To "B" or not to "B": Why you should balayage instead of foil
Every woman with air in her lungs has, at some point, seen a tan, sandy footed beach goer with those gorgeous natural blonde highlights and sighed that deep sigh of appreciation and envy, nudged her friend and whispered, "OMG, I wish I had that hairrrrrrrrrr." Don't feel bad about it! Women have been trying to highlight their hair since Ancient Greek times, and thank God the technique was refined in the sixties with the advent of the cap method because otherwise we'd still smell like a Greek kitchen (they used a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and other herbs for their highlights, their chicken marinades, a refreshing salad dressing...). In the eighties the foil method replaced the cap; after all, not everyone could stand having their long hair pulled pulled through a tight fitting plastic cap with a knitting needle (which then spawned that horrible, spotted short-hair cap highlight look that can sometimes still be spotted in parts of rural Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the mid-west).
In the seventies, while Americans were transitioning from caps to foils, the French developed a freehand technique to lighten the hair. Always at the forefront of effortless style, the technique, called balayage, was developed to give the hair the appearance of having been lightened naturally; in the way a child's hair lightens after spending summer holiday on the beaches of the French Riviera. Still not sure what the difference is? Take a gander at the pics above (shorter hair) and below (longer hair) and you'll get a good idea of the difference between what foil highlights look like and what balayaged highlights look like. One has clearly defined lines, stripes almost, while the other has what appears as a natural, darker root, the ends lightening gradually as they would if left to their own devices on a sunny beach, for a couple of months, in Greece, Italy, or Spain, for example..
So, which highlight technique is for you? That depends. There are benefits to choosing balayaged highlights over foil highlights: the look is less contrived/less highlighted, the overall appearance of balayaged hair is entirely more modern than foil highlights, the grow out period is entirely less inconvenient because the new hair growth blends in with the intentionally naturally darker root, and the time between appointments can be stretched longer than if you have foil highlights for the same reason. When you're choosing your highlights you have to take your lifestyle into consideration: how busy are you - are you able to consistently get into the salon for retouch appointments? What is your budget? Do you need to look modern and relevant for work/career/blog/etc.? Take those things into consideration and then discuss your options with your stylist. He or she should know what will work best for you.
If you're already getting your hair balayaged or foil highlighted and want to share which you chose and why, we'd love to hear! Tell us your story in the comments!