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What is Backcombing?

Backcombing is like teasing the hair into a knot. Teasing creates a big fluff ball, we want a rope of tightly packed knots. The motion is similar though. If you took the comb and stuck it in the strands you’re holding and slide it up towards your scalp, not letting any hairs slip loose and get pushed forward, not much would happen. I suppose if you did it real fast your hair would get warm but that’s about it. The trick is to very slowly let a hair or two slip on each stroke forward. These loose hairs will get pushed toward your scalp and start to form a dread. Pack the hair in tight by pressing the comb firmly against the newly forming dread on each stroke.


You should turn and roll the dread as you go, to make sure it comes out round. Backcombing all on one side makes very 2 dimensional dreads. No fun to conversate with at all. In less sensitive areas of the scalp you’ll be able to get the knots pretty tight very close to the scalp. In other areas this will be a little painful.  If the backcombing really hurts it means that you’re getting tugged on. A little bit of this is going to happen no matter what, especially right by the scalp, but much of it can be prevented by keeping some slack in the dread while it’s being backcombed.



When you get comfortable with the backcombing and you’re figured out how to pack the hair down and get it nice and tight it’s time to take things to the next level. It’s friction that causes the hair to get pushed forward by the comb. By increasing the friction in a controlled way you can cause more hair to get pushed forward and you can speed up your backcombing progress.

Lock Powder allows you to do just that.

The reason you don’t start out with Lock Powder from the beginning is that you have to develop a feel for backcombing before you add the “Powder variable” into the mix. Adding too much Powder causes, you guessed it, too much hair to move forward. This leads to unpredictable, crappy-ish results. Once you know what it’s like to backcomb dreads nice and tight without Lock Powder it will be easy to fine tune your Powder amount to get the best results.

When the hair grows you want it to get tangled into the dread. Keeping the knots that are closest to the scalp tight will help new growth dread as it grows. This can be tricky and painful with a comb. Continue to back comb the hair slowly working your way to the end. Don’t rush. The most common reason dreads need to be re-started or fixed is that the initial backcombing was rushed and the knots didn’t get packed tightly together. You will get done faster if you don’t pack the knots tight but you will end up re-backcombing them before the first week is over. At some point I’ll warn you properly about re-backcombing dreads. The time to get the backcombing just right is during the first week. Then you want to leave it alone and help it lock with palm rolling.

You know you’re done backcombing when you get to the end of the dread and have nothing to hold onto. Then it’s time for a well placed rubber band at to keep everything in place. But thats optional. Wear the elastics as long you like, but at least some days to keep the end of the dread together and help the locking process.


A video tutorial about Backcombing!