Hair Chalk: What Is It And How To Chalk Your Hair

Hair Color Ideas and Inspiration

Hair Chalk Is The Best Way To Add Wash-Out Color To Your Summer 'Do

16 July 2018
photo of woman with vibrant hair color

Emily Arata

Senior Editor,

As an employee of L’Oréal, Emily works with celebrity stylists to make finding the right cut, color, or style easier than ever before. She's previously written for Allure, Elite Daily, and First We Feast.

Remember summer vacation from school? With no teachers to pester you, you had a full three months of the year to experiment with your beauty routine. Whether that came in the form of an armful of camp friendship bracelets, tanning stickers, or sun lightening sprays, we loved to take risks and play around with beauty.

Feeling adventurous this summer and eager to experience your youth all over again? Try hair chalk, a wash-out color option that’s ideal for nights out, concerts, and beach vacations. If you’re curious about adding a bright flash of color to your ‘do without any commitment, keep reading.

What is hair chalk?

Hair chalk is a temporary hair color product that typically washes out within several shampoos. It’s generally inexpensive and applied at home. Unlike professional hair color, it does not need to be applied by an expert because it’s so low risk.

Hair chalk generally takes the idea of sidewalk chalk and improves upon it, resulting in an intense powdery formula designed to be pressed into the hair. To ensure the pigment stays put, some formulas recommend “setting” the powder with a light coat of hairspray.

You’re not chemically coloring your hair, so there’s little risk of damage. Natural blondes or those with lightened hair should beware getting overzealous with hair chalk, however, since it can leave a stain behind. If you’re worried about ruining your color, it’s a good idea to loop in your colorist before making any fast decisions. Nobody wants to be a platinum blonde with a greenish cast weeks after chalking.

How do you apply hair chalk?

Hair chalk often comes in a compact or makeup pan shape, which means you’ll need to section off your hair and slide the formula down every piece. For this reason, the chalking process can be a little time intensive if you’re planning to color your whole head. We’d recommend starting with a few face-framing pieces and continuing on if you like the way it looks, particularly if this is your first time. Brite Organix Liquid Hair Chalk comes in seven vastly different shades, while Splat Hair Chalk comes in 10.

Brunettes, we probably don’t have to tell you that hair chalking will be a tad more challenging for you than your blonde friends. In a salon, your stylist would pre-lighten your mane to ensure gorgeous color payoff. With a drugstore hair chalk, however, your best bet is to press hard and hope! Blues and magentas will likely be more visible than pastels or metallics, but only testing can determine which works for you. Hair chalk sometimes comes in liquid formulas, which are likely to work better on dark hair because they sit on top of the strand without flaking off.

Who should try hair chalk?

We don’t say this often, but hair chalk really is a good fit for anyone. Because there’s no commitment, you can wear it for 10 minutes before washing it out (if that strikes your fancy). You may experience a slight dry-feeling texture with some formulas, so make sure to test the shade out at home before committing to a full day of wearing it.

If you’re itching for a bright flash of color, or even want to try a shade before you go to the salon, hair chalk is a perfect quick fix. You’ll feel like a kid on summer vacation again—and in the best way!

For personalized recommendations about trying hair chalk with your color, use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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