Foil Highlighting Theory

Advanced Blonding • Lesson Two*

Foil placement and patterns are the easy part for us. Highlighting hair comes with two big issues: Timing and Formulation. Since lighteners are progressive, if that's what's in your foil, how are you going to get all of your sections lifted evenly? And when you are low-lighting hair, how do you formulate to balance out the Natural Level and the Existing Level without lifting the root, and without getting muddy ends?

The whole point of highlighting hair is to draw attention toward (or away from) an area. Lots of highlights will make the entire color palette appear lighter, whereas adding dimensional depth can further customize your work. There is nothing new about the concept of highlighting hair. In fact, the desire to highlight hair dates back to Ancient Greece as early as 4 B.C. But the the success of the process really began to take off in the early 1800’s. The use of foils were a game-changer for highlights.

What you’ll Learn:

  • Purpose of Highlighting
  • Highlighting Vocabulary
  • What’s the Real Difference Between Lightness vs Brightness
  • Everything You Need to Know About Lowlighting
  • Foil Placement & Partings
  • How to Be Successful With Your Foil Timing
  • Avoiding Common Foil Folding Problems
  • How to Create a Signature Foil Pattern

We will also discuss Signature Foil Patterns. During your career, the first foil highlighting pattern you learn will become your obsession. You'll slave over it, perfect it, and over time it will morph it into what you need it to be and it will represent your aesthetic as a colorist. Then it will become your favorite, your go-to, and finally your “signature pattern”. This lesson includes a very detailed explanation of My Signature Foil Highlighting Pattern for you to use as a starting point, and all three variations of it:

  • Partial Foil Highlight for Side-Parters
  • Partial Foil Highlight for Middle-Parters/Hair-Flippers
  • Full Foil Highlight

After purchasing this lesson, my biggest piece of advice is to watch the video first, and then watch it again while answering the workbook questions. It's important that you actually understand your answers so you can remember this information while working behind the chair.

This Single Lesson Purchase Includes 1 video lesson (34 minutes) and 1 workbook.

*If you’re interested in purchasing all three lessons in Advanced Blonding Course, please click here.

Your Instructor


15+ year beauty industry veteran, specializing in advanced color techniques behind the chair, training new stylists in color theory, and the creator of this on-demand post-beauty school education platform. To read her blog, click here.

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