a styling cream or mousse for volume. “Salt spray doesn’t create hold, just texture,” Hawkins said.

If you plan on straightening your hair, Hawkins says not to straighten your roots. “Be careful about over stretching and over smoothing your roots,” he explains, “otherwise the backcomb won’t hold.”

4. The manual work

Once your hair is completely dry, Hawkins says to take a section of your hair about half an inch wide. Hold your hair tightly and straight back, away from your head. Hawkins says this is an important step since the action of teasing occurs when the hair is being held tightly and the pressure of the brush pushes the shorter hairs down to the scalp.

5. Repeat

Tease each section of hair about 3 times before backcombing you hair. Hawkins says to use your teasing brush to smooth out the backcomb and use the pointed part of the brush to shape your hair without removing the tease.

6. Make it last

Hawkins says the most important thing to note about hairspray is to get an aerosol can and to get a hairspray that does not contain water. When hairsprays contain water and are sprayed too closely to the scalp they are just spraying humidity back into you hair and creating frizz. Hawkins recommends using Aveda Air Control Hairspray. Hold the hairspray the length of the can away from your hair and spray in the direction you want your hair to lie.

7. Final touches

Hawkins says for added shine and glean, finish off your look with a shine spray.