Tips on a successful cold capping experience


I have recently cold capped through 3 FEC and 3 Tax and still have my hair so I thought I would share my tips on here.

Obviously everybody is different but the tips could give you a starting point for your treatment.

Firstly it will be uncomfortable for about the first 5-10 mins but taking a paracetamol before will really reduce any discomfort. Once you get over that you don’t feel anything. So much so that I am constantly asking them to check it’s still on. If your having FEC you will be there for about 5 hours. With tax it’s significantly reduced. The rule of thumb is if you keep your hair with FEC you will keep it with tax as FEC has the epirubicen which hates hair!

On my first fitting I took about 2 hours to get it right. Do not feel pressured. If your going through it it needs to be right. The main thing is that it covers the roots of your hair. It’s the roots that count and that includes at the front of your head.

I use a large inner and a small outer. I don’t have a massive head but it gives the best coverage. The smaller outer is what makes it fit snug on the head.

The main thing is that the inner fits to your head- no lumps and bumps at the crown of your head (or anywhere else!) . You will feel them with your hand if they are there- Do not let them give you the treatment if this happens. Try different combinations of the inner and outers to make sure the fit is snug.

I wear a scarf around my head as well.

Once you have the fit write down the serial numbers and insist on the same ones for every treatment.

You will also need some protection for you chin. The strap can dig in and make it uncomfortable. I bought thermal socks and cut off the toe part and use that under the chin brace.

If you need any relief- only pull the strap down- not to the front. If you pull it to the front it can dislodge the cap which you don’t want.

Prep tips in advance of starting treatment -

1.only use simple shampoo and conditioner on your hair before and during treatment.

  1. Change your deodorant to paraban and aluminium free- again this helps fight against the hair loss. I use keep it kind fresh kidz- you can get it from boots. No aluminium , parabans , alcohol and fragrance free. Can’t remember exact price but defo under £5 and last for ages. I’ve had mine since the beginning of Sept.

  2. Buy a spray bottle- you will need to fill this with a conditioner / water mix. You spray your hair to just past the roots at the back- you do this before treatment - it acts as conductor and stops the inner sticking to your hair when you finish.

  3. Take a small towel to cover your clothes when spraying your hair.

  4. You will need a towelling cover ( ones that you use to dry wet hair with) to go home with so you don’t feel cold etc. get them from home and bargains

  5. Take a blanket it can make you feel cold.

After treatment-

  1. Your head will be covered in ice when you finish- remove the inner slowly so you don’t pull the roots.

  2. Personally I don’t wash my hair for a week after to let the roots settle.

  3. When washing your hair- stroke the shampoo over don’t rub it in roughly- rinse with the coolest water you can. Hot water will open the roots.

  4. Always condition your hair- the cold cap can dry out your hair- so when washing smother with conditioner.

  5. Always use a wide toothed comb to brush hair. Hold the roots so there is no pressure when not brush hair when wet.

  6. Use a soft bobble if you have long hair to tie back nothing that will pull or snag - or a butterfly clip loosely attached.

  7. Invest in some horse riding nets- I wear them in the house and to sleep in- they relieve the pressure on the hair.

  8. I only after the first wash- wash my hair every 10 days. The ice cap will take the moisture out of your hair. I went from washing my hair every other day. I work full time and it’s fine. The less you can get away with washing your hair the better.

  9. Do not use any product or heat appliances- you must let your hair dry naturally.

  10. I do however use a high quality hairspray on occasion but only sparingly.

  11. I invested in a silk pillow case to stop dragging on my hair (and skin!)

Other tips-

You will lose hair- the first week is the worst. It reduces each week.

Do not panic! You have a lot of hair- and remember that the cold cap protects new growth. It will feel like a lot more because you are using a wide tooth comb. Your usual hair brush catches the hair while the wide toothed comb won’t.

When you wash it- you will have more of a loss. Remember you lose hair every day- but you will feel super conscious so you will be looking at every strand and counting them (I did)

In terms of cutting your hair - I’m not sure it matters. The only part that needs to be covered is your roots. You hair will be wet anyway so will be close to your head. I had my hair tidied up as I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it cut for aporox 5 months. My hair is past shoulder length and I didn’t cut it. In fact it’s continued to grow while using the cold cap.

I wouldn’t dye your hair before treatment it will put it under unnecessary stress before you start chemo etc.

In terms of success it depends- out of 4 women I knew who started the cold cap at the same time as me- 3 kept there hair sufficiently not to need a wig.

If you did lose a little bit of hair at the front you can blend it in with a product called toppic - get the spray one and the comb to give the hair line. The product lasts for ages. Takes a little getting used to but well worth the effort.

You will need to keep up this regime up for at least 4 weeks after your last chemo. I would then go on to use nioxin shampoo for thinning hair (no 2)

Hope that helps - if it was me I would give it a go. If you don’t like it/have no benefit with it then you can stop at any time. But keeping my hair has been massive for me.

Good luck!

Hi 1234 Lab, 

Thank you for posting this useful and supportive post regarding cold capping. I am sure some of our users will be along soon to show their support and share some more advice.

If you would ever like to chat you can always call our support line at 0808 800 6000 who will be able to offer information and a friendly ear.

Best wishes, 


Digital Community Assistant 

Thanks for the tips. I start on Monday and hope I can hang onto some hair! Xx

No problem- hope it works for you. I had my last chemo on Friday and I’ve still got a full head of hair! X

Hi- no my hair is not really thick- it’s fine but there is a lot of it (so I’ve been told by my hairdresser!) . The most important thing to get right is the fit- like I said in my message- get that right and you significantly increase the chances of keeping your hair- no lumps or bumps in the inner or outer coverings.
Once you’re passed that first 5 mins of discomfort it’s fine. Xx

Hi LAB123

this will be such a help to me as I start chemo on 1st Feb and want to try and keep my hair. Any other tips going through chemo?