Hair Chalk: How to Use It & Remove It

Updated 09/06/19

Perhaps it’s all the gorgeous festival beauty looks on our Pinterest feeds, but lately we’ve had the urge to go full-on cotton candy with our locks. There’s something about pastel-hued, hair-chalked strands that speaks to our inner wild child—and we’ll be honest, the lack of commitment makes them even more appealing. But with new formulas springing up left and right, how are you supposed to know how to use (and more importantly, remove the remnants of) each one? We did the research for you, and found out exactly how to apply and wash out each type of hair chalk, leaving you more time to fishtail and dip-dye to your heart’s content.

Liquid hair chalk lasts anywhere from 2-10 shampoos. It will usually come with a sponge-tipped or foam applicator. To apply, place a towel over your shoulders and put on gloves to prevent staining your clothes and hands. Next, use the applicator to apply the formula to your locks. Wait for 30 seconds to a minute for product to dry fully, then blow-dry with a styling brush. To remove it, you're supposed to just wash your hair as you would normally. However, you can also massage a hair oil like Sachajuan's Intensive Hair Oil ($33) into your strands before shampooing and conditioning, in order to speed up the removal process.

A hair chalk compact can be used on wet or dry hair, but applying to wet hair will give you a more intense color. Take a one-inch section of hair and slide the hair chalk compact over the length you’d like to color. Seal the pigment in with a spritz of hairspray. Depending on how light your hair is, it'll last one to three shampoos to get it out of your hair. Hair chalk that comes in a compact will usually wash out quickly and easily with shampoo, though blondes may have to shampoo a few times more to rinse out all of the pigment.

The traditional hair chalk stick can be used on wet or dry hair, and lasts from 2-4 shampoos, depending on how light your hair is. Place a towel on your shoulders and use gloves to prevent staining. If you're brunette, wet the section of hair you’d like to color before applying the chalk. Blondes can do that too, but it'll make the pigment stay on much longer. Apply the chalk to the strand of hair you'd like to color, twisting the hair into itself as you go. Allow for the color to dry, or just give it a cool blast of air with your hairdryer. Style as usual, but if you want to lock in the color, finish it with hairspray. It can be removed with normal shampoo, but a clarifying shampoo (like Verb's Reset, $16) will rinse it out quick.

Hair chalk spray is likely the easiest to use, because you just spray it on dry hair right before going out. It typically only lasts a few shampoos, but that also means it's super easy to get out of your hair. Just mist the color directly on your hair, wherever you would like a pop of color, and style it like normal.

Free People
A Beautiful Mess
Tracy Rasinski for Eliza Magazine
via StyleHunter
via The Fashion Section
Free People
via The Makeup Blogger
Rene Vaile for Urban Outfitters
Colorista Hair Makeup
L’Oréal Professionnel Colorista Hair Makeup Temporary Hair Color $8
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Streekers Liquid Hair Chalk $12 $6
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poser paste hair makeup
Good Dye Young Poser Paste Temporary Hair Makeup $18
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unicorn hair rainbow mist in mauve
Lime Crime Rainbow Mist $14
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Splat Color Chalk $6
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Color Kissed Hairspray
ColorSmash Color Kissed Hairspray $20
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