Sozo Salon Tips

SoZo HAIR Salon Tips

I often find myself answering endless questions about foil placement and what effect it will have on the end result of a highlight service.  I don’t find this line of questioning out of the ordinary, seeing as foil work is currently among the most common of salon services.

best foiling techniques foiling hair, panel highlights

However, the answer can be a bit overwhelming for our guests.  In this article I will do my best to break down several foiling techniques and their end result/effect. As a reference, please see our article entitled ‘The Art of Foiling Hair‘. The ‘Art of Foiling Hair’ talks about the passion, creativity and versatility of using foils to dramatically change your look.

Evolution of Foil Highlighting

Since the beginning of it’s time, highlighting has been at the top of stylist’s most commonly performed services.  In it’s earliest years highlighting was done with a funny plastic bonnet that hairdressers would pull tiny strands of hair through with a crochet needle.  (Not a very pleasant feeling, and if done incorrectly, could leave a spotted leopard looking effect in the hair).

Now, we have evolved into several variations of foil highlighting that can give anything from a soft, sun-kissed, natural look, to a bold, dramatic, multi-dimensional effect.  Stylists will also use hair color in foils, not just the traditional lightener with a toner.  Bear in mind that any of the foil highlighting placement techniques below can be done on as much, or as little, of your hair as you want to achieve your desired look. During your consultation in the salon, your stylist will determine whether you want Full HighlightsPartial Highlights, Panel Highlights or  Half-Panel Highlights. Generally speaking, a Full Highlights is when the stylist places foils throughout all your hair (also referred to as full head), Partial Highlights foils approximately half your hair, Panel Highlights foils a section of your hair like the top and Half-Panel Highlights foils a smaller section of the hair like the bangs (usually about eight foil placements).  The possibilities really are endless!

My Favorite Foil Highlighting Placement Techniques

Here, in greater detail, are three of my favorite foil placement techniques and their resulting effects on the hair.

Horizontal Weave:

Horizontal weave is probably the most commonly used highlighting, or lowlighting foil method.  This technique involves taking quarter inch sections of the hair and weaving a small sliver of hair off the top of the section, placing it on a foil and applying either color or lightener. The finished result of a Horizontal Weave highlight will be extremely soft, natural and blended. This look is perfect for someone who is receiving highlights or lowlights for the first time, someone who just wants a subtle change of lighter or darker added to their hair, or someone looking for a very sun-kissed highlight.foil subtle

Diagonal Slice:

Diagonal Slices are also a blended foiling technique, however because eighth-inch slices of hair are lightened or colored  the effect is slightly more two-dimensional. In this foiling placement, eighth-inch sections of hair are sliced diagonally away from the face from the ears forward to the top of the head and from the middle crown to the top of the head in the back. Solid color can be added in between foils for a low light effect, or from the middle crown down to the nape in the back of the head for a stronger two-dimensional effect. You can also place your diagonal slices going toward the face for a stronger effect of two-dimensional color.
ombre highlight

Vertical Slices:

Vertical slicing is the boldest two-dimensional foiling technique. It will give a strong, striped, two-tone effect to the hair and is used in cases where a heavier or bolder highlight or lowlight is desired. To achieve this foiling technique, we take quarter inch sections vertically around the head in the shape of a horseshoe, (two horseshoe sections can be used when dealing with longer lengths of hair).  Each quarter inch section is split into two and half the hair is placed on a foil and color or lightener is applied.  A second color can be applied to the other half of the section to add more dimension to your color application.  As in diagonal slicing, you can also apply solid color to the area below the lower crown in the back of the head to add further dimension to your service.
Hair foiling slicingfoil dramatic

Ombre and Balayage, Not Foiling, but Free Hand Highlights

As we currently see, foiling techniques continue to evolve on a regular basis. Ombre hair color and baliage (or free hand highlighting) have also become extremely popular, as they have a reputation for being lower maintenance color/highlighting services. We have written a few articles on ombre hair color, the most recent being 5 Reasons Ombre Hair Color Works. Also, take a look at our recent article on balayage, Balayage Hair Painting. For your convenience here are links to our other Ombre and Balayage articles: Hair Color Melting, Ombre, Sombre or Rombre Hair Color, Ombre Fun Hair Color, Sexy Hair Color, Ombre Low Maintenance Hair Color and Softer Ombre Hair for the Fall.
Balayage Free Hand HighlightsBalayage Free Hand Highlights
The next time your stylist asks you what you would like to do with your highlight, lowlight or two-dimensional color, try one of these classic foiling placements techniques. You may just surprise yourself, and wind up falling in love with something new!


SoZo Salon Tips is a blog about beauty salon tips, tricks and hints.  SoZo HAIR by Bajon Salon & Spa serves the greater Cincinnati area. We are located in Olde West Chester at the corner of Cincinnati-Dayton and West Chester Rds. We’re just a short drive from Mason Oh and Fairfield Oh….a big city hair salon without the big drive and big traffic.

SoZo HAIR by Bajon Salon & Spa is located at 9069 Cincinnati-Dayton Rd, Olde West Chester, OH 45069.  Call 513- 874-9999 for an appointment.

 Karen Welch

Karen Welch has 30 years of experience in the Hair Fashion Industry and is considered an expert in hair design and hair color and beauty makeovers.