8 tips for converting foil highlights to balayage

From magazines to movies; TV shows to social media we’re being bombarded with images of women with full soft natural-looking hair colour. In most cases the chosen colour technique is either balayage, ombre or another method of hair painting such as babylights or a root stretch.

So when a client excitedly hands you a photo of their favourite celebrity ‘do or shows you an Instagram feed of looks they love, it’s not going to be achieved with a thousand perfectly placed foil highlights.

For me, and I think for most, the biggest challenge when offering a balayage service to clients is how do you convert heavy blonde foil into something more soft and natural? These are the eight things you need to think about if you’re taking your client from foils to balayage.

  1. Firstly, we have to manage client expectations. Have a thorough consultation and be very clear about both the end result of that appointment and the longer term colour journey.
  2. Consider whether you can tint her back to her natural colour and then add the balayage in after? That would be ideal, wouldn’t it? But we live in an imperfect world and you need to consider the condition of the hair. More often than not, you’ll need to balayage darker pieces in rather than tinting all over.
  3. It’s so important to get the colour of the darker balayage right. I recommend one shade lighter than her natural colour and neutral in tone – most super blondes don’t like brassy reflects.
  4. Even though the client has a heavy foil – I bet her ends are darker. You have no choice but to lighten some of the ends with balayage. Use a very low developer for this and watch the condition.
  5. Think about how the client wears her hair. A heavily foil highlighted client is probably used to parting her hair in all directions, this means you will initially have to put more blonde balayage pieces through the top area to give her some flexibility.
  6. The darker balayage can be heavier through the back area as this will add depth to the overall look, but don’t put any dark pieces near the face.
  7. Generally I say less is more, BUT when you are transitioning a client away from heavy foil, its best to put more fine balayage pieces in to blend the overall look.
  8. Don’t forget the front! It’s that lovely big blonde piece that looks so natural that will clinch the deal.

If you feel like you’ve mastered the basics of balayage, but want to overcome tricky scenarios, including covering foil highlights, you’ll love my Balayage Live course. Find out all about it and book your place here

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