What Is Ecaille Tortoiseshell Hair Dye? 6 Things You Should Know About 2015's Updated Ombre

Whether you resolved to change up your hair game in 2015 or you're one of those chameleons looking for your next exciting mane makeover, there's no better time than now to try out this year's hot new trend: the ecaille tortoiseshell ombré. Let me put it this way — what the ombré was to 2014, the tortoiseshell will be for 2015. As the fashion and beauty game continues to shift to a more natural aesthetic, we've started to see less dramatic color jobs, like those rainbow locks and platinum blonde hues of last year. Now, it's all about elevating that beautiful hair you were already born with and supplementing it with more caramel and golden highlights. Hence, the name tortoiseshell.

To get a better understanding of the new hair trend, I spoke with Mizu Salon's celebrity stylist Francesca Montanile, who also demonstrated the technique on our Associate Entertainment Editor Samantha Rullo. Here are the six things you need to know about achieving the tortoiseshell look.

1. The tortoiseshell is like an ombré, but a lot softer

"Where the ombré was more about brightening the ends up in a severe way, the tortoiseshell look is much softer because it marries the darker roots to the brighter ends," Montanile explained. "There are more dimensions throughout the hair, too, and you can do it with different tones, warm or cool, depending on your skin tone."

2. When asking for a tortoiseshell, reference the ombré

"Use ombré as a reference point, but ask that they connect the ombré and soften it up. Connecting it to the roots will give a little bit of gradation from the top to the end. You can also ask to bring the ombré up higher, which will give you a more tortoiseshell effect. An ombré doesn’t get light until the ends of the hair, but with a tortoiseshell, it softens up towards the ends."

3. The tortoiseshell is a great look for both blondes and brunettes

"It’s a great way for brunettes to have some color and play with some lightness, where in the past, a brunette would stay a brunette and be afraid to go lighter. For blondes, they can play with being a little deeper, but not letting go of brightness throughout their hair. I love it. I do a lot of it.

"Blondes may need to deepen their base color a bit to really get the contrast and richness they need. Brunettes won't have to do that because they already have darker roots, so the stylist can play off the depth of the natural color and incorporate lighter tones with the rest of the hair."

4. The tortoiseshell is perfect for lazy girls

"That's the great thing about it. Like the ombré, it grows out very gracefully. You don’t have to get back to the salon every four weeks, unless you really want to change it or you have gray hair. You can come in and have your roots touched up, but you don’t have to do anything to the ends except get a clear gloss for shine. It’s another wonderful low maintenance technique and look for clients."

5. Remember to condition, condition, condition

"I would recommend using good conditioners. Always condition your hair, even if you have fine hair. It’s really important to even just make a ponytail and run the conditioner on the ends because when you’re coloring your hair, it helps keep your locks stay healthy and shiny."

How fabulous does Samantha's tortoiseshell look?! I'm totally obsessed. Cheers to a year filled with plenty more gorgeous tortoiseshell 'dos!

Images: Kara McGrath