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Last updated: December 01, 2023

How To Avoid Over-Foiling Your Expensive Brunette

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Create the perfect expensive brunette with efficient foiling

Move over blondies! The expensive brunette—a term forecasted by Evo artist Tom Smith (@tomsmithhd)is officially the HOTTEST hair color trend of the year and educator Carly Zanoni (@the.blonde.chronicles) knows how to create it with just 25 purposefully placed foils. Keep scrolling for a preview of Carly’s easy-to-follow highlighting tips for creating pops of dimension and luxe color on her brunette clients without lifting too far into blonde territory.


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1. Make sure to formulate to the desired warmth

Since the goal is to add warmth to the hair, it needs to be lifted to a Level 7 or 8 that stays under the brunette umbrella. Carly prefers to use a lower volume developer to help achieve the desired shade and ease the toning process.



Pro tip: Backcombing is a great way to create lived-in, blended looks without harsh lines of demarcation. It also helps remove fine, fragile hairs from weaves to prevent breakage. 


To Watch Carly’s 25-Foil Method In Action, Enroll In Her Course At BTC University!


2. Purposefully place and paint each foil

When it comes to getting an expensive brunette result in just 25 foils, Carly emphasizes that each foil must be placed meaningfully and cohesively. To do this, Carly suggests:

  1. Adding lightener to the front sections and money piece first. Not only do these areas have the greatest impact, but they also need to be the brightest to give an expensive brunette a cohesive, vibrant look. Painting these sections first also allows them to process while other foils are being applied.
  2. Utilizing tip-outs to bring each section together without having to over-paint at the roots or ends. Carly advises to keep the weave tiny and super fine so there aren’t any unblended lines of demarcation, and to feather the lightener up so you don’t need to worry about correcting it later.
  3. Sectioning off a “mohawk” at the top of the head. This section is designed to create even pops of brightness on either side of the head, giving the client versatility with their part.


Click Here To Try One Of Carly’s Signature Balayage Boards!


3. Opt for a specialized balayage board

If there’s something Carly brings to every appointment besides gusto and unmatched blonding skills, it’s her balayage board.


“Using a balayage board has completely changed the way I color hair. Once I started using a board, it was so much easier for me to create soft blends on hair and the looks that I was after,” Carly says. “It changes everything to have a hard surface to paint against. You can really get a precision blend, get way more exact on where the color is ending up and you can get great saturation with a board.”


Carly paints her client’s money piece with one of her signature balayage boards.


Watch Carly’s Full 25-Foil Expensive Brunette Tutorial Here!