People often ask the difference between traditional foiling and the artistry of hair painting or Balayage. Choosing one versus the other depends on the client’s preference for the type of look she would like to have, and of course, on the expertise of the colorist. Generally, foiling creates an overall lightness, while balayage results in a more dimensional effect and a buttery tone that mimics the natural highlights one might get from spending time in the sun. Because the hair is hand-painted, the colorist has better control of placement on individual strands, to allow the base color to remain in the hair to act as natural lowlights.
Additionally, balayage highlights process more slowly and are gentler on the hair, especially for those whose hair is prone to breaking. Since aluminum foil is a good conductor of heat and “bake” the hair within, the hair processes more quickly and produces a different tone. Regardless of the technique you choose, the most important element is the expertise of the colorist, as there’s a time and place for both highlighting methods.
Hair Painting is a process that we teach all of our colorists at my salon. We have also developed an advanced education program that we have designed for outside stylists and salon owners to come to our salon to learn this technique. (Click here for more information about our Advanced Academy).
Originating in France, the word “Balayage” translates to “sweeping”, and the actual sweeping of color can be placed more precisely on the hair. As a colorist, I can place the highlight exactly where nature intended it to be for a more dimensional, natural-looking color.
Take Kendra, for example. Kendra had always highlighted her hair using foils until she came in to my salon. Our Senior Colorist, Mira, hand painted these beautiful highlights and lowlights using the balayage technique. We processed her color for about 30 minutes, and then followed up with a beautiful golden glaze that not only brightened her highlights, but blended her natural base color. After Mira was finished, I then cut long layers giving her hair a stronger shape. Kendra was so surprised at the dramatic difference between balayage and foils, not only for it’s multi dimensional effect but also because her hair had never been in such great condition.