The tips in this section are suitable for all hair types. If your hair is dry or brittle during or after your cancer treatment, the following information could help. The tips are especially helpful for curly or Afro-Caribbean hair, which naturally gets damaged more easily.
Tips for washing your hair
- Wash your hair at least once every two days. Leaving a longer time between washes will not prevent hair loss. Not washing your hair may cause problems as any hair you lose can build up on your head and tangle.
- Only use gentle hair products and non-medicated shampoo. Special products are available for Afro-Caribbean hair and other hair types.
- If you are having radiotherapy to your head, check with the radiotherapy staff if you can use shampoo and ask which type is best.
- When washing your hair, only put conditioner on the middle lengths and ends of the hair in small sections.
Drying and styling your hair
- When drying your hair with a towel, don’t rub hard.
- Use a brush with wide-spaced prongs or a wide-toothed comb. Full-bristle brushes will pull your hair. Use a wide-toothed comb when your hair is wet, as combs cause less damage than brushes. Start combing from the ends to reduce tangles.
- Avoid too much heat from hairdryers or heated rollers. These can dry the hair and make it break. Put hairdryers on a low heat and hold at least 15cm (6in) away from the hair. Try to leave your hair damp, as moisture is important for your hair’s health.
- Avoid using hair straighteners during treatment, as these may damage fragile hair.
- Avoid wearing your hair in a tight band, as this can damage and break it. If you plait your hair, plait it gently.
- Avoid perming, colouring or chemically relaxing your hair, as this can make it even more dry and brittle. We have more tips on colouring, perming or relaxing your hair after treatment has finished.
- At night, wear a hair net, soft cap or turban to stop your hair becoming tangled and to collect any loose hair.