Is it just me, or have foils got a bad rap in recent years? Sure, people are still just as blonde-obsessed as ever, but it’s all about ombré and balayage and subtle and low key. Don’t get me wrong—I subscribe to the idea of lazy-girl blonde, because I a) don’t want to spend an entire Saturday in the salon every four weeks, and b) have a solid obsession with natural wine (which I currently dedicate the majority of my income to).
That said, I think it’s time we reconsider foils for achieving said lazy blonde, but with a brighter twist. My advice? Find yourself a skilled colourist who can make the vibe a little less 2000s and a little more fresh than the foils of years past. The key aspect here is that your chosen stylist gets what you’re trying to achieve. As in, you don’t want to leave the salon with to-the-scalp stripy highlights à la Kelly Rowland in her American Idol years (a time that might make me super nostalgic, sure, but is not one I’m willing to revisit hair-wise).
My colourist of choice is James Plain, one of my favourite humans and my go-to at Edwards & Co. He’s been looking after my head for the past year, and the results are always 10/10. We normally work to the same brief (read: “We both know I’m lazy—please make me as blonde as possible whilst acknowledging that I won’t be back for at least 3-4 months”). However, as I’ve recently returned from the land of Nordic, blonde hotties aka Copenhagen, this time I wanted something a little spicier.
First up, he gently brought me back down to earth by reminding me that my hair is simply too damaged and fine for a scalp bleach (sad but true), coupled with the fact that he knew I’d regret it at the first sign of regrowth. He then saved the day by advising me that we could achieve all I wanted and more with a simple (but still time-consuming) full head of foils. He guaranteed that this would give me the ultra-blonde hair I desired, whilst also ensuring I would need exactly 0 extra salon visits in the year. I hadn’t even thought of this option, which is probably why he’s the expert*.
Apparently the key to a modern foil is all about backcombing combined with a “textural” (read: kinda chunky) weave. By painting the bleach from a little lower down the hairline, you get a textured, highlighted look, which divides it from today’s balayage, as well as the old school stripy vibe of yesteryear.
The next step was to drink my favourite bottle of skin contact wine (obviously) while we waited for the bleach to do its thing. James finished by toning the roots and ends and giving me necessary guidance on how to look after my new highlights. And guys! It’s actually not difficult, even with damaged hair like mine—simply invest in Kevin Murphy’s Hydrate.Me shampoo and conditioner, and follow religiously with Olaplex No. 3.
*Seriously, the man is good. My hair is now the perfect pale blonde, I have no regrowth, and my baby-fine strands have experienced zero breakage. Heaven.
Words and photography, Carly Rogers.