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Hair coloring

christeleb's picture
Posts: 60
Joined: Apr 2007

Dear friends,

it might sounds trivial for some of you to talk about hair coloring, but I'm having issues with my grey hair. Before chemo I would color my hair every 6 weeks, but I have not done it since June, so my grey hair is now showing. My hair has been thinning and I'm worried that if I buy hair coloring from the store, it might get worse.

Did/Do you color your hair while on chemo? if so what product did/ do you use?



Posts: 56
Joined: Jun 2006

I'd like to know the answer to this one too. Last year while on chemo, I was highlighting my hair. So, half way through, I did put some new highlights in. It was fine. But, the bleach did not touch my scalp, and we were talking color out, not depositing it. I have since decided to go back to my natural darker color, and the gray is popping out. I was told last year that I could color it, but the other day, my Onc.'s assistant said color was a no no, because of it getting on the scalp. Sometimes, chemo can chemically change the composition of the hair, and the color will not turn out true. But, sometimes not, (I'm an ex-hairdresser) So, has anyone colored their hair while on chemo, and what happened? I am tempted to cut a small bit from underneath and do a test strand to see what happenes. I don't like seeing the gray either!! Opinions?


Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

It's not trivial -- nothing is. This is a controversial issue but I continued to colour my hair while I was having treatment. (My hair was also thinning -- and in fact didn't grow much at all while I was having chemo -- so I didn't have to colour often!). I think I used an Oreal product. I don't think colouring makes it thin any faster. I used a "gentle" shampoo and shampooed a little less frequently.....The colouring was important to me, psychologically (I am a born-again redhead -- an important part of my identity!). Good luck to you. Best wishes,

jams67's picture
Posts: 927
Joined: May 2006

The nurse in the chemo lab told me that it could turn my hair green or some weird color so I didn't do it. That being said, I really had to get over being so vain. "I really thought the song was about me." My hair was much more thin, but I still had some and tried to just go on with as much of my normal life as possible. I thought maybe God was just testing me to show me that hair and appearance were not all that important in the big picture. My left eye teared constantly too, which was very annoying. Now that I am through with my chemo my life is semi-normal again. I can color my hair, but can't wear very much eye makeup. I know this didn't help very much. I have heard that some people have had no problem when they color their hair. Maybe someone on the site will have a better answer for you.
Some of the newbies may not have seen this "girl with an attitude" but it being one of my favorites, I'm sending it out again.
Jo Ann


There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the
mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.

"Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today." So she did
and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had
only two hairs on her head.

"H-M-M, " she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle
today." So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she
had only one hair on her head.

"Well," she said, "Today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail."
So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that
there wasn't a single hair on her head.

"YEAH!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"


christeleb's picture
Posts: 60
Joined: Apr 2007

Dear Jo Ann,

I love the girl with attitude story.

The truth is that there are days when I'm OK with my grey hair and others when I can't stand them. I have about 5 more chemos (or about 3 months), so I'm thinking it's really not a long time, and then i'll be able to color my hair again.

I really appreciated the feedback from you and others!


Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2007

Well I dont know much about the hair color thing but if its important to you then its not trivial. jams67 Thanks for an ATTITUDE adjustment!! I needed one. God Bless All, Robin

Posts: 56
Joined: Jun 2006

I feel that I have a good attitude about fighting my cancer. But, at the same time, I still want to take pride in my appearance. It also makes ME feel better about myself if I can look at myself in the mirror and not see the ravages of chemotherapy. It's not for anyone else but me. It's like painting the house....gives you a lift. I did hair for years, my business was making people look their best. It's hard not to want that for myself, especially when I'm not feeling all that great. So, I guess I will do my little experiment and see what color the strand turns...if it's green, then I won't be coloring my hair! :-) And Christele, it's not at all trivial!


vinny3's picture
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

I think that if one is happy with one's appearance it is important. Unhappiness over anything doesn't help. With being gray and bald the hair was the least of my problems. However, I don't especially like looking in the mirror as it shows me how old I am even though I feel like I am in my thirties. So whatever you do to feel better about yourself is important. Some people get wigs for that purpose during chemo.


KierstenRx's picture
Posts: 249
Joined: Nov 2006

I don't think you are being trivial at all. I was wondering the same thing during treatment. I put blonde highlights in my hair about 3 weeks after chemo and did fine. My hair had thinned quite a bit and was very dry so I conditioned every day and deep conditioned once a week. I would think if you are coloring dark and not bleaching you may be ok. I agree with all of you that you have to feel beautiful on the inside, but for me not coloring hair was just another reminder that I was sick. By coloring my hair and going shopping (even though I felt like crap) made me feel just a little bit more like my old self.


Posts: 13
Joined: Sep 2007


I can only echo everyone else that there is no trivial. I have no advice or information on whether it is a good idea or not but I wanted to give my two cents about the small things making a BIG difference!

Also, I love the attitude thing...as a newbie myself, I had not heard that before.


Brigid64's picture
Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 2007

Hi Christele
I am a 43 yo female living in Australia. I had stage III colon cancer. I asked my oncologist if I could colour my hair during chemo and he said if it makes you feel better about yourself and able to cope more with the chemo, then do it. I used a rick auburn L'Oreal creme product and it worked very well. It didn't turn green! I worked during my chemo so looking as good as I could was important to me. I don't think it made my hair thin much either. But I didn't have any hair loss from my chemo of folfox (5fu & oxil). Good luck with it. As the others said, it's not trivial. Nothing you feel or think during your cancer experience is trivial and there are no 'right' answers. It is what works for YOU. Take care, Brigid. x

crg123's picture
Posts: 80
Joined: Mar 2007

NOT trivial at all! After being a "dark-haired beauty" all my life, I was worried about all those nasty grey roots popping out. I,too was told I could not color my hair because of the ammonia and peroxide. My hair was thinning terribly on FOLFOX. The roots were becoming more visible. I was ready to go and get a wig. Then, a cosmotologist told me about Aveda products. They use no ammonia or peroxide; just plant alkaloids. I used this through chemo, and continue to use it today (less drying). Go to Aveda.com for a description and a studio location near you. Hope this helps! And NEVER stop feeling pretty! It's Sooooooooo important!

christeleb's picture
Posts: 60
Joined: Apr 2007


I have heard about the aveda products before. So I called the aveda institute next to where I live and I have an apt for this saturday!! I'm so excited!!!

Thank you all for your messages.


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