Hair Color How To: Foiling Tips from Patrick McIvor

“One thing that sets a good colorist apart from a GREAT colorist is foiling," says Patrick McIvor, Artistic & TechniCulture Director for Goldwell and KMS California. "Almost anyone can section, apply color and fold a foil wrapper - heck even DIY’ers do it - but a true professional has nuances in their technique that elevate their results to professional." Below, McIvor shares some of his tips for different coloring techniques.
1. Ombré and Blending: Back-comb shorter hairs in each section out of the way and pinch the ends to control the longer hair. This gives more control to easily highlight the proper area of the section.

2. Slow Down When Going Low: Apply a few Level 8 or 9 lowlights to "darker hair" before going any darker. If the reaction is positive, gradually add a few more lowlights during each subsequent visit.

3. Ends: Never bring all the lowlights through the ends; when moving the brush down the strand, pull it away at various points for a more natural look. Gently tapering lowlights on the ends produces the same softness you achieve with point cutting because the color does not uniformly stop at the same point.

4. Don’t Get Horizontal: Never place foils horizontally; this pattern creates noticeable lines. Instead use diagonal back and forward placement which produces a soft, natural result and makes it easy to find the strands when retouching.

5. Vertical Pop: When working with a tone-on-tone design without wide variations in levels, pace foils vertically to make the color “pop.”

6. Size is Everything: Natural highlights are never uniform, so mix up the sizes and shapes of sections when foiling for more natural results.

[Images: Top - Thinkstock; Bottom- courtesy of Glow Communications]

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