Photo by The Private Room

Feeling a little wild today? Why not work a colorful streak (or two, or three) into your mane without the commitment—not to mention toxicity—of semi-permanent hair dyes? “Hair chalking,” Hollywood’s latest obsession, is as easy as it sounds. No fancy concoctions, expensive stylists, or complicated instructions are necessary: Simply grab a few sticks of soft pastel chalk from your art-supply box and rub the desired color onto your hair. The do-it-yourself “treatment” lasts for a day or two or until your next shampoo, whichever comes first.

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Photo by The Private Room


Like dry-shampoo powders, the color-chalk particles cling to the dirt and oil in your hair. Spraying your hair with water can also help it absorb the pigment better—that is, unless you have fair hair, in which case the chalk could stain and be difficult to remove.

Like dry shampoos, the color-chalk particles cling to the dirt and oil in your hair.

But even someone who’s all thumbs can partake of the technique. Salons such as The Private Room in Beverly Hills are trading Sally Beauty Supply for Dick Blick and adding hair-chalking to their list of services. “What’s great about hair chalking is that it’s completely temporary,” Tina Dizon, owner of The Private Room told the Los Angeles Times. “You put it on, you put on your alter ego, have a fun night out and you can be conservative or not, professional or not, and still change your look within seconds. And then it comes out the next day. It’s so noncommittal.”

When it comes to the brand of chalk, hair professionals such as Kristin Ess, whose clients include reality-star-turned-designer Lauren Conrad, swear by Sennelier. Because the French company uses a finer-grade chalk, its sticks promote the smooth application of color without caking. Whatever you do, don’t confuse chalk pastels for oil pastels—removing the latter is next to impossible.

One caveat: Self-chalking your hair can quickly turn into a disastrous mess if you’re not prepared. Experts suggest wearing clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, twisting your hair before chalking (the texture helps the pigment to stick), or finishing with hair spray to seal in the color. “I have clients who see that their kids are doing it and they want to try it, but without feeling like they’re trying too hard, so we might put just a peek of color at the nape of the neck,” Dizon said. “For brunets, we can actually use caramel colors as if they were highlights…whether it’s a caramel-golden highlight or a reddish-copperish highlight.”

To wash the colors out, Dizon recommends using a clarifying shampoo, then conditioning those follicles like your life depended on it.

[Via Los Angeles Times]