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Ecaille Hair Color 101: All About This New Trend

Ecaille Hair ColorHair is like food, like art, like going to the theater! An everyday look suddenly becomes a trend as soon as you ascribe a French name to it. This is how techniques evolve into trends and vice-versa, and the evolution of the new Ecaille hair color trend is a prime example.

Ecaille’s origins

“The hand-painting of highlights, known as Balayage (which translates “to sweep”), was brought to NYC decades ago by French hairdressers. It was a classic highlighting technique founded in Paris in which colorists used free-hand, sweeping strokes to apply lightener (without the use of cap or foils) to the hair that would mimic the natural bleaching effect of sun exposure,” says Eva Scrivo of Eva Scrivo Salons.

The Balayage technique has since evolved. “Over the years many product companies have developed specific lighteners to keep up with this ever growing trend, yet learning the science and technical skill of this artistic application is still the most important tool for the professional (the original bleach was mixed almost as thick as plaster of paris, no pun intended),” says Scrivo.

Urban Ombre Ecaille Hair ColorOmbre entered the mainstream of hair color speak years ago. “This was basically grown out balayage highlights – a trend that became a technique. We started to see every possible version of this look, much of it with a distinctive line of demarcation (mostly from foil highlights rather than balayage). It was the poor girl’s balayage – basically a sign of strained economic times – where one could now go many months in between highlight appointments and still be considered “chic” rather than neglectful of her hair,” says Scrivo.

Ecaille is a the modern ombre. Balayage highlights with a warm, golden, caramel tone, and a rich base color, Ecaille actually translates to tortoise shell. “But remember, it requires regular upkeep, in order not to look passe,” says Scrivo.

The style of the moment

“Ecaille is the hair trend of the moment,” says Jennifer MacDougall, celebrity stylist, L’Oréal Professionnel Educator and StyleSeat Advocate. The mix of light and dark tones is very versatile and can be altered to suit various skin tones and hair lengths. “Many of the colors used for Ecaille are created using hair painting, a style of painting highlights by hand, which is becoming quite popular,” says MacDougall.

Going a little wild (but not too much)

Ecaille is a wearable natural dynamic color fashion. “It’s a feeling of color that anyone can wear, as long as it stays within the tones of the person’s natural hair color,” says Leland Hirsch, expert colorist, co-founder of ARTec Systems, co-founder of Haircolor USA, and winner of the Lifestyle Achievement Award at the 2000 North American Hairstyle Awards. With this style, maintenance is low and looks great as it grows out. “Today, people are looking for drama without looking color ridiculous and still need to survive in the work place. Hair looks like it never needs to be done. It’s the “done” hair color. Ecaille hair color is the perfect balance,” says Hirsch.

For even more inspiration before you head to your next salon appointment, check out our Ecaille Hair Color pinboard on Pinterest!

*IMAGE CREDIT: Marcqui Akins and Nicholas Uccan for Eva Scrivo Salons*