The Tortoise and the Hair: Is "Ecaille" the New Ombré?

April 24, 2015

The ombré trend may finally be on its way out as a more subtle, highlighted look moves in. "Ecaille" (French for "tortoiseshell"), is the new buzz word making it's way from European salons to the east and west coasts of the U.S. Ecaille gives a sublte variation to brunettes including shades of light browns, mochas, honeys, and caramels, similar shades to those found in the tortoiseshell.


London-based hairstylist and educator, Jack Howard, is credited with bringing this new color vocabulary to the states. In an interview with Refinery29, Howard said:


"A friend of mine in California had posted some pictures on Instagram, and it seems to be a trend. We're moving away from ombré and onto this richer sort of brunette variation."

"To be clear, this isn't so much a dye technique as it is a color," Howard says. "Think of tortoiseshell and all the colors that come in it: golden blondes, chestnuts, mahogany, chocolate, honey, and all those lovely, warm tones."


It's a trend that we've been seeing on celebrities for months now from  the Victoria's Secret runway to stars like Jessica Alba and Khloe Kardashian. With a new name, it might give clients a better way to explain to their stylist the look they're going for.


Here's some tips and points to let your colorist know at your next appointment. Ecaille is a COLOR NOT A TECHNIQUE. The technique to ask for is the painted on highlighting technique called BALAYAGE. Remember that this is a new term for stylisyts too, so although some might be familair with the look, the term "ecaille" might be a new one for them too.


During your consultation, ask your stylist if they are familiar with balayage and specify that you are looking for a much softer, sunkissed look without the harsh line of a foil. Also, don't shy away from finding some pictures for inspiration. Pictures will help your stylist get a better visual to get you to the tortoiseshell tone of your dreams.


                                                 Rosey Huntington-Whitely rocks her not-so-blonde waves 

                                            Kate Beckinsale keeps it simple with some honey-brown shades


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