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Topic: Expert Tips on Wigs and Hair Loss: Community Q&A

Forum: Chemotherapy - Before, During, and After —

Regimens, side effects, and support from others going through chemo.

Posted on: Sep 27, 2018 01:00PM - edited Oct 1, 2018 10:20AM by Moderators

Moderators wrote:

Expert Tips on Wigs and Hair Loss: Community Q&A
Wigs are a hot topic in the Community at Breastcancer.org, especially in our Chemotherapy forum. Many people diagnosed with breast cancer who experience hair loss from chemotherapy find wearing a wig to be the best solution for them. But for many, wearing a wig is a brand new experience, so they have lots of questions.

To help answer some specific questions about choosing, wearing, and styling wigs, we spoke with wig expert and advocate, Carliz Sotelo Teague, founder of Wigs.com. Below, she answers real questions (edited for clarity) from our Community members who are experiencing or concerned about hair loss from breast cancer treatment.

And share comments or additional questions here!

Read the Q&A here.

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Oct 6, 2018 10:25PM - edited Oct 6, 2018 10:33PM by DaynaLayna

I have a friend who colors wigs for a living. She got me an 18" human hair wig and I wore it maybe 5 times. I figured out how to make it fit, you have to mild it like a baseball cap brim in the front. It was HOT! My head was always sweaty and the few times I went out with it on, in cold weather I ended up in the bathrooms for a head 'breather'.

I found long cotton caps that I preferred. I also decided everyone who visited me at home would see my head naked.

My hair started fall out after my second AC and started to grow back after 1/3 of taxol chemo (had 12 weekly). BUT my eyebrows and nose hair fell out. It's really weird to lose nose hair. Allergy and colds we're like waterfalls. Keep tissues close.

My hair is growing back great! I refuse to cut it! I'm letting it grow in naturally until it's as long as I want it to be.

I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOT CUT YOUR HAIR UNTIL YOUR HAIR IS LONG ENOUGH TO CUT.

Right now I don't want my hair any shorter than it is so I'm not touching it. My friends say I should shape it up or cut it, even color it to make it look better. I haven't done that. It's delicate, there are new follickes growing. If i hurt them they won't be as strong as they could be if i just leave them alone.

Looking back I realize I loved all stages of my hair growth from my first two little sprouts and now I love my little 3/4" pixie.

My wig was too irritating to deal with so I just put it on the self

Enjoy shaving your head! It's exhilarating! Enjoy your bald head- I had everyone rub it for good luck! When your hair starts to grow back, love every hair on your body.


Cancer SUCKS! But the person inside and outside doesn't!!!


I definitely DID NOT feel this positive until now. Hang in there. Eventually it's what happend versus the crap that is happening!!


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Oct 7, 2018 11:46AM Moderators wrote:

DaynaLayna, wow, thanks for sharing all this! This is so inspirational. We welcome you warmly to our community.

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Nov 21, 2018 06:00PM Dornob wrote:

I was not as lucky as far as my hair, eyebrows and eye lashes growing back after my TAXOTERE treatment. My oncologist said it was very rare not having hair grow back but occasionally it has happen. I am one of those rare victims. I am, however, grateful that I am cancer free.

Doreen Nobile
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Dec 9, 2018 10:38PM Gussy wrote:

I was very fortunate in that my favorite wig was extremely close to the hairstyle I had had so that most people didn't realize that I was wearing a wig unless I told them. I often said that it was the hair I always wanted as it was a bit thicker than my own hair and styled easier than mine. My last chemo was the end of Jan. and now in early Dec. I can look in the mirror and think that I'm beginning to look like myself again. I have had my hair cut, colored and styled which has helped me immensely. The only problem that seemed to have occurred is that I developed a sort of cradle cap on my scalp that my hairdresser said was because of the wearing of the wig even though I scrubbed my scalp whenever I showered which was frequently. It has resolved with a detox shampoo and scrubbing. Other than that the wig was a wonderful thing to have but hopefully, I will never need to wear it again.

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Dec 12, 2018 10:40PM Cria wrote:

I did cold capping and had good success with that on my scalp, but lost my brows and lashes shortly after starting AC (after 12 weeks of taxol). I am NOT good at drawing brows on and can't seem to find a pencil/powder that matches my natural brows (my hair is dark blond), so I did a little research and bought a set of eyebrow wigs! The ones I got have a clear flexible acrylic backing with human hair embedded in the backing. I love them and they are so much easier for me to just glue on my face. Noone at my infusion center had seen anything like it before and were very impressed with how real they look from a little distance! They were a little too blond, so I put a little brow powder on them and its close enough. I got mine from headcovers.com, but they are on Amazon and other sites too.

Now if only lashes were as easy....

Dx 5/8/2018, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 5/29/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy TAC
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Jan 15, 2019 11:15PM PennyK wrote:

I was told today that I could use the Dignicap during my chemo sessions and that the estimate is a 70% chance of losing 50% or less of my hair with my type of chemo.The problem is the cosf: $3,000. Most insurance won’t cover it and I don’t qualify for subsidies. I don’t know what choice to make. I have a lot of unpaid medical bills. If I do this and still lose all my hair, I’ll be devastated. Has anyone else been through this decision?

Dx 11/27/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 1/2/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy Chemotherapy Taxol (paclitaxel)
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Jan 16, 2019 09:45PM MLAnne wrote:

As to the hair, I couldn't justify the high cost of cold-capping. A few hundred for a good wig vs a few thousand and no guarantees.

I am only 7 days post first chemo and haven't noticed anything yet. BUT I decided I wasn't going to wait and went out and had a wig fitting today. Insurance isn't going to cover it even though I got a prescription, but I can at least try to get reimbursed through my HSA. I know I probably paid a bit more but I wanted a professional fitting by someone who has been in my shoes. My mom came along and we made a day of it. I go get it next week but I am not expecting to need it til February. The sobering fact my fitter shared, which I hadn't considered, isn't so much that I will lose the hair as it might take 6 months or more before it grows back enough to not look like 'cancer'.

Dx 9/2018, IDC/IDC: Papillary, Left, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 1/9/2019 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 19, 2019 09:37AM PennyK wrote:

I am also getting fitted for a wig on Tuesday. I am still considering the cold cap for the reason you mentioned...it will be over a year before my natural hair is back to its current length (that's if it starts growing right away). I've always believed my hair was one of my best physical attributes. I am a professor, so I am always presenting to either a class or a big group. I want to feel confident, not insecure. I spend close to $200/month on my hair, so that's $1200 I won't spend in the next year. I just don't know what to do.

Dx 11/27/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 1/2/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy Chemotherapy Taxol (paclitaxel)
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Jan 20, 2019 07:09AM Rojsn wrote:

Hi, I will have my first chemo next month February 15th and I would like to know where can I find wig? Is it good idea to buy before starting chemo or not

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Feb 12, 2019 10:20PM Laurencl wrote:

Has anyone tried any of the online wig stores? Interested in feedback. Thank yo

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Feb 27, 2019 04:03PM SamRuns wrote:

@laurencl I went to an in-person shop and bought 2 so I knew 2 brands sizes and colors. I then bought 2 more online using the knowledge i gained from the first 2 I bought from the shop. I used wigoutlet.com . Wig was brand new and arrived faster than the one of the ones I ordered through the shop (the other they already had in stock). That said, the shop experience was KEY. I had a wonderful woman who took her time explaining sizing, all the different types, how to care for it and my scalp etc. She told me to look online once I knew which brands fit.

I also bought a couple of headcoverings from headcovers.com . They allow you to pay with your amazon account so that was convenient.

I love to run! Last marathon 12/9/2018 - with undiagnosed BC Dx 1/14/2019, Left, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 2/4/2019 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 2/4/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 2/4/2019 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 6/26/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Mar 24, 2019 06:58AM justme1964 wrote:

I am finishing my first part of my treatment, I am doing AC&T. I am using a cold cap and so far, I am just shedding and thinning. Of course, there was one area on the back of my hair where it was knotted and I putting the hair out of my head and my hair does cover that area.

my question, going into the taxol part. will the shedding stop and hair start growing back?

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Mar 24, 2019 07:57AM CBK wrote:

I did not cold cap, but my MO told me I would grow on taxol and I did!!😁

I did lose all my brows and lashes on taxol though...and every other hair on my body. But started to grow head hair.

Wow that’s amazing you kept your hair on AC. Very impressive....I didn’t think it was possible.

Best of luck to you.

Dx 3/26/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/11/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/22/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 1/25/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 2/18/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 4/9/2018 Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap, Silicone implant Surgery 9/28/2018 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 4/3/2019 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction, Silicone implant
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Mar 24, 2019 02:02PM - edited Aug 14, 2019 12:21PM by Moderators

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Mar 25, 2019 05:29AM justme1964 wrote:

I am doing everything that is recommended not to put stress on my hair. I lightly wash it air-dry it I have not blow-dried, curling iron, straightener. I basically air dry my hair use detangler leave in conditioner , all chemical free shampoo and conditioners. I wear a silk cap at night. Plus using the cold cap. My insurance covered the cold cap so I said why not try it and so far knock on wood I'm just shedding and thinning. Just one more treatment of the AC then I start my taxol.


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Apr 7, 2019 02:59PM msphil wrote:

hello yes my wig was very close to my style also it was streaked with same color also I gave it away to cancer suite once my hair grew back in. I had my Bff who was a hair stylist cut my hair down very close before the rest started coming out in clumps still was extremely difficult. But thank God I am now a 25yr Survivor this yr. Hope with daily got me thru. Hang in there. msphil idc stage2 0/3 nodes 3mo chemo before and after Lmast then got married was planning when diagnosed then 7wks rads and 5 5yrs on Tamoxifen.

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Apr 13, 2019 12:10PM FrackingHateCancerMPBC wrote:

Hi everyone,

Fracking here. Well my hair is gone. This is my first WIG day. Did anybody mention already the American Cancer Society? I did a search and did not see it on this thread.

American Cancer Society, one free wig a year. Nationwide, all the time. It's one brand new beautiful wig fitted by their wig person, mine called this the funnest part of her job. They NEVER charge for wigs. The wigs are donated by PANTENE I believe. Majority of the wigs are synthetic and I think they have some human hair as well but I don't know. Beautiful wigs, expert fitter.

It was such an easy fix for me, because I know nothing about wigs and had ZERO time to learn with all the treatments and doc appts, surgery prep, acceptance etc..

I highly recommend them. Just call the ACS main line. I don't think the info on the ACS site is up to date. On the site it sounds like they don't have the program, or may have the program but may not etc, but they absolutely do, I just used it. I would have no idea what wig to get ever. I'd do it wrong. They do, as you can imagine, they do it all day, and not for money, so that's just awesome. They had three local ACS wig shops within 30 minutes of my house. I chose the one that was open the most made an appointment, they were super flexible and got that done before my first surgery which was also before CHEMO. Live savers they are for sure in so many ways.

Plastic TNBC (MpBC) | 4 cm | AC one dose halted | Lumpectomy | Neg Nodes | BRCA Neg | Stage 2 | Grade 3 | 16 days Dx to LUMP | Dent Repair & Radiation up next...then we cross our fingers and live WELL for 5 years and to infinity and beyond!
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Apr 15, 2019 08:05AM MountainMia wrote:

Fracking, thanks so much for the update on ACS wigs. What a great and generous resource! I'm still pre-treatment (surgery this week, rads and chemo to be decided afterwards) but am learning what is possible for my year. This is very helpful.

The rain comes and the rain goes, but the mountain remains. I am the mountain.
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May 30, 2019 02:14AM Stephy01 wrote:

Thanks for the FAQs, I will surely pass it to my aunt who is going through a tough time due to hair loss. She is still getting used to the wig that we got her

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May 30, 2019 06:45AM DogMomRunner wrote:

Thanks Fracking! I have yet to find a wig that is similar to my hair anywhere. I think I would rather use hats then show up with a totally obvious wig. But I probably should have one at least for work

You ain't run far enough to say My legs have failed You ain't gone far enough You ain't worked hard enough You ain't run far enough to say It ain't gonna get any better. Nathaniel Rateliff Dx 4/24/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/8 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 5/17/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Targeted Therapy 6/6/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/6/2019 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 9/22/2019 Whole-breast: Breast
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Jun 7, 2019 11:05PM Sdcf346 wrote:

I know what you mean, I was wearing wigs too for a while but noticed my hair was not growing like it did prior to undergoing chemo. I couldn't hardly find anything to help prevent hair loss from the Chemo, it wreaked havoc on my body. After the fact, I have found success with this hair growth oil. I normally don't buy them but this lady makes a hair growth oil for her daughter so it's all natural. And boy has it helped my hair grow in places it's never filled in before. Finally my hair is growing like it used to before chemo. I think it was called Adorani organbut you'd have to look it up on Etsy.

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Jun 13, 2019 03:16AM Abbidoodle wrote:

One week out from 1st chemo treatment. I have purchased a few pre-tied scarves so when it starts to come out I can shave it and have something to cover it. Not ruling out a wig, but with a hot Carolina summer and my natural tendency for my head to sweat, decided to wait for now. Anyone have any advice on good but not too pricey head coverings? So far I've purchased some from Amazon. Any info/tips would be welcome. Thank you.

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Jun 13, 2019 08:39AM DebAL wrote:

abbi, I purchased from headcovers.com . Some are really soft and look nice. I hope you are feeling well

Dx 1/22/2018, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/12/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 2/12/2018 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 4/2/2018 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 6/14/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 8/9/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 12/20/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Surgery
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Jun 13, 2019 04:46PM DogMomRunner wrote:

Abbidoodle- I'm in NC and I know what you mean. Luckily NC is a little less humid than GA, where I used to live. I've gotten headcovers beanies and headbands. TLC (Google TLC and hats) also has some. On Amazon you can find some. Search for beanies and hats for cancer patients

You ain't run far enough to say My legs have failed You ain't gone far enough You ain't worked hard enough You ain't run far enough to say It ain't gonna get any better. Nathaniel Rateliff Dx 4/24/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/8 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 5/17/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Targeted Therapy 6/6/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/6/2019 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 9/22/2019 Whole-breast: Breast
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Jun 13, 2019 05:46PM MountainMia wrote:

I bought several things at headcovers.com and rather wish I hadn't. Two of them are pre-tied scarves and they are much too small, total waste of money. One scarf is not the color I thought it was. I like the feel of the fabric but don't like the color.

This is not to bash the company. My real point is, better to not spend a ton of money on scarves, hats, or other covers until you're more sure of what you want.

The things I'll probably use most are ones I bought cheaply. I got a few scarves at a local consignment store, at less than $2 each. I bought a new ball cap at Walmart for a few dollars.


The rain comes and the rain goes, but the mountain remains. I am the mountain.
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Jun 15, 2019 04:59AM Abbidoodle wrote:

Thanks for all if your replies. It's funny how the hair thing has been what I've been so focused on until last night and today (a week after 1st treatment) when I started having throbbing shooting pains in my lower back, sternum and headache, due to the Nulasta. I was told to take the Claritin for 5 days after therapy. I had no pain at that time, but due to the steroids now easing off, the pain has started. So today the hair is the least of my worries. I've taken Claritin, but if it is helping, I sure can't tell. Wish docs/ nurses don't put time frames on the symptoms, as my symptoms haven't showed up when predicted. Now I know that the most common side effects have their own time period and not to have expectations of when something might happen. This experience truly is about taking one day at a time!

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Jun 25, 2019 02:21PM Margun wrote:

I lost my hair during Ac. I had my 7th taxol and I noticed some hair on my head. That means it is coming back and will grow with the same rate as usual. I would like to know when I colour my hair without damaging it

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Jun 27, 2019 01:21PM christibcs wrote:

I read about the cooling caps and saw there were some women who kept all of their hair. But I also read there is some rare and very small chance of getting scalp cancer if it is protected by ice during chemo treatment. I had a migraine IceKap that I used occasionally, throughout my chemo treatment, and a bit beyond it while the chemo was still in my body. I was fearful of damage so I only wore it for a few minutes each time I decided to put it on for each day of chemo.

I also turned on the cold water at the end of showering to push the blood away from my scalp. My oncologist had told me, for treatment for my numbness (neuropathy) in my hands to use cold water after washing in warm to push the blood away (hence, chemo), so I used the same logic for my head. The neuropathy in my hands is still there, but I'm starting to feel a difference now. It is slowly dissipating.

I also bought natural shampoo and conditioner with biotin.

I was taking a B-complex with biotin as well.

And, I was trying to focus on foods that enrich hair growth and health.

After chemo, I started using a 6-week hair growth treatment I purchased at my salon. I checked with my oncologist first. I ran any new chemical or supplement past him first. I still do.

I did not lose all of my hair. I have no idea why, but maybe what I did above helped. I had 3 patches that fell out and some thinning, but a lot did stay put. I had gone to the salon when it began to fall out and my stylist convinced me not to shave it all off, but to start with a short haircut style, like a pixie, which I did. I was so glad I did after all because I did not lose it all. Long hair is heavier and will fall out easier, I think. I was careful as others have stated in gently washing and handling it. Since it was cut short, I didn't have to worry about drying it. It dried in minutes!

My stylist also suggested I get a wig with bangs due to eyebrow loss. Another good tip. I did not lose all of my eyebrows or all of my eyelashes either. I had to bring my wig into the salon to trim the bangs a bit, too. It was odd. He put it on a mannequin and then I kept trying it on. It was hard for him to work on it when it was on my head.

I always wore scarves to the hospital (I just thought they might be more sanitary versus a wig - I was really paranoid about germs) - and it did not interfere with my port infusions. But, I did buy a cute wig and had been wearing it every day when I left the house otherwise (until today). I tried to match my hair color and went with a classic style that wouldn't change the way I looked too much with bangs for my eyebrows as mentioned above. I went to a local shop to buy it because I was clueless and the lady who owned the small shop helped me a lot in deciding which one and in the care of the wig. It took me a while to get used to.

In fact, today is the day I decided to stop wearing it. It is summer time and my hair has grown in enough where the patches were, and I am feeling more comfortable.

Like others have mentioned, check with the American Cancer Society or other charitable organizations. You can find wig outlets in your local area through some of those websites. Some state that they cater to or only to cancer patients. Your hospital or breast clinic resource center should have some for loan or know where you can do that, or where you can buy wigs with discounts. My shop specialized in cancer patients which made me more comfortable to visit. They were very nice and understood privacy issues. The owner had gone though breast cancer treatment so she knew the ins and outs of wearing a wig.

I bought a wig band to try to help the wig stay put at first, but in the end the band bothered me too much, so I went with hair pins as I still had some hair underneath to pin it to. I found some long curved ones online that fit the shape of my head.

As I was told, have fun with the wig! Just choose one you feel comfortable and confident in.

DX 24 AUG 2018 Right Breast (E+/P+ HER2+ 3/3 aggressive) Surgery 30 OCT 2018 Chemo Taxol 14 DEC 2018 Targeted Herceptin Radiation 27 MAR 2019

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