Chalk It Up: The Best Liquid Chalks In 2022
Chalk is an essential piece of equipment for rock climbers, weightlifters, gymnasts, and even pole dancers. It stops the hands from sweating and allows you to grip the rock face or bar confidently and comfortably. However, it’s not always the perfect tool for the job – when there’s a lot of moisture in the air, dry chalk can be almost useless. Not to mention, many commercial gyms don’t allow loose chalk because it’s messy and tends to get everywhere (and who wants to clean that?). Plus, breathing in fine chalk dust is not good for your lungs.
That’s where liquid chalk comes in. It performs perfectly in moist conditions, it’s allowed in most gyms, and it saves you from having to carry around a dusty bag of chalk. It’s favored by a lot of professional sportspeople including the climbers on our team for this very reason.
Below, you’ll find some of the best liquid chalks currently on the market. Some of these options are used and loved by our team members while others come highly recommended by other rock climbers. Get one of these and say goodbye to sweaty palms and hello to confident grips.
- Editor’s Pick: Friction Labs Secret Stuff Hygienic Liquid Chalk
- Most Versatile: Warm Body Cold Mind Liquid Chalk
- Best for Humid Conditions: Dry Hands Liquid Chalk
- Best for Gym: Fire Team Fit Liquid Fit Chalk
- Budget Buy: LIQUID GRIP 1.5oz (Liquid Chalk)
- Best for High-Rep Workouts: Black Widow Liquid Chalk Grip
- Zero Mess: SPORTMEDIQ Pro Grade Liquid Chalk
- Fastest-Drying Formula: Novu Liquid Chalk
- Designed for Weightlifting: Beasty Chalk Black Gorilla
- Best Climbing Chalk: Black Diamond Liquid Black Gold Chalk
The Best Liquid Chalk
Friction Labs Secret Stuff Hygienic Liquid Chalk is a fast-drying and effective liquid chalk for rock climbing. The 80% alcohol content allows this chalk to dry quickly and also act as a hand sanitizer making it a versatile product. The alcohol content greatly helps dry out the hands, which is a must for climbers. However, if you have dry skin in the first place, or have cuts and lacerations on your hands, you may want to look at their alcohol-free liquid chalk because alcohol can sting as well as dry out the skin. The Friction Labs Alcohol-Free Chalk Gel is equally popular among climbers and weightlifters.
Our tester has used this magnesium carbonate chalk for years for both sport climbing and bouldering. She uses it mostly as a base layer and then tops it off with traditional climbing chalk as needed. The tube travels well and has yet to cause any problems in luggage or a gym bag. It provides exceptional grip and it’s hygienic, too, what’s not to love?
80% alcohol liquid chalk
Magnesium carbonate formula
Provides good grip
75 ml bottle
- BrandFriction Labs
- ModelSECRET STUFF
The Warm Body Cold Mind liquid chalk is a versatile liquid chalk option for a variety of sports including pole dancing, weight lifting, rock climbing, and more. Our tester prefers powder chalk options for rock climbing, so she used this product for weight lifting and pole dancing. While it is more obvious than other pole-specific liquid chalks, this product provides more coverage and seems to last longer. There was minimal residue left on the pole to clean when dancing. Our tester had a similar experience with weightlifting, with minimal bar residue and solid coverage with almost no need to reapply.
Overall, we love this product because of its mess-free application, quick drying time, and ease of use. You can also still use your phone while using this product with no worries about the lack of conductivity.
90% magnesium carbonate, 5% SD alcohol
Designed by Olympic champion Torokhtiy
Washes off easily
- BrandWARM BODY COLD MIND
- Weight0.27 Kilograms
Dry Hands Liquid Chalk is marketed as the “ultimate gripping solution” and we couldn’t agree more with this description. Before we jump into the features and benefits of this product, it’s worth mentioning that it has over 1,000 reviews on Amazon and has a 4.6-star rating overall – basically, it’s one of the best products on the market. It’s also one of the only liquid chalk products that aren’t geared directly towards rock climbers and weight lifters. It’s supposed to be suitable for all sports, but it seems to be particularly popular with pole dancers and gymnasts.
You get a 1-ounce bottle, which should last you a long time because you don’t need much for it to be effective. Like most liquid chalk products, you squeeze a bit on your hand, rub it in, and wave them around until it dries. It’s simple to apply and longer-lasting than a lot of its competitors. It’s designed to be used in hot and humid conditions because it repels rain and perspiration. You could use it for rock climbing, but we’d recommend choosing one of the specifically designed for climbers products on this list. If you’re looking for a solution for pole dancing, yoga, or any other sport where you need extra grip, this is perfect.
With alcohol and silica
Repels rain and perspiration
Designed for all sports
Compact 30 ml size
- Weight0.32 Ounces
The Fire Team Fit Grip Liquid Chalk is designed specifically for use in the gym. They do mention on the bottle that it’s suitable for rock climbing, but you can tell from their advertising that it’s mainly a gym product. Its main ingredient is magnesium carbonate (85%) but it does contain a small amount of alcohol (8.5%), helping improve your grip-ability for pull-ups, deadlifts and kettlebells.
One of the main reasons we chose this product for this list is that it’s one of the fastest drying liquid chalks. After you’ve rubbed it into your hands, it only takes around 10 seconds to fully dry, so there’s no waiting around before your next set. It’s probably the best liquid chalk for weightlifting because it’s designed with the sport in mind. It also has some mild antibacterial properties to keep your hands clean when you’re in the gym. Plus, it comes with a handy carabiner so you can attach it to your gym bag or workout clothes.
Dries in 10 seconds
- BrandFire Team Fit
- Weight0.06 Kilograms
If you’re not 100% sold on the idea of liquid chalk, you should give Liquid Grip a try. It’s essentially the same as the other products on this list, except it’s cheaper. At just less than $10, this is one of the cheapest liquid chalk products available. It is designed for any sport that requires added grip, so it’s great for weightlifting, rock climbing, pole dancing, and more. Instead of coming in a bottle, it comes in a little tube with a carabiner, which is even more convenient. You’ll barely notice it swinging around if you attach it to your shorts or weightlifting belt.
The formula is far from extraordinary, which is totally fine as it contains the standard, effective ingredients: alcohol and magnesium carbonate (plus thickener and fragrance). As its first ingredient is alcohol, Liquid Grip is pretty drying so we can’t recommend it if you have very dry and sensitive skin. If your skin is normal and all you need is easy-to-apply, quick-drying liquid chalk that improves grip, this is a fantastic option.
Alcohol and magnesium carbonate
Approximately 45 uses
- BrandLiquid Grip
- Weight8 Ounces
Spider Chalk is one of the best-loved chalk products in the weightlifting industry. They make everything from chalk balls to blocks to liquid chalk and more. The basis of all of their products is magnesium carbonate, which is the purest and longest-lasting chalk you can get your hands on. But Black Widow also contains a proprietary blend of rosins and 2 bonding agents, which helps the chalk stick to your hands, no matter how sweaty you get. This product is ideal for intense, sweaty workouts as well as fitness trainers. It should last 30 minutes at the minimum before you need to reapply but most folks report it lasts about 45 minutes. And, because this company takes grip seriously, they tested the chalk with professional athletes to make sure it was up to scratch.
It might be one of the most expensive products on this list, but you get a large 120ml bottle, so you get your money’s worth. If you can afford it, this is the best liquid chalk for lifting, push-ups, pull-ups and other functional fitness activities. Our only small complaint is they haven’t thought about gym use when designing the bottle – it is on the bulky side.
For more useful products for weightlifters, check out our guide to the best weightlifting gloves.
Laboratory-grade magnesium carbonate
Blend of rosins, plus 2 bonding agents
Grip-lock technology for longer-lasting grip
Designed for high-rep workouts
- BrandBlack Widow
- Weight4 Ounces
Pro Grade Liquid Chalk from SPORTMEDIQ is a great value option for most sportspeople. It quickly turns from a translucent liquid into a dry chalk product without any dust or mess. It’s not the fastest drying formula out there, but your hands should be ready to grip in about 20 – 25 seconds after application. Best of all, it provides excellent grip and there is practically zero residue.
This formula is pretty similar to Liquid Grip so it can be hard to choose between the two. They both have a carabiner attached but this one has more liquid in the bottle, so you should get more use out of it. However, it’s also more expensive. One benefit of this product is that it has a light fragrance that many users find pleasant, plus it does provide a slightly better grip, making it excellent for rock climbing, weightlifting, gymnastics, and more. There’s also a great value 250 ml bottle available.
If you are looking for some essential climbing gear, check out our guide to the top-quality climbing ropes.
Alcohol, magnesium carbonate, honey
Dries in about 30 seconds
- Weight0.3 Ounces
Whether you’re a weightlifter or a rock-climber, Novu Liquid Chalk is the perfect product to improve your grip. The fast-drying formula turns from a liquid to fine dust in seconds, allowing you to focus on the task at hand. Unlike cheaper liquid chalk products, this one doesn’t create any powder or dust, so it doesn’t create a huge mess everywhere you go. It also rubs off easily, which means you can share equipment without any worries.
The first ingredient is alcohol (which is why it’s so fast-drying) and the second, of course, is magnesium carbonate. Not ideal for very dry, sensitive skin, but great otherwise. It’s available in three different sizes (50ml, 100ml, & 250ml) and is suitable for all types of activities including gymnastics, weightlifting, climbing and more.
Alcohol and magnesium carbonate
Fast-drying formula, ready in seconds
No messy powder or dust
Available in three sizes, 50ml to 250ml
- BrandNOVU Fitness
- Weight0.07 Kilograms
If you’re looking for the best lifting chalk in liquid form, we recommend the Beasty Chalk Black Gorilla. Specifically formulated for weightlifting movements with a barbell, kettlebell and dumbbell, this liquid chalk has a smooth, thick consistency. If your gym is a no-powdered-chalk-allowed type of gym, this is a great alternative.
The Beasty Chalk contains 70% of isopropyl alcohol, so it dries quickly as it evaporates plus it has some mild antibacterial properties. While some weightlifters prefer a grittier texture, the smooth formula does provide great grip and feels comfortable on the hands. Weirdly, despite the high alcohol content, it doesn’t seem to dry out the skin. Overall, this chalk dries quickly, provides solid grip, washes off easily, and is convenient to carry. It does have a rather strong scent which is there to mask the alcohol smell.
IPA and magnesium carbonate
Designed for weightlifting
Smooth and thick texture
Two 1.5 oz. squeeze bottles
- BrandBeasty Chalk
- Weight0.14 Kilograms
Featuring upsalite, which is a new form of magnesium carbonate with a more porous and pitted structure, the Black Diamond Liquid Black Gold Chalk has twice the absorbency of other liquid chalks. It’s extremely grippy and pulls any moisture, making it ideal for rock climbing, but other sports, too.
By combining their classic White Gold (magnesium carbonate), with 10% Pure Gold (upsalite), Black Diamond has created the ultimate liquid climbing chalk. If you struggle with sweaty hands and often feel like you need extra friction to climb a route, this is the ideal liquid chalk for you. Unlike many other liquid chalk brands, the Black Diamond formula lasts an extremely long time, especially if you supplement it with regular pure magnesium carbonate powdered chalk. And unlike traditional chalk, it produces no dust and is super easy to apply. It is, without a doubt, one of the best liquid climbing chalks on the market at the moment.
Creates a grippy base layer of chalk
Highly absorbent, ideal for sweaty palms
Specifically designed for climbing
60ml squeeze bottle
- BrandBlack Diamond
- Weight2.8 Ounces
Why Trust Us
Gear Hungry's team of rock climbers, gym junkies and fitness enthusiasts is always on the lookout for the best fitness gear and accessories, and this absolutely includes the best liquid chalks. You can't safely climb, lift or grip the pole with sweaty palms! While the standard chalk block provides a superior grip for a variety of activities, the liquid version does have its own advantages. For one, it's allowed in most if not all gyms, and two, it's a better option if you climb in humid conditions.
Who This Is For
This guide is for anyone looking for the best liquid chalks. Whether you're into weightlifting, climbing or bouldering, gymnastics, or perhaps pole dancing, good-quality liquid chalk can greatly help improve your grip and combat the problem of sweaty palms.
How We Picked
We used a mixture of our team’s preferences and the public’s favorite liquid chalk options. Some of these products were tested for weeks and months, while others were thoroughly researched online (we considered the ingredients, read customer reviews, and more). We made sure to include a variety of liquid chalks so the list includes formulas made of magnesium carbonate and upsalite, formulas with alcohol as well as without it, and both thick and thin consistency liquid chalks.
How We Tested
To make sure these liquid chalks were up to snuff, our testers used them for rock climbing, bouldering, weight lifting, and pole dancing. The ones we picked as our top choices were the top performers - the duds were excluded from this guide. We also considered the ingredients, consistency and price, and most importantly, how good of a grip each product provided.
Features To Look For In Liquid Chalks
When buying liquid chalk, over-analysis is not needed. After all, this is a fairly simple product with a fairly simple purpose which is to combat sweat and improve your friction and grip. Still, to get the best liquid chalk for your needs and budget, it's a good idea to pay attention to the following things.
Grip quality - This is the single most important thing you should be looking for in your liquid chalk product. Whether you’re weightlifting, rock-climbing, or doing an entirely different activity that still requires added grip, liquid chalk is often the way forward. There’s no easy way of testing this except… getting out there and using it in various conditions. The good news is, you can still find out a lot about the quality of the grip by reading the reviews on Amazon and other websites.
Ingredients - Standard climbing chalk in loose or block form is made from pure magnesium carbonate. Liquid chalk, on the other hand, also contains other ingredients, such as isopropyl alcohol, and a few other things like resin, thickener and fragrance. If you have very dry skin or suffer from cuts and tears, we recommend purchasing an alcohol-free liquid chalk option because alcohol stings and can further dry out your skin (Friction Labs Secret Stuff alcohol-free formula is a great option).
Drying time - Liquid chalk is often used in wet and humid conditions because it’s less affected by already wet hands. Bear in mind that with most liquid chalks, you'll have to wave your hands around in the air for about 20 to 30 seconds so the product can fully dry. This said, some alcohol-rich formulas (where alcohol is usually the first ingredient) can dry in less than 10 seconds.
Consistency - Liquid chalk either has a watery or creamy consistency, depending on the brand. Then, as it dries, it begins to feel more like normal chalk. The thicker the liquid chalk, the longer-lasting it normally is. This said, you don't want an extremely thick consistency either because it will feel like rubbing cement on your skin. While this ultimately comes down to personal preferences, the best chalk is neither too thick nor too thin.
Smell - One of the downsides of using liquid chalk (and there aren’t many) is that it can have a distinct alcohol smell. Some people don’t like this smell, so it’s worth looking out for mentions of the smell in our reviews. You can find scent-free liquid chalk products if you don't mind the slight odor of alcohol, but there are plenty of scented formulas for folks who hate the chemical smell.
Feel - When you become an experienced rock climber or weightlifter, feel is everything. You might have to try a few products before you find the perfect feel. If you’re not sure, we recommend buying a few smaller bottles to see which product works best for your needs and skin.
Liquid Chalk FAQ
Q: What is liquid chalk?
A: Liquid chalk or chalk cream is an alternative to the powder chalk used by weightlifters, rock climbers, and other sportspeople to beat the sweat and increase the grip. Usually a mixture of magnesium carbonate and alcohol, the liquid form chalk evaporates when exposed to air, leaving an even, dry layer of chalk that gets into all crevices in your hands and fingers.
Q: How do you use liquid chalk?
A: The following instructions will work for most liquid chalks, but it’s worth checking the bottle just in case.
- Shake the bottle
- Squirt just a small amount into one hand
- Rub your hands together thoroughly
- Wave hands in the air for around 20 to 30 seconds (or until dry)
- Allow an additional 10 seconds to completely dry.
Q: What does liquid chalk do?
A: Liquid chalk provides more grip on the hands and stops them from sweating. It’s often used as an alternative to standard chalk because it creates less dust and mess and is better in moist conditions. Many gyms have banned the use of powder chalk due to the mess and potential respiratory problems it creates, which is why liquid chalk is growing in popularity.
Q: What is liquid chalk made from?
A: Liquid chalk is typically made from magnesium carbonate (MgCO3), some form of alcohol, and a few other ingredients such as rosin, thickener and fragrance. Some liquid chalk brands use upsalite, which is a scientifically engineered form of MgCO3 that absorbs more moisture than standard chalk.
Q: How frequently do you need to apply liquid chalk?
A: While liquid chalk is more convenient to carry and way less messy than regular chalk, its main drawback is that it needs to be reapplied frequently. Some liquid chalk products should be reapplied every 10 minutes, while some are good for about 30 minutes. Ultimately though, how frequently you'll need to reapply your liquid chalk will vary based on the number of repetitions and intensity of your workout.
Q: Does liquid chalk cause dry hands?
A: Since most liquid chalks contain some type of alcohol, they do dry out your hands, but that's pretty much the point anyway: to dry out moisture and therefore combat sweat and improve grip. This said, there are alcohol-free liquid chalk products out there that won't pull moisture off your skin. In any case, if you struggle with dry hands, we highly recommend using a quality hand cream or lotion on days when you're not using chalk.
Q: Does liquid chalk expire?
A: In theory, yes, which is why you'll find an expiration date on some bottles. In practice, however, most liquid chalks have a very, very long shelf life and can be used after the listed expiration date. This is because liquid chalk is almost completely chemically inert, so as long as you keep it sealed in its airtight container, it will be good for years (possibly decades).
Q: Does liquid chalk make a mess?
A: While undoubtedly useful, traditional chalk bags are plain messy. They create clouds of dust and stain clothes and equipment. Liquid chalk, on the other hand, offers almost zero mess and is incredibly easy to use: just apply it to your hands, rub them for a few seconds and you're pretty much free to climb or lift. Sure, you might get a few smudges here and there, but it's still way less messy than traditional chalk.
Q: Is powder lifting chalk better than liquid?
A: Powder chalk typically lasts longer than liquid chalk and just one application will take you through multiple sets, perhaps even multiple exercises. Also, with powder chalk, there's no waiting around for it dry - you just apply some on your hands and you're immediately ready to lift. Standard chalk is also cheaper than its liquid counterpart.
The downside, of course, is that powder chalk is very messy, and breathing in fine chalk dust can cause respiratory problems. Many gyms have also banned the use of powdered chalk. So, while powder chalk has an appropriate time and space (when you're exercising at home or outside), the liquid form is becoming the preferred type of chalk in gyms all over the world.
Q: Does chalk help you lift better?
A: Because chalk combats sweat and gives you dry hands to better grip the barbell, it can indeed help you lift better and heavier for longer. According to a 2018 paper in the International Journal of Exercise Science, lifting chalk improves lifters' performance by about 16% when using an open grip, and 58% when using a pinch grip. Ultimately, it seems that chalk can help you perform better and more safely on any lift.
- Liquid Chalk - Wikipedia
- What Are The Pros & Cons Of Putting Chalk On Hands When Lifting Weights? - LiveStrong