While ultra vibrant hair and dramatic ombre ruled 2014, we’re starting to see a shift in the follicle forecast. As we step into the new year we’re beginning to see a more natural trend attached to those tresses. The leading force toward this minimal vibe: balayage, increasingly popular highlights that aim to mimic those sunkissed highlights you got as a kid. And now, piggybacking off balayage, we’re seeing another similar, albeit darker, technique that we’re sure is about to go mane-stream over the course of 2015: introducing ecaille (AKA “tortoiseshell” in French).
With smooth caramel tones, the ecaille technique is a slightly richer and darker version of your natural color paired with golden highlights and a whole lot of shine. The look, which began trending in Paris, tends to also be darker at the roots and lighter at the ends – consider it a much more sophisticated version of the ombre we know and love. Pop some balayage highlights on top of this rich shade and and a gloss to keep it rich, and you’ve got this multidimensional, bombshell look.
To achieve ecaille-style locks when you’re next in the salon, here are a few pointers on what to say to your stylist:
1. Don’t ask for it by name — at least not yet. While a handful of stylists at high-end salons might already know exactly what this technique looks like, it’s only starting to really take off stateside. Instead, chat with your colorist about the style, and of course, bring a picture (or five).
2. Explain the key elements of ecaille to make the process even more clear. If you’re not sure how to translate the look into hair talk, tell them you’d like to darken the base color a bit and add in some gloss and a few darker pieces.
3. Ask your colorist to focus on vibrant, face-framing highlights in the front while adding softer pieces all around the rest of your head.
4. Hollywood colorist George Papanikolas, tells Fox News to “Ask for various tones, deeper at the roots and lighter at the ends” – but be clear that while you’re looking for some gradation, you’re not looking for ombre.
5. George Papanikolas also advises that you make sure that the tones in your hair match up with your skintone. He says “If you are fair or pale, asks for some golden tones to add vibrancy. If you’re closer to an olive color or have a pink complexion, ask for some ash elements to give your skin a more natural, sun-kissed look.”