Schwarzkopf Professional
Trendlooks 2016

Wet Paint: Tortoiseshell Hair

Tortoiseshell Hair
The last laugh: Model Chrissy Teigen with the latest hair colour trend
© Getty Images

Picture-perfect: The new colour trend as the style of summer brings movement, depth and expression to hair. Characteristic for the trendy must-have hair: Soft transitions and little contrast. We explain the current favourite look of the stars and how the dyeing technique for the tortoiseshell trend works

Tortoiseshell. But how? No worries, no need to pronounce it, all you need to do is wear it. In your hair! It is the colour trend of the season. What is behind it? We asked star stylist Armin Morbach: 'The tortoiseshell trend is named after a certain breed of cat.' And the cat is named after the shell of a tortoise? Yes, there is a connection between the hard shell of the tortoise and the soft fur of the cat – because the tortoiseshell cat, similar to the look of the tortoise, is characterised by dual-coloured fur in a tortoiseshell pattern. Inspired by the striking kitty, the tortoiseshell look in the hair is defined by the soft transition of colour between blonde and brown. 'The interplay of light and dark should appear like exposure to light,' explains hair expert Armin Morbach. A truly enriching addition to the category of 'hair colours that make us happy' since the animalistic eponym of the latest trend is considered lucky according to conventional wisdom.

  • Ombrè Hair vs. Tortoiseshell Hair: The Difference

  • Tortoiseshell hair
    Colour comparison: Louise Roe (left) with ombré hair and Chrissy Teigen (right) with tortoiseshell trend
    © Getty Images

    While the contrast between light and dark is purposeful and clearly apparent with ombré colouring, strong contrasts and abrupt transitions are avoided with the current tortoiseshell trend.

    Louise Roe (left in the photo) for example wears the classic ombré look. From the hairline down to the ears, the television presenter’s hair is brunette before transitioning to a light blonde hue. Chrissy Teigen (right in the photo) on the other hand has chosen the tortoiseshell look. The model’s hair has a dark base hue and only the tips are light-coloured. Unlike the ombré style, subtle strands of blond also permeate the entire mane. This creates the natural look. Typical tortoiseshell: The face is also framed by a light section of hair.

  • Five Tortoiseshell Trend Facts

    1. Soft transitions and little contrast

    2. Dark base colour, light-coloured hair ends

    3. Light stands throughout the hair

    4. No fringe: highlights framing the face

    5. Sun-kissed hair: natural blonde and brown nuances

  • Tortoiseshell Hair: Who Can Wear the Trend Colour?

    Since the look is very natural and individually adaptable to any hair colour, tortoiseshell suits just about any woman.

  • Tortoiseshell hair
    Actresses Sarah Jessica Parker, Lucy Hale and Nikki Reed (from left to right) wear the tortoiseshell look in a darker version
    © Getty Images

    Matching the colour melange to your own skin tone is just as important as with any other colour trend. Olive to dark skin types should forego the light blonde version and choose brown hues with matching highlights such as gold, caramel or mahogany. Certainly the interplay of colours is best displayed by long hair. Sleekly styled with centre parting (see Sarah Jessica Parker) or curly with a discreet side parting (see Nikki Reed), the highlights reveal their brilliant effect in all their glory. The wavy clavi-cut à la Lucy Hall is another great option for a loose and lively overall look.

  • Tortoiseshell hair
    Whitney Port prefers the light version of the tortoiseshell trend and knows how to display the highlights
    © Getty Images

    Various blonde nuances can be used for variation with a lighter skin tone. It-girl Whitney Port proves how multifaceted the interplay can be with light beach waves or a cool braided style. The soft tortoiseshell transition appears sun-kissed and feigns a long beach vacation. A perfect hair look for the cold time of the year – as a way to prolong the summer!

  • Tortoiseshell Hair: The (Balayage) Technique Does the Trick!

    Rather than the well-known foil technique or a streaking cap, the balayage method is used (from the French balayer, to sweep or brush). Dye or bleach is applied to individual strands of different thicknesses at various intervals – only where you want the highlights! This dyeing technique creates a soft, natural effect. Last but not least: A dark hairline does not necessarily have to be redone, just say you are wearing tortoiseshell. Then everyone is happy.