What are my options?

There are many ways to cover up hair loss. Hats, scarves and turbans are popular options for men and women.

  • Hats - there are many styles to choose from.
  • Scarves - versatile with many colour and fabric options. Lightweight materials such as cotton are best.
  • Turbans - easy to wear and widely available.
  • Wigs - you can continue with a familiar style or try something new.

Some hats, headbands or bandanas have optional fringe or hair attachments. If you still have some hair, changing your hairstyle can help cover up hair loss. Specialist hairdressers like TONI&GUY and mynewhair can offer advice. Extensions and hairpieces can also help to thicken hair.

Surgery to replace hair (hair transplant) might be an option if your hair loss is permanent. The Institute of Trichologists has a list of qualified cosmetic surgeons.

You may not want to wear anything on your head. Accessories, clothing and make up can express your style and draw attention away from the hair loss.

Options for people with hair loss

There are several practical ways to cope with hair loss. They don’t make the problem disappear, but can make life a bit easier for you during this difficult time. This is a personal choice for you to make.

Some hospitals have staff who can show you how to wear different types of headwear and give you ideas and tips. You can ask your nurses whether there is anyone who can do this for you. You could also ask a professional hairdresser for advice.

Some hospitals run hair and beauty programmes for people affected by cancer. Your nurses should be able to tell you if your hospital has such a programme, or if not, whether there is one at another nearby hospital.

Most of these programmes are for women, but Look Good Feel Better USA has a website for men affected by cancer. It includes practical tips on coping with hair loss.


Many people choose to wear a wig as they want to appear as normal as possible. You may not want people other than close family and friends to know you have cancer. Wearing a wig allows you to continue with a style you are familiar with. Alternatively, it gives you the chance to try out different styles. If you have only partial hair loss, there are also half wigs and three-quarter wigs that may be suitable for you. We have more information about choosing a wig and wearing your wig.


Hats are a popular option for both men and women and come in hundreds of different shapes, styles and colours. They are common fashion accessories and are both practical – keeping your head warm – and attractive.

Department stores usually have a good selection and there are also specialist hat shops. Try on a range of different styles and you’ll probably find one that suits you and feels comfortable.

Scarves and bandanas

Scarves are another option. They are available in a wide variety of colours and materials, and are light and easy to wear. Cotton, lightweight wool or blends are the best fabrics to use – satin-type materials tend to slide off the head too easily. Scarves from the suppliers listed in our organisations database usually have instructions and suggestions on how to tie them.

My husband shaved my hair off. It was quite liberating and I’ve enjoyed playing around with scarves, trendy hats and skull caps.

Rowann, affected by hair loss


Turbans are available in a range of materials such as velvet, silk, cotton and towelling. They are popular and comfortable to wear, especially in hot weather. They are available at some chemists, department stores or specialist wig shops, and from some of the suppliers listed on our organisations database.

Hair accessories and replacements

If you normally have a fringe, you can get one on a Velcro® band from some wig suppliers. Some suppliers also make turbans and scarves with optional fringes or headbands with hair attached.

Hats, headbands or bandanas with attached hair can be ordered from some of the organisations listed on our organisation database.

Hair pieces and clip-in hair can be used to thicken thin hair or to cover up small areas of hair loss, for example from radiotherapy. They are only suitable for you if you have some hair remaining. They may be attached using glues, clips or double-sided tape.

Extensions, weaves and any plaiting or bonding systems should be avoided as this will put extra tension on the remaining hair. This will disrupt the natural hair growth and could cause more hair loss.

Any hair pieces and clips should be removed before sleeping to avoid damage to your natural hair.

Change in hair style

If you have not lost all your hair, you may find that a change in hairstyle helps to cover up the hair loss. There are specialist hairdressers, TONI&GUY or mynewhair, who can advise on a change of style which is most suitable for your situation. Working in partnership with Macmillan, they provide access to salon professionals who are specially trained in the effects of cancer treatment on hair and can advise on hair loss, wigs and re-growth.

Hair transplants

Surgery to replace hair is only suitable if you have permanent hair loss, for example after radiotherapy. A hair transplant surgeon will take hair from a part of your head to cover the area of hair loss. The surgeon will test a small area first, to see if the hair takes well. Hair transplant techniques have greatly improved over recent years and the result can be very natural looking hair. However, this procedure is not suitable for everyone and it is important that you consult a specialist surgeon if you are considering this option. Contact the Institute of Trichologists for a members list of qualified cosmetic surgeons.

Proud to be bald

You may prefer not to wear anything on your head. Some people find ways to express their individual style and draw attention away from hair loss. It’s important to do what feels right for you.

Practical tips to draw attention away from your hair loss

You may find it difficult if it feels like your wig or other headwear is the first thing people look at or comment on. But there are things you can do that may help draw people’s attention away from your hair loss.

  • Wear brightly coloured shirts, sweaters, tops, ties or neck scarves to draw attention away from your hair loss.
  • Try wearing a little extra make-up around your eyes, cheekbones or lips to direct attention to your face.
  • Wear glasses – this can be very helpful if you have lost your eyebrows and eyelashes.
  • Wear jewellery – necklaces and chains emphasise your neckline, while earrings look good with hats and scarves.

Some hospitals and support groups run programmes such as Look Good Feel Better or HeadStrong that give expert advice on make-up and skincare (usually for women). Your nurses can let you know if there is a programme like this in your hospital or at a nearby support group.

At first, you may feel reluctant to go out and carry on with your social life. But hopefully, as you spend more time with other people, your confidence will grow and help you cope with the situation.

Back to Dealing with hair loss


Wigs and hairpieces can help you cope with hair loss. There are lots of types of wigs and hairpieces available.

Tips for wearing your wig

Lots of people worry about wearing a wig. There are ways to make sure the wig stays in place and to keep you comfortable

Hair experts

TONI & GUY and mynewhair salons provide specialist hair care and advice for people affected by cancer.