Total Eclipt of the Heart

Why you’ll love eclipting, the hottest new technique in hair color

Brittney Robbins and a guest with eclipting highlights

If you’ve ever taken a color theory class, you already know these basics: Dark colors make an area recede or look smaller (which is why black is so slimming) and light colors visually expand an area. These principles are at the heart of every YouTube tutorial about contouring — and they don’t just apply to your cheekbones. They also apply to your hair.

The “eclipting color” highlighting technique pioneered by Aveda harnesses the power of light and dark to play up your unique, beautiful facial features. Aveda Purefessional Brittney Robbins, a master stylist and educator for Scott J, shares more about this on-trend technique — and why it gives you a lift that goes beyond your hair.

What is eclipting?

“It’s a mix of color melting and balayage,” says Brittney, who is based at Scott J’s Upper East Side location. “The effect is like contouring for your hair.”

For those who aren’t hip to salon lingo: color melting is an ombré effect achieved by combining multiple hues — a darker natural color at the roots, which transitions to a lighter color at the ends, with no harsh line of demarcation. And balayage is a term for natural-looking, graduated highlights hand painted on to the ends of hair. So in short, when you get eclipting color, you’re getting dimensional hair color that’s customized to your hair and face shape.

Wait. Did you say eclipting is contouring for your hair?

Well, yes. This is a form of highlighting where the colorist uses dark and light tones to create shadows and areas of emphasis that complement your features.

“If you’re adding highlighted pieces, you enhance those areas, and make certain areas of the face seem wider,” Brittney says. “Dark areas absorb light and create shadows along the face. You can visually alter someone’s face shape with this hair technique.”

Brittney learned eclipting straight from the source: Aveda’s artistic director for hair color, Ian Michael Black, who pioneered the technique. She now has a number of visual tricks up her sleeve. “If I wanted to make a face appear slimmer, I would create darker shadowing vertically along the side of the head,” she says. “To enhance cheekbones, I’d add a highlight around the cheekbone area to make it lighter and brighter.”

Eclipting can be used with any palette of colors ranging from natural tones to bright fashion colors, and strategic use of pigments can enhance natural skin tones and bring out a person’s eye color.

“For blue eyes, in the area near the eye, I’d use warmer tones with a gold or orange undertone,” Brittney says. “To increase the vibrancy of green eyes, I’d use a reddish tone, and to enhance hazel eyes, I’d choose violet or beige.”

Eclipting color in varying tones of warm golden browns


Why choose eclipting?

Eclipting has advantages that go beyond facial enhancement. For one thing, the color technique is longer lasting, because it subtly blends multiple colors for a gradient look. That means that when your roots grow in, there’s a diffused line of demarcation that isn’t harsh and obvious. Many clients can go longer in between appointments thanks to eclipting.

“Our Aveda color tones complement each other, so they fade on tone together,” Brittney says. “Our color is also much more gentle. Touch-ups are simple.”

Next, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to eclipting — and that’s what makes it so enjoyable. “Each guest gets a customized experience with the technique,” Brittney says. “It’s truly an on-trend, customized technique for their hair, face shape and cut.”

The final (and maybe best) reason? “Eclipting is something new and it’s fun to do,” Brittney says. “It’s simple, but it gives a strong effect.”