Meh hair – chalking it up to curiosity

Hulk Smash HandsRemember the post about hair chalk I did a while ago? I finally got the courage (and support of friends keen to try it as well) together to try it out. Jade was the guinea pig, and in the process of creating her new hair, I made myself some “Hulk Smash!” hands.

Nafisa was up next with royal blue streaks that looked awesome in her black hair. I decided to double-up on magenta and turquoise. My hair is curly and tangles at the slightest sidelong glance. It was absolutely impossible to brush my hair once the chalk was applied. My locks were turned into a (colourful) mass of voluminous straw, and I simply twisted it into a bun the next day.

I applied elastisizer to my hair for a whole day and was faced with a vile, dark purple mess when I washed my hair that evening. I even conditioned after washing again, and still, my hair felt like a highly flammable field in the Highveld winter. However, the worst was when I washed my hair again three days later, and despite not visible traces of chalk, again the water rinsed bright blue.

So basically it’s a mess to apply, a mess to wash out, and it absolutely saps all the moisture from your hair. It did look nice, but not being able to run my fingers through my hair (without nearly scalping myself), is not something I can get excited about.

Nafisa and Martha

Nafisa provided us with pics (thanks for having a not-crap phone), and Jade shared her two cents:

Hair Chalk: Fuss-free Colour my Ass

When Syllable initially showed me the pictures of a few pretty young things with strips of hair coloured in magical, pastel hues, I was vaguely impressed. But cue the big sell: it’s temporary.

That’s right, through the clever use of ‘hair-chalk’, a previously unheard of invention in my admittedly limited repertoire of hair-care products, one can achieve those funky coloured streaks that all the young kids are sporting without having to ruin one’s ‘corporate’ hair. But as I discovered during our first, experimental chalking session, that all depends on your definition of ‘ruin’.

Let me qualify my experience and the following scathing review by saying I don’t really know much about hair-styling. I don’t and have never owned a hair-dryer, I don’t use hairspray or gel, and I don’t spend more than four and a half minutes ‘doing’ my hair on any given day. I’m really impatient and I don’t know shit about this shit, is what I’m trying to say.

The instructions were simple. Wet hair. Apply chalk. Straighten. Look awesome.

Simple, right?

JadeThis is, of course, only once you’ve parted ways with R160 to buy the special ‘hair chalk’ from stationery manufacturer Staedtler, which looks surprisingly like regular drawing chalk according to the box. Never one to be dissuaded by the label, we persevered- with Syllable and cohort Nafisa assisting me with the ‘straightening’ bit which, as I’ve established, is well beyond my follicular skill set. I chose a hulkesque green hue which lightened to something suitably badass on drying.

Trying to brush the streaks straight, however, resulted in a cloud of chalk dust covering everything in proximity. Let me put it to you thusly: I was still blowing bright green boogers out of my nose two days later. Add to this the frustrating chalk smudges on our faces as we tried to adjust our new ‘dos’ and the crackly dry, coarse texture of my hair post-shampooing, and I have to say that hair chalking isn’t the fuss-free colouring trip I thought it would be.

Pros: Cool coloured streaks without long-term commitment. Inherent badassery.

Cons: Messy bathrooms and dry, witchy day-after hair. Stock up on conditioner.

So the bottom line here, I think, is that we’re glad we tried it out, but we don’t get the hype, and it is unlikely that we’ll do it again. Have you tried chalking? Was your attempt any more successful than ours? Did we miss something?


  1. Echoes

    After my pink ombre (which worked really well and I received loads of compliments), I’ve just gone back to a very dark chocolate brown. Once the pink washed out, these streaks are blonde and …meh. So, the long-term trend colour solution is just that. A trend…but less messy I guess.

    • Syllable

      If only I could brush my hair, I wouldn’t have minded so much. Went to the Metallica concert with pink and blue eyelashes too, thanks to the powder residue – not necessarily a bad thing, but as I’m typing this, I’ve again got an intensive hair mask soaking into my follicles.

      If I could afford the upkeep, I’d definitely have gone for Nafisa’s look…

  2. francenestanley

    Mmmm. Think of the health consequences to drawing the chalk into your lungs. You wouldn’t want to repeat this too many times.

  3. Gwynne Montgomery

    I’ve seen the hair chalk in stores before and wondered about it. It sounds like it might not be worth the trouble. I’ve done the permanent colors before; hot pink for a few months, and then blue for a few months a year later. But they fade out really, really bad.

    • Syllable

      My hairdresser refuses to do permanent colour because it is a little out of my budget and I won’t be able to maintain it properly (she’s really awesome). I’m kind of glad I tried it, but definitely not worth the money, and I can do without the painful tangles.

  4. margscarte

    reminds me of my blue mohican style hair in the 80s. thanks for the review, was about to buy my little girl some (for much cheaper than yours!) but think I’ll now give it a miss. how to start your child off with asthma… 🙂


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