Menu Find a salon

Color Trend: Tortoiseshell

A seamless blend of light and dark.

While tortoiseshell is most often associated with fashion accessories-think: your favorite pair of sunglasses-the combination of light and dark is also an amazing haircolor option. Tortoiseshell-or ecaille-is a seamless blend of gorgeous, soft, muted chocolates, caramels, and champagne tones, perfect for brunettes who want to lighten things up or blondes looking to take a walk on the dark side. To learn more about this trending color we turned to hairdresser and L'Oréal Professionnel Artist Belinda Gambuzza.

Color in Slow Motion

"For me," Gambuzza says, "tortoiseshell is very similar to bronde. But, with tortoiseshell, I want to give the hair more dimension." She explains that tortoiseshell is like color in slow motion. Unlike intentionally placed highlights with their bold streaks and seemingly fast-moving stripes, with tortoiseshell you don't know where the color starts or ends.

To achieve this seamless, slow motion blend of color, Gambuzza uses a free-hand, balayage technique, often twisting the hair has she paints to skip over sections, allowing the color to evolve. She'll start by going over the base with a darker color, then she will add chocolate and caramel balayage highlights and paint golden babylights in between these darker tones. "You want it to blend, to be seamless," she explains. To melt the colors all together- and create the softness tortoiseshell is known for-she finishes with a champagne-toned gloss.

Easy to Wear

Tortoiseshell looks amazing on all lengths, textures, and skin tones, and while this bronde-like trend has been around for a few seasons now, it's not going anywhere. "Celebs have kept it alive," she says, explaining how clients see how easy the color is to wear on their favorite actresses and models. It's a haircolor that not only looks amazing freshly colored but it grows out beautifully, allowing you to wear it longer with less upkeep.

Taking Care of Tortoiseshell

Just like with any haircolor, use a shampoo and conditioner that are formulated specifically for color-treated hair to keep your look from fading. Gambuzza also recommends visiting the salon for a gloss in between your highlighting appointments to refresh your color and add shine.

—  Related Articles  —

Color Trend: Black

Sparkling tones spice up black locks.

Color Trend: Black
Color Trend: Copper Contouring
Color Trend: Copper Contouring

Contouring isn't just for the face anymore.

Find a L'Oréal Professionnel salon near you

The essentials

Hair Care
Hair Care
Find out more
Hair Care
Hair Care
Find out more
Hair Care
Hair Care
Find out more