Headwear during chemo

Hello ladies. I hope you are all well this evening.
I haven’t posted in a while but am hoping you will help me by sharing your opinions/experiences.
I am now 9 months post chemo and have been sporting my new (& very different!) head of hair for a few of months now, but during my chemo I chose to wear headscarves as opposed to wigs.
I found it difficult to find scarves which I felt comfortable in. I didn’t want old or frumpy looking and I didn’t want something that made me look like an extra from Lawrence of Arabia. I wanted something that still felt like me. Something I’d choose to wear rather than something situation had forced me into (which of course it had, but you know what I mean, I hope.)
I did eventually find scarves I was happy with and that I felt comfortable in. I mixed and matched, and accessorised them, depending on my outfit or mood. People told me how nice they looked, which was lovely of them, but in all honesty I took it with a pinch of salt. My reasoning was no-one was going to tell me I looked awful. It’s not the done thing is it? Goes against all the rules of ‘cancer etiquette’ :stuck_out_tongue: But when I was stopped by other patients at appointments, and on one occasion, even stopped in the street by a complete stranger, I started to think there was something in it.
So, it’s taken me a while, but I’m going to have a go at starting an online shop providing fashionable & comfortable scarves. And who better to ask for their input than you ladies here. The main objective for me is to keep it cheap (but still attractive & good quality) and cheerful. I found some of the prices on some sites ridiculous! Having been through it I know what worked for me and what didn’t, and I’d like to help others going through the same to feel as good in scarves as I did.
Any thoughts on what you do/don’t like? What you’d like, but can’t find? Would you prefer plain & subtle scarves or bright & bold? All help gratefully received!
Thanks for reading. x

Hi there, what a fabulous idea. I have looked around and been given a few scarves and now have a stack of them but to be honest none of them are what i’m really looking for. I have a whole stack of scarves yet i only seem to wear the same one on the odd occasion that i do wear it. Its grey and has butterflies on it but also has silver tinsel-like strands through it. I like it becasue its pretty neutral and doesnt make me feel like i stand out from the crowd so much. A lot of the scarves i’ve been given are lovely but they are too large or thick and more like proper scarves to accessorise outfits than to be worn on your head. I got my grey scarf from Tesco last year for about £5. I have seen a few around but in places like Accessorise they are anything up to £20 and Claire’s they can be up to £10 which i feel is far too expensive for such a small piece of material. I have seen some in a local 99p store but i didnt like the pattern. Maybe i’m just hard to please. I wanted a plain dark brown buff and tried to buy one off the original site but they no longer sell the one i wanted! I also think they are far too expensive for what they are. I saw a video on youtube of an american lady who used cut off t-shirts instead of scarves which i think is a fabulous idea but i still havent managed to find one in the neautral shade i want which would be something like a sand colour, maybe a pale khaki green or even a light brown. I hope my experience helps your research in some way and if there is anything else i can do please just ask. I wish you good luck with your business.
Sian. x

Great idea - we all seem to be looking for the right kind of headwear. At present, I am wearing a cheap beanie hat, as it is comfy and easy to grab and put on.
I have also found I get on better with the tube type hats. They can be worn in assorted ways, and are easy to use. Scarves are too much messing around for me - if there was a stretchy version that was all assembled and ready to put on, I might go for it!

I like plain and simple - so have bought two tubes, a purple and a grey. They go nicely together with one as a band over the other as a beanie.
Sian - you might find these suit you as they do patterened or plain, and there are buff colours. Not scarves, but simple stretchy tubes that fit the head and can be twisted, stretched as bands etc.

Here are some on eBay as examples.

smc78 this one in ‘chocolate’ is only £2.55 (plus postage). Amazon.co.uk

Hi, Had same trouble but more so didn’t want to have the ‘cancer sufferer’ look by having no hair. Was so grateful in finding Heather’s Hair.
Heather's Hair - YouTube www.volunteeratrsvpdevon.org
Like you I didn’t like wearing a wig and this gave me enough hair that no one knew it wasn’t my own. It is run for charity and the lady running it just wants to help people like me and us to feel better about ourselves. It certainly is the single most important thing during all my treatment in keeping me sane. Please pass on the message to others who might benefit - it really keeps your spirits up.
Good luck on your venture and do get in touch with the lady that runs Heahter’s Hair as she is looking to get word out there.

Thanks Ladies those sites are definately more what i’m looking for and cheap too! Mads i would rather be giving the money to someone like you who has ‘been there, done that’ so to speak. Let us know if you do manage to get your business up and running. :slight_smile:
Sian x

I think this is a great idea, it’s over 5 years since I had chemo and I have kept all my things in a box because the company I got some of my headwear from went out of business. Sadly, the lady who ran it passed away from cancer herself. Some of the stuff that was around at the time was very expensive, so ladies need nice items that are reasonable in price.
I hated wearing a wig and had bandanas in all different colours, plain, patterned, even leopard print. The lady who designed them cut them especially to cover baldness and they had a piece of material at the back of the neck to shield it from sun and stop the cold getting to it (you could also have the cotton bandana lined in a thin fleece for winter).
One tip - I found it looked better if I wore a little quilted skullcap under my scarf or bandana as it gave you head a nice shape (less of a shock when you removed your headcovering as well!). I bought these from a company called Headline, they were white cotton and you could machine wash.
I also found baker boy style caps gave nice coverage in the winter months (used to pick them up in Primark for a couple of quid) and used to jive them up with brooches etc attached to them. My favourite hat was a leopard fur fabric bucket style, at the time it was very Boy George.
Don’t hide away ladies, experiment and be adventurous with headcoverings and hats, in the depths of winter it made me feel a lot better and also cheered me up - esp if someone told me I had a nice hat on. Another lady I met in hospital went ot a family Christmas dinner in a sparkly sequinned turban, she looked great.

Thanks so much for all your input ladies. It’s good to know that I’m thinking along the right lines.
One of the nicest comments I received about my scarves was from someone at a children’s party, who hadn’t realised I was having chemo and had thought the scarf was just a ‘fashion choice’ That made me feel so good. And I think how I looked also made a big difference in how my girls (aged 5 & 9) felt.
I’m not looking to fleece people like so many of the companies seem to. I just want to provide comfortable, easy to tie!, headwear at reasonable prices. Scarves really can make you feel good and I want people to have the option to have lots and choose one to suit their mood each day, in the same way you’d choose the rest of your outfit. This is a time when many people are off work and might be struggling financially. It’s a hard enough time already without being stung for a scarf! And then having to wear it day in day out because you can’t afford more than one.
My thinking at the moment is that I’m hoping to launch the website some time in October…thought it tied in nicely with Breast Cancer awareness month, Christies month (where I had some of my treatment) & also it marks 18months since my diagnosis. I’d love your feedback again at that point. I really want to get this right, and although I’ve been there myself, I’m very aware how different people’s experiences can be.
Thanks again

Mads79: I really hope it takes off for you. I for one would love to buy a few more head coverings so that I could mix and match along with the rest of my clothes.
I now have a totally bald head - shaved the last silly tufts off a couple of days back.
Tomorrow I have 3 hospital appointments and it will be my first time out in public since losing my hair. I am feeling quite anxious about it! I never thought it would bother me as I’m not a fussy ‘hair and make-up’ kind of gal, but I just spent about an hour trying to sort out something for my head that I would feel confident walking around town in… and failed!
I’ve got a couple of tubes, a few scarves, and some knitted beany hats… I’ll sort something out by morning, but it would be great if there was something that I could just pull on - and it looked right and complete - without me needing to tie scarves or bands around it or dress it up!
I’ve never been a hat wearer, so I suppose that is why I don’t feel right in anything I put on my head! I know many of you are proud to wear just your skin, but I’m not that confident.
It is interesting and helpful to hear what others have done to solve their own headwear issues. Keep the messages coming ladies :slight_smile:

You know June, I was never a hat wearer either as I have a very small head. The only hats I’d ever worn were at my wedding and also at a Buckingham Palace garden party, where you had to wear one (it’s in the guidelines they send you about dress). I also wasn’t confident in hats as I thought I looked silly being only 5ft 2.

However, after a bit of experimenting I found it great fun and I got my confidence up. At the time I also found it a good idea to buy a few things in preparation for the hair loss coming. I got used to the headwear being in the house and would try it on every day. Even my wig was supplied before I started chemo - the wig lady thought it made it easier if you had it at home and advised to make an appointment when the hair loss started so they could shave my head, style the wig and fit it properly.

Cherub - so nice to know I might get into hats eventually!
I too am only 5 ft 2… was 5 ft and a half inch when they measured me before first chemo, and I thought I was 5 ft 1in… but today they announced 5’ 2’’ so I am grabbing hold of that extra height and embracing it :slight_smile: Every inch counts!
So… I did it. I made myself go out, walk down the road, catch a bus, walk through the main shopping area, and onward to the hospital. My first venture into public without hair. I wore my tube hats, co-ordinated with my raincoat (though it didn’t rain) and of course no one even noticed. I think my main fear was my neighbours - I didn’t want to get stopped and need to explain. Nor did I want them wondering and not liking to ask. Silly of me really, I know, but there it is.
And at the end of the busy day - PICC line, then consultant - I went and saw the wig people. And we found a good colour match in a shorter style for me. (I wanted something that would be easy to wear and not get in my face, unlike my shoulder length natural hair that I was always pulling back into a band.) The wig is going to need a bit of adjusting to take some of the fringe area back as it is well into my eyes, and feather around my face, but that is all do-able by a good experienced hairdresser.
As soon as I got home, I pulled off my hat, and went bald again. I think I’ll just wear beanies about the house, and the wig when I want to go out without anyone realising I am having treatment. I also wanted the wig so that I could visit an elderly relative (96) without her realising I was having treatment. She doesn’t need to worry about me, and I know it would play on her mind over and over if she knew I had cancer… so the wig is also to protect other people.

Amazing what a bit of hair can do… or a wonderful headscarf/hat.

Sorry, this has little to do with your topic of hats for chemo, but maybe it goes to show just how important it is to feel good in whatever you wear, so that others respond well to you in return.
One last thought… I had to go to the main post office where they always have to ask if they can give you a quote for life insurance after they have served you. It was happening to every customer ahead of me… and then it was my turn - weighed my packet, asked if the content were valuable - I said no - it is my hair! She looked at me in my little hat… smiled, and asked if I wanted anything else. Never offered to sell me life insurance!

Well done you, June It’s such a big deal going out for the first time. You’re bound to feel self conscious, but in reality I think very few people even notice. Everyone’s so busy in their lives these days that I think people are generally a lot less observant than they used to be.
What’s strange is how quickly your confidence in your headwear grows. It becomes a part of your identity. And the only time I realised just how much was when it came time to *not* wear a scarf anymore. Going scarfless in public that first time made me feel every bit as bare as I had when I lost my hair!

I never wore hats in my life but after chemo I have to wear those and As soon as I got home, I pulled off my hat, and went bald again. I tried for wigs also but those irritate me like hell. so for some time was bald and didn’t wore anything. Than I thought of finding some cool stuff to wear. Than I start surfing the internet. Now I have a huge collection of hats and caps purchased from 



Now I don’t need any head wear but still i wear sometime for fashion. 

I am new to the site and just read the thread. Interested to know if Mads79 realised her dream?

Hi there, this sounds great. I’ve just had my second chemo and have noticed bad hair loss despite cold capping. Having spent the last 2 hours trawling the Internet for plain, black, silk headscarves, I’m really struggling to find anything which aren’t too long and thick (I work in an air con office), or are very loud and scream ‘look at me’. When are you hoping to launch and in the meantime, where dos u find were the best places to find your scarves? Xx

I found some fashionable bandanas folded as head bands today in Claires accessories if that helps. £4.50
The ones I found on annabandana website were good. Some plain and some loud. All sorts of types. I have no idea if Mads79 realised her dream or not. Have had no reply.

I would be interested in ready-tied headscarves. Since having a mastectomy and lymph node clearance my left arm feels weak and heavy. I find it very difficult and tiring lifting my left arm up and behind my head to tie a scarf.


Soft silky caps to wear in bed would be a good idea too.


Good look with establishing your business. Bee x

Have a look on annabandana.co.uk/
They are very reasonable prices and very extensive range.
Good luck xxx

Definitely try Annabandana, I ordered 2 ‘Anna bands’ in Friday afternoon and they arrived today - so pleased with them. So I ordered a few more again today :slight_smile: xx

If anyone has bald patches but doesn’t want to use scarves or hats this may help!
I’m going back into work tomorrow and been having panic over the bald patch and what to do about it. Been scouring the Internet and found sone very helpful youtube videos a young girl has done. Her hair loss is for different reasons but still so helpful.
Some show things to help patches like his onehttps://youtu.be/6qVjgBYus2c
Some have things to help it grow back, some extentions, which I know are a long way off but I will be doing that! All sorts on her channel and well worth a look.
I found them helpful. Hope they help someone else