As your hair grows back
When your hair first grows back you may find it’s curlier or finer than it was before and it may be a different colour. Gradually your hair will become thicker and as soon as it’s long enough to style, you may no longer want to wear a wig or head covering.
Having your hair styled by a hairdresser who knows you and understands your situation can be very helpful. Often people who were used to long hair find that a shorter style suits them. Your hairdresser can help you choose a style that suits you.
If you’re concerned about your hair growth after treatment, speak to your doctor or nurse.
As your hair grows back, you can use a shampoo and styling products that suits you and your hair/scalp condition. Most shampoos and styling products can be used on a regular daily basis without any problems. But, if you notice that your scalp becomes irritated or the condition of your hair changes, seek professional advice.
Tinting, colouring and perming
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Once your hair is about 3 inches (7.5cm) long, and your scalp is in a healthy condition, you can have it tinted or permed. It’s always best to seek professional advice when you have your hair tinted, chemically straightened or permed after radiotherapy or chemotherapy. A professional hairdresser can check that any colours, perms or tints used on your hair will not damage it or cause an allergic reaction. They can also advise you about how to care for your hair after colouring or perming it.
You shouldn't use any chemicals such as perms or tints on your hair without seeking professional advice if your:
scalp is scaly, sore or irritated
hair is drier than usual
hair is very rough to the touch
hair is lighter in colour than it was before your treatment
hair appears to be breaking or not growing normally.
If you want to colour your own hair, ask your hairdresser for advice. Many products that claim to be natural actually contain chemicals that may occasionally cause an allergic reaction.
If you use a henna product, the colour the henna produces may be more intense after chemotherapy treatment.
To make sure that colours will not damage your hair and that you won’t have a reaction to them, always try the colour on a small, hidden area of hair and scalp 48 hours before applying it to the rest of your hair. You should do this even if you have used the same product before. If you don’t experience any increased sensitivity or problems with the colour test within 48 hours, it’s safe to apply it to the rest of your hair.
Hair extensions can thicken fine or wispy hair and can be clipped on to your own hair. However, they can cause damage, even to healthy hair, so aren't suitable for weak or thin hair. Hair extensions are not available on the NHS.