How long do post chemo curls last?

My hair is growing back after chemo really really curly. I never had curls before so I’m not quite sure what to do now. I’ve tried frizz ease but I think I’m going to have to grin and bear it until it gets a bit longer. I’m trying all sorts of products to prevent it looking like “old lady hair”. Every time I look in the mirror I see my mother staring back at me!
I have heard that the curls don’t stay forever if you didn’t have them before chemo. So has anyone any idea how long it will be before i get my old hair back?

thats exactly what happened to me. I let mine grow and used to put curly hair mousse on mine and scrunched it and let it dry naturally and it went into proper curls rather than the woolly look I think you mean. I had to laugh when someone stopped me and asked how I got my curly style!! I also put a few big curlers in sometimes and dried it for a bouncy curly look. That makes hair shine a lot. My hair came back twice as thick which was nice but harder to look smart. I finished chemo end of 2008 and it gradually got less curly from the start of 2011 just as I had got the hang of it and liked it!Still working on how I like it and no real style but mainly i just let it grow longer so it can flick out wherever it goes each morning! Not sure how it would be if cut short again and too scared to try! Let me know how you get on

I finished chemo in july last year and initially it was very curly. Last cut i had (I’ve kept it short) it had almost straightened out again. I was just getting used to some curls - never satisfied eh?!

Hi when I had my first chemo mine lasted a yr this time rd so far it’s been 6 months still v curly u just have to kp trimming it but i also got used to mine missed it when wasn’t there Laura

My hair was completely straight before chemo and as soon as it grew back was very wavy but in some patches more than others! 2.5 years on and it’s still as wavy. It’s not curly enough to scrunch dry but not straight enough to leave as its looks a mess. So as my hair is thicker now than it used to be it takes me an age to blow dry it. I’m not complaining though as I’m just so pleased to have my hair back and don’t take it for granted anymore.
Elinda x

My post-chemo hair isn’t any thicker - in fact it’s thinner as I’m still on Herceptin and that can inhibit hair growth in some folk.

It started off with uncontrollable waves, rather than curls (I wanted curls!) so when it was quite short it just stuck out at all angles. Once it was long enough to wrap round a small brush, I’ve been straightening it with the hairdryer. It’s not grown enormously yet but I can still scrunch it up if I want a funkier look. I’ve had the tips trimmed off about 3 times and the funny frizzy bits are fewer as a consequence.

I finished chemo at the end of 2008. It came back like cork screws and I was at my wits end. I couldn’t cope with it. By Feb 2009 it was starting to get a bit longer and my hairdresser worked wonders! She blew it straight! I looked more like me.

Fast forward 3 years and my hair is thicker than ever.

I’m back to me!



Mine came back totally grey and really curly. It took about 9 months to get straight and after about 18mths it began to look like me again in the mirror (I had waist length straight hair before. Fast forward 3 1/2 years and I am thinking if having it cut shorter through choice!
I look back now at picture of me with curly then wavy hair and it looks hideous, but at the time I was just glad to have some hair!

Good luck

Mine also came back totally grey and curly like a lamb. Although the temptation was to let it grow, my hairdresser friend advised trimming it everso lightly despite the shortness because the ends were so wispy and at different stages. Kept the “mad” flyaway look at bay!Whilst it was curly, made the most of it and used curly hair mousse etc and abandoned hair dryers! Was brilliant!

2.5 years since end of chemo, hair still wavy (it WAS poker straight!)but not enough to leave undried as just looks unkempt. Blow dries more or less straight. Thicker and wirier than before.

I seem to have experienced a combination of the replies so far. I finished chemo in September 2010. By January 2011 when I went back to work, it was curly and a bit more grey than I had before. gradually it grew longer before suddenly curling tightly at the ends giving quite a scary effect so I’d rush to my lovely hairdresser and have it cut short again - maybe 2-3 inches. At the beginning of this year it suddenly wasn’t curly any more but is growing at a great rate so I’m back to my ‘old’ straight hair. I did enjoy the 6 months last year when, for the first time in my life I had slightly curly hair that stayed in place when I brushed it. I do miss it! When I think of the efforts my mother put in to make my hair curl when I was a child…!

I am at that Dolly-The-Sheep stage, post chemo by 5 months and looking like i need a busspass and a tartan shopping trolley !!!

Hair was long, dark and curly…now grey, short and very curly !!

Does the colour change ??? Have been warned against dyeing it at mo to avoid that Lego/Action Man hair look.

Driving me mad…but also sooooo glad to have hair again and eyelashed are better than ever !!!

Madge xx

Hi everyone

I am now over a year since last chemo (Feb 2011) and have had 3 haircuts to date. I had a very slow start and didn’t stop wearing wig until last October. Since then it has really taken off! It remains quite curly though tamed with an anti-frizz straightener. I have had it coloured twice as I couldnt’ cope with the yucky grey/brownish colour! I have it done at the hairdressers and now have a very trendy style. Interestingly I have many compliments and now feel quite good about myself again. I know if feels like an eternity, but with persevernce and a really good hairdresser I am getting there. My lashes and brows are back too, though brows very light (don’t need to pluck! I don’t think?!?!?) and lashes less but look ok with a good mascara. Amazing how different we can feel when happy with how we look! Take care all. J.

I finished chemo in December and my hair is back grey and curly. I love the curls but the grey not so much! Comments so far seem to have confirmed that the curls will go, but no-one has commented on whether the grey stays or goes! I would love to hear other people’s experiences on this.

Hey everyone,


My mom is just about done with chemo and really hates her hair. I think it’s anywhere between 2-4 inches at this point. She’s always had thick hair but never this curly. She doesn’t like the way she looks and it makes me sad that she’s having a hard time with it. I wanted to post on here to see if anyone has suggestions about how to feel OK about it. I don’t think she’s tried any different shampoos, so any shampoo/product suggestions would be helpful. I plan to order them for her on Amazon.


Also, if anyone has suggestions for styling that would be really great too. I saw online that sometimes people use mini straighteners, has anyone tried that? 


I just want my mom to feel confident again so any suggestions/advice would be so appreciated ~ thank you so much :slight_smile:

Would love mine to last forever…love my curls and thankfully it’s come back thick…now on my 3rd haircut since my hair came back in january! :slight_smile:

Hi, fellow recovering-from-chemo ladies,

I am about 11 months out from last chemo treatment and have had 3 small trims since then. At 71 of course my hair came in silvery gray and was actually kind of fabulous, but it made me feel old so I had it dyed a light auburn. re. curls: I have always had quite curly hair, but this is ridiculous! I joke that if I don’t watch out, my curls will pierce my scalp! But here’s what I do to feel good about them: I am keeping my hair short (grows at a snail’s pace anyway) and use Jessicurl products for gentle shampoo and conditioner, and Spiralacious Gel for set my hair before slightly drying it with a diffuser. No combing or brushing ensues–wake up in mordning, spritz with spray mixture of water and conditioner, and just tousle my hair. It really works. Especially, now, we need to love and accept ourselves as we are. ANd–I just ordered a mini hair straightener for days when I want to look different.


Mine came with a slow growth, but it good to see them back and love to know the styling suggestions from others…

I finished chemo 9 months ago. I used a cold cap so have always had some hair even a respectable head full at end of chemo.  It did however carry on falling out for 6 weeks or so after chemo so got pretty thin but by then the fuzz was starting to grow. The new hair is now various lengths averaging 3 inches. It is very thick and very brown!! I cant bear too cut the longer stuff left from the cold cap so I just tie it all back as best I can. If I want to dress up I put on the half wig I bought for £10 on ebay! - you brush your own front hair over the join to blend. Someone said I had lovely hair when I wore it to a function the other evening!! So my own hair looks strange being of differing lengths and whilst not quite curly there is a bit of a wave and some frizz in the new hair. Seems to be rather slow growing but I cant wait for it to be long enough to cut into an acceptable style (pixie is not for me!) 

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My last chemo was just over a year ago. I had a bilateral total mastectomy without reconstruction. My  hair started growing about a month later and as it grew it went from slightly wavy to mega curly!  It is much the same colour as it was before albeit a bit lighter. Its now about 4 inches long (if I pull a curl straight!)  Although I would never have had my hair cut this short, I am actually really quite enjoying it!  I swim a lot so no more hours spent blow drying and straightening. I also find the best way to deal with it is to spritz with water when I get up and also to use lots of conditioner after shampooing.  Products for curly hair are also very good.  Encourage the curls and embrace the new look and the new you!!!

Its great to have hair again and its goodbye to my rather expensive wig which, when I bought it, I though I’d wear again on bad hair days!