I Switch Up My Hair Color Weekly With No Damage Or Commitment — Here’s How

The change you seek is more attainable than you think.


Change — even the subtlest kind — is welcomed now more than ever these days in my life. Enter hair shadowing, a technique that is exactly what it sounds like: Changing your hair color using (powder or cream!) eyeshadow. It's the cheap, quick, non-committal, and non-damaging way to switch things up with your tresses at your whims. The technique was popularized by the Queen of Temp Hair Colors herself, Naturally Tash, a natural hair enthusiast who was on Instagram influencing long before being an influencer was really even a term.

I'd see her post a different hair color on Instagram so frequently that I thought, "Surely, sis ain't dying her hair like that every other week.What in the brittleness and breakage risk is going on here?" After further investigation, and talking to her myself several years ago, I was put on to "shadowing" (also known as hair chalking or temp coloring). It's as simple as finding a single eyeshadow pot chilling in your makeup bag (or picking up one at the drugstore for mad cheap) and sliding it down your tresses until the color pops — before or after the style. You can literally take your hair from just black to black with pops of blue, pink, or whatever other color splashes on your heart at the time. And it all comes right back out with a single shampoo. Skeptical?

Behold, Natural Tash. The Rainbow-Brite of natural hair. 

She now pulls her looks off with her own line of hair shadow products, called Crown Paint Colors. But before launching the brand, she was using regular-degular eyeshadow pots by different drugstore brands. I don't always have her Crown Paint Colors on hand, but I do always have something in my overflowing basket of beauty products at home. When I feel bored with my color and want something different for the day (or the week), I pull one out.

Now, unlike Naturally Tash, I'm not quite a rainbow gal. That said, I have been feeling the urge to try other natural hair colors because I've been mourning the in-person hair appointments with my favorite natural hair stylist and honestly. Plus, I've just been in a funk about my hair in general because that's just how it is sometimes. Sometimes, my lil' puff listens to me. Some days, I gets tired of fussing with it and just want to cut it off. Whenever I'm that over it, I remember my long-term growth goals and try to treat myself to a brief change with hair shadowing.

First, I pull whatever I have in my bathroom at the time. This creamy one looks like a reddish-pink shade but given my super dark hair color, I was already prepared for it to appear more like a rinse on my head, which I was fine with.

Marquaysa Battle

I usually apply it to twists or braids in my hair because it's easier for me to spread the color that way.

Marquaysa Battle

And when I've spread the paint on each twist and then taken down my twist-out like usual, here's the result:

Marquaysa Battle

It's super subtle and the best part is that you can go as loud or as muted as you want with your colors. The other day, I shadowed parts of my hair for a slightly brighter red look in different spots.

Marquaysa Battle

For me, the lower-key shades work. For Naturally Tash, it's the Roy G. Biv. And when either of us get tired of it, we can send the colors right down the drain and start over with a new color — sans the fear of breakage or a texture change due to moody chemicals typically found in some boxes of dye.

This is my small way to switch up my look. Yes, even if I ain't heading anywhere but the grocery store and the mailbox. When I shadow my kinky 'fro, it's about more than just testing new hair colors. For me, it's all about doing one small thing to adorn and celebrate my natural 4C hair even on the days when it's ticking me off the most. Even when my twist-outs fail (as, honestly, they frequently do). Even when shrinkage has gotten in the way of the style I was going for on a particular day. I can always let my kinks and curls fall where they may and spread some color over all of it just to cheer things up and create some temporary change.

So would you try hair shadowing? Or have you already been using the method to color your crown? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image by Shutterstock

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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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