Highlighting is one of the most popular salon services, and this service can be performed using many different techniques. Each technique produces a slightly different effect, but the basic goal is the same: to place lighter colored streaks throughout the hair. These streaks can be subtle and natural-looking, or they can be bold and daring. Here are some of the most common techniques used to highlight hair and the results that they can achieve.
1. Foils. Using foil to highlight the hair is the most common method, and is the method preferred by most stylists because it can produce a wide variety of different highlighted looks. There are two main techniques stylists use when foiling the hair- "slicing" and "weaving". Weaving is used for more subtle highlighting, since it places less hair inside of the foil. Slicing, on the other hand, results in more hair being placed inside the foil, and this produces a more noticeable highlight. Many expert stylists employ both of these techniques at the same time. Fine slices will produce less dramatic highlights, while thicker slices will result in a "chunkier" effect. Perhaps the best thing about foiling the hair is that it allows the stylist the creative freedom to place as many different colors into the hair at one time.
2. Frosting Cap. This technique involves pulling selected strands of hair through a plastic bonnet with a hook. The haircolor is then painted on to the outside of the cap. When the cap is removed, the client is left with highlights. This method was extremely popular in the 1980s, but fell out of vogue by the early 1990s when it was replaced by foiling. Today, this method is used mostly by older stylists on older clients who may still call for an appointment to get their hair "frosted"- which is the archaic term for highlights.
3. Balayage. This technique grew in popularity in the 1990s and is currently a very popular highlighting method. This technique is also known as hair-painting, and is accomplished by painting streaks of color onto the hair using a small brush. This technique results in very subtle highlights and is often recommended for clients who do not wish to have a drastic change in their appearance. Balayage highlights also tend to grow out better than foil highlights because there is a less severe line of demarcation when roots begin to show.
4. Cotton. Some stylists use cotton to produce very subtle highlights on curly hair. A small wad of cotton is covered with a mild bleach or dye and the cotton is then "dabbed" onto the outer ridge of a curl formation. Although this is not a common technique, it is a great way for clients with dark hair to accentuate their curls.
These are just a few methods which are used in today's salons and each method has its benefits and drawbacks. Your stylist will be able to tell you which highlighting technique is right for you.