Chalk Highlights | Teen Hairstyles

Aside from feather extensions, I am starting to see quite a trend towards color highlights in girls hairstyles. I am not a fan of permanent color in my girls’ hair, for obvious age reasons, but also because it can be damaging and a big commitment to that color.

My girls are coming home stating that many girls in their classes are using highlighters or Sharpies to color strands of hair {I about died hearing this}! That certainly cannot be good for the hair, even if they believe it washes out!

Just a few weeks ago, a Facebook fan commented that she thought we had used chalk highlights on a hairstyle we posted for our #3 daughter. We didn’t… however, intrigued, we looked into what it would take to use chalk as highlights and this tutorial is the end result.

Back view of the No-Dye Hairstyles | Chalk Highlights

What is great about these highlights is that they are fairly easy to apply, are non-toxic, last for one day and then easy to wash out. I bought our chalk pastels at Michael’s {with a 50% off coupon}, but you may buy similar pastels on Amazon.  I, personally, would not use oil pastels as they will be messier and much harder to wash out.

I had my daughter’s hair in a soft braid the day before, to help add some body to the hair, so this is perfect 2nd day hairstyle! Be sure your daughter is wearing a shirt that you do not mind getting a little dirty {or use a plastic cape or towel over the shoulders}. You can create these highlights with minimal mess, if you are very careful.

Next, I take a bright colored pastel chalk and gently wet it with either the spray bottle or faucet. I then take a small strand of hair and, by gently rubbing the wet chalk in a downward motion. I color the bottom 4-5 inches of the strand. {Do not rub the chalk up and down the strand as this will ruin the hair.} I do the same on another 2 strands or so, and then switch to another color, and vary the colored segment lengths a bit.

Side view of Chalk Hairstyles | Chalk Highlights

After I have colored the desired strands, you can {if you wish} gently brush through the strand once with a brush, and then take a curling iron or wand and help set the chalk by curling the highlights. This also allows for the strands to fall beautifully within the rest of the hair. You may also choose to spritz the strand with hairspray to help the chalk highlights stay in longer.

Chalk highlights can work with many different colors of hair, including dark. Obviously, the darker vibrant colors show better on blonde hair with the lighter vibrant colors showing better on dark hair. You can use any number of colors, and it can be fun to experiment!

Fans on YouTube are going nuts over this hairstyle, because it is so easy to do and easy to wash out. As this is a chalk application, when you wash the hair… be sure to use a good conditioner. Chalk has a tendency to remove oils, so it is important to keep the hair conditioned.

This hairstyle tip is perfect for holiday hairstyles, school spirit day, cheerleaders, crazy hair day, or for use in many of our hairstyle combinations. It is a way to have a little color, which is becoming popular, without the committment! Enjoy!

Items Needed: Brush, rat-tail comb, spray bottle, towel, pastel chalks, curling iron, hairspray.

Time Requirement: 5+ minutes

Skill Level: Easy

Happy Hairdoing!

* Note from Mindy: Don’t forget to follow us on BlogLovin, a new easy-to-use blog reader!

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  1. Do you think that you could get a good yellowish color and make Ombre. I have blondish brown but maybe I could do it on my sister.

    1. I really like the colors teal, pink, orange, and yellow in brown hair like your daughter. In my blonde hair I would like pink, blues… really anything would show up except for yellow.

  2. Which colours would work best on dark brown blackish colour hair? I am also on Facebook my name is Trupti Jani. And if you go in photos there will be pictures of my daughter kruti.

  3. Its okay to use oil pastels but it occurs to stay longer compare to chalk pastels 🙂 I guess I’ll try oil pastels because its a waste of time if i do it everyday.

  4. I am 12-years-old and am in 7th grade. My mom doesn’t like the idea of me getting permanent highlights. I showed her your article and she is willing to let me try doing this to my hair! 🙂 it made me sooo happy! She never lets me do anything. It’s like she doesn’t trust me. I am trying to convince her to let me get permanent highlights. But for now this is the closest I’m getting. But I love the idea! It’s not permanent and let’s me experiment with different colors to compliment my dark-chocolate brown hair and creamy-brown eyes! Would the chalk rub off on my clothes and my hands if I accidently touch my hair? And I don’t suppose you have any tips on what colors I should use? Thanks! 🙂

  5. I’m thirteen and have chalked my hair quite a few times. I’m a natural blonde, so any color shows up. A few weekends ago, I did it blue and orange for a football game, and we applied heat to it, and it still came out after one wash. That time I used soft chalk. This weekend I chalked the tips and a couple pieces of my bangs black with oil pastels, and it came out after two washes. It does come out and doesn’t damage your hair. I highly recommend chalking. It is insanely fun, and works great during the school year. Hope this helps (:

  6. Chalk and pastes are not the same thing. Artist grade pastels are highly toxic!!! You should not breath in the dust, or even get the higher pigments – red, yellow, orange and some greens and blues – on your skin where it will be absorbed!!! Many of these contain cadmium. Please research pastels before putting these on your children or even saturating your own hands with these! Pastel manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients or if they are toxic or not so don’t assume they are safe. You can cause irreversible damage to your children and yourselves and in extreme cases even death. Are pretty colors on your kids’ hair really worth the risk?

  7. This looks so cool!!! I tried it today in my wavy ponytail and it worked really well. I have thick caramel colored hair and I used a dark pink, a light green, a teal, and a light purple. After I put the color in I curled the strands to set the color and used hairspray.

  8. Thanks so much Mindy! My daughter really likes the hair colors, but like you, i refuse to have it colored for a lot of reasons.

    This is practical, cute and inexpensive! All the things we love about your website.

    Cece says – Its fabulous!! And since she’s more of a brunette she was extra happy to see your older girls hair.

    -Julie and Cece

  9. Heres the deal. No it does not stain your shirt. At all. But, it does create clumps. I DO NOT RECOMMEND using Color Bug. I have heard bag things about it. I hope it helped! 🙂

  10. If you have dark hair just wet the hair before applying the chalk. Do not wet hair if you have light hair…it will stain the hair!
    Also DO NOT use oil based chalks. Its not a pretty situation.

  11. Mindy!! I live in UT, and I want to meet your family sooo bad! I’m 13… I don’t have very long hair, but I try to make whatever I can possible to do on my hair from your videos. I learned how to french, and dutch braid from your videos also. This do is soooo super cute! I love it!! THanks so much!!!

  12. ummm does it work for crayola chalk and also
    my hair is almost like dark brown and i’m wondering what color is good for my hair color i have short hair its only right on my should would it work?

  13. WOW! this looks really cool but I only have sidewalk chalk that I have had for years. Does it still work? My hair is dark blonde, which colors should I use
    ps. I am probably going to wear these to school, so not too crazy,

  14. How long does this stay on your hair? If i want it to last for a couple weeks what should I use? I do not want to use kool aid because it stays in too long. Thank you!

  15. Hey,
    I would like to know how long this will last in your hair as i would like it for back to school.
    Thank you
    I love the hair styles they are AWESOME!

  16. Hey Mindy,
    Just wondering what curler do you use not just for this hairstyle but for other hairstyles to?

    Thanks @bluefreak

  17. Hello sorry to bother you but my hair color is like a dark chocolate, would golden be a good color, plus could I curl the tips of my hair and then do it…? Thank you.


  18. I love this! I have black hair and I did this earlier today before I went to the mall! I used old sidewalk chalk…and it kinda faded. I didn’t read the entire enty until now though..haha(: Probably going to do this tomorrow!

  19. This looks really cute! But for people with dark hair, do you think feathers and extensions would be the only way to put color in hair…?

  20. We chalked my daughter’s ultra platinum blonde hair in several colors for New Year’s Eve and it looked very cute; however, 7 days later the pink strands are still pink. And we’ve washed her hair many times since — so if you have fair hair just be warned that you may end up with a little more color commitment than expected!

  21. If you use washable markers they are not damaging and will easily wash out. I am a stylist and have done this on my blonde haired little girl

  22. We tried it and it did come off on daughter’s shirt during the day. (Didn’t hairspray like Mindy said.) Also dried out her hair. Probably won’t do again.

  23. In the hair isle at Wal Mart or Target, Crayola makes hair color sticks for kids (or anyone.. lol) and they are fairly inexpensive, I thnk they were under $5 for three colors. I’ve used them on my daughters hair for quite some time now and she loves them. Easy to use, they wash out with regular shampoo and dont’ damage hair at all.

  24. Hello I was wondering if you knew about the sock bun it is really good and your hair looks really full after I was also wondering if you can do a cute turtorial with maybe twist or knots braids something to add to it instead of just a bin thank you merry Christmas and happy new years

  25. My daughter went to the festival of color last year and ended up with lots of chalk in her hair. Even after washing her hair the color stayed in for a few days. Super cute!! She loved the fun pink and blue highlights without the commitment.

  26. OMG! I love this I tried it with the no heat headband curls and they look adorable. I am a bruenett and the pink and blue totally showed up with my Curled hair.

  27. WOW WOW WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love these i am 13 years old and i love allllll your hairstyles, i cant wait to try this on my hair.

  28. I have a friend that actually uses kool aid in her daughters hair. It obviously lasts a little longer but washes out in a few days. She is picky about her daughters hair and would not use anything that would harm it or be too permanent. 🙂

  29. Artist quality chalk pastels can be very toxic. The danger is mostly as an inhalant. pastel artists usually wear gloves and a mask to protect their health. However, having said that, I think you are still okay with the hair thing. The pigments will not damage hair and you are unlikely to have enough exposure to cause damage. Just make sure you wash your hands thoroughly particularly before dealing with food or touching your face (besides you would not want a red, yellow, blue etc.. face.)

  30. OMG! I can not wait to try this! I am all about the colors and feathers and everything. I just had my blue extensions taken out. This is a great way to color your hair for very little money!

    1. I think that after the chalk has dried and hardened onto the hair to won’t stain, but it might become a little flaky.

      1. No. the chalk wont be flaky if you use a good will only start flaking if you are actually very rough with them.

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