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10 Foilyage Tips that will Change Your Hair Painting Game

Balayage is an incredibly popular technique, and for good reason: It can help you give your clients’ hair a beautiful, naturally sun-kissed look that isn’t possible with traditional highlights.

Unfortunately, balayage can sometimes be limited in what it can achieve. Though there are a number of differences between balayage and foilyage, one of the most important is the fact that, generally speaking, balayage can get you about 4 levels of lift in a single session. This means that if you try to perform balayage on a client with hair that is too dark, the end result might be brassy, blorange hair.

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Need more lift than what balayage can give you? Foilyage is an amazing alternative technique that can give you the results you’re looking for.


What is Foilyage?

Foilyage is a coloring technique that blends traditional use of foils with the freehand application style of balayage.

During foilyage, product is painted onto the client’s hair as in balayage. Treated sections are then covered in foil for processing. 

Why the foil? Simply put, it conducts heat better than open air or plastic film typically used in balayage, allowing the product to infiltrate deeper into the hair. This results in more lift compared to balayage, making it ideal for clients with darker hair that are looking for more lift than balayage can supply. 

The foil also helps to keep the hair separate from the untreated hair, which can help prevent a splotchy end result that no one wants.

Foilyage Tips for Stylists

Though foilyage done well can give you beautiful results, when it’s done wrong, there can be some complaints. Most of these complaints are focused around the fact that it can result in splotchiness and/or hard lines of demarcation if it is applied incorrectly, instead of the natural, beachy, beautiful results your clients want.

With this in mind, below are 10 tips straight from Jamie Sea that you can use to create a beautifully blended foilyage application that your clients and guests will love.

1. Saturate smaller and thinner sections in your foil.

Concerned about splotchiness or uneven penetration of product? You can head off these unwanted results by saturating smaller, thinner sections in your foil, which will help you get the even penetration that you want.

2. Add points of brightness.

On the other hand, if you are more concerned with harsh lines of demarcation, you should consider creating points of brightness in your client’s hair. Doing so can help you get that natural look that you want, while ensuring the transition lines don’t get too harsh or splotchy.

3. Blend!

While foilyage is similar to a traditional foil in that it involves using foil to help product penetrate deeper into the hair, there are a number of important differences. Traditional foils tend to have much harsher, sharper lines of demarcation than is typically expected or desired frm foilyage. To avoid these harsh lines, you’ve got to be careful in your product placement and your blending technique.

4. Don’t be afraid of some water.

When you’re blending, consider adding a spritz or two of water mist to the hair. This will facilitate more even porosity in the hair, helping the product glide easier and allowing you get the blended look you’re working towards.

5. Use the right comb...

When teasing your client’s hair for a foilyage application, finer teeth on the foiling comb will create a more secure tease, which can have a big impact on the finished result of the service.

6. ...and the right brush.

We suggest using @prettylittleombres Painting Collection "Melt Brush" to apply your product. This feathered bristle brush will help you achieve a seamless blend while properly saturating your sections. You can learn more about the different types of balayage and foilyage brushes here.

7. Keep teasing in mind.

The ease of your comb out is dependent on how much you tease the hair. The more you tease, the harder it will be to comb out in the sink.


We suggest teasing the hair down "tip to top" once per section. This keeps that hair less snarly, allowing for an easy comb out in the sink.

8. Start at the midshaft.

When applying lightener to the hair, make sure to add the bulk of the saturation to the midshaft first, saturate the ends, and then blur up. This will help you concentrate the color where you want it, while creating a more natural, blended look.

9. Create a “balayage ribbon”.

If you want to get as close to a balayaged look as possible, consider creating a “balayage ribbon.” You can do this by placing three or four teased foils back to back. If you only do one or two sections, it’ll look too diffused and won’t achieve the bright pop you’re seeking.

10. Use the right lightener.

Of course, your choice of lightener should primarily be driven by the desired outcome that your client or guest is looking for. That being said, using a smooth and creamy lightener, if possible, will ensure easy gliding and less splotchiness.

Want to improve your foilyage game even more? Download our Top 5 Root Smudging Formulas!

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