Foilyage vs Balayage: Which is Right for You?

27 September 2021 | Tincture and Colour

Nowadays, it must feel like there is a new hair term every other day. But we’ll be honest, if you haven’t heard of a balayage by now, we’re certain you’ve been living under a rock. 

However, you’ve likely not heard of this newer hair term called a foilyage, not to be confused with a collection of plants and leaves. 

So, what is foilyage and how is it different from balayage? And, most importantly, which one is right for you? 


Foilyage vs Balayage: What’s the difference?

When looking at the results of a foilyage and balayage side by side, you’ll only notice a few differences. That being, a foilyage will look a lot brighter and a tad closer to the results of highlighting. 

This all comes down to differences in the technique. Balayage involves sweeping lightener down the mid-lengths and ends of the hair to create that beautifully blended look we all know and love. Foilyage involves the same sweeping method, however, sections of hair are wrapped in foil instead of being left to air dry. 


What is the foilyage technique?

Let’s take a more in-depth look at foilyage. We now know that after your stylist paints bleach onto your mid-lengths and ends, that they will place foils into the hair. But why do they do this?

When bleach is applied and left on the hair, it breaks down and removes the pigment in your hair to reveal a lighter shade. However, bleach becomes less active as it begins to dry out, so after a while, your hair will stop processing. 

If you already have naturally light hair, then this might be enough to lift your hair to your desired lightness. However, for those with darker or stubborn hair that is harder to lift, foils make life a lot easier. They keep the heat from your bleach trapped, which prevents it from drying out as quickly so it can process your hair quicker and for longer. 

Therefore, we’re able to lift your hair to a lighter shade, and both you and your stylist are happy! 

Foilyage hair technique

What is balayage?

We know we said you were living under a rock if you hadn’t heard of a balayage, but understanding what it is is a different story. 

Originating from France, the term balayage comes from the French word “balayer” which translates to “sweep”, and this is exactly what a balayage involves. We use freehand to paint bleach or colour onto the hair to create a seamless gradient from root to end. 

This technique also means we can get more creative and give you an entirely bespoke look. Unlike highlights or foilyage, there are no foils involved with a balayage, so your results are that of an artist.

Brown balayage hair on client at Tierney Salons Hertford

Which one is right for you?

After finding out what each technique entails, you might be wondering whether a foilyage or balayage will be right for you. 

Since the different techniques involve lifting the hair with bleach, your stylist will be able to advise you on the most suitable method by simply assessing your hair when you sit down. However, you might want an idea of which one your stylist will use.

If you have very dark or previously coloured hair, then expect your stylist to suggest a foilyage. As mentioned, this just ensures your hair can be lifted effectively. But generally, if you’d like really light ends or like the more ‘highlighted’ look, then a foilyage is perfect for you.

Balayage tends to look more natural as your roots and ends won’t be drastically different. The subtle lightness is the perfect way to elevate your look, especially if you’re already blonde, brunette or ginger. 


Book a Foilyage or Balayage at Tierney Salons Hertford

If you’ve been frantically searching Google for “balayage near me”, or you think you’d prefer a foilyage, then we’ve got you covered. 

Even if you haven’t quite decided yet or need a stylist to check out your hair, then you can book a consultation at Tierney Salons and we’ll get you sorted.

Take a look at our services here, or feel free to contact us here if you have any questions.