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Balayage Vs Foil Highlights

Balayage and foil highlights are two popular hair colouring techniques used by hairstylists to add dimension and depth to hair. While both techniques involve lightening sections of hair, they differ in their application methods, results, and maintenance.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the difference between balayage and foil highlights.


Balayage is a French word that means ‘to sweep’ or ‘to paint’. The balayage technique involves hand-painting the hair to create a natural-looking, sun-kissed effect. This method involves using a brush to apply colour/ lightener to individual strands of hair, starting at the mid-shaft and gradually getting lighter towards the ends. Balayage is typically used to create a subtle, gradual transition between shades, resulting in a softer, more natural look.

Advantages of Balayage:

  • Low Maintenance: Balayage is a low-maintenance hair color technique, as it requires less frequent touch-ups compared to foil highlights.

  • Natural-Looking: Balayage creates a natural-looking effect that mimics the way hair naturally lightens in the sun.

  • Customisable: Balayage can be customised to suit individual hair types and styles, making it a versatile option for any hair type.

  • Less Damage: Balayage involves minimal damage to the hair, as it doesn’t require heat or foils to achieve the desired result.

Disadvantages of Balayage:

  • Results Vary: Although you may see a beautiful image online, your end results will vary depending on your hair texture, length and confidence of your Stylist.

  • Less Dramatic: Balayage is less dramatic than foil highlights and may not be suitable for those looking for a more noticeable change in their hair color.

Foil Highlights:

Foil highlights involve sectioning the hair and applying colour/ lightener to the hair using foils. The hair is first saturated with a lightening product, and then a foil is wrapped around the hair to trap the heat and speed up the lightening process. Foil highlights are typically used to create a more dramatic contrast between shades, resulting in a bolder, more striking look.

Advantages of Foil Highlights:

  • Dramatic Results: Foil highlights create a more dramatic effect, making it suitable for those looking for a bold change in their hair color.

  • Fast Application: Foil highlights can be applied quickly, as the hair is sectioned and the color is applied uniformly.

  • Controlled Results: Foil highlights allow for more precise colour placement and control over the final result.

Disadvantages of Foil Highlights:

  • High Maintenance: Foil highlights can require frequent touch-ups to maintain the desired effect, as the roots will show as the hair grows out.

  • Potential Damage: If your Hair Stylist isn't careful when applying your foil highlights and they overlap the colour it can make the hair brittle. Make sure you see a colour specialist to get best results. Samuel Chapman Salons are colour specialist salons ;)


In conclusion, both balayage and foil highlights are popular hair coloring techniques that offer unique benefits. Balayage is a low-maintenance, natural-looking technique that creates a subtle transition between shades, while foil highlights offer a more dramatic contrast between shades and are ideal for those looking for a bolder change. Ultimately, the choice between balayage and foil highlights will depend on individual preferences, hair type, and desired results.

If you want to speak to an expert colourist, contact our salons today and book your FREE consultation.


01273 323597


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82 George Street, Hove

107 South Road, Haywards Heath


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