advice about wigs needed

I’m starting chemo on August 14th (E-CMF) and am trying to get a wig sorted out since my consultant was quite categorical that I would lose my hair. If at all possible, I want to keep working, which means for me looking as much like ‘normal’ as possible so that if it’s humanly possible, I want people not to see that anything is different about me. It’s probably wildly unrealistic but my first foray into the world of wigs was rather daunting and demoralising. The place the hospital referred to me which is the only wig place in the town I live in reminded me of the worst and least funny aspects of Are You Being Served, brown panelling and frowsty flowered wallpaper and a twittery if helpful assistant who was a bit bemused when she looked at my hair and said she wasnt at all sure they could match it very well. My hairdresser has undertaken to hack away and style whatever I finally get from the wig people but it made me wonder firstly whether I have any hope of getting something which will look reasonably life-like and not weird and, if I cant get something like that locally, whether there are any good wig makers in London I could go to and how much a tailor made one would cost. I would very much welcome any advice people can give me.

Dear lilian1744
You dont say where you are based I went to a real nice shop and assistant and found a wig exactly the same colour as my hair my family reckon its really good . Yes it does feel like a wig and its not that comfortable let me know where you are and i can give you the address.

I have been really lucky finding a wig but I know I was really worried as well. There is a company in Swindon that supply Harrods and selfridges called hair ware and you can order online. I got my first wig from there and get compliments all the time. You cannot use your nhs voucher there. Have you tried looking up tricologists as they teat all types of hair problems and may be more sympathetic.


I know what you mean. I ended up getting a wig I didn’t feel comfortable in-very different to my own hair and so didn’t end up wearing it. In the end i ordered a wig from an american site. The price was pretty reasonable. It took a few weeks to arrive. If your interested the address is: They are happy for you to return them if you are not happy so long as it looks unworn. I just went with a simple bob with headband- felt more secure. I was surprised how realistic it looked and some friends even commented on the fact that my hair hadn’t fallen out- I do not think they were humoring me!
S x


Does your oncolgy centre recommend any other people in the area? Also do they support purchase of Monofilament ?wigs. These are more expensive than the standard NHS wig and come from America.

There is a NHS standard for provision of wigs which is worth perusing via the DoH website. I had a difficult encounter on first consultation but went back to the PALS dept at my oncology centre who were helpful.

Another thing to consider is getting your hair cut before chemo into a style that is possible with a wig. My wig was styled well and thinned down to a suitable style ubt I only wore it for work. However two of my colleagues approached me three months into treatment to settle the argumentas to whether or not i was wearing a wig so it can’t have been bad.

Have you booked a headstrong session?

Good hunting


Hi Lilian I got mine from a place in Ware Hertfordshire and it has been great . People who knew about me would ask if it was still my own hair . Its a monofilament wig and the lady matched my colour to it . We had a one to one session trying on styles and got one similar (but better !) than my own.
There are good wigs out there you just need to go to a good place. I paid appx 150 pounds but was worth every penny.
Cally x

Thanks very much everybody. It’s at least encouraging that you have ‘got away with it’ at least some of the time. I’m in Ipswich and the hospital only use this one place as a referral point. Even though it’s only for a short time, I am prepared to pay for a wig if it’s more life-like and realistic but I still have no idea where to go. London is only an hour on the train so does anyone know somewhere there?

Hi Lilian

Depends where you live but I went to a great place near Camberley, Surrey that my hairdresser was recommended by another client. They stock about 1500 wigs so you can try on as many as poss. I have a great one that is highlighted and I was complimented on my ‘hair’ by a Breast Cancer Nurse last week so it can’t be that bad - she must have seen hundreds! It’s worth trying on as one wig I really liked did not fit very well and it would have definitely slipped and not been comfortable if I’d bought it. Also be aware that wigs for chemo patients get the VAT taken off so if you go to a general place make sure they do this. Wearing a wig has helped me carry on in public as normally as possible but I don’t wear it at home, just pull on a jersey beanie type hat (which I also got from the same place). Hope you find what you need.

Nicky x

Hi lilian,
What city do you live in?
I got my wig from Wiggins in Liverpool.It looks just like my natural hair colour and is monofilament.It would have cost
£190 but I got in on the NHS for £57 which I was able to claim back because I have a HC2 certificate.The staff were very helpful and sympathetic because they deal with people in our situation every day.
Alli x

I’m going to be starting my Chemo in the next couple of weeks.

Does anyone know of a good place in Cornwall to get wigs?

Hi Lilian

I always rave about Direct Wigs, they’re the Swindon company and there’s a link on this website to their website - I phoned them for advice and they were SO helpful, they organised next-day delivery for a fibre wig that was very much like my own hair had been, and if you print off their disclaimer and fax them a signed copy saying you’ve lost your hair to cancer treatment they knock the VAT off, AND if you order more wigs you get discount.

I also went to the Hot Hair dept in my local Debenhams

I have 6 wigs and lots of fun with the different “looks” I create, and every day is a GOOD HAIR DAY

I wear a scarf or go commando when I am indoors but no probs keeping my wigs on all day or night out without scratching you DO get used to it

good luck x

forgot to say, Trevor Sorbie will happily cut and style your wig FREE, it could be a nice day out in covent garden if you plan it for the right time.

get a hairdresser to cut your hair as short as you can bear, before it starts falling out and have your wig and scarves on standby.

losing your hair is pants but I didn’t find it as bad as I imagined in fact I never even cried (my hairdresser did)

Hi there

I went to a place in Holborn in London called I think Bloomsbury wigs. I found them on the Internet. their shop is at Kings Mews near Grays Inn.

I got an excellent artificial wig for just over £200. In the end I decided to go for a darker colour than my normal hair but could have got something that looked exactly the same. They also do real hair wigs but they were more expensive and you have to style them, whereas the artificial ones you can just ‘wash and go’.

They do a lot of wigs for people undertaking chemotherapy so the lady I saw was very understanding. I had one session trying on wigs and went back a week or so later to make my choice and have the wig cut and styled.

I’ve finished chemo and my hair is growing back slowly (as are my eyelashes and eyebrows gowring back thick and fast) but still wearing the wig. It still looks fine aafter 8 months and most people seem to think it is my real hair so must be OK.

I think it is worth spending a bit of money if you can afford it, as chemo is hard and at least having decent hair, even if I was not looking my best, did help my confidence a bit, which is important.

Good luck with the chemo

Laura x

thanks for all your help. i’ve found someone in norfolk who makes bespoke wigs and she’s coming to me next thursday. she sounds wonderful and is confident she can do me something which will pass as my own and be comfortable enough for me to forget i’m wearing it. hope it’s not going to beggar me for ever. does anyone know if i can make it tax deductible?

No idea Lilian - if you phone the HMRC Helpline they may be able to help. I’m sure it counts as an essential item - unlike sanitary towels and tampax, on which we are charged vat!!!

Hi ducky - I’ve decided not to go down the wig path but a couple of years ago my friend needed one and asked about it at Treliske and they use a stall in Truro market - believe it or not! She got NHS discount and the wig looked great - only thing is - a market stall is not the most private of environments but did the trick and lady there was most helpful - cheers C x

yes it’s tax deductable - you need a form from the supplier to say why you need the wig!!

Hot hair & Raquel wigs are both excellent - both available in department stores (or in my local NHS hospital where I haven’t paid a penny… why the difference between areas???) and costing around £200. My own son doesn’t know I’ve lost my hair… honestly!!

Td xx

I picked my NHS wig up today and wore it for an hour. David loves it its arcylic but looks so real he couldnt stop touching it. Same colour as my own hair and styled very similar. as we only moved here 2 years ago and I havent told too many neighbours they may only see me once and a whlie they’ll nevr know its not mine hair, no need to explain to strangers.

Have you tried HEAD STRONG has it been mentioned to you by your onc tream


I got mine from Scruffs in Cambridge, it was expensive but fooled a lot of people. I even got questions about why I had gone for such a short hair cut when I had finished wearing it. And people complimented me on my new hairstyle.

My advice would be to ask for a price before you travel though.

take care


Hi Lilian1744,
If you don’t mind a drive, I went to a place in Southend on the recommendation of my chemo unit. It was a bit of a drive but I only had to go once. The woman was fantastic and they had so many wigs to try. She kept taking me outside to see myself in the daylight ( behind the shop!) and nothing was too much trouble. She asks what you want and also makes some suggestions from her own knowledge of wigs. I tried loads on, had such a laugh in there and came away with 2 that I was happy with. If you think you would go that far I will give you their details. Lots of luck as you start your treatment.
Lily x