What We Like
Chalk pens are easy to use
Colors easily blend for ombre effect
Washes out easily
Includes beads, elastics, hair-beading tool, and comb
What We Don't Like
Pasty texture makes hair clumpy
Colors are very muted on darker hair
The five bright hair chalk pens in the ALEX Spa Hair Chalk Salon Craft Kit offer an easy, mess-free way to indulge kids’ love of accessorizing and trying out new looks. Whether they want to play around with pink, blue, or rainbow hair, or just go a little glam, kids will have fun experimenting with color combos and threading metallic beads onto strands of hair.
We put the chalk pens in the hands of our 12- and 15-year-old daughters (and a few of their friends) to see how simple they were to use, how vibrant the colors were, and whether or not it was easy to wash away the colors when the fun was over. Did our testers find the ALEX Spa Hair Chalk Salon to be a fun beauty experience or a bad hair day? Read on to find out.
Design: Easy and mess-free
The ALEX Spa Hair Chalk Salon earns points for precision. Unlike hair color sprays and chalk-embedded combs, these hair chalk pens allowed the kids to apply color just where they wanted it. They could even use more than one color on a single lock of hair. A tiny comb helps distribute the hair chalk through the strands and blend colors together, though it did have a tendency to also remove some of the chalk in the process.
One thing we did notice is that it can take a few passes with the pen to get the chalk to layer on enough to have any vibrancy, particularly for kids with darker hair. The chalk also works best when applied with pressure, such as when pressing against the head. To color long, flowing hair, it helps to lay the strands against a piece of cardboard, so you can really press the pen onto the hair and apply a thick layer of chalk.
The five pens cover a rainbow of hues (purple, blue, green, orange, and pink), and the metallic beads, which come in silver, blue, pink, and purple, worked well with all the chalk colors. A thin plastic loop made it easy to thread the beads, and clear elastic bands secured them in place without being noticeable.
Unlike hair color sprays and chalk-embedded combs, the pens allowed the kids to apply color just where they wanted it.
Entertainment Value: Low-commitment fun
It takes just a minute to apply the chalk, but if you have a group of kids, count on at least a half hour of fun. The girls—who ranged from elementary- to high school-aged—really enjoyed picking their color combos and helping each other style their rainbow-hued hair. The beads definitely added to the entertainment value, too. The kids experimented with bead placement and even weaved the beaded strands into braids and updos for a number of unique looks.
Age Range: Ideal for kids in elementary school
Younger kids (think third, fourth, and fifth graders) will have fun adding streaks of color to their hair, and they won’t be shy about applying a thick coat so the colors can really pop. In our experience, this age group likes looking different and doesn’t care as much about looking good. Alternatively, the waxy, pasty texture of the chalk was a big turnoff for the middle- and high school-age kids in our group. They complained about how it made their hair look and feel greasy and clumpy.
The waxy, pasty texture of the chalk was a big turnoff for the middle- and high school-age kids.
Ease of Cleaning: Washes out with shampoo
The waxy, crayon-like chalk stays put on hair, so you don’t have to worry about it getting on clothes and furniture. And it washes out easily with shampoo, leaving no residue or color behind.
The pens are easy to store, though the hair elastics and beads tend to scatter. You might want to tuck them in a small, lidded container rather than the cellophane envelope they came in.
Price: Affordable fun
With a price tag around $15, the kit isn’t a budget-buster, but it is a few dollars more than the competitors, which generally retail for around $8 or $9. The beads and threading tool are a nice bonus, though. And there’s plenty of chalk in the twist-up pens (about 2.5 inches worth), so it’ll be a long while before they run out.
Competition: The most gift-worthy kit
ALEX Toys is a leading brand of hair chalk kits for a reason. The packaging’s bold graphic design appeals to kids, and its substantial size makes it more gift-worthy than competitors, even among those that include 12 pens. GirlZone hair chalks boast similar tween-friendly packaging and 10 pens for around $15, but no beads. Keep in mind, no matter what the brand, the real-life color will never be as bright, bold, and perfect as pictured.
If you’re looking for options, ALEX Spa also makes a metallic version of this kit with shiny chalks, and a Just Be You version with glitter. They also sell a kit aimed specifically at boys called Awesome FX, which swaps in red for pink, and a sixth pen (in yellow) for the metallic beads.
Check out our other reviews of the best gifts for 11-year-old girls available on the market today.
5 hair chalk pens, 24 metallic beads, small clear hair elastics, hair-beading tool, and a small plastic comb
Temporary color, temporary fun.
Younger kids who want to experiment with adding streaks of color to their hair will have fun with this kit. And kids who love braiding and hairstyling will enjoy experimenting with the beads and weaving them into styles. While this hair chalk kit won’t keep them occupied for long and the novelty will probably wear off after one or two applications, it’ll come in handy for sleepovers, spirit week, and “crazy hair day” at school.
- Product Name ALEX Spa Hair Chalk Salon
- Product Brand ALEX Toys
- SKU 0A738W
- Price $14.99
- Weight 7.8 oz.
- Product Dimensions 10 x 2 x 10 in.
- Manufacturer Recommended Age Range 8-15 years