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Foilyage vs. Balayage: Which One Is Right for You?

Just when you learned how to pronounce balayage, a new color technique enters the ring. While this one may be easier to pronounce, the question is what is foilyage exactly? And what is the difference between foilyage vs balayage? Read on to learn all about the differences between the two color techniques, if foilyage or balayage is better, and which one is right for you!

What Is Foilyage?

Foilyage is a relatively new color technique that has been surpassing balayage in terms of popularity. This is because, in many cases, foilyage actually looks more natural than balayage. The combination of freestyle hand-painting, plus the use of foils, allows the professional to create more precise highlighting as they travel up the hair, as well as increase the brightness of the hair within the foils.

Foiled hair tends to lift faster and lighter due to the heat exchange happening within the foil. Lightener, or hair bleach, actually heats up as it oxidizes and lifts. The heat helps boost the hair to its lightest possible levels at a quicker rate, which can help retain the hair’s integrity while still reaching the intended level of lightness.

Fans of foilyage also love this technique as it feels closer to a traditional highlight without the harsh outgrowth lines or noticeable roots. This is where the biggest difference between foilyage vs balayage becomes noticeable. The subtle highlights closer to the root and the overall brighter appearance are usually signs that the stylist has opted for a foilyage color technique.

What Is Balayage?

Balayage, as a trend, has been around the block a few times. Yet, this color technique never seems to fade as it has cemented itself as a mainstay in the hair industry. The balayage technique is often characterized by its signature hand-painted patterns with sweeping sections of lightness that slowly blend back into your natural, or chosen root color.

While in many ways this may sound like an ombré, the key here is that a balayage doesn’t feature a solid gradation all the way around the head. In order to keep this technique more natural, your stylist will hand paint up and down the hair, starting and stopping in different areas to create a more natural, organic sun-kissed look.

Most balayage techniques differ from foilyage as they use balayage paper, or open-air techniques, versus foils. Additionally, you may not see as many foiled, hand-painted highlights traveling up towards the root as you would with a foilyage. This is not to say that some stylists don’t use foils on their balayage clients. Much of these color techniques are all about the stylist and the client’s personal preferences.

Foilyage vs. Balayage: Which Is Right for You?

If you’re questioning which color technique is right for you, start by gathering some inspiration photos. Ask yourself what you like about them. Are you more attracted to an overall lighter look that reaches for your roots? Or, do you prefer a more natural gradation with organically placed areas of lightness?

In general, we recommend balayage for those who like to space out their salon visits and aren’t looking to go as light as possible. A well-placed balayage can create a huge impact within your hair color. When tones are chosen properly, they will grow out seamlessly with your natural, meaning you can let it go as long as you need.

Foilyage is best for those who want the highest level of impact with hair as light as possible. If you prefer seeing that lightness as close to your root as possible, foilyage can help accomplish that goal. If you are able to commit to a salon visit every six to eight weeks, then foilyage is a great choice.

Foilyage and balayage techniques aren’t for everyone. HERE is a list of hair color techniques for every hair type and length!



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