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. "A tigereye is an ancient stone worn for protection and confidence—it's known for its rich browns and golds," explains Corey Tuttle, the celebrity hairstylist who just may have kicked off the trend. According to Tuttle, the stone is thought to have healing powers so it's an incredible color choice for those who want to begin their next journey with courage, strength, and willpower. "Tiger's 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," adds colorist Tiffanie 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," she instructs.
Meet the Expert
- Corey Tuttle is an Exclusive Artists hairstylist.
- Tiffanie Richards is a professional colorist at Louise O'Connor Salon in NYC.
Contrary to your typical Instagram trend, Tuttle thinks tiger eye hair has more staying power. "This hair color, while it continues to evolve and perhaps change in shade or tone, will always remain a customized hair color with bold mixtures of bronze, gold, dark, and light highlights and lowlights that create a multidimensional look that adds contrast and depth, while also accentuating layers in the 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 to 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 and all skin tones (warm, cool, and neutral)
Similar shades: Illuminated brunette, tortoiseshell, brown 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.
Keep scrolling for all the tiger's eye inspiration you could possibly need for your next coloring appointment.
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.
Long, Auburn Waves
Tiger eye coloring looks amazing on super long hair, which gives a colorist plenty of mileage to play with the tones and techniques. Here, auburn highlights add warmth and dimension to dark brown tresses.
Tiger eye can also flatter those with straight hair or a straight style. While this color would look great on any texture, it will most benefit smooth, blown-out hair," notes Richards. "The reason for this is because it will really showcase the subtlety between the highlights and base."
Maybe Beyoncé's giant feathered collar isn't the most wearable accessory, but her coiffed hair can absolutely translate well to normal daily life. A side braid further accentuates caramel highlights and lowlights to create the perfect tiger's eye updo.
Lots o' Texture
Check out that volume. Waves can help you show off the different facets of tiger's eye hair. Use a texturizing product like Ouai's Air Dry Foam ($28) to add that wind-swept quality to your strands.
By its very nature, tiger's eye hair tends to focus on natural brunette and blonde hues, with a touch of red here and there. This reddish-brown shade, however, has a hint of rose gold that makes it really stand out.
Mushroom Blonde Bob
A cool-toned version of tiger's eye hair with mushroom 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 bronze and honey gold pairs well with warm undertones," Tuttle says, while "cool undertones are better suited with icy, neutral hues."
Tiger's eye hair can be a higher contrast, as seen on actress Logan Browning's elegant black-and-gold style. 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.
Curly and Full
Curls like these on Jessica Szohr really draw attention to the levels of depth of this coloring. We love the piecey cool blonde highlights threaded throughout a brunette base. "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," says Richards.
When determining which highlighting technique you want for your curls, consider precision. Pintura will highlight individual curls whereas balayage will highlight sections.
Long and Glossy
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. To get this next-level shine, Tuttle suggests keeping strands healthy by using both a color-safe conditioner and a leave-in.
Tiger's eye can combine a variety of different highlighting techniques—this one on Jessica Alba encompasses sombré and balayage for color that fades from brunette at the roots to golden blonde on mids and ends.
Wavy With Texture
Effortless texture and multidimensional color combine to bring us this covetable style. 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."
Taraji P. Henson's chunky, warm brown highlights are another unique take on the tiger's eye trend. She proves that these color techniques can work beautifully on shorter styles.
Create the perfect beachside look with warm, golden highlights that flatter sun-kissed skin. Just keep in mind that "less is more" when it comes to highlights. "Whatever shade you decide on for the base color, whether it's natural or colored, will be the determination of the highlight color. The highlight should only be a shade at most lighter than the base," Richards advises.
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 any time soon.
Chrissy Teigen's pin-straight hair with blunt ends really shows off the depth of her color. Her center part looks utterly modern while maintaining a bit of a vintage '70s vibe.
This balayage brown take has a goldish tinge that works to brighten brunette hair. 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.
When we typically think of tiger's eye hair, long, golden brown locks first come to mind. However, this balayage blonde bob proves that the trend also looks great against a shorter, cooler-toned palette.
Halle Berry shows us how tiger's eye plays out in two contrasting textures: shoulder-length waves and straight face-framing curtain bangs. The effect is interwoven layers of caramel color that we can't take our eyes off of.
Honey Brown Highlights
Hints of honey brown work their way into this tiger's eye look that radiates warmth. To stretch the life of your color, Tuttle says to avoid shampooing too often and recommends using a shampoo for color-treated hair. The brand Overtone has color-specific formulas.
Can you achieve tiger's eye hair at home?
Tiger's eye hair color is typically created using a combination of highlights, lowlights, and balayage, Tuttle explains. It's best left to the professionals.
What should you tell your colorist if you want tiger's eye hair?
Colorists should know what tiger's eye hair is and be able to determine which shades will best suit you. Still, it's always a good idea to bring in a few visual examples of looks you like (and even which you don't) to give them a better idea.
Who are the best candidates for wearing tiger's eye hair?
Tiger's eye hair usually features a warm color palette and therefore tends to work well if you have warm or natural undertones. However, it can also suit those with cool undertones as long as cooler and neutral beige hues are used.