How to Chalk Your Hair (and Whether You Should)

How to Chalk Your HairDid you know that hair chalking is a thing? I’m not making a euphemism here. Scrubbing pastels into your hair to color it as an alternative to permanent, semi-permanent or even temporary hair dye is a trend. Guides for how to chalk your hair are everywhere on Pinterest. Streaks of pink. Ombre blue tips. Teal faux-hawk tops. And celebs from Paris Hilton to Nicki Minaj have made a specific palette popular: cotton candy hair. But we’re not going there.

When done in the right context (like, say, for a music festival) and in moderation (such as tasteful streaks), hair chalking can be totally chic.

So. Rub hair with chalk. Rock out in style. Wash it out. Back to normal, right? That just seemed too good to be true. There had to be a catch.

And, having now tested this trend, I can say that there are several. On a scale of one to five, one being totally doable and five being not-so-much, I give this project a three. Prepare yourself for a hot mess. No matter how long you “seal” the color, it stains your clothes, your ears and your pillow if you leave it in overnight. I made the mistake of not wearing gloves the first time I tried this. There are still pink fingerprints all over my apartment.

Hair Chalk Stain

If you have dark hair like me, it really doesn’t work. If you wet your hair and stick with a neon pink, you can get something to show up. But I didn’t have any luck with blues or teal. If you have recommendations for dark hair, leave them in the comments below.

Blondes have the opposite problem. Dark colors can take up to seven washes to completely come out. Not cool if you need to look professional on Monday. Also not cool if you get a blonde in your Human Resources department to help you with a blog post on hair chalking and tell her it washes out in a day. And then it doesn’t. And then you have a meeting with her on Thursday and she has blue hair. (Sorry, Ashley!)

For me, it’s not worth it. I love the look, but, if you want to color your hair, just dye it. Or try those colored hair sprays. These options won’t give you neon dandruff.

Still want to try this despite my glowing recommendation? Check out the how-to below. And if you have better luck, comment with your tips and tricks.


Step 1

 Open GalleryHair Chalk Supplies

Get materials. All you need is a set of pastels, hair spray and a flat iron. As an art school graduate, it seems blasphemous to waste quality Prisma color pastels on something like this. You can pick up a cheap set or even specific colors at your local craft store. Make sure you buy chalk pastels and not oil pastels.

Step 2

 Open GalleryHair Chalking Gloves

Protect yourself. Wear gloves. Place trash bags on the floor or a tarp. Wear a trash bag cape. I’m not kidding. This stuff goes everywhere.

Step 3

 Open GalleryHair Chalking Section

Start chalking! Gather a section of your hair that you want to chalk. Wet this section of your hair. (Note: If you’re a blonde, skip the wetting unless you want it to stay in for more than a week.)

Step 4

 Open GalleryHair Chalking Twisted Section

Dread it. Twist the section of hair like you’re making a dreadlock. Again, not kidding. The texture will allow the pigment to stick better.


Step 5

 Open GalleryScrub Hair Chalk With Pastel

Scrub it. Take the pastel and start scrubbing it into your faux dread in a vertical way. This will tease the hair a little bit but you can smooth that out later. Color as much or as little as you want. Just the tips can be a fun look or sections from root to end look cool, too.

Step 6

 Open GallerySpray Hair Chalk With Hairspray

Spray it. Spray the section with hairspray. Use a quality hair spray for this, such as an extra hold aerosol spray.

Step 7

 Open GalleryFlat Iron Hair Chalking

Seal it. Run a flat iron through the section with hairspray to seal the color in so it doesn’t run everywhere. Don’t expect this to work 100%. It will stain clothing regardless of what you do. But the hairspray + flat iron combo helps.

Step 8

 Open GalleryHair ChalkingRepeat. Repeat steps 3-8 for as much hair as you want. Try alternating colors. Rock out like Ashley does here! But don’t wear a white T-shirt or hug anyone.


  • Chalk pastels
  • Hair spray
  • Flat iron
  • Gloves
About Deanne Revel 


I manage social media for, and When I'm not instagramming and pinning, I'm dancing at Zumba and failing at the shimmy. I love vanilla chai, ...

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5 Responses

  1. Amy says:

    I disagree with some of this. Given, the chalk I used is marketed as "hair chalk" so that might make a difference. It was pretty cheap (about $2/color). I have blonde hair and did a bright red on the tips Friday night. It did make my hands messy, but it washed right off. I did try both twisting the hair and running over flat sections. I feel like my results were better with flat sections. But my hair isn't super thick. I brushed my hair out and then used my curling wand on it. No product or anything. Looked awesome. It didn't rub off on anything that night and it definitely had the opportunity. I did it on Friday since I wasn't sure how long it would take to wash out, which was probably a good call. It was a medium pink after I washed it Saturday morning. But again, didn't rub on anything and hair was still soft and style-able. After Sunday wash, was very light pink, hard to tell if there or not. Was fine for Monday although something like purple or blue may have hung on longer.

  2. Michelle L says:

    Hahaha! Great post, Deanne, thanks for the unvarnished truth! I have been wanting to try this, but now I think I will pass. P.S. You are a really good writer!

  3. Maddie says:

    I would totally want to try this, if not for my black hair, which would be the hardest thing to chalk -.-

  4. HGTVMallory says:

    The pink hands scare me a little bit, but I totally want to try this!

  5. alizpinz says:

    Great read…not sure if this is a project I'll undertake but glad to know how it turned out!

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