D934ce10e353cd3e7e68 foils

New shades come and go each season, but when it comes to getting any look, what stays the same is the prep work and placement. If going brighter, highlighting is the most common option, but which is the best technique to use? Learn more below about the differences between foils and balayage and be sure to tune into WellaEd.com Virtual Sessions: Foils Vs. Balayage with Michele Catalanello on July 20th or August 29th for even more in-depth expert advice. 


Created using bleach and a freehand painting technique where the product is painting onto the surface of the hair with deliberate strokes. Balayage creates a more sun-kissed feel with softer placement and a natural finish. 

When To Use Balayage

If clients are new to highlighting, balayage can be a great technique to ease them into the process. Due to its natural placement, the style can last longer between touchups and require much less upkeep than traditional foils. Additionally, if clients aren’t looking for a great deal of lift or a great transformation, this technique will create a more natural-looking effect that isn’t as dramatic.  

Best Lightener for Balayage

Wella Professionals FreeLights White Lightening Powder

With up to 7 levels of lift, this creamy, flexible lightening powder stays in place to ensure you get exact color placement. 


Foiling is a technique that involves sectioning the hair in either thick or thin sections and various weaving patterns before applying the lightening product. Depending on placement, it can often result in a more harsh line of demarcation.

When To Use Foils

For clients that are looking for a higher level of lift or a drastic transformation, foiling usually allows you to get much more lift in a single session. This placement also allows stylists to create more contrast or lift lower-level clients past unwanted brassy tones. When hair + lightener is placed in a foil, it allows the section to conduct more heat, allowing the product to penetrate the hair shaft resulting in higher levels of lift. This can be a great option for clients who don’t mind spending more time in the salon for regular upkeep and those looking to create bolder, brighter shades. 

Best Lightener for Foils

Wella Professionals BlondorPlex Multi Blonde Dust-Free Powder Lightener

A lightening powder with a bond builder already added in, this product is ideal to lift all levels while cutting down on breakage by 97%*. To finish the service and ensure bonds are stabilized, be sure to use WellaPlex N°2 after lightening.

*When using Wellaplex N°2 with Blondorplex, versus Blondorplex alone