Is hair foil the same as the aluminum foil? Yes, but there’s more to know

woman with aluminum foil in her hair

  • Aluminum foils sheets are ready to use for bleaching. Alternatively, the foil you can buy in a supermarket is sold in rolls, so you’ll have to cut the foil strips yourself.
  • If you’re planning to bleach your hair, cutting the foil will be the easiest thing. Apart from that, you need the experience to bleach your hair with foils. The foil speeds up the bleaching process. If you aren’t careful, you can burn your hair.


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Can you use regular foil to bleach hair? And for highlights?


Well, there you have the answer to your question.  Hairdresser’s aluminum foil is exactly the same as regular aluminum foil. 


It’s the same aluminum foil you can find in supermarkets or bakery stores.

The difference is the presentation.

Hairdressers buy boxes containing 100, 200, or 500 sheets of aluminum foil. This way, we save trimming the foil to prepare the strips.

And that’s time. Imagine that the salon performs dozens of bleaching sessions per day.

On the other hand, the aluminum foil sold in the supermarket is usually a roll. So you have to measure and cut the strips yourself.


Now that you know that there’s no difference between hairdressing foil and regular foil, let’s think about what you want to use it for. 


Are you planning to get highlights, bleach all your hair, balayage, or just the ends?

The first thing I’ll tell you is to take it slow.  It’s hard to apply bleach using foil at home and without experience. 


Think for a moment.

  • How will you place the foil on the back strands?
  • How do you get the foil strips evenly distributed throughout your hair? If you don’t distribute them correctly, you could get a streaked mane.
  • How will you make sure that the strip doesn’t slip out of your hair and stain it?
  • Do you know how to correctly control the exposure time if you bleach your hair with aluminum foil?


Beyond the foil, what you need to think about are the ins and outs of using foil to bleach your hair. And that’s what I’ll talk about next.


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Why is aluminum foil used in hair bleaching?

placing the aluminum foil on the hair
The answer is very simple:  aluminum foil generates and maintains heat, which accelerates the bleaching process. 


When you mix the bleach and developer to prepare the bleach, a chemical reaction generates heat. When you wrap your hair with the foil after applying the bleach, the temperature increases even more.

The higher the temperature, the stronger the chemical reaction. Therefore, the hair lightens. If you bleach your hair without foils, you can lighten your hair from three to four levels. However, you can lighten your hair up to four to six levels if you use foil.


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Nevertheless, while your hair can be almost white by using the foil during bleaching, the damage will also be much greater.

The temperature of the chemical reaction will remove the color from your hair, but it’ll also remove moisture, proteins, nutrients, and vitamins.

What do you think will happen?

  •  If all goes well and your hair was healthy before the application,  it’ll probably have some frizz and dry ends.
  • But  if your hair was slightly damaged,  it’ll most likely not withstand the heat of the chemical reaction and be seriously damaged.


That’s why, if you aren’t experienced, it’s very dangerous to apply bleach using aluminum foil.


When can you use aluminum foil on your own to bleach your hair?

common aluminum foil on a roll

Bleaching hair with aluminum foil is almost an art. First, because  you must know how to place the foil strips.  If you don’t place them correctly, your hair will be uneven.


Also, you need concentration. The foil increases the temperature of the reaction, so your hair will get lighter faster.

  •  If you want to bleach only the strands of your face frame or bangs or only the ends of your hair,  you can use aluminum foil. However, remember to be very attentive to the exposure times.
  •  If you want to do a balayage or highlights or your hair is damaged and dry,  I recommend that you go to a salon to bleach your hair with aluminum foil.


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Do you want a tip to use foil?

Place the bleach on the foil sheet so that the hair adheres to it. Then, with a dye brush, apply more bleach and distribute it along the hair. This will prevent it from sliding off and staining the rest of your hair.

Remember to check every five minutes how the bleach is progressing and don’t leave it on your hair for more than 30 minutes.



While salon foil is the same as regular aluminum foil, if you aren’t experienced in bleaching, I don’t recommend that you use it on your own.

Aluminum foil increases the heat of the chemical reaction. Therefore, your hair will lighten faster and you may burn your hair if you leave the bleach in longer than necessary.

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