How long on average does it take for hair to start growing back

i have posted a few times here on behalf of my mum. She had her first chemo a few weeks ago. Apart from tiredness and some joint pains she has been fine. She used the cold cap even though we were told it might not work but mum wanted to try it. Up until this week she’s had no hair loss but the past couple of days it has been falling out in clumps and she’s quite freaked out by it. I think it’s because she has been feeling so well and positive since her diagnose the hair loss has really hit home.
i keep telling her that it will grow back but if I’m honest I’m a bit freaked out too.
Does the hair loss get with each chemo session and how long before hair usually start growing back?
Kat xx

i had my last chemo last week but i already had hair growing back by the 5th cycle. i had 3 fec and 3 docetaxol, its now about 1cm long but fine.
i had my head shaved by 2nd cycle, number 1 with the trimmers, the loss is less because i had already got used to very short hair.
it gets better tell her.
hope this helps
angie xx

Hiya Katt 77

I used cold cap and had no hair los, but I know some prople have. Tell mum to hang in there. I have now finsihed chemo and life is as normal.

Best wishes


Ooh I wonder what’s wrong with me then, I finished chemo 7 weeks ago and I still have no hair growth! I really hope it starts to grow back soon xx

Hi Kat77
I was really worried about my hair loss before it happened. I didn’t use the cold cap for various reasons. My hair started to fall out on day 14 after my first chemo. By the following week it was so bad that I could not go out without covering my head so I decided it was time to shave it off. Once it was off I felt a lot better. I didn’t have to worry about dropping hair in food when cooking or leaving clumps behind everywhere I went. Glad your Mum didn’t feel too bad after chemo. Let her know if it does fall out it will grow back so not to worry. I had 6 sessions of chemo (Fec-T) and 20 days of radiotherapy. I finished on 19th July and my hair has started growing now. It is very short but growing. My eyebrows have just appeared again too. Good luck to you and your Mum.

Hi Kat…hair loss and re-growth affects us all differently it seems (just like the chemo SEs and reaction to radiotherapy). I didn’t use the cold cap; my hair fell out completely just after FEC2 (April 2012). I finished Docetaxel end of June 2012 and my hair started to grow back to the point I felt comfortable to stop wearing ‘caps’ (never bothered with wig as too hot, itchy and felt as if it would fly off at any moment) late Oct/early Nov. My hair now looks like a short hair cut of choice, about 3cm long and it has been trimmed twice. However, I am taking Anastrozole which I believe inhibits hair growth, as mine is still very fine and slightly patchy (had very thick curly hair before).

Very best wishes to your Mum xx

still on herceptin but 8 weeks after last taxol I have a peachy look to my hair x


Everyone is different, but my advice would be for her to have it cut very short, and if it continues to fall out to have it shaved to a number 1 or 2 cut. It is much less distressing if you do that. There are loads of places on the internet where you can buy very pretty scarves and hats to hide it, and she will be entitled to some help towards a wig. If she buys a wig as close as possible to her own hair most people won’t even notice, I promise you.

I was on docetaxel and carboplatin plus Herceptin for 6 cycles. I am 2 weeks past my last cycle. Mine started to fall out at the start of cycle 2, but it never has completely fallen out. It did thin a lot though and is still thin now, and about 1.5cm long with a few bald bits. I still have my brows and lashes, which is a bonus.

Hi Jlr. It is different for everyone. Did you cold cap and what chemo did you have. Usually with FEC and no cold cap there will be total hair loss although some people report fine hair coming back during the 6th chemo session but I think this is rare. On Tax from what I’ve read on here a lot of people get hair coming back throughout chemo but you have to remember that all the time your body is taking in the chemo chemicals any new hair growth can fall out again.
I had 6 x FEC and cold capped. Kept a good covering of hair although it shed throughout chemo and for 7 weeks following chemo. Even though it was still shedding new hair had started to grow in the thinner places by about 4 weeks post chemo. To me post chemo is the date of last chemo - in my case 12th March. However my oncologist said that post chemo starts at 3 weeks after your last infusion of drugs and that last infusion is still killing the hair follicles. I am now 21 weeks post chemo (18 according to oncologist) and whilst I still have the remaining old hair, the new hair growth is about 2.5 inches long. It differs over the head, the last to come out is the last to regrow when you cold cap.
Cold capping protects the hair follicles so that the new hair comes back more quickly and is much less likely to be curly (unless it was curly before I suppose). My new hair is straight. Without the cold cap I think curls are more likely. I was told by my chemo nurse that new hair started to grow about six weeks post chemo in most cases so don’t fret too much I’m sure you’ll be sprouting any day now.
Hope this helps.

I have cold capped throughout chemo and have one cycle of FEC left next week. I still have a good covering of hair though it is much thinner and very fine. Its also completely grey as my colour has now grown out I have not needed my wig but have started to wear a sun hat or cap in the last week or so as I feel more confident in a hat when I go out. Godd luck to you and your mom x

B - thank you for that information it has made me feel a lot better. I had Fec-t and didn’t cold cap (didn’t know anything about it) I did lose all my hair and can’t wait for it to start growing. My last infusion was 21st June so I guess I have a couple weeks to wait yet for hair to start growing. Xx

Hi kat,
Sorry to hear your mums part of this awful club but so proud you are on here supporting her. Youre a fab daughter!.
I am cold capping, i had my hair cut to a short bob, just had #3 FEC now going to change to “T”. I still have a really good covering of hair and luckily wasnt really very grey anyway. Its definately a lot thinner and does come out when brushed/washed etc, but i only wash hair 2x a week, no styling etc and sleep with a hair net and silk pillow case so its not “pulled”. It does get harder to cold cap each time i find but definately worth it. I dont need anything to cover up my hair and while i know it can still all go, i do feel better having persevered. Also you can get a sort of hair cream that covers up any roots, scalp etc so it camaflagues any problem areas.
Id say dont worry too much if the hair is thinning all over, its suprising how much hair you have and mine wasnt at all thick, not sure i’d feel the same if it was big clumps, but take it day by day. (My hair is still growing as my fringe is in my eyes)
If you have any other Qs please feel free to PM me.
take care

kat77 losing your hair is one of the most distressing parts of the treatment. I bawled, even though I knew it was going to happen .Over time you just accept it and deal with the other side effects of the treatment. 5 months post chemo I now have about 2cms of hair. That doesn’t sound much but I have naturally curly hair which is quite slow growing and probably at 50 age plays its part. I’m also on Tamoxifen and Herceptin so again this may be slowing growth. I am now happy to go out wigless. Looking in the mirror is a bit brutal as I would never choose to have my hair this short. I find it a bit masculine-so a bit of make up makes me feel better. Has your mum booked herself onto a looking good course. They are fantastic. You get tips on putting on make up and a bag of freebies worth a fortune. I went along mid way through chemo and felt much better afterwards and I’m not one for much make up but I really did look much better.
When my hair came in I felt it before I could see it. Your scalp starts to feel a bit rough rather than smooth. Then once the hair comes in it is a lovely silky texture.
Another thing that helped for me was going onto you tube and watching videos and time lapse photos of people regaining their hair. This gives you a realistic time frame for different hair types.
One thing I found frustrating was the way so many people focus on your hair loss asking questions like “When will your hair come in?” etc. It’s hard to deal with and you try to be stoic but when it’s what everyone else keeps asking about you really want to scream…well I did! I eventually asked my family to “Please stop asking about my hair” and I think I managed to avoid the expletives.
I hope this helps. Sounds like you’re going to be a great support to your mum.

Kat, glad you’ve got some good supportive answers back from others here. I just wanted to add the charity My New Hair might be worth a look for your mum, you can google it. I changed hairdresser to one who specialises in medical hair loss and could help me choose a wig and care for the hair I had as well as possible.

MacMillan also do sessions called something like Looking Good, Feeling Great, to help boost confidence in looks during treatment. Your mum may have to deal with eyelash/eyebrow loss too, and then there’s body hair…

Thank you all for your replies.
No one except the immediate family knows about mum’s BC and she wants it to stay that way. Now that she is starting to loose her hair she is worried how she will explain it when people ask. I think deep down she was hoping it wouldnt be too obvious and no one would notice but some people have noticed it and have asked me. I have had to lie which hasnt been easy but I have to respect mum’s decision to keep it within the family.
Kat xx

Hi Kat,

It sounds to me like your mum needs a wig, and as I said earlier if she choses one as close as possible to her own hair no-one will notice. You can have wigs trimmed and styled, and these days are very realistic.