Advanced Highlighting Methods
Colorists may use alternative methods of foil placement patterns, techniques (slicing vs. weaving) and foil wrapping. Methods are generally determined by the client’s style and desired color effect. Colorists may choose one type or may combine various patterns, techniques and wrapping methods to achieve results.
Foil Placement Patterns
There are 3 basic patterns of foil placement: block pattern (see The Fundamentals of Foil Highlighting), bricklayering and angling.
Hair is sectioned into 4 – 5 sections depending on the density, texture and head shape. Foil placement alternates from 3 foils in a row to 2 foils in the next row. This pattern is repeated throughout application.
Hair is sectioned in the basic block wrap pattern and the hair is sliced or woven at a slight angle starting at the hairline. Place each foil at an angle, working towards the tip of the ear. Continue wrapping in a semicircular movement, placing each foil at a slight angle to achieve a curved effect.
There are two basic techniques for picking up the hair during the foil process: weaving and slicing. One technique could be used alone for highlighting or the techniques could be alternated, depending on the desired highlighting effects.
Weaving is the classic method for foil wrapping. Weaving can be used in combination with the slicing method.
- To weave, always part very fine sections—no more than 3 inches wide and 1/8-inch thick.
- Move the end of a tail comb through the surface of the entire section in an in-and-out pattern until you have separated the row.
- Place the foil under the strands you have weaved. Brush formula onto the strands, then wrap the foil and secure.
For many expert colorists, slicing has become an alternative method of picking up hair, because it is fast.
- To slice, part sections up to 3 inches wide and from 1/6- to 1/8-inch thick. KEEP SLICES THIN.
- Place the foil underneath the strands. Brush formula onto the strands, fold the foil and secure.
Whichever technique you choose, remember to keep the sections thin. Do not take large sections of hair as this will result in spotting on the scalp, and a striped effect. If the client desires many highlights, place more foils in the hair.
The alternate methods of folding the foils are double foils (or foil-on-foil) and the two-fold method.
Double Foils (Foil-on-Foil)
Ideal for retouching, or when portions of the shaft and ends need protection while highlighting.
- Weave or slice the hair and secure the first foil in place. After application of the formula, take a second foil of the same size and place on top of the first foil. Fold sides inward.
An alternative method for use when applying formula only to selected portions of the hair strands.
- Place foil underneath strands. Apply formula only to those areas to be highlighted or colored. (Conditioner may be applied to protect rest of strand.) Fold bottom third of the foil over the ends of the hair (or wherever hair needs protection).
- Fold foil up to the edge and fold sides inward.