Hair loss is a common side-effect of cancer treatment and is mostly temporary. Some women may lose all their hair, while others might experience thinning or no hair loss at all.
You should speak with your health professional about what you can expect in line with your treatment.
Choosing a wig
Wigs come in a variety of styles and colours and can be made using synthetic or human hair – or a blend of both.
These tips might help to inform your decision when shopping for a wig;
Synthetic hair wigs and blends
Pros: they look like human hair; easy to care for; lightweight and comfortable to wear; available in a variety of colours and styles; not as costly as human hair wigs.
Cons: easily damaged by heat and steam, including heat from blow dryers, hair straighteners, curling irons, ovens and barbeques, and steam from dishwashers
Human hair wigs
Pros: feel natural; durable and long-lasting; can be styled using hair dryers, hair straighteners, curling irons, etc.
Cons: can be quite expensive; they require more care than synthetic wigs in terms of washing, conditioning and styling.
If you have private health insurance, you may be entitled to a reimbursement for the cost of your wig as it is considered a “medical prosthesis”.
Speak to your health fund to determine your eligibility and for information on how to lodge the claim correctly.
Turbans and scarves
There are hundreds of ways to style your headwear to achieve comfortable, practical and fashionable looks. Turbans can be worn day or night, offering the scalp maximum protection. They can also be used as a base, layered with soft scarves, pins, fringes and other accessories. Experiment with various fabrics like silk, cotton, bamboo or woollen blends and opt for bright and bold colours.
Start by folding a large square scarf diagonally so it forms a triangle, and drape the straight edge low over your forehead.
To loop: Bring the ends to the nape of your neck and finish by tying the ends in a loose bow. You can rotate the bow towards either side of your face to change the look.
To coil: Ensure the scarf is longer on one side, then cross the ends over. Twist the longer end until you’ve created a braid-like strand. Pull it over the top of your head like a headband and tie it firmly in place with the other end at the nape of the neck.
1. Start by folding a large square scarf diagonally so it forms a triangle, and drape the straight edge low over your forehead. Tie the ends of the scarf to one side of the face, leaving the ends to drape.
2. Tightly twist the ends together to form a braid like strand, then coil the strand around on itself in a circular motion until a rosette is formed. Tuck any loose ends in.
The T-shirt wrap
The t-shirt wrap looks like a cotton turban with a matching headband around your head. This is an inexpensive and casual option. You can either cut straight across a t-shirt from just under the sleeves or use a tubular piece of stretchy fabric.
- Centre the wrap on your forehead at the hairline and over your ears.
- At the back of your head, hold each side of the tube and create a figure eight by crossing the fabric in the right hand over the left.
- With the fabric crossed, twist the fabric upward, and pull the lower half of the figure eight from the back of your head to the front. This creates a halo or headband effect. Tuck any extra fabric under the twisted band.
- The final result will look like a cotton turban with a matching headband wrapping around the head.
Note: T-shirt wraps may also be accented by adding fringes.
Look for hats made from natural fibres like cotton, linen, wool and silk- or at least make sure the lining is. Opt for hats with a wide brim and a gusset that sits firmly around the nape of your neck to ensure maximum sun protection.
Some hats are sold with an attached hair piece such as a ponytail, bob, or fringe. You can also create your own look by wearing a hat over a wig, scarf, or turban. Make sure the hat you choose fits snuggly and provides total coverage of your hairline.