Balayage, which is also called “hair painting,” creates the most natural looking results because the colorist paints on the highlights, and can scatter them throughout your hair in a more truly sunkissed and haphazard pattern. When using foils, the colorist works row by row which makes the highlight pattern look very linear and grid like, but with balayage, there’s more flexibility on where you want to place the highlights so the resulting pattern can look more natural.
Balayage also creates a more natural looking color. With balayage, I start painting the color on at midshaft which is where the sun naturally hits your hair the most. Then, I gently paint up to the roots, which makes the growth at the scalp look more gradual. When you use foils, the entire section is coated evenly with color, then wrapped up in the foil, and the heat from the foil makes that piece uniform in color from roots to tips. Also, because you work in rows, the demarcation at the roots looks like a straight line.
Balayage is also the technique a colorist would use to create the grown-out ombre highlight effect. Another added benefit of balayage: longer lasting results. Since the grow out at the roots isn’t as obvious, you can wait a litter longer before getting a touch up. Foils usually require a visit to the salon every six weeks, but with balayage, a client can go twelve weeks or even a little longer.