Wig Care - Are The Special Products Necessary?

Hello everyone,

I was wondering if these special wig shampoos, conditioners, spritzers, sprays etc are all strictly necessary. With me not able to work now, and my partner having also lost his job, we’re boracic. Our house is on the market because of all this, but we haven’t even had an offer on it yet.

The orthotics dept at hosp sells a pack with a wig stand, brush, shampoo, conditioner and holding spray by Liquid Gold for £13.50, but at the moment even that would be a luxury purchase for us. I’ve read elsewhere that any ordinary shampoo will do the job just as well, and that fabric conditioner works as a conditioner for acrylic wigs.

Does anyone have any advice about this for me? (I seem to have hit lucky as someone is happy to lend me their old chemo wig for as long as I need it, which is great!)

Love and hugs,
Nikki x

Hi Nikki
Sorry to hear of your financial crisis - that’s the last thing you need right now. The short answer to your question is No, you don’t need anything at all for that wig. I used baby shampoo on mine and it worked fine. Didn’t need conditioner. I bought a special spritz that i never used and a comb which I didn’t use. I bought a stand for about £1.50 and this was useful, especially for drying the wig, but I probably could have improvised something else.
Hopefully that wig will do, but should you need another, visit www.wigbank.com who sell secondhand wigs for between £10 and £20.
Good luck!

Thanks Sarah, that’s good to know. I got kind of pushed into ordering one of their £57 wigs plus that £13.50 care pack on Thurs, but having considered it, I’m going to gritmy teeth against their disapproval and take both back on Tues when I’m in to see the surgeon!

Thanks for sharing - you never know until someone else who’s been there and done it tells you!

Cheers matey,
Love and hugs,
Nikki x

Nikki - aren’t you entitled to a free wig?

Rarey - apparently you can get a free wig IF THEY GIVE IT TO YOU WHILST YOU ARE AN INPATIENT IN HOSP - this according to one of the benefit leaflets I downloaded recently. Since they didn’t know my lump was going to turn out to be the monster it was, along with the multitude of other lumps they hadn’t picked up on the MRI, there was no mention of chemo whilst I was in hosp in Aug, so hence I’m not entitled to a free one. At least, those are the rules down here. Worth passing on this info to anyone else though, because if you know you are going to be an inpatient in relation to cancer, you should immediately demand a wig referral and get one sorted out while you’re in there!

Love and hugs,
Nikki / Angel

i would query this if i were you. I got a prescription for a wig, which i took to a specialist shop (hot hair) got a wig which should have cost £165 free & got a second wig half price with a further prescription. I would go in there guns blazing & ask why not or go to your PALS department & ask!! YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PAY.
Louise xx

OH, forgot to say, you can ask for a Macmillan grant to help you financially. My bcn filled in all the forms for me, i received a cheque for £400 & my bcn also applied for a hospital charities grant for me, received additional £250. This helped enormously as i wasn’t entitled to any benefits at all whilst off work for 7 months.
Louise xx

Hi Angel just read your post Here in Scotland we go and pick our wig before we even lose our hair Then when the hair goes you go back with your wig and they design it to the way you want it. I picked a Raquel Welch one which was fantastic it was £175 and the lady even shaved my head for me. I think its a post code lottery its ridiculous to be treated differently depending where you live. I would love to give you my wig as its in great condition and its got the real scalp it does look great. Its a blonde bob with highlightes if there is any way you can get your name and address to me I would willingly post it to you We are not allowed to exchange addresses on here so if you can think of a way I will post it to you straight away Let me know Love Linda xxx

Hit there, I’m in Scotland too and I had the same experience. I was given a wig prescription and the details of 2 suppliers on my first oncology appointment. I got my wig a few weeks before my hair started going so I was used to it. I then went back 2 days after my hair started coming out and had my head shaved and my wig styled and fitted. The shop I went to sold all the wig products but the ladies said it was up to me if I wanted to buy them and they didn’t think they were necessary.

I only wore mines a few times and I washed it in cold water and my OH’s Aussie Mega shampoo, then I rinsed it in cold water and squeezed it out inside a towel and put it on a polystyrene head to dry overnight. The wig ladies said not to put heat on it and not to use anything like hair wax to break the style up, but a spray gel was fine - I bought Boots Style Works body pump which was very cheap, about £2. They also told me it was fine to use a flexible hairspray like Pantene as it brushes out easily.

Hope this helps as I know that this is a very expensive time for a lot of us. I didn’t qualify for any benefits during the first 9 months of my treatment and we only managed to get Working Tax Credit 2 months ago through a change in my OH’s self employed circumstances. I now get free prescriptions as well, but I could have done with them when I was on chemo and needing all sorts of things like antibiotics and painkillers. It makes me really mad, don’t get me started on it!

Hi Marylou - thanks for that, I will investigate further - sounds reasonable enough to me! I suspect that our orthotics dept is run as a business, hence sales of stuff.

What’s a PALS department?

Love and hugs,
Nikki / Angel

HI again ML, my BCN has been less than forthcoming on this issue of MC grants, and I’ve now put in a claim for incapacity benefit etc, and she won’t look at MC grants until we know about that :frowning:

N x

Hi Linbob,

Gosh that would be fantastic - aren’t you just lovely? :smiley:
Ummm…I know that people from here do manage to arrange to meet up, so there must be a way…does PM’ing work on this, or are we allowed to put email addresses down if we want? Well here’s my email addy just in case - cyberbabe153 at hotmail dot com. Look forward to hearing from you! Bless your heart!

Lots of love,
Nikki / Angel xxxx

Hi Cherub - with you all the way on that one!

Absolutely no-one at the hospital has mentioned any other way of getting an NHS wig other than through their orthotics dept at a cost of £57 plus products. It would seem that ML’s post about getting a script for a wig and finding a specialist supplier is perfectly reasonable and logical, so I will have to check with my BCN and get her to ask my onc if he can do me a script. Or maybe my GP can do that? I’ll ask him when I see him on Monday.

Through rooting through all the online info about benefits, I found that I, as a hypoadrenal patient, should have been getting free prescriptions all along!!! Much though I love my GP, (the straight-talker, for those of you who have seen earlier posts!) he has never mentioned this to us. Perhaps he doesn’t know. But he certainly will by Monday afternoon! Lol.

Love and hugs,
Nikki / Angel xx

Oh, and thanks to everyone for the advice about the products - I suspected as much but didn’t know whether to risk it. I now have the confidence to do so, so thank you all very very much!

N xxx

Hi Angel,

Sorry to hear about the bother you are having getting a free wig which you really should be entitled to. I also stay in Scotland like some others who have replied to and my mum got her wig from Turveys in Edinburgh who were brilliant, the paperwork is sent from the hospital straight to Turveys and all subsequent appointments ie fittings and my mum also got the girl there to shave her head is all free.

Its unfair you are not given this service. As for washing I helped mum last week and we just let it steep for 5 minutes in a sink of cold water with a few drops of shampoo - think it was vosene!! then swirled it about then rinsed thoroughly again in cold water. Mum doesn’t have a stand - she has improvised and think it sits on an upside down pot pouuri bowl but she let it dry flat over night and then gave it a good brush in the morning and as she uses hairspray on it you could see the shine was back after the wash…

Hope this helps. Also if you are looking for headscarves I got some for my mum on headcovers.com which is an american site but very good prices and delivery is cheap plus they arrive in less than 10 days.


You shouldn’t let your wig dry on a wigstand…apparently it stretches the base. Instead use an upside down largish coffee jar or similar (i.e. vase, etc.) with a smaller circumference than the wig base.

You can use ordinary shampoo and fabric conditioner. Swish your wig around in a solution of COOL water and shampoo, then rinse out in cool water. Repeat using conditioner, if necessary, and rinse again. Now blot the wig in a clean towel, give it a shake and place over the coffee jar to dry overnight. Do not brush/comb whilst wet. When it’s dry, give it another good shake and the style will fall into place, if necessary brush gently.

I cannot understand how come you have to pay for a wig. You are entitled to a free one on the NHS. At the hospital I attend, we have to go to a specific hairdresser/wig shop who have the franchise in our area for supplying wigs thru the NHS. The hospital rings through our referral or gives us a form, and off we trot to pick a wig. The wigs are not NHS issue, we can pick from any wig…all the big names are there…Raquel Welch, Rene of Paris etc. I was not given a limit on the amount I was allowed to spend.

Some health authorities give vouchers instead, I believe, so you can go to any wig retailer/outlet of your choice.


I went to Turveys as well - didn’t know what to expect as it’s such an old fashioned “shampoo and set” type shop. However, the service was fabulous as the lady who owns it lost her hair due to alopecia, so they all really know how to deal with you. I got a lovely card the next day saying how hard it was to lose your hair but that it was a step towards being well again, I was really touched by their sympathy.

I have one of the Rene of Paris wigs (the one called Connie). The Raquel Welch ones had too much volume in them for me as I have a small head. I was given loads of catalogues to flick through in order to choose the right style. I also keep reading about ladies having to pay towards part of the cost of their wigs, surely that can’t be right if some are getting them for free? I was told you were entitled to one every 6 months during treatment if necessary.

Hi Sam, I wasn’t entirely clear on that rule. I do see from other posts that ladies on here manage to contact each other in order to meet up, so how do I go about that in relation to JulieL on here who is local to me, and others, and how do I get my contact details to linbob so she can send me the wig she’s so kindly offered me?

Best wishes,
Angel. x

PALS stands for Patient Advisory & Liaison Service - every NHS trust has one. Ours is based in the hospital, very near the main entrance.

In fact, I used their service this week - telephoned them about my husband waiting for over 6 months for a neuroly appt - the referral letter 1 March from the Vascular Consultant said my husband needed an “urgent” appt. We got a form letter from the appts clerk, saying the appt would be 13 weeks min, 26 weeks max. God help us if it was a routine appt. The lady administrator took his details, looked into the problem and rang me back within an hour with an appt for Nov 12th. She even apologised that the appt is so far away - told her no problem, just getting an appt is a quantum step forward after waiting more than the mandatory 6 months.

I rang the main hospital telephone number and asked for the PALS Dept, but later this week, as I was dropping a neighbour off at our local GP’s office, I picked up a PALS leaflet. There is a national phone number, 0845 1708000, but don’t know if this only applies to Cornwall (where I live) or the whole country. The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly NHS trust have a website: www.cornwall.nhs.uk/ciospct that may give you more information. Your GP’s surgery should also have information on your local PALS office. We have used before when my husband had a different problem and they intervened with the consultant and sorted the problem out very quickly. That is what they are there for.

Wigs - my bc nurse gave me a voucher up to £120 after surgery, and before starting chemo. I had to go to a designated hairdresser/wig shop in Plymouth. I was not on any benefits, and I believe all chemo patients at my hospital get this voucher. I chose a wig, they ordered it, then called me in to cut and style it to my head. Hubby said it looked better than my real hair, which I was not amused at!


My wig person said to use a moisturising shampoo, like dove, just add a few drops to a bowl of lukewarm water and swish the wig around in that. Rinse well then, on the final rinse add a little fabric conditioner. Squeeze gently and pat dry in a towel - leave it on a vase, bottle or something to dry. Takes about ten hours to dry but never use direct heat - they can melt! Never brush or comb whilst still wet either.
They recommend a spray - which is actually a very fine oil, helps stop the ‘hair’ from drying out. But the spray shouldn’t cost you very much.
Do persist in getting what you’re entitled to, but I know how hard it is to keep battling bureaucracy.