foil vs cap highlights blog - scizzorhands

What Is The Difference Between Cap Highlights And Foil Highlights?

Highlights enhance or minimize features by alternating dark and light tones, creating striking new looks that can change your overall style. Whether using them to cover up some grey, enhance your natural colour, or try a whole new look, highlights can add texture, depth, and elegance to any type of hair. 

The foil and cap techniques are the two main ways of highlighting. They work similarly by separating strands of hair for colouring, but each technique does this in different ways. 


How Do Stylists Highlight With Foil?

foil highlights - scizzorhandsThe foil technique involves the stylist weaving certain sections of the hair. They will then select alternating strands from each section and place them over a square of foil. The selected shade of highlight or tint is then applied with a brush to the strand, and the foil is folded over it to prevent the product from lightening other hairs.

Foil is great because the highlights can be strategically placed with precision, with the colour getting down to the scalp and hairline. The foil technique also puts less stress on the hair and creates no discomfort for the scalp and the edges of the forehead.


How Do Stylists Highlight With A Cap?

When using the cap method, the stylist will apply the highlights using a special perforated cap placed over the head. They will then pull strands of hair through the perforations with the use of a hooked implement. The amount of hair pulled through each hole depends on the placement and amount of highlighting desired by the client. The stylist then applies a lightener to the pulled-through strands with a squeeze applicator.

The cap technique can be easy to customize; a few strands pulled through and coloured creates a subtle look, while hair pulled through every opening in thick strands creates a more dramatic effect. This method is often the one used in at-home highlighting kits and works very well for short hair.


Which Highlight Technique Should I Ask For?

cap highlights - scizzorhandsIf you’re looking for tight highlights applied with precision, the definite choice is the foil technique. When done by an experienced stylist, foil highlights are superior to the cap technique in almost every way. However, it is a more time-consuming process, so make sure you have the time carved out for the application. 

Cap highlights aren’t suitable for all types of hair, especially for those with thick curls. It can also be hard to pull long strands of hair through the cap, and many find the at-home kits painful, too. The highlights are more difficult to place exactly, especially around the nape of the neck. The only pros in its favour involve time and money, but if you’re getting highlights, you should be going with the best.


When compared, foil highlights are easily superior to cap highlights. Though they take expertise to apply, foil highlights give you the exact colour you want and exactly where you want it!