Tiger's Eye Hair is About to Be Bigger Than Balayage

While doing research for our autumn hair color guide, we encountered the trend that might just be the next big thing: tiger's eye hair. I spoke with the celebrity hairstylist who just may have kicked off the trend: Corey Tuttle, a Honey Artists hairstylist, as well as Tiffanie Richards, a master colorist at Nunzio Saviano Salon in NYC, to get the low-down on this look. "A tigereye is an ancient stone worn for protection and confidence—it's known for its rich browns and golds," Tuttle explains. The stone is thought to have healing powers, according to Tuttle, so it's an incredible color choice for those who want to begin their next journey with courage, strength and willpower.

tiger's Eye Hair

Choosing A Shade: "Depending on your skin’s undertones, your colorist will be able to determine which shades will bring your hair color to life for your complexion," says Tuttle. He recommends bringing a list of questions and deferring to your colorist for the best combination of tones. In general, "the base color should be in the brunette family."

Maintenance Level: Medium-low. Tuttle notes that "since the color is concentrated on the lower half of the hair," you don't have to worry much about your roots growing in.

Goes Great With: Brown hair, warm undertones, cool undertones

Similar Shades: Illuminated brunette, tortoiseshell, ombré, balayage

Price: "Salon prices range quite a bit for hair color, depending on particular service, and time in providing that service," says Tuttle. Your geographic location can also impact the cost, so call ahead to get an estimate.

"Tigers eye is achieved by applying very subtle highlights to increase the warmth and create movement within the tones of the hair. It can be achieved by a foiling or a balayage," explains Richards. "If you are beginning with a golden brown you want to stick with those golden tones and same with something more on the ashy side."

Lion's Mane Waves

J. Lo is practically the pioneer of tiger's eye hair. Her honeyed waves with highlights beginning at the crown of the head is probably what most people picture when they hear the phrase. It's a classic look that won't go out of style anytime soon.

Before and After

Rich brunette with subtle highlights is a less stark take on the trend. According to Tuttle, tiger's eye hair is achieved by blending "deep warm, caramel, brown, gold tones that vary across the spectrum, marked by darker roots fading into lighter ends."


Jessica Alba's pin-straight hair with a few face-framing layers really shows off the depth of her color. Her center part looks utterly modern while maintaining a bit of a vintage '70s vibe.

"While this color would look great on any texture it will benefit the most on smooth blown out hair," notes Richards. "The reason for this is because it will really showcase the subtly between the highlights and base."

Golden Curls

Maybe Beyoncé's giant golden crown isn't the most wearable accessory, but her golden tiger's eye curls can absolutely translate well to normal daily life—even for the non-Beyoncé's among us. Different hair textures can play with highlights and lowlights to create the perfect tiger's eye, with gives the illusion of even more volume (not that she needs help in that department).

Old-Hollywood Waves

An old-school style gets the modern treatment with tiger's eye highlights, as seen on Kate Beckinsale. Her deeper roots give way to well-placed blonde streaks and an explosion of curls.

Blonde Balayage

Tiger's eye can combine a variety of different highlighting techniques—this one encompasses ombré and balayage for color that fades from brunette at the roots to pale blonde on the ends. It's a bit more dramatic than other variations we've seen, and, as Tuttle points out, the customizability is what makes this an enduring trend.


This take has a reddish tinge that trends toward copper. It's not the most tiger's eye inspired of the looks on this list, but it's a great option if dramatically lighter ends aren't really your style.

Rose Gold

By its very nature, tiger eye hair tends to focus on natural brunette and blonde hues, with a touch of red here and there. But this reddish brown shade has a hint of rose gold that makes it really stand out.

Smokey Bob

A cool-toned version of tiger's eye hair with smokey blonde highlights gives a fresh take on the look. Whether you choose this over more traditional warm highlights will likely depend on your complexion. "Deep bronzes and honey gold pairs well with warm undertones," says Tuttle, while "cool undertones are better suited with icy, neutral hues."

Golden Highlights

Taraji P. Henson's chunky warm brown highlights are another unique way to incorporate this style. She proves that tiger's eye techniques can work beautifully on shorter styles.

Long and Luscious

Tiger eye works beautifully on hair that goes on for days. The length really allows for room to play with highlights, color shifts, and loads of dimension.

Keep in mind that "less is more" when it comes to highlights. "Whatever shade you decide on for the base color, whether its your natural or colored will be the determination of the highlight color. The highlight should only be a shade at most lighter then the base," says Richards.

Curly and Full

Curls like the ones on Jessica Szhor really draw attention to the levels of depth of this coloring. We love the piece-y cool blonde highlights threaded throughout a brunette base.

Contrasting Strands

Tiger's eye hair can be a higher-contrast, as seen on actress Logan Browning's elegant black and gold style. To stretch the life of your color, Tuttle recommends "using a shampoo for color treated hair, while making sure to not shampoo your hair too often." The brand Overtone has color-specific formulas. Tuttle also suggests using hydrating conditioner "both after shampoo, & leave- in" to keep strands healthy.

Read more on: hair