Ok, it’s official. The tiger eye hair color trend is now thing. Yes, sure, maybe it was always a thing. But thanks to social media, it now has a name and is the newest buzzword in the sombre, ombre, ecaille, babylight, bronde, ombre, balayombre colorist vocab list.
"Every fall/winter there is a mad dash to the salon for deeper, darker tones for hair color and toning down end of season summer highlights and ombres," says Dilek Onur-Taylor, a NAHA-winning stylist and a creative director for The Salon By InStyle inside JCPenney. "Tiger Eye color is a fresh take on transitioning summer balayage and the cooler, lighter tones we were seeing last summer to darker, warmer, richer, multi-dimensional, shades of brown."
Essentially it’s a beautiful blend of honey, caramel, mocha, gold, hazel nut, toffee and warm blondes to mimic the coloring of the gemstone.
“Tiger eye hair is a darker version of ecaille,” says Larisa Love, a California-based colorist with an army of Instagram followers on her @larisadoll page. “The tones are warm and golden and the perfect way for clients to warm up their winter.”
Ecaille, which made a name for itself in 2015, is french for tortoiseshell and… to be honest, is kinda hard to say.
“I can’t even say that word,” laughs Shelley Gregory, a colorist at Las Vegas Square Salon, who is known for posting beautiful color work on her @shelleygregoryhair Instagram profile. “So for a client to feel comfortable in your chair and say 'I want ecaille hair color' is really intimidating. A lot of people still have a hard time saying ‘balayage,’ and that can be embarrassing to say to someone who is supposed to be an expert."
And, like many things that become common vernacular (sombre, amazeballs, Brangelina, totes and obvs) if it has an easy to pronounce name, and it's fun to say, sometimes it just sticks.
“Plus gemstones are totally trending right now, and most people know what a tiger eye is, so I’m not surprised it’s sticking,” Gregory says.
So if a client says she wants tiger eye hair color, essentially what she’s asking for is rich, brown highlights and lowlights, with chocolate and bronze tones.
“To create this technique, I would either balayage or hair paint, maybe even foil, highlights but staying away from the root for more of a grown-out technique,” Gregory says. “Once you lift it, tone it with a darker chocolate shade at the root area and melt it down into a level 8 or darker. Popping in a golden brown or blonde is pretty, too.”
And the best part, Gregory says, is you can play with the tones that your client’s hair lifts to.
“You’re not fighting the hair to get it to those achier tones that were so popular this summer,” Gregory says. “So it will actually have shinier, healthier results!”
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