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Color without commitment: Hair chalking

When I was in junior high, my friends and I liked to rock funky, colored streaks in our hair.

We’d use packages of little packages of Kool Aid to get bright red, pink or purple stripes in the sides or back of our hair. But I always had to sneak so my mom wouldn’t know – the Kool Aid streaks weren’t permanent, but the color could last for almost a week and she hated taking me to the store, church, and especially grandma’s house with those bold, bright colors in my hair.

I fought with her like crazy back then, but now, I can kind of see her point.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the look of a vivid pop of color peeking out from beneath the usual blonde, brunette, or auburn hair.  It’s just not that practical for most of us to spend a solid week with bright blue, hot pink or purple streaks in our hair. But that doesn’t mean you can’t wear a colorful stripe in your hair for a concert, party, or just a night out with the girls.

Hair chalking allows you to play Picasso with your hair without commitment– the color washes out in a single shampoo.

Pretty fabulous, right?

If you’re not familiar with hair chalking, here’s all the info you need to get temporary rainbow streaks in your hair whenever the mood strikes.

Where to Get It

You can’t just pick up a piece of sidewalk chalk and expect it to color your hair – you need the right type of chalk. Several companies make chalk designed specifically for hair, which takes all of the guesswork out of it.  Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Hypercolor Brow and Hair Powder is a pressed formula that comes in a pot like eye shadow, and is available in four bold colors, including Electric Blue and Teal Tornado. Splat Color Chalk also comes pressed in a pot and is available in five shades, including Mint Candy and Dusty Rose.

If you’re an artist and have non-oil based chalk pastels at home, you can use those too. They’re also a great option if you want a wide array of colors to choose from since you can find sets of pastels that contain 20 or more shades at a pretty budget-friendly price.


Since the chalk can color more than just your hair, you should protect your skin and clothing before you start chalking. Wear gloves to keep your hands clean and drape an old towel over your shoulders so you don’t accidently stain your shirt. Before reaching for the chalk, dampen the strands that you want to color – unless you’re blonde.  Blondes should like their locks dry because the chalk can stain light hair so the color doesn’t come out in a single washing.

How to Use It

Whether you’re using a pressed compact chalk or a pastel stick, you simply pressed the chalk to your hair and slowly glide the color on, using your fingers to hold it in place.  Work in a downward motion and twist the hair as you go to make sure that you cover the entire section. Be as creative as you want – you can use a single color on each strand or use multiple colors on a single lock of hair to create a rainbow streak.

Allow the chalked section dry. To set the color, use a flat iron or curling iron on the strands and spritz with hairspray when you’re done.  If you’re not a fan of heat styling, skip it and go straight to the hair spray.

How to Wash It Out

When you’re ready to ditch your bold streaks, use a clarifying shampoo like Paul Mitchell Clarifying Three to wash your hair. Clarifying formulas have more detergents than traditional shampoos so they do a better job of getting the pigments out. Since chalk can be pretty drying, particularly for the ends of your hair, you should follow up with a conditioning treatment too.  Your daily conditioner may be fine, but if you have dry, coarse or damaged hair, a deep conditioning treatment like TRESemme Platinum Strength Renewing Deep Conditioning Treatment is a better option.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing