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.
I usually apply it to twists or braids in my hair because it's easier for me to spread the color that way.
And when I've spread the paint on each twist and then taken down my twist-out like usual, here's the result:
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.
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