Skip to Content
Home » Hair Color

Foilyage Vs. Balayage: Which Style Is Right For You?

The difference between foilyage and balayage is not huge. But a hairstylist will recognize each technique right away. No matter the differences, foilyage and balayage are among the most wanted hair procedures.

They are most of the time requested by blondes and brunettes. And if you don’t know how to spot the two, continue reading because we’re going to break it down for you, step by step.

There are loads of ways of creating stunning highlights, and these two hair coloring techniques count as the most impressive and trendy ones, with the best results.

But before we dig in and spot the characteristics of these two popular procedures, let’s see what each of them can do.


What is Foilyage Hair Technique?

Foilyage Hair Technique

As the balayage, the foilyage will use almost the same technique. The approach used by colorist experts consists in applying the color on your hair with a sweeping technique. This way, they paint your hair and, once the hair is done, they wrap the top and front in aluminum foils.

Your colorist will apply heat to make those highlights pop even brighter. This way, the dye better penetrates the hair. It creates stunning nuances and hues that lighten your hair and gorgeously blend with your base color. 

The foilyage is most of the time recommended for women with darker hair that want outstanding highlights. If you don’t want a heavy commitment that often requires appointments to a hair salon, foilyage is your best friend.

This technique took the hairdressing world by storm. It generally uses golden blonde highlights or other warm nuances or copper hues. The overall aspect is more eye-popping and creates better contrast. The technique and is an upgrade from balayage.


What is a Balayage?

Balayage technique

On the other side, a balayage is slightly different from a foilyage. Even if the two procedures do quite the same thing, a color specialist can spot the difference. And after reading this article, so would you! 

So, the balayage uses the same sweeping technique. A lighter color is added, and the roots remain visible, untouched. More product will be applied towards the ends, creating a mind-blowing gradient.

The contrast between the roots and the tips of your hair is outstanding. That effect is gained because the color becomes brighter along your strands.

The procedure focuses mainly on the surface of your hair. This way, the underside remains untouched, creating that depth and dimension.

It is an incredible process, and an experienced colorist can pull it off between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours. Of course, the time may vary, depending on the length of your hair and thickness.

But, if you combine the two procedures and involve the foils, you might need to spend more than three hours in the hair salon.

How to Protect Highlights When Coloring Your Hair


Foilyage vs. Balayage

While the balayage aims to create a natural sun-kissed look, foilyage makes a more vivid and eye-popping transition. Balayage was invented in France and meant “to paint”.

Therefore, balayage is also known as a technique where the hair is freehand painted. The hair is then allowed to process in the open air and is covered with a plastic foil. 

Foilyage, on the other hand, uses the traditional way of creating highlights and the painting procedure. Therefore, after each strand is hand-dyed using the balayage technique, the hair is carefully packed into aluminum foils and heated. 


When Should I Use Balayage?

When Should I Use Balayage?

Balayage looks outstanding, and you can use them in several cases. So, if you want to lighten your hair only four levels or even less, this technique is the proper approach. You can reach that lighting level in just one session.

This technique is ideal for women who want that sun-kissed look and the “just came back from the beach” vibe. If you never had highlights, balayage is the thing you can start with.

It offers a natural warm look that is perfect for those afraid to get a dramatic change. Balayage creates natural-looking highlights that are quite subtle and cute.

So, if you don’t want to get back to the salon for frequent touch-ups, balayage highlights is exactly the hairdo you needed. This way, as your hair grows, the difference between the top and tip is not dramatic.

The whole hairdo was painted this way to highlight this distinction. The balayage is a low-maintenance technique that allows you to postpone your touch-ups. This way, you will not feel totally uncomfortable as your hair starts gaining length.


When to Use Foilyage?

When to Use Foilyage?

Foilyage is usually used if you have dark hair and want light highlights. That doesn’t mean you will get that unblended mark, specific to traditional blonde highlights. But what do you think about a beautiful blend with an intense nuance?

One of the reasons foilyage gained popularity lies in its low maintenance characteristics. All Hollywood stars, actresses, singers, and models started getting a foilyage, so the procedure is not on anyone’s lips in most hair salons. 


More Related Articles:


Wrap Up

The technique used for both of these two, a balayage and a foilyage, is slightly different. And so is the procedure. The balayage uses highlights that are being performed without a foil. The foilyage combines two techniques.

The foils are used only for the top of your head and front, where the light usually falls. This way, the color better penetrates the hair creating a more intense look, no matter the base color and roots.

However, even if it sounds simple, this is not a procedure you should perform on your own, at home. Book an appointment with a good stylist or colorist that knows the difference between the two.

This way, you will ensure the outcome is outstanding. Also, the transition between the pieces where foils we used is subtle and effective.