Hair loss is a common side-effect of cancer treatment. Some women may lose all their hair, while others might experience thinning, or no hair loss at all. Talk with your doctor about what you can expect. Please know that hair loss caused by cancer treatment is almost always temporary – your hair should grow back when treatments are over.
Choosing a wig
Wigs come in a variety of ready-made and custom-made styles and colours. They are also made out of different materials: synthetic, human hair or a blend of both. Health insurance may pay for a wig if your doctor prescribes it as a medical prosthesis. Speak with your wig consultant about how to lodge this appropriately. These pointers may help you in your decision:
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 blow dryers, hair straighteners, curling irons and heat from ovens, barbeques and steam from dishwashers.
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.
Turbans and scarves
There are hundreds of ways to style your headwear to achieve comfortable, practical and even 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 woolen blends and opt for bright and bold colours.
Looping & Coiling
Start by folding a large square scarf diagonally, and drape it low over your forehead.
To loop: Bring the ends to the back and finish by tying the ends in a loose bow. You can move this out towards either side of your face to create greater interest.
To coil: Cross the ends over, ensuring one side is longer. Twist the longer end until you’ve created a braid-like strand. Pull it up around the top of your head like a headband and tie it firmly down with the other end at the bottom.
1. Start by folding a large square scarf diagonally, and drape it low over your forehead. Tie it slightly to one side, leaving the ends long.
2. Tightly intertwine the ends to form a coil and start wrapping them, one end at a time, around in a small circular motion until the 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 or use a tubular piece of fabric.
1. Centre the wrap on your forehead at the hairline and over your ears.
2. At the back of your head, hold each side of the tube and create a figure eight. You can do this by crossing the fabric in the right hand over the left.
3. With 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.
4. The final result will look like a cotton turban with a matching headband going around the head.
Note: T-shirt wraps may also be accented by adding fringes.
Even if you’ve never been a hat person, you’re sure to find a favourite. 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.
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.