Formulas for this ecaille below!
Formulas for this ecaille below!

Ecaille has been buzzing in the haircolor world as of late, and it's not hard to see why.

The rich color technique features warm, golden highlights with rich caramel tones and deep mochas—the result resembles the colors in a tortoiseshell, which is what the word ecaille is French for.

Monica Byrne, owner of Monica Byrne Studio in Falmouth, Maine, explains that bold, bright and unnatural colors are starting to decrease in popularity as more natural hues resurface. The color has been worn by Blake Lively, Jessica Alba, Chrissy Teigen and Khloe Kardashian, among others. 

"This is a technique that really has to be customized for each specific client, and that includes the formulas as well as the placement pattern," Byrne says. "The accent pieces and punctuation of light are crucial to making this tortoiseshell effect flattering."

Technique for ecaille haircolor

STEP 1: Base color
On virgin hair, skip this and go to step 2. If shifting natural color slightly lighter or darker or if retouching new growth, formulate for desired result.

STEP 2: Formulation
For virgin hair, choose three or more colors within two to three levels lighter or darker than the base. (Example: For a level 6, choose level 4 gold, level 6 warm red and level 8 copper.) If client has previously colored hair, lift to reach level of lightness needed to create the lighter color.

STEP 3: Placement
Start at the nape and balayage the darkest two color choices, starting with two sections of the darkest color then one section of the medium color. Repeat pattern to low occipital.

At the low occipital, change pattern to one section medium color, one section light, one section dark. Repeat pattern to about one inch above the ears.

Starting one inch above the ear, change pattern to one medium section, one light section, one dark section, one medium, one light. Repeat pattern until round of the head (apex to temples). 

At the top of the head, eliminate the dark color and alternate medium and light sections.

STEP 4: Punctuation of light
Place the lightest, brightest highlight (some form of blonde, typically) at the fringe section or customize accent pieces. Can be bold or delicate.

STEP 5: Toning
After processing and shampooing, tone all pre-lightened sections. On colored hair, tone lightened hair to the lightest color choice. Avoid the punctuation of light and formulate for that section separately.


Get the formula: Ecaille color

Client pictured above had natural, virgin hair. 

Formula 1: Level 4 gold with 10 volume developer
Formula 2: Level 6 warm red with 20 volume developer
Formula 3: Level 8 copper with 30 volume developer
Formula 4: Lightener with 30 volume developer

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