Hair Chalk Recipe and Application Tutorial

I’ve been loving (obsessing over?) the hair chalking trend going around. If you follow me on Pinterest you may have seen a few hair chalking pins lately, so of course I had to give it a try. After a few test runs with the help of some gracious Bramble Berry team members’ luscious locks, I’ve come up with what I think is a great hair chalk recipe that works on both light and dark colored hair. Plus, a how-to about applying the chalk to hair once it’s made. It washes out in 1-2 shampoos (depending on the color of your hair before chalking; lighter hair may take a second shampoo) and really pops – the perfect low-commitment pizzazz to kick off the new year right.

How to Make and Apply Hair Chalk

Making the Hair Chalk


2 Tablespoons Colorant (We found that oxides and Bramble Berry neon pigments worked best and micas didn’t really work at all; they just crumble apart.)

1/2 teaspoon Kaolin Clay

1 Tablespoon Witch Hazel

1/2 teaspoon Arrowroot Powder

1/2 teaspoon Water

Click here to add everything you need to your Bramble Berry shopping cart!

ONE: Mix dry colorant (in the pictures, I’m using Electric Bubblegum Pigment) and Kaolin Clay together in a bowl big enough to stick both hands in.

Mixing Kaolin and Colorant

TWO: Create a slurry by placing the Arrowroot Powder and water in a separate small container and mixing well. Microwave the mixture for 5 seconds. If it’s not a little bit thick after 5 seconds, try another three second burst. You do not want it gummy, just slightly thickened and overheating will cause gumminess so proceed with caution (and the 3 second bursts) while heating.

Making Arrowroot Slurry

THREE: Add the Witch Hazel to the dry powders, and hand mix together (while wearing gloves!). Once well mixed, add the Arrowroot Powder and Water slurry.  Really squish the mixture together. You don’t want it crumbly or wet, or to have bits of undispersed clay. It should have texture just like kid’s modeling clay. If it is too dry, spritz witch hazel one spritz at a time until correct consistency is reached.

Finishing the Hair Chalk

FOUR: Roll mixture on a piece of parchment paper until you get the shape you like. Allow to air dry overnight.

Applying the Hair Chalk




Spray Bottle with water


Blow-Dryer, Hair Straightener and/or Curling Iron


COLORS USED: Electric Bubblegum Neon Pigment, Ultraviolet Blue Neon Pigment, Hydrated Chrome Green Pigment

PREP: Cover the shoulders of the person you’re applying the chalk to with an old towel or a thin sheet of plastic. Put on some gloves to protect your hands, and wear an apron to protect clothing. A plastic/waterproof apron would work best if you have one.

NOTE: For the tutorial, I pulled half of Rachel’s hair up so I could chalk just the hair underneath for an ombre or peekaboo effect. In the very last picture, check out Becky’s blonde hair with chalk on the outermost strands. Both styles worked great! Get creative with where the chalk is applied for some really unique effects. Use of the hair chalk can have as subtle or as obvious a result as you’d like.

ONE: Wet designated area of hair desired to be chalked using the spray bottle. Really saturate the hair with a good amount of water!

Spray Hair with Water

TWO: Apply the chalk to the wet hair by dragging it along the strands. Use your fingers to rub the chalk into the hair really well.

Chalking the Hair

THREE: Once you’ve reached the desired amount of coverage, comb through the hair to evenly distribute the chalk.

Combing the Chalk Through

FOUR: Heat-set the chalk using either a blow-dryer, curling iron, or straightener. A curling iron or straightener on wet hair may not be the best idea for those with damaged hair. You can also straighten or curl the hair after you blow-dry it. Take this opportunity to style the hair before the next step.

Heat setting chalk

FIVE: Spray chalked hair with hair spray so that it doesn’t brush off onto clothing.

Finished Chalked Hair

Thanks Rachel G. and Becky for being the hair chalk models extraordinaire!

Click here for a printable PDF of this tutorial.

Looking for more hair DIY recipes? Check out the fun tutorials below!  The Argan Oil Shampoo and Leave-In Conditioner (top left and right) leave your hair feeling silky and soft. Don’t forget about manly facial hair; the Sculpting Mustache Wax and Moisturizing Mahogany Beard Oil keep beards looking polished. 


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  1. Cheryl says

    I’m SO excited to try this! I was wondering — will it rub off on my clothes? I know you suggested hairspray to help set it, but is that foolproof or should I anticipate some color running off when I’m choosing my top for that day?

    Thank you for sharing!


    • Kelsey says

      Hi Cheryl!

      As long as your hair is dry and you use hairspray, it shouldn’t rub off on your clothing. You may want to try it with an old T shirt just to be extra careful. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

    • says

      Hi Amal!

      After testing some other ingredients, we really found that Kaolin Clay works best. Kaolin clay is also great in bath bombs :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  2. Ella says

    I was wondering if I could use food coloring for the color part of this?? Also I wasn’t sure if I used food coloring if it would stain the hair… Thanks!!

    • says

      Hi Ella!

      We have not tested this recipe with food coloring, but because it is so different than powdered colorants like oxides, my guess is that it may not work very well. I would guess that food coloring would not give you a very vibrant color. Of course you can always give it a try, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  3. Melanie says

    Hi, love this recipe!
    Just wondering whether tapioca flour (arrowroot) is the same as the arrowroot powder that is listed in the recipe.


    • says

      Hi Melanie!

      The arrowroot powder is indeed different from tapioca flour, although they have very similar characteristics. We have not tried this recipe with tapioca flour, but if you do let us know how it goes! :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  4. Nicole says

    So I’d love to do this but I don’t want super bright colors.
    I am looking for more of a burgendy or dark red. Any ideas?

  5. Allison says

    I just tried making the hair chalk (followed exact measurements/ingredients) and I’m having the same problem like a previous reader, just like pink water. I mixed the arrowroot/water good and microwaved it several times, but it just isn’t thickening. The arrowroot/water mix did seem to be thickened. Is there any way to thicken it once it’s all mixed? I received all ingredients from Brambleberry and received them all today. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Allison!

      We are so sorry to hear that you are having a bit of trouble with this recipe, and we are hear to help you troubleshoot. If it isn’t thickening for you, I would suggest adding a touch more arrowroot to see if that helps thicken it up. I hope this helps!

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  6. Jenn says

    Are there any warnings you can think of that we need to provide to customers if we sell hair chalk like this? I’m wondering if it’s harmful to breathe the dust or maybe it doesn’t put off any dust like a typical chalk since it’s more clay-like?

    (I know that using pastel chalk on hair is very dangerous so this is a great option instead of that.)


    • says

      Hi Jenn!

      When we made this hair chalk we found that there wasn’t a lot of dust in the air, but if you are worried, you can leave a note on the packaging. We made this hair chalk especially for people who wanted to control the ingredients in their cosmetic products and do hope that you get a chance to try it out! :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Jenn says

        Thanks! Tried it and loved it!!

        Trying to figure out white chalk…titanium dioxide or zinc oxide? I’ve read some cautions on titanium dioxide so I didn’t know if it would be too much if used in chalk as a white pigment?

          • Jenn says

            I have only been able to get one color to work…red. The rest just come out super gooey and sticky and can’t be rolled. It just sticks to container, gloves, etc and doesn’t harden dry. I’m stumped. Have done the exact same thing for each. Only using oxides, no Micas. I have a huge order to fill and I’m freaking out. Anyone have any ideas on what to do to fix the issue?

        • says

          Hi Jenn!

          We are sorry to hear that you are experiencing some frustration with the hair chalk. This recipe can actually take a couple days to harden up, so I would definitely give them that extra time. I would also make sure to let them dry in the coolest area in your home as possible as anywhere that is humid is going to draw moisture to them. What other colorants have you been trying working with?

          -Becky with Bramble Berry

          • Jenn says

            Orange oxide and yellow oxide are the two I cannot get to hard correctly or roll. Oh and also I tried ultramarines too (a blue and a violet). No luck. I cannot get the chalk off my gloves to work with it. It’s a clumpy mess. Not sure why the red would be so different from all the other colors. I used precise measurements each time. I even experimented with the arrowroot at a few different consistencies in case I wasn’t understanding the description of what the texture should be. I had an order for 150 that someone was hoping I could fill but it looks like I’m going to have to play around with this more to figure out what is going on with the other colors. I don’t think they want all red. :)

  7. Clara says

    Is there any way I can make it waterproof or if there is somewhere I can buy it?

    • says

      Good morning, Clara!

      If you have lighter hair (blonde), this hair chalk will actually partially stay in, even after a wash. Currently, we don’t have way to make this particular hair chalk waterproof, but that is sort of the beauty of it. You can wash your hair and try another color the next day! :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  8. Haven says

    Hello. My kids and I tried this recipe this afternoon. I don’t know if maybe we didn’t microwave the arrowroot and water long enough but once we added the slurry to the mixture, it would not thicken. It was like bright pink water. What could we be doing wrong?

    • says

      Good morning, Haven!

      I am so sorry to hear that you are having some issues with this recipe. We are here to help you troubleshoot and definitely want to make sure we can get this tutorial to work for you!

      Did you try microwaving the arrowroot + water mixture an extra few times to help it thicken up? We suggest making sure the Arrowroot Powder and water are mixed well, and then popping it in the microwave for 5 seconds. If it hasn’t gotten thicken after the 5 seconds, try another 3-second burst. Keep doing that 3-second burst until it has thickened up.

      Another thing to look at is your Arrowroot Powder. Did you get it from Bramble Berry? You will want to make sure that there are no extra additives as that can actually change the consistency of this hair chalk.

      I hope this helps!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Haven says

        Thanks for the reply. We did microwave the mixture several times until it was thick. It just never made a “paste” when added to the other ingredients. I did get my arrowroot from Brambleberry. I just received it on the Thursday prior to posting my original reply so it is fresh. I will try it again and see if I can figure it out. To me it just seemed like not enough dry ingredients.

  9. Brette says

    Hi! I was wondering if you think that Procion MX dye will work for these? It is a pigment dye that I use to tie dye and buy in bulk online. It is a permanent dye when used on cotton fabric, I sill want the chalk to be able to wash out over time though! Thanks for any help :)

    • says

      Good morning, Brette!

      Before you use any colorant in this tutorial, you will want to make sure it is skin and hair safe. We’ve never used that dye, so I would definitely suggest contacting the vendor to make sure it can be used on the hair. I hope this helps! =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  10. Hope says

    Was wondering how many pieces of chalk u can make from one batch and how many batches you can make with the supplies ordered? Thinking of making large qty

    • says

      Good afternoon, Jamie!

      Thanks for stopping by. =) The Neon Colorant Sampler Pack does not have enough of each colorant for this particular project. You would need the full amount of colorant for it to show up on the hair. But, you can totally reduce (halve or quarter) the amounts in this recipe to get smaller amounts so that you can use the colorant in the sample pack. Let us know if you do end up trying this one out, it’s so much fun and we’d love to get your feedback. I hope this helps! =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  11. Danielle says

    Would t-shirt dye (used for tie dyeing) work too? And where would arrow root and kaolin clay be sold? (preferably a store, not online)

  12. says

    My hair gets puffy whenever I wet it. Is there a way I can color my hair without wetting it? Also, are there any more common ingredients like something that may be lying around the house I could use? I really dont want to search all day for things.

    • says

      Good morning, Ayana!

      We’ve found that applying the chalk to the hair while dry tends to make the hair chalk a little more flaky then we had liked. But, you can definitely try it out to see if it works better for you. We tried several different ingredients for this recipe and found that the Kaolin Clay, Witch Hazel, Arrowroot Powder and Distilled Water worked the best for application and sticking-power for us. You should be able to find those ingredients at your local natural grocer or you can order them from Bramble Berry’s website. =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  13. says

    I have been looking for something temporary and semi-shocking for my age. I just turned 60 and my blonde hair is going white and the ‘darker’blonde parts are turning pewter. I need color! So I’m going to do this in sea colors and shock my hubby and the garden club…I love it.
    I turn pink plastic flamingos into dragons (and other creatures) on Etsy so I think I’m entitled to be a little “colorful” don’t you?
    Thanks for the tutorial.

    • says

      It is such a fun recipe! I surprised my husband when I came home from work one day with green, blue and pink hair, he didn’t recall me going to work that way. 😀 Let us know how it turns out for you and if you get any pictures, we’d love to see them.
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  14. debbie says

    How long will the chaulk last if I were to put it into a container and sell it as a kit in my shop ?

    • says

      Hi Debbie!

      Since this recipe contains such a small amount of water, it should last up to a year. Just make sure you keep it in a dry and cool area so it doesn’t melt or crumble. I hope this helps! =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  15. says

    Very cool, my girls are going to love this…I was wondering, could I use cornstarch instead of arrowroot powder?

  16. says

    Hi Jennifer!

    We created this recipe so that people who wanted to control the ingredients that were going onto their hair could. And so that they could sell it as part of their bath and body businesses. :) It was so much fun to make (and to test)!

    -Becky with Bramble Berry