Skip to Content

What the Heck is Ecaille Hair?

Ombré hair? Sooo last year. This year, it’s all about ecaille (pronounced “e-kay”), or what some like to call “tortoiseshell” hair. But what the heck is ecaille hair? And what is the difference between ecaille and ombré? Let me explain…

Move over ombré! What the heck is ecaille hair? Find out now from

From the surface, ecaille hair looks a lot like ombré but it actually goes a lot deeper than that…

What Exactly is Ecaille Hair?

Ecaille is a soft, natural color that is created by blending multiple shades of soft caramel tones, golden blondes, honey blondes and chestnut browns. The overall effect can be a lot softer than ombré, as the colors seem to “melt” into each other. The color is also enhanced with shine.

Celebrity colorist, Kari Hill, describes it as “a color or hue more than an exact technique.” She also says that “it ties the boldness and extreme look of ombré and marries it with the darker root while remaining soft and subtle.” In other words, the term “ecaille” refers to the actual color, not the way the hair is colored.

The word, “ecaille” is French and means “tortoiseshell.” This look originated in Paris and is only starting to make its way to the United States, as it has already made waves in Europe. When you compare it to an actual tortoiseshell, the colors will be very similar.

Different Tortoiseshell Colors and Patterns

Why Choose Ecaille Hair?

Jessica Alba with Ecaille hair.

There are many advantages to ecaille hair color. One definite advantage is the low upkeep. Since this color appears to be grown out, like ombré, you can wait a lot longer in between touch-ups. This can drastically cut down on damage to your hair and cost, and the result is a very natural hair color. This is also a great time of year to wear ecaille hair, as the colors are rich and golden, perfect for the cooler fall and winter seasons.

Another main advantage is that multi-dimensional color can make your hair appear to be thicker and fuller due to the contrast between colors… and since shine is a huge part of ecaille color, your hair will also look nice and healthy.

If you want to jump on the ecaille bandwagon, my advice is to bring pictures to your hairstylist. Although some higher-end stylists may know what ecaille is and how to do it, it is a trend that may not be completely recognized yet in the U.S. Along with pictures, just explain to your stylist that you want a soft, multi-dimensional look with darker roots that blend into honey blonde, caramel, and golden blonde highlights. Heck, you could even print this article out and bring it to the salon. Just make sure they know what you want before having them color your hair.

Last but not least, I’d like to showcase some beautiful examples of ecaille hair found on Instagram.

Ecaille Hair on the Internet:

Your Turn: Did you enjoy this post? I’ll love you forever if you share it with your friends on your favorite social media website….

What do you think of ecaille hair? Would you ever color your hair like this? Do you love it? I’d love to read your opinions in the comments below.

Pin This Article!

Move over ombré! What the heck is ecaille hair? Find out now from

Catherine Mkandawire

Sunday 24th of January 2016

Loved it and very informative.