If hair chalk makes you think of some weird scalp problem like dandruff, you’ll be pleased to find out that it is actually the secret to some awesome rainbow hairstyles. You can experiment with ombré, dip dye, highlights, rainbow gradient, or Katy Perry‘s slime green pieces, and best of all, if you don’t like the color, you can easily wash it out. If only you could do the same with crappy blonde hair dye that turned your hair orange. The idea of using a piece of chalk to color your hair sounds like a quick way to end up with your face, hands and new shirt covered in a fine coating of aquamarine blue. With the right products and a few helpful tips, you can get results so freaking awesome that you would make dip dye queen Nicki Minaj jealous.

Here are some tips for using hair chalks and how to keep that white shirt white:

1. Choose The Right Product

Hair chalks aren’t the same ones that your Kindergarten teacher used on the blackboard. Hair chalks have a stronger pigment and come in much better colors than the three ‘colored’ chalks Mrs. Davis had that really just looked like white. Go to drugstore for the real deal or check out Etsy, which has a wide range of products.

2. Go To The Art Store

It seems that every time you go to the drugstore, there is another random brand coming out with a new hair chalk. Despite them taking up two shelves, your local art store may have the best selection. Those ones you were forced to buy for high school art work as long as they’re not oil-based. Glad that they weren’t a total waste of money now?

3. They Work On Dark Hair

Thankfully this is a trend that works for all hair colors and hair types. Some brands aren’t as good as others, so you may have to test a few, or you can stick with art pastels. L’Oreal Hairchalk works on the darkest of hair.

4. Apply It Right

Mist your hair with water, then apply the color. You want your locks to be slightly damp, not soaking, otherwise it will be raining rainbows from your hair. Sounds fun but it’s not.

5. Seal The Color

If you don’t want to worry about removing stains from your clothing, you must seal the chalk, otherwise it will transfer everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Use a styling tool such as a curling iron, straightener or blow dryer to lock in that color.

6. Choose A Small Area

Don’t attempt to cover your entire head with chalk, unless your hair is shorter than Miley Cyrus‘s. You will never be able to cover every strand and it will take too long, considering you’ll be washing it out. A pop of color is all you need. Try it on your bangs or at the end of a braid (how cute is that?)

7. Mix Colors

If you only have one or two chalks, unleash your inner artist and try layering them on top of each other. There’s a few new colors and no money spent. Score.

8. Go Pastel

To get a cotton candy shade of pink, first apply a white chalk, then add a bit of pink on top of it. Or try it with blue, or green, and you’ll have hair the color of macaroons.

9. Try An Updo

If you’re still worried about color transfer, put you hair in a pony then color a few strands or apply it to your topknot. The ever popular braid looks amazing with a few green or pink pieces woven in. You can add the highlights after you’ve plaited it.

10. Dip Dye

To get a seamless gradation of color, start applying the second color on top of the other when you’re switching shades. If you’re very careful, you can brush the line. Just remember to wash your brush.