Hair care during cold capping is a so important and a great way of helping to ensure the best possible outcomes, but it is just as important to ensure that you look after your hair once you finish chemotherapy too.
There is some guidance you can follow, which will make sure you are doing the best you can for your hair. People do get very anxious that they are going to do something that will cause all their hair to fall out – this is incredibly unlikely! Hair care is there to support the hard work you have done with the cold cap, and to ensure the hair you have retained continues to be in the best condition possible as you begin to transition back to your more normal haircare regime. There are no hard and fast rules, but below is some simple advice that will set you down the right path.
COLD CAP HAIR CARE – The Post Treatment Guide
Shedding can continue for some time – don’t expect the shedding to stop on the final day of your chemo. It can take a while for the drugs to work their way out of your body, and many people will continue to shed for a number of weeks. If you are getting past the two-month mark, it might be worth speaking to your doctor, as additional factors (such as low haemoglobin/anaemia) can cause hair loss.
Regrowth is stronger, faster and healthier with the cold cap – you have done everything you could to ensure the best possible regrowth. Depending on the drug regimen, some people will see regrowth before the end of their chemo, for others it can take a little while. But it does come. There will be fluffy new hairs sprouting before you know it. And it is pretty common to see shedding and regrowth at the same time.
Losing brows and lashes post chemo – this is really common. They hold on throughout chemo and then when you’ve finally finished they all drop out. Cruel beyond belief! The good news is that they tend to grow back very quickly, but be aware that losing brows and lashes is a possibility.
Don’t make a snap decision and cut your hair off – lots of people get through scalp cooling then feel like they can’t handle a combination of patchy hair loss, retained hair and regrowth. But try to be patient for a little while before going for a style change you don’t really want. You’d be amazed how quickly hair can grow back in and what all of a sudden works as a style option again. A bob may be possible rather than a pixie crop etc.
What’s normal shedding?! – after focusing on your hair so intensely, it can be easy to forget what ‘normal’ shedding looks like. The average healthy person will lose around 100 hairs a day, which is quite a lot really. There may not be a lightning bolt moment where you realise your hair has suddenly stops shedding, but you may get to a point where you just don’t notice it so much, which means you are probably back to your normal.
Return to your normal hair care routine once shedding stops – once you reach normal shedding you can go back to more frequent washing, standard products and use heat styling tools again. Just be gentle and go carefully, as your scalp may still be sensitive. You should also be mindful that your hair may now be much drier and more fragile than it was before chemo, which may mean you need different products than those you used before. If your hair is really dry you should avoid straighteners and curling tongs until your hair is in better condition.
Any retained hair is often very dry – it’s time to start focusing on improving the condition of your hair. Try masks, deep conditioning treatments or oils. Give it some love! You may also see an improvement if you get a trim to remove any really damaged hair. Hang on in there, it will get better.
Be careful when it comes to dying your hair – a lot of people are desperate to get rid of roots or greys, but you may want to take your time. You certainly shouldn’t be dying your hair before shedding returns to normal and ideally you would be waiting another couple of months after that. If you do decide to take the plunge, please follow the advice of an experienced hairdresser. They will be able to tell you if your hair is in good enough condition, and it is imperative that they patch test ahead of time.
Extensions, toppers and halo wigs – there’s plenty of ways to hide patchy hair loss or overall thinning while your regrowth reaches a more disguisable length. Clip in wigs and hair pieces can be great, just be careful that they aren’t damaging delicate new regrowth or fragile retained hair. The same goes for any kind of extensions, you may need to wait until your regrowth is 2 to 3 inches long before extensions are a viable option.
Most importantly, enjoy! You’ve made it to the other side of scalp cooling, so celebrate your hard-won hair.
You can download our post treatment haircare guide here
Hello thanks for all the info. Can you use all natural No parabens or chemical powder hair color to fill in thin areas after you are finished with chemo?
We don’t recommend using any type of ‘hair dye’ during chemotherapy. Chemo has a really drying effect on your skin and scalp which can make it much more reactive to chemicals. You can use root touch up sprays, please use them sparingly and patch test.
What should I wear to bed to protect my hair from friction on the pillow?
Is a satin cap like a do rag lhelpful or not?
It is completely down to personal choice and what you find works best for you. Manageability throughout scalp cooling is key, so it’s important to avoid any additional tension at the roots. Lots of people use silk pillowcases and silk sleeping caps, both work well. The principle of using a silk pillowcase or sleeping cap is that the weave of the fabric is much finer, therefore will create less friction on your hair. They are also a good solution to help prevent knots and tangles from occurring when sleeping. If you haven’t already, you may want to check out our blog post on how to look after your hair when sleeping which you may find helpful – https://coldcaphaircare.com/how-to-look-after-your-hair…/. Follow your instincts, you know your hair best. I hope that helps 🙂
If you cool cap and have some hair loss, will it hurt your remaining hair to wear a wig occasionally?
Hi Terrill, you can absolutely wear a wig, all we recommend is that you avoid any tension at the roots. Hope this helps!
I am 5 months post 12 weekly taxol treatments. I have just experienced increased shedding. Is this common? Will all my hair saved by cold capping fall out?
Hi Diane, the likelihood is you’re seeing your hair return to a normal hair cycle. It can often feel as though shedding has increased, however it tends to slow down. Hang on in there.
My mum lost probably 90% of her fine hair even cold capping through all 12 Chemo’s. She has now finished her course of 12 Chemo’s once a week. When should we expect to see her regrowth
It is difficult to say when regrowth will happen, as this can be at different rates for everyone. Your mum can expect shedding to return to a normal rate between 8 – 12 weeks post final chemo, however for some people it can be a little longer.
Please remember, shedding is also normal for everyone, we usually shed around 100 hairs per day.
Rest assured, shedding and regrowth can happen at the same time, so your mum could be experiencing both! Hope this helps.