Unicorn Dust Chalk Review

By: Shelma Jun

Originally published on July 1, 2014. 

We had the opportunity to check out the new high grade Unicorn Chalk from FrictionLabs. FrictionLabs motto is that “Chalk Matters.”

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FrictionLabs Chalk

While I’ve always used chalk, I’ve never really taken the time to research chalk… I do what most people do: buy the cheapest chalk I could find at my local shop or gym. With gym training 3x a week and weekend trips upstate, I go through chalk pretty quickly and I wasn’t convinced that a higher quality chalk would make a noticeable difference.

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Metolious Chalk Block

So I was curious and excited to check out FrictionLabs Unicorn Dust. This is a new chalk company based out of Colorado with 3 different grades of chalk that they will deliver straight to your house, monthly. They sent us some samples of Unicorn Dust to try out and here’s what I found:

PROS 

STICKY ICKY – The first thing that I noticed was that this chalk stuck right to my hands. With the chalk blocks, I’ll often stick my hand deep into my chalk bag just to have all the chalk just roll off my hands — I’ll have to grab some chalk into my hand and really grind it in to get good coverage. However, with the Unicorn Dust, it covered my hands in a perfect amount of chalk to grab onto holds. I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say it improved my climbing but I would say that it increased my confidence of specific hand holds.

INDOORS AND OUT – I tried the Unicorn Dust both at the gym and outdoors sport climbing in Rumney and trad climbing in the Gunks. I found that it worked really well in both indoor and outdoor situations. The immediate stickiness helped out when I had to quickly brush my hands into the chalkbag at a spicy spot on the climb.

HEAT SAAVY – The chalk performed really well in the heat. The warm summer  temps in NYC often make the climbing gym feel a little bit like a steam sauna — not the best conditions for gripping plastic. However, this chalk really kept my palms and fingers dry enough to avoid too much friction between sweaty hands and plastic holds (where you’re basically asking for flappers)

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CONS

PRICE – The most obvious downside is the price compared to other chalk. The Unicorn Dust is $12 for 5 oz where the Metolious Chalk Block is $1.50 for 2 oz, making it almost three times as expensive. They have two lower grades of chalk Bam Bam ($10 for 5 oz) and Gorilla Grip ($11 for 5 oz) but they’re still pricey compared to the most basic chalk you can buy.

CHALK BUILDUP – Unicorn Dust sticks to your hands… almost too well in fact. I found that I had to wash my hands a few times with soap before I could get all the chalk off after climbing.

Trying out Unicorn Dust at BKB

Trying out Unicorn Dust at BKB

OVERALL, I think that this is a pretty spectacular chalk for climbers who are looking for a high quality chalk that will maintain good friction in all conditions and are willing to pay a little extra for it. It’s also pretty cool to be supporting a small business created by climbing enthusiasts.

UPDATE: Friction Labs is offering a 30% discount on your first month of chalk subscription using the code “FLASHFOXY30”! 

Disclosure: Friction Labs has provided the gear for this review. However, the opinions are honest and my own.

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SHELMA (founder)  I’m a California native in NYC and I’ve been climbing seriously for 5 years. When I moved out east, I discovered trad and have been addicted ever since. My loves are trad and sport climbing but I’m learning to appreciate the nuances of bouldering.  

On the daily, I work for an awesome community-based design nonprofit Hester Street Collaborative.

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