What Are Foils in Hair Coloring?

A great head of hair can make you feel more confident and ready to take on the world. One of the most popular hair colour choices is hair colour foils. But what are foils in hair colouring, what alternatives are there, and what does foil even do to your hair? If you want to feel your best, read on to discover more about the world of hair foils.

What Are Hair Colour Foils?

girls hair after using foils to colour hair blonde lowlights

You may be wondering – what are foils in hair colouring? Hair colour foils are a way of lightening your hair using sheets of foil to separate pieces of hair. Highlights are usually created using hair foils, howe

ver, sometimes a plastic cap can be used for highlighting – though this is more old fashioned. Some benefits of using foils on your hair are:

  • They keep lightener from being applied to too many strands of hair
  • Allows for a more controlled look
  • Trap heat to create a lighter result
  • Creates a multi-tonal look
  • Blends natural colour with lighter strands for easy regrowth
  • Can be used to create lowlights to add depth to dark hair

Hair Foil Alternatives

  1. Balayage – where a colour is painted directly onto hair
  2. Ombre/dip-dye – where lightener is applied lower down the hair for a two-tone look
  3. Root touch up – where colour is only applied to the roots to cover regrowth

7 FAQs About Hair Colour Foils

Have you got a burning question about hair foils? Want to know what to ask your stylist to get the right result and discover more about how to colour hair with foils?

Here we will answer some of the most common questions about hair colour foils so that you can hit the salon armed with plenty of knowledge.

1. Can you use regular foil to colour hair?

It can be tricky to know how to colour hair with foils. When colouring hair, it is best to always use salon quality materials where you are able to.

However, regular kitchen foil can be used to colour hair, as long as the dye or bleach you are using clearly states that it is safe to use with metal-based products.

If this is the case, regular foil can be used to create separation and to trap heat in the same way as professional hairdressing foils.

2. Is Balayage the same as foils?

Much like highlighting using hair colour foils, balayage is a process that is used to lighten hair.

However, it is a process of “sweeping” the lightener onto the hair in a freehand style and then leaving the colour left to the open air to process.

This creates less obviously delineated regrowth lines and a more natural and blended look.

With balayage, it is sometimes easier to decide how soft or bright one wants the look to be, and it generally appears more natural and has less upkeep than traditional highlights.

However, it may appear less multi-tonal than hair foil highlights.

3. What does foil do to your hair?

Something many people don’t know is what are hair colour foils, and how do they work?

When you use foil on your hair during a colour process such as highlighting, it creates space between the hair being coloured and the other strands.

This is done so that you do not get an all-over blonde effect, and so that your highlights are more defined. Foils also trap heat, meaning that the overall process is lighter and more even.

Foil does not damage your hair during this process.

4. Can you foil your hair at home?

While it is entirely possible (as with most colour processes) to foil your hair at home, this is not something that most hairdressers would advise.

Creating a precise look with hair colour foils can be difficult and takes precision and training.

Using strong bleach at home can be difficult and even dangerous for the untrained, and unless you know a lot about placing foils, the result can be uneven and unnatural looking.

It is best to see a professional so that they can create the exact look that you want, safely.

5. What foil do hairdressers use?

The type of foil used is a major question when asking what are foils in hair colouring.

Hairdressers use sheets of aluminium foil to cover up sections of hair during highlighting.

This is the same type of foil as is used in kitchens, however, it is often separated into clean, easy to use pre-cut squares for a more precise and easy application.

It is usually purchased from beauty supply manufacturers, who have already done this.

6. How long does a full foil take?

A full head of foils can take between two to three hours, depending on what treatments the hairdresser applies afterwards (some will apply treatments that help your hair to recover from the lightening process).

Bear in mind that you may also need to return to the salon as frequently as every six weeks to keep your full foil looking fresh and to prevent too much visible regrowth.

7. How many foils do I need for a full head?

For a full head of foils, significantly more foils are needed than if you have traditionally gone for a half head or some simple accents.

For a full head of foils, you will require anywhere between 50 to 100 foils to create an all-over lighter look. This is because the foils will need to cover 50% or more of your overall hair.


ladies hair after using foils to colour her hair

From here, we hope you now can answer just what foils are when it comes to hair colouring.

As we can see, there are many different things to consider before you head into the salon to ask for a service using hair colour foils.

If you are looking for a lighter appearance to your hair that can create an all-over blonde effect while still remaining multi-tonal with some natural elements, then highlights using hair colour foils could be for you.

At Lux Hair Lounge we provide foiling for both highlights and lowlights so that you can get the exact look you want. We can also give you the balayage of your dreams, as well as other hair foil alternatives.

If you are ready to change up your look and create a beautiful hair colour tone, the Lux Hair Lounge team are ready to assist .

Whether you know exactly what you want or you are looking for a trained eye to provide professional advice about how you can look your best, get in touch with the skilled and friendly staff at Lux Hair Lounge.

For a fresh new cut or to try a hair colour trend you will fall in love with, there is no better place to get back to feeling like your best self.