No, we didn't misspell the term for describing the spring leaves blooming on trees. Foilyage is a brand-new color method to add to your hair lexicon---especially if natural-looking, sun-kissed highlights à la Miranda Kerr are what you're after.
Developed by colorist Hitomi Ikeda of New York City's Louis Licari Salon, the process marries the painterly technique of balayage with the vibrant color payoff of foil highlights. The traditional balayage technique involves painting dye directly onto the surface of the hair, completely freehand, but the process can be messy. "I don't really like to balayage the whole head, because it always comes out too piecey in the root area, and you have to add extra heat to the hair to lift the color," Ikeda tells InStyle. "To do ombré with all foils, you have to do so much teasing to separate each area, and that's a lot of work for everyone involved. I tried to come up with a way to achieve the look using the painting technique, but wrapping the ends with foils to brighten them."
The pro keeps the top area natural, adds subtle highlights underneath, and armed with a BluSand Beauty Sprush ($6; blusandbeauty.com), she paints a different dye on the ends, which then get sealed off in vertical strips of foil. "The Sprush is like a sponge and brush combined, and helps me apply the color more evenly---almost like spreading butter," she adds. "You end up with a very sun-kissed color, like you were just at the beach, but not all-over blonde. It doesn't look like you intentionally got your hair done."
Just like the full-contrast ombré effect, foilyage is also easy to care for. Since your base color remains intact at the top, you can go three to four months---or longer---between touch-ups. Foilyage works on every hair length, color, and texture under the sun, but is especially big news for brunettes. When darker hair hues are lifted, they tend to go brassy quickly depending on undertones, but with this technique, the foils allow for a more dramatic shift minus the yellow hints---or split end-inducing effects of sitting under a hair dryer waiting for the balayage to turn.
"To make it simple, ask your stylist to wrap the ends of your balayage in foils, with subtle highlights along your part and top layers that connect to the ombré on the ends," Ikeda advises. "Everyone has their own method for foils and balayage, so it's just about placement, and focusing the brightness on the ends."