Wigs! NHS or not?

Hi eveyone,

I am due to start my first FEC on Thursday, and was just wondering if anyone has found the NHS wigs to be any good?

I bought 2 headscarves, and have only just tried them out, they look terrible! now i could cry.

I am busy looking on the sites that i found posted on here for headscarves and hats and beanies, i can honestley say, i never realised i would look as bad as i do with a headscarf on.

I feel sick, i have a bad stomach, i think it is just nerves, as i had the same belly on the day of my surgery.

I wish i hadnt left it until now to start looking for headware.

Dont know what to do with myself.

Sorry for the winge, i know you ladies have more to worry about.

Sandrae x x

I had an NHS wig and it was excellent.
My customers (I have a shop)didn’t realise it was a wig. A couple commented that they were surprised I’d had my lovely long hair chopped off but that my short hair looked nice, this was when they saw me post chemo with new short hair.
At fist my wig wasn’t quite right but my hairdresser trimmed it to suit me and then I was really comfortable. The lady at the hospital was very careful with what colour suited me and spent a good hour trying to get the right basic style.

Good luck for Thursday. ((hug))

Don’t know where you are but I’m in Fife, Scotland, & got prescription for wig at Queen Margarets, Dunfermline & they told me where to go for the wig, a place in Glenrothes. There was a huge choice & I chose 1 quite like my own style & colour, as didn’t want a radical change (though I did quite fancy waist length red). The lady had me in a private room, I had several wigs to try on, & no rush at all to decide. Got a cup of tea as well. She trimmed the front for me & would have done it again later if I’d wanted. The wig looked so much better than my own hair that I was quite ashamed. I was in the habit of washing it & leaving it alone (child of the 60’s) but this was groomed ! It was so admired I could have got a complex about my own hair. Once, in Debenhams, the assistant serving me commented that she loved my hair & asked if I’d just had it done. So, don’t worry, the NHS wigs are O.K. One last tip, I got my hairdresser to come to the fitting with me for a professional & impartial opinion, which she was happy & interested to do (might not be convenient for everyone), Oh, & the place I went to is a hairdressing salon, the lady who did it is a hairdresser, & you get a free hair appointment with her once your hair is back.
Good luck Sandra x

Hi Sandra
Just wanted to say don’t panic yet. I couldn’t get an appointment for my NHS wig-fitting until a week after my first FEC and I was worried that I wouldn’t have any hair left for the wig lady to get a good match etc. But Mrs Wiggy assured me that my hair would remain intact for a good 2 weeks after 1st chemo.

And the NHS wig is really good…I was quite surprised.

Sue xx

Hi there Sandra,

Im in Buckinghamshire, I was Actually born in Hawick Scotland.

Thanks for your input, im going to give one a try, i thought, for some reason, that they would be really bad, but i am definatley up for giving one a try.

I will get my hairdresser to give it a bit of a trim, ive always wanted long hair, but havent had much hair, lenght wise, since i was a teenager, my hairdresser said that in all her years of hairdressing she has never known any ones OWN hair to grow as quick and thick as mine, heres hoping it grows as quickly after chemo finishes.

This site is great, where else could i have such a speedy reply, from ladies who have been there themselves?

Thanks again

Sandrae x x

Thanks Sue,

I think my belly is definately panicing, ha ha , Its great to have some helpful speedy replies.
I feel a bit better already, knowing that things are not that bad.

Sandrae x x

Hi Sandrae

You will get a prescription for a wig. You don’t have to use the hospital wig service. This voucher can be used at many different wig outlets. I actually bought 2 one with the voucher and another one in different colours, which I wore depending on the look that I wanted. I can’t remember if there is an upper price limit, but I’m sure that the voucher covered the cost of a decent £200 wig.

The wigs are great many people didn’t even know that I’d lost my hair! Hope that you find a wig that you are happy with,



The process for getting an NHS wig seems to vary from area to area. I was referred to a specific shop (Raoul, Paddington)to get mine. The lady there was very helpful and I have one from the Sentoo range. There didn’t seem to be a price consideration.

I was upset about losing my hair but the wig has been brilliant and I have had lots of compliments about how nice my hair is looking - from people who knew I’d had chemo and those who didn’t. My own hair is growing back and my dilemma is about when to give up the wig cos I don’t have any bad hair days right now!

Good luck

Hi Sandrae,

Just wanted to add to this discussion that I had an NHS wig and I love it.( see my profile pic)

People keep asking how I keep the style, and have I just had it done. One person actually asked me where I had it done as they wanted something similar.

I personally haven’t got a head scarf, I didn’t like the thought of them. I have a couple of hats but feel like a different person in my wig.

PS I didn’t start to loose my hair until 17 days after my 1st chemo, and it was a week to 2 weeks after this before it really started coming out.

Take care of you, luv Jo xoxo

I’m pretty much pleased with my NHS wig. I had it trimmed by the wig fitter to thin it out and shorten the fringe and that made it much better. The colour of it is very near to my own colour. In fact as I have most of my own hair still due to cold cap (but very thin), I pull a bit of my own greying hair out from under the wig in front of my ears for added authenticity!

It was daunting at first to go out with the wig on, but it does get better. Wear it around the house first to get yourself used to seeing it on you.

I have been really pleased with my NHS wig - in fact I’m in the process of buying a third one!

I am one of the unfortunate minority whose hair has not re-grown properly: it is over 18 months since I finished chemo but it is still very sparse and nothing like my former hair ( don’t be put off by this- my experience is unusual, I gather).

Anyway - I bought one wig privately from a specialist wig salon (it cost £200) and unfortunately , though it was fine in the shop, within an hour it was clearly too tight - and quite uncomfortable. I had it stretched but even so it tended to ‘ride up’ and I never felt confident with it, although the style and colour were good …and eventually I donated it to the Wig Bank.

I found the NHS wigs much cheaper (including the second one I ordered through the hospital for which I received a discount without even asking). I have worn my wig(s) continuously out of the house for 18 months, winter and summer and and have not worn hats or bandanas - and my 'hair ’ has been much admired. Those people who I haven’t told really don’t know it’s a wig and those who do, think it really suits me- in fact one or two have said it’s better than my original hair!

dear nanny4,
I thought I would write as I have become a bit of a scarf fanatic during my chemo, as I jiust didn’t feel comfortable in my NHS wig, although it is very good. I have found headscarves really versatile, but the fitted pretied bandanas look terrible on me. I usually wear a little cotton cap under my scarf to give my head more height, and tie it at the side. Have you got as head strong service near you-they are brilliant at showing you different ways to wear a scarf, hats etc, and really helped me to be confident.
Best wishes, nicky


I just went to choose my wig today (starting chemo next Tues). Very friendly lady in Banbury was helpful and the choice was good. I had to pay the first £60 and could then choose a wig up to a cost of £120. They decreased the max level just a couple of weeks ago apparently, but the one I chose was less than that anyway. As my hair is browny/blondish with some grey it was hard to get a reasonable colour match and I’ll have to be brave to go out in this one. I guess if I wear it at home I’ll get used to the ‘new me’! I image I’ll get scarves for normal life and wear the wig for when I go to smartish things/events with strangers. Don’t know yet…

Hi everyone
I am due to go wig shopping next week. Hoping I havent left it too late as had first FEC last thursday. Wig appointment on 11th as taking friend/hairdresser with me. I had a vision of NHS wigs being like the old NHS glasses but it sounds like I have the wrong vision!!Phew! Had to chuckle that I have to pay £3.00 perscription charge, lets hope its a bargin! I live in north Scotland so hoping they arent behind when it comes to wigs!!

Postcode lottery or what??!!

seems that way with all our treatment!

Decided not to go for the wig options, so far, the “trendy” hats/caps have done the trick, it’s surprising that after the mass drop out bang on" textbook day 20/21" and having a big weep last week at the terror of it falling out like that I have come round to looking the way it is. So have the boys, in fact, comment of the day from no.2 son was “you look ok from the front mummy!” LOL
If I could turn back the clock I would probably shave it off before it dropped out, but because I am still going with the cold cap, I didn’t think it would be so quick and so sudden.
I am sure northern Scotland moves with the times, you will definitely need good cover for your head, it’s amazing how chilly it gets, even here in sunny Swindon, I wear a beanie at night now, very romantic indeed!xxxTina

The downside of wearing hats, bandanas etc, especially in the warmer weather ( when it eventually arrives) is that they do tend to broadcast that you are having chemotherapy - which may be OK with you - but wasn’t for me.
It’s no shame to have cancer but for me it was something that was for me to tell people if I chose to- rather than for them to see my diagnosis written on my head!
If you are young it’s maybe different & you can wear your cap, hat, scarf etc as a fashion statement but I have to say that if you are bald underneath your hat etc, it usually looks as if you are bald. It just wasn’t the look for me. - it’s a personal choice isn’t it?

I was dignosed 2008 and my PCT paid £200 towards a wig from a fantastic wig shop in Plymouth. If you want something really fancy you can pay the extra yourself. I got a lovely wig and just had to pay an extra £2.28! People thought it was my own hair as I was able to get a really good colour match and more or less my usual style. My sister wanted me to get a long red curly one but I thought that would be carrying it a bit too far. Finished chemo in June 2008 but my hair is still very thin, it looks fine from the front but I am a real baldy from the back. I am keeping it short as it doesn’t look quite so bad the only thing is I have to wear a hat in the sun as my head burns really easily.
Best wishes

Absolutely, personal choice is the key, everyone has to deal with their situation as they feel comfortable and able to do so within the context of their personal circumstances. We have very little control left within the parameters of our treatment plans so what we chose to do in respect of telling people & how we present ourselves to the rest of the world gives a little control back in what are challenging times!