10 Hair Foil Hacks to Start Using Today
When hair hack queen and MBS pro partner Olivia Smalley (aka @OMGArtistry)’s genius foil hack series went viral on Instagram this year, we wanted more - so we asked her to break down some common foiling mistakes, the types of foil she uses and her best foiling tips. Below, she shares 10 of her best foiling tips and tricks you need to know.
Before You Start
1. This might sound obvious, but it’s an all-too-common mistake Olivia says she sees stylists make: the size of foil for highlights matters, and your hair section should be the same size as your foil. If your section is bigger than your foil, you’ll end up with uneven lift at the root area.
2. Extra wide foils = more coverage. Any time Olivia does a full foil, she uses extra large foils in the back and 5” x 10.75” foils on the front and sides.
3. Embossed vs. regular foil? Olivia says she loves working with embossed foils for their added grip. A bonus? Whenever I’m filming, I always reach for the embossed,” she shares. “These foils actually absorb light instead of reflecting it like regular foils, so they’re great on camera.”
4. Use pre-cut pop up foils - they’re easy to grab when you need them and so convenient!
Hair Foil Techniques and Application Pointers
5. Use your pinky and pointer fingers to lock your hair foils in place. “This has changed my foiling over the years and is the best way to get close to the root and keep foils in place,” Olivia says.
6. Get in the nail polish mentality. Think about your lightener the way you think about your nail polish - you wouldn’t apply just one coat! To ensure full saturation and even lift, you’ll need about three “coats” of lightener.
7. Olivia’s rule of thumb for processing: “Don’t Ziplock - Hot Pocket!” “I see stylists doing this all the time. Watch what happens when you Ziplock your foil shut…lightener is removed and now you have uneven lift. Try my Hot Pocket technique, which allows room for the lightener to expand and keeps the foil locked in place.”
3 Bonus Hacks for the Best Hair Foiling Technique
8. As stylists we’ve all been there…after we fold our foil, there is some hair exposed at the root. If this happens, try using a piece of cotton. Cotton is an insulator, meaning it will hold onto heat and help the hair process evenly.
9. Another idea? You can actually replace your foil! Hang your foil on the tail of your comb, then lift up the foil you want to remove. Slide your new foil into place. Voila!
10. “I am constantly getting asked what my favorite hair foils are,” says Olivia. “My favorites are the Pop-Up Foils from Marlo Beauty Supply! I love that they come in different sizes and are heavy embossed to prevent slippage."