How To Make Your Hair Look Like Cotton Candy

I had my first experience with hair chalking back in 2011. I was working at a teen publication, all the kids were pinning Lauren Conrad's pink ponytail to their boards, and my favorite color is purple, so I obviously jumped on board. Then, unnaturally colored hair got un-cool, so I sadly tossed my worn out pack of pastels into the trash and went back to boring old dirty blonde strands for a few years.

Now, that My Little Pony look is suddenly hip again, thanks to celebrities like Demi Lovato, Anna Paquin, and Rita Ora dip dyeing their hair into rainbow oblivion. Obviously, hair brands are jumping right back on that money train, coming out with even more types of super-temporary dyes for the non-committal types. L'Oreal Professionnel, for example, launched HAIRCHALK — a liquid version of the chalks from seasons past. It's still super temporary, with a vague staying range of "2-10 shampoos" listed on the instructions. Perfect, because I like to live on the edge and not be sure if my hair will still be pink by the time I have to pose for a family Christmas photo in two weeks. Let's do this.

The step by step process for applying this less-than-semi-permanent dye is rather simple. Ready to try dip your toes into the unicorn hair trend? Read on. PS: My dark redhead roommate tried the chalk out too, and it showed up just as vibrantly, so this isn't a Blondes Only look.

Step 1: Pour Out The Color

Although these HAIRCHALKS come in eight shades ranging from turquoise to coffee, I decided to stick to "Sweet Sixteen Pink" (a sensible color name) and "First Date Violet" (a far less sensible color name). The tubes come with these little pads to squeeze the dye on to, ostensibly so you don't get the color on your hands, but I still ended up with fuchsia fingertips because I am a disaster. Oh, and put a towel on your shoulders to protect your clothes before you start.

Step 2: Slide It Into Your Hair

Working in one inch (or smaller) sections, slide the liquid-chalk-covered pad down your hair. You'll probably have to go through it a few times to get all the color evenly distributed, especially if you have thick strands.

Step 3: Comb It Through

To further ensure the color goes on evenly, run a comb through each section as you go.

Step 4: Blow Dry The Whole Thing

After you've put in all of your first color, blow dry it section by section. This helps seal your cuticle, which sets the color for longer. I did my pink all over first, then went in and added purple for some extra dimension.

Step 5: Style It

Unless you're some sort of chalking wizard, the color is not going to come out nice and even on your first try. Blown out and straight, it looked like a five year old had scribbled all over my strands with some Magic Marker. Loose waves helped hide uneven demarcation lines and blend the pink shades together into one big pile of cotton candy-like curls.

A slight word of warning: My hair might look pretty soft in that photo, but I assure you the texture changes when you add this stuff in. It's not as bad as using literal chalk, it still doesn't feel like my hair. Like, no guy running his fingers through would be tricked into thinking my locks are naturally pink. I sprayed some leave-in conditioner when I prepped it in the mornings, which helped soften things up a bit.

As I mentioned, the packaging was incredibly vague about how long this sucker would last. My porous strands tend to hold color pretty well, and I shampoo about two times a week, so I actually got some decent mileage out of this application. Here are some more selfies (you're welcome), to demonstrate the fade, though results will definitely vary depending on your hair type.

After One Shampoo

Interestingly (or maybe not, since I applied it second), the purple washed out pretty much immediately, while the pink stuck around for a few more weeks.

After Two Shampoos

And a lot of swimming.

After Three Shampoos

This was definitely my favorite stage — the luxe-ish rose gold effect is actually pretty grown up.

Oh, and if you were wondering, I got exclusively positive feedback on the pink. Chicks, dudes, and even my incredibly judgmental younger sister were all on board with my foray into the twee trend. So if you were on the fence about going rainbow before, I highly encourage you try it ASAP. Summer's almost over, and hot pink hair just doesn't look as cool when the temperatures drop below freezing.

Images: Conor McManus (5); Kara McGrath (4)