Foilyage Is the Key to Low-Maintenance Hair Color

Keeping up with the latest hair-color trends and buzzwords is a full-time job. Each season brings a fresh batch of looks — like mushroom brown and "bropper" — but classic choices like balayage, babylights, and foilyage will always prevail. If you're unfamiliar with the latter hair-coloring technique, that's about to change. Despite being slightly lesser known than its counterparts, foilyage is destined to have its moment in the spotlight.

If you're looking for an easy, low-maintenance hair color (and really, who isn't?), foilyage may be just the thing. The coloring method delivers a bright, ultra-blended, natural finish that's highly customizable, meaning everyone, no matter your base hue, can get in on the fun. Its been around for a while — so long that you may have even had foilyage done at some point without knowing it — but it's rarely referred to by its name outside of the professional space.

Again, it can feel like you need a degree in cosmetology to keep track of all of the buzzy hair-dye terms out there, but fear not: we're breaking down the ins and outs of the foilyage method ahead. Keep reading to learn how it's done, the ways it differs from balayage, and more.

What Is Foilyage?

"The foilyage hair-coloring technique offers sun-kissed, natural-looking highlights," Rosario Rokinz, a master colorist at Warren Tricomi Salon, tells POPSUGAR. "No foil lines, just seamless blending for a stunning low-maintenance look." You can achieve a softer root blend than with traditional foil highlights, making the color look effortless.

At the salon, your hairstylist should be able to concoct the perfect shade for you, marrying your desired result and what will look the most flattering with your skin tone and eye color with what's feasible on your base color. "All color services are customized to meet different clients' wants," Rokinz says.

From there, the name itself gives you a big clue as to how it's done. "The hair is lightened following the same process used in the balayage technique, and the only difference is that the hair is wrapped up in aluminum foils."

Foilyage vs. Balayage: What's the Difference?

As Rokinz mentioned, foilyage looks similar to balayage, but it differs slightly in the application. Here's a quick refresher on balayage: the hair is hand-painted and left to process in the open air, or occasionally lightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Foilyage, on the other hand, utilizes foil — as the name suggests. "The hair is lightened following the same process used in the balayage technique, but wrapped up in aluminum foils, creating a warmer environment for the hair to lift," Rokinz says.

Each method delivers a slightly different result. "I find that the balayage technique lifts the hair level more slowly and achieves a warmer shade, while foilyage allows you to get more lift, making the hair shade lighter and brighter."

Tips For Maintaining Foilyage Hair Color at Home

We have good news if you're on the hunt for a low-maintenance color. "I find foilyage to be less maintenance than a balayage," Rokinz says. In between salon visits, using a color-safe shampoo and the occasional at-home gloss treatment should keep you looking fresh.

Rokinz says you can typically tell when you need a little touch-up and should book an appointment with your colorist. "Typically, anything after five weeks is normal if you'd like a refresh." Granted, your natural starting color may affect this timeline. "In my opinion, foilyage on naturally lighter hair will always be less maintenance than for those with darker hair." It's easier to keep lighter bases looking bright, while dark hair colors will need to put in a little extra effort to combat unwanted warmth.

Ultimately, it's always best to consult with your colorist before diving into a new look to ensure it's compatible with not only your hair but your lifestyle, too.