When your crown is feeling more lackluster than lustrous, it’s time to head to the salon and hit the refresh button. From root beer to rose brown, this year’s hair color trends for brunettes are taking dull brown strands from monotone to magnetic; and tortoiseshell, or écaille in French, is a shade that’s leaving brunettes feeling shiny and new with its rich blend of warm shades. (And yes, it’s inspired by your favorite tortoiseshell sunglasses.) Tortoiseshell hair is a mixture of dark shades and touches of warm caramel, honey, and gold. Somehow teetering a perfectly sun-kissed balance between dark and light, this shade often starts with a chocolate brown base and can use techniques like balayage, babylights, ombré, and shadow rooting to create a seamlessly blended finish that’s as low maintenance as you wish. So why not put a few strokes of honey here, a few ribbons of caramel there? It’ll liven up those locks in no time. Check out these tortoiseshell hair color inspirations before your next salon trip.
1. Caramel Ombré
This melting of color feels fresh and light, even though the roots are an almost cool mocha shade. The subtle ombré covers all of the tortoiseshell hues: chocolate, chestnut, caramel, and gold. We love the way the color works with the long, warm blonde face-framing layers. There’s no doubt they’ll be catching the sun all season long.
2. Baby Balayage
Want to spice up your bob? A deep chocolate base color gets a welcome kick from baby balayage highlights in rich chestnuts and caramel. Piecier highlights and heavy face-framing help make a great blend of color.
3. Honey Brown
For those who just want a low maintenance, not-too-noticeable change to their classic chocolate brown, these honey-tinged tresses will do the job. Ribbons of randomly placed honey balayage highlights add just the right amount of shine and reflection.
4. Blonde Tortoiseshell
Think of this tortoiseshell shade as its cool beachy partner-in-crime that lets a dirty blonde or bronde base melt into a gorgeous caramel, honey, and golden finish. It’s the perfect laid-back, lived-in warm blonde look.
5. Toffee Touches
Complement olive skin and brown eyes with rich strokes of toffee and caramel, focusing heavily around the face and on the ends. Using chestnut brown to melt the dark base into the sun-kissed touches is key to a low-maintenance, lived-in look.
6. Sweet Cola
This syrupy brown injects some serious touches of liquid gold into the layered hairstyle, and it even brings out hints of reddish-brown chestnut near the coca-cola brown roots. We’re all for this shiny tortoiseshell blend.
7. Deep Mocha
Though tortoiseshell is full of warm shades of browns and caramels, nothing says deep brunettes can’t get in on the action with some perfectly placed balayage. A black-brown base color gets warmth and lightness from chestnut, amber, caramel, and gold.
8. Amber Balayage
This tortoiseshell blend works super well for those with lighter brown or bronde hair, enhancing it with rich honey and amber highlights while keeping a light chocolate base. The super subtle balayage makes for easy upkeep and natural-looking results.
When hair color looks totally natural, you know you’ve done it right! This incredibly subtle soft ombré starts with a warm brunette base and melts into a robust covering of caramel. This blend will pop on olive or tan skin tones.
T10. ortoiseshell Ribbons
For this bold tortoiseshell look, blend a few different hair shades—such as golden blonde, rich caramels, toasty chestnuts, and darker brown—using ribbon highlights. This style adds a little extra honey blonde, making it summer-approved.
11. Golden Caramel
Talk about some summertime sunshine. This chocolate brown mane is making us fall head over heels for the rich caramel-gold balayage that coats every inch from midway down to the ends. You can’t go wrong with this bright blend of color.
12. Bronze Sombré
We can’t get over the rich metallic finish of this bronzed tortoiseshell mane. Bronze is characterized as a shade of brown that emphasizes gold and red undertones. A little extra honey and gold around the face and towards the ends makes it look naturally sun-kissed.
13. Heavy Caramel
For those with fair skin that want to lighten things up, this warm caramel lands right in the middle of the essential chocolate and golden blonde shades. Heavy face-framing and shadow rooting make it super flattering and low maintenance.
14. Chestnut Balayage
If concerned about going too bold, keep the look subtle and soft to avoid making it look overdone. This multi-dimensional chestnut brown uses rich ribbons of color to achieve the tortoiseshell look.