Your Key to the Hair Chalk Phenomenon Taking Festivals by Storm

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So maybe I’m just very behind the times, but I heard of hair chalk for the first time last week. My immediate reaction was, “What the heck is hair chalk!?” Now that I’ve looked into it a bit more, I can’t believe I hadn’t sooner. Hair chalk is a super low maintenance hair dye technique. And it’s perfect for summer music festivals or art fairs.

You can buy hair chalk in the makeup and hair aisle for about $5 a shade if you want to go with the official version. My recommendation for the best hair chalk, though, would be to drop by your local craft store for a pallet of pastels. You get 36 different pastel colors to try for the same price. And that way, you can give the trendy rainbow look a go! Just make sure you don’t buy oil-based pastels.

I’m going to break this down by hair color (blonde, red, and brown/black) so that you can easily find the best temporary hair color option for your hair. A few of the steps will look the same, but there is some variation! In every case, there are just a few things you need: your hair chalk of choice, rubber gloves, hairspray, and flat iron.

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Blonde Hair

They always say blondes have the most fun, and in this case, it’s true! If you have light hair, you can use almost any color of chalk and get awesome results. The only caveat here: your dye will also last longer than your dark-haired friends’ does. A lot of hair chalk methods recommend wetting your hair before application, but if you’re blonde, I say DON’T. You might end up with rainbow hair for a week, and how do you explain that in the office on Monday!?

Step 1: Gather supplies and choose your colors! I personally recommend blue (which will look aqua on your locks) or violet, but anything goes.

Step 2: Cover up. Remember, you’re dyeing your hair here – even if it is using chalk! Pull on those gloves and wear an old t-shirt that you don’t mind getting all colorful. You’ll probably end up with a Color-Run-like effect on the shirt.

Step 3: Apply the chalk. Take whatever size section you want (no more than an inch wide) and twist it into a faux-dreadlock. Apply vertically along however much of the strand you want to be dyed – the upward motion will tease your hair slightly, but you can comb it out later once the color is sealed.

Step 4: Apply hairspray. This isn’t recommended by every method, but if you want the chalk to last, go ahead and spray a bit of hairspray onto the strand you just colored. The stronger the hold, the longer it’ll last.

Step 5: Heat-seal the color. Run the flat iron through the section you just sprayed to seal the color. Keep in mind – it won’t keep the color from rubbing off on things completely, but it makes a world of difference than if you hadn’t done anything.

Step 6: Clean up and enjoy! The sooner you clean up the chalk, the less likely it is to make a mess of your bathroom. Also, if you’re planning to sleep on your color, make sure you use an old pillowcase and blanket unless you want rainbow sheets.

In theory, your chalk should wash out in the first wash. Depending on how heavily you apply, though, it might take a few washes – especially with light hair! I read one story about a woman whose chalk lasted for a whole week after application!

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Red Hair

Never fear, redheads can rock the chalked-up hair, too! You can use most of the colors that blondes can, but keep in mind that your natural hair color will affect the result. Yellow chalk will appear orange; blue will appear purple, etc. Enjoy!

Step 1: Gather supplies and choose your colors! My favorite red-hair options are a nice bright red to accentuate your tips, or a violet streaked throughout.

Step 2: Cover up. Remember, the dye is dye even if it is chalk-based in this case! Pull on those gloves and wear an old t-shirt that you don’t mind getting all colorful. You’ll probably end up with a Color-Run-like effect on the shirt.

Step 3: *OPTIONAL* Depending on your shade of red, you may or may not want to apply water to the strands you want to dye. If you’re more of a strawberry blonde, you may want to forgo the wetting, since it’ll make the color a lot richer and probably incentivize it to stick around longer. If your hair is more of a bright red or auburn, go ahead and dampen it a bit, so the color shows more.

Step 4: Apply the chalk. Take whatever size section you want (no more than an inch wide) and twist it into a faux-dreadlock. Apply chalk vertically along however much of the strand you want to be dyed – the upward motion will tease your hair slightly if it’s not wet, but you can comb it out later once the color is sealed.

Step 5: Apply hairspray. This isn’t recommended by every method, but if you want the chalk to last, go ahead and spray a bit of hairspray onto the strand you just colored. The stronger the hold, the longer it’ll last.

Step 6: Heat-seal the color. You’ll have to be a bit patient here if you used water since you shouldn’t flat iron until the strand dries. Once it does, run the flat iron through the section you just sprayed to seal the color. Just remember it’s not going to stop the mess totally.

Step 7: Clean up and enjoy! The sooner you clean up the chalk, the less likely it is to make a mess of your bathroom. Also, if you’re planning to sleep with your color in, make sure you use an old pillowcase and blanket unless you want rainbow sheets.

As mentioned above, your chalk should wash out in the first wash. Depending on how heavily you apply, though, it might take a few washes – especially if you’re more of that strawberry blonde I mentioned!

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Brown/Black Hair

Last but not least, my dark-haired ladies! I am one of you, and while we can rock a chalk-look, we do have to be a little choosier with our colors. Go for the brighter options since pastels won’t show up. Dark blue, bright pink, red, green, or violet are great options. Or try white hair chalk for a look that really stands out from the crowd!

Step 1: Gather supplies and choose your colors! I would personally opt for the violet since I’ve always wanted purple tips (don’t ask me why!) but any of the above colors would pop on your locks.

Step 2: Cover up. If you read through the whole article to get here, you’ve seen this bit before, but once again – you’re dealing with a DIY hair dye. Grab the gloves and wear old clothes that you don’t mind looking like they survived a Color Run when you’re done.

Step 3: For dark hair, you definitely want to wet it before applying the chalk. Dampen it a bit section by section as you go, so the color really pops.

Step 4: Apply the chalk. Take whatever size section you want (no more than an inch wide) and twist it into a faux-dreadlock. Apply chalk vertically along however much of the strand you want dyed. Since it’s damp, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with teasing.

Step 5: Apply hairspray. This isn’t recommended by every method, but if you want the chalk to last, go ahead and spray a bit of hairspray onto the strand you just colored. The stronger the hold, the longer it’ll last.

Step 6: Let it dry. It’s tempting to reach for a blow-dryer, but if you do you’ll blow most of your chalk out with it! Throw on an episode of that TV show you’re binging and hang tight while your hair dries.

Step 7: Heat-seal the color. Run the flat iron through the dyed sections to seal the color. Just remember it’s not going to stop the mess.

Step 8: Clean up and enjoy! The sooner you clean up the chalk, the less likely it is to make a mess of your bathroom. Also, if you’re planning to sleep with your color in, make sure you use an old pillowcase and blanket unless you want rainbow sheets.

With dark hair, you’re almost guaranteed to lose the dye on the first wash, which is a blessing and a curse. Don’t wash thinking you’ll have a remnant, but don’t get too stressed about having professional hair when you have to go back to work, either!

Summary

Whether you’re looking for a fun festival look or just an easy solution for how to temporarily dye your hair, this is a winner. One of the things I like most about it is that it’s a non-toxic hair dye option. DIY hair dye is all the rage, and this cheap washable hair color treatment is perfect for any summer occasion. Let me know what colors you opt to try and how they work – if you really love your look, send us a photo! Happy dyeing!

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