Difference Between Foils & Bleaching

Written by andrea hamilton
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Difference Between Foils & Bleaching
Foiling hair can be used for high and lowlights. (BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

To acquire the colour results you want, know how to ask your stylist for the correct treatment, whether it is bleaching or highlights. However, do not attempt to go for a drastic change in a single salon visit. Work with your stylist to change your hair colour in stages to achieve the most healthy results.

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When it comes to having your hair highlighted or lowlighted, a stylist will brush colour onto a strand of your hair and fold it into a strip of foil. This keeps the colour from touching the rest of your hair, enabling the length to remain its natural colour. When stylists use this process, hair will end up lightened or darkened by two shades from its original colour. In this instance, using colour is the best option, as using bleach in foils can strip hair of its integrity.


Bleach strips hair of its existing colour, whether you have colour-treated hair or not. Bleaching hair will always damage your locks to some extent, so take good care of your hair by using deep conditioner and avoiding hot tools. However, bleach does work to lighten hair up to four shades in a single treatment, which is why stylists often employ it when clients want to change shades naturally. When a stylist applies bleach to hair, it completely saturates locks without the assistance of foils. The client then must wait until the hair reaches its lightened stage, after which the stylist washes out the bleach.

Double Processing

After the stylist applies bleach to hair, he will need to add tone back to your locks so that your hair does not look completely washed out. This is called double processing, and it adds enriching colour back into hair. You can choose any colour darker than your bleached shade to create the look you want. However, if your hair is very damaged, your stylist may need to add a filler to give the colour something to hang onto. Fillers contain molecules of the new colour to complement the new shade.

Bleach in Foils

Some stylists choose to put bleach inside foils, as this will encourage the hair to lighten more quickly. This is because the foils act as a heat conductor, baking the bleach into the hair, particularly if you are beneath a hood dryer while wearing the foils. Though this may give you the lightened shade you are looking for, the aftermath of dry, brittle hair may leave you disappointed. Therefore, it is better to lighten slowly; take at least two treatments to get your hair the desired colour if it's more than two shades away.

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