Lokking after hair during/after chemo

Morning everyone

I finished chemo yesterday and have cold capped throughout. I’ve been very lucky as I have kept nearly all of my hair, it’s just thin on top. All through chemo, I’ve only washed my hair once a week in baby shampoo and not used any products or heat on it. Does anyone know when it is safe to go back to my usual shampoo and also when I can go back to blow drying my hair? Thanks

Hello Mac123

May I suggest that you give our helpline a call, they may be able to give you some practical information on this. The free phone number is 0808 800 600 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 2.00.

best wishes

June, moderator

Hi Mac sorry I cannot be of any help because I have not started my chemo yet.

I was so uplifted when I read that you have managed to keep most of your hair. I am about to have 6 x FEC mid November and intend to cold cap throughout my treatment with the hope of retaining my hair. Any tips would be very welcome.

Thanks Janey x

Hi Glittergirl and Janey

Glittergill-I too struggled to find much information re when I could return to my pre chemo hair routine. I know that the advice is avoid colouring unless it is a natural one for about 6 months. I finished chemo end of August and started blow drying my hair about 2 weeks ago but only on a medium heat, not hot as I did previously. I still am not using gel, wax or hairspray regularly though if I’m going out somewhere special, I do make an exception. With regards to washing it, I used baby shampoo/conditioner through chemo but started using simple products about 4 weeks ago. I still only wash my hair twice a week (I washed it daily before). If I remember rightly, I noticed my hair was no longer coming out about 4 weeks post last chemo. During treatment it went much thinner but is now growing and thickening fairly quick, in fact, I am going to get it trimmed hopefully next week. Sorry I can’t be of more help but this is my experience.

Janey-my top tips to minimise hair loss:

  1. Wash twice a week maximum in baby shampoo and conditioner.

  2. Avoid any heat appliances ie hairdryer, straighteners etc.

  3. Avoid all products such as hairspray, gel, wax, mousse.

  4. Pat your hair dry very gently after washing, then comb once only and leave it for the rest of the day.

  5. If your hair does thin (which is common when cold capping), ask Chemo staff to put gauze on the thinner areas befora putting cold cap on.

  6. Wear a hat if you need to (this gave me more confidence even though I still had alot of hair).

I found the cold cap worked really well, however not everyone is this fortunate and as you may know, it’s not guaranteed to work. My thought was “it’s worth a try”. I struggled with the whole “leave your hair alone” concept. Prior to chemo, I blow dried it, waxed it, used hairspray on it and combed it several times a day. I also had it coloured but am now completely grey/white. One of the most difficult things was constant bad hair days. However, now I can honestly say it was worth it.

Good luck to both of you Mac x


I am 8 months past my last chemo (Feb 2013) but still on hormone treatment/herceptin. My hair started to grow back in on taxotere-slowly. The first shock was the colour: I was white on top but dark around the back and sides. Once I had about cm growth I put a natural rinse through my hair (from Holland and Barret). My hair and scalp went purple! It gave me a bit of a laugh. It took a while to wash out by which tme I was ready to put a permanent colour (still one of the amonia free ones) through. At first I was worried about my hair getting damaged/falling out but it’s been fine. It has grown very slowly and is quite bushy-but my hair was like that anyway. One of the things I’ve noticed is that my scalp feels much healthier. I’ve no dandruff or itchiness. I put this down to the fact I have not been using any products on my hair. It’s amazing what builds up over the years!