There are many everyday items you can use for beauty purposes, but one of the more popular DIY projects got me thinking: Does sidewalk chalk for hair really work? As someone who's tried using hair chalk to color hair before, I wanted to find out if you could get the same results with regular sidewalk chalk — was the hair-specific chalk really that much better?
Of course, if you want an impressive dye job, chalk of any kind probably isn't going to be what you reach for first. From permanent dyes, to natural henna dyes, colored hairspray, and more, there are a-million-and-one ways you can change up the shade of your tresses. Most of them are safe, relatively affordable, and come in a variety of shades to experiment with. All things considered, sidewalk chalk isn't exactly top choice for hair dyeing methods.
Then again, since there are countless tutorials on the matter, I wondered why anyone would want to use sidewalk chalk to color their hair, especially when other options exists. Perhaps because it's easier to use, more convenient to buy, or cheaper — or maybe regular sidewalk chalk has hidden dying-power that's just waiting to be discovered. I decided to try it for myself to find out.
My initial thought was that sidewalk chalk is ridiculously cheap — my pack that came as a "Colour-in PaveMent Games" set, was a mere £1 (that equals approximately $1.30 at the time of writing.)
In comparison to a similar set of hair-specific chalk (a pack that I found online with free shipping) sidewalk chalk is cheaper, because this set of six hair chalks cost $3. However, if you want just one shade, in easy to apply packaging, you can pick one up for 99¢ with free international shipping. Plus, you might be able to find some hair chalk in your local dollar store if you're lucky. So really, price isn't something to factor into the equation when hair chalk is so cheap anyway.
Here's a photo from my experiment with hair-specific chalk.
In my previous experiences with hair-specific chalk, I wet the chalk and literally "drew" on my hair. To get a brighter, more pigmented shade, I pulled the wet chalk stick down a section of taut hair numerous times. I decided I would follow the same process as I had with sidewalk chalk to make it a fair test.
It's worth mentioning that if you want to try using sidewalk chalk at home on your own hair, please make sure to test it on your skin first. I'd forgotten to, so I was praying I wouldn't have an allergic reaction. Most sidewalk chalk is made for children, so normally, it's safe for use on your body too.
I filled my bathroom sink with water as I had when using hair chalks and I pulled my first chalk out of the packet. Straight off the bat I noticed the difference. The hair chalks I'd previously used were cuboid in shape, and the thin, cylindrical shape of sidewalk chalk made it harder to use on my hair.
I sectioned off five areas of my hair, one for each color apart from yellow, because I didn't think it would show up in my blonde hair. I put the chalk in the water and was slightly alarmed that it fizzed a little; this was something the hair chalk did not do. In comparison, I remember the hair chalk feeling denser than the lighter sticks of sidewalk chalk.
I gradually made my way through my chalk colors. On one side of my head I had blue and orange and on the other was purple, green, and pink.
I was quite excited that the chalk seemed to be working, however the orange was the weakest hue of the bunch. I couldn't wait to dry my hair!
After drying my hair with a hairdryer, I was pleased to see that the purple, green, and pink chalks had fared well, with the pink being the strongest shade.
Although you can just see the blue in the back, the blue and orange "side" was definitely not as bright.
The sidewalk chalks created a faded, pastel effect that looked a little like when hair chalk has been washed out. I pulled up the photos from my experiment with hair-specific chalk to compare the difference:
As you can see, hair chalk is much more vibrant than sidewalk chalk when freshly applied.
So, in a pinch, hair chalk could work to give you a quick splash of color — at least on lighter strands. I couldn't tell you how it would show up in darker hair, but it's definitely not as pigmented as legit hair coloring products, or even chalk specifically for use in hair. Simply put, this works — but if you're looking for vibrancy in your hair colors, you might want to choose a different alternative.
Images: Phoebe Waller