Clients are always asking, "what is the difference between the two?" The biggest difference between the two techniques is how they are actually applied. Foil highlights are thin sections of hair that are saturated front to back with lightener and then placed in a tin foil packet. This creates brigh, strong highlight strands. Balayage is a technique where you choose individual pieces of hair, thicker than foil and ONLY the surface and tips are painted with lightener. This leaves the back side of that section your natural/original color, which in turn adds depth and internal dimension. Most balayage artists use saran wrap or cotton pieces to separate the sections. Just painting the surface of the hair re creates a more natural, sun-kissed look and the actual pieces are more like ribbons or pops of color weaving through the hair. The hair doesn't get as light as a foil highlight but the result is more natural and soft.
Balayage Highlight Foil Highlight