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post chemo hair - what to do

mariam_11_09's picture
Posts: 695
Joined: Nov 2009

Another topic on hair. Here is mine -

My hair is growing in very quickly 3 inches since the end of august 2010. It first came in light brown and whitish and also straight. It was very fuzzy, then my hair started coming in its natural color - very dark brown/black with some grey and started curling. I am not really liking the way my hair looks and am not sure what to do about it - cut it short or just hold out until it grows some more. I did have very long hair pre-chemo and many people told me I had a great head for short (or no) hair. So I guess I can wear it anyway I want.

Anway I have a couple of questions -
1.If I cut my hair super short again is it likely to grow back curly? I mean if I cut the curls are they likely to be gone for good?
2.If I cut the white tips am I likely not have white tips again? I am considering dyeing my hair with natural henna and don't want flamming orange tips.

I really understand that everyone is different but am curious to get some ideas of what happened for others or suggestions. I am not that hair savvy.

Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

The color and curls come from the roots...So cutting it really doesn't help....I am 21 months out from chemo...had my 6th hair cut last month...my hair came in at first rather straight and the top and sides VERY salt and pepper with the back my natural dark brown....I colored it when it was about an inch, inch and a half...I used a semi permanent hair color, called Natural Instincts.... as it continued to grow boy did it get CURLY!!!!! I mean curly!..it was the easiest to care for...just wash and go curls! But the longer it got the more unruly it became....I finally had it cut...now after 6 haircuts some of the curl is still present...I wear my hair fairly short...the guy who has done my hair for 19 years, thinks the slight curling is going to be with me for a while longer,as again, the color and curls come from the roots...
My oncologist said it can take as long as two years for the hair to return to it's somewhat former self....So be patient, and hooray for hair again!

new2me's picture
Posts: 177
Joined: Jun 2010

My hair is 2 1/4 inches long. very thick and curly. When I had 5 months growth I colored my hair because it came in salt & pepper gray and I hated how i looked. The products they used were very mild so it wouldn't harm my hair. I won't go near scissors - I'm just letting it grow. If I don't put something in my hair to tame it, it will friz horribly. This isn't my ideal style or anything but I'm just glad to have hair. I too had long hair so this short hair is unfamiliar to me but I love the convience of it. :)

Cat64's picture
Posts: 1192
Joined: Aug 2009

battling with that very same question! I had long, thin, straight light brown/sun red hair before Chemo. Now I have short, thick, wavy/curly dark hair. I always wanted curly when it was straight, but now that I have it, I have no clue what to do with it! My daughter talked me into getting it trimmed and well....now I have wings sticking out on the sides and I think the rest just became curlier. Then she had the idea of using a straightener on it. It worked really well, but the look was not me! Even Hubby said go back to the curly! I've decided to just let it grow and work with whatever comes along in the meantime. Not having hair for so long made me appreciate what I do have now even more. I hope you find the solution to your hair dilemma.
♥ Cat

Posts: 311
Joined: Jan 2010

I am 13 months post chemo and have had numerous haircuts and have very curly hair as my grow back. Everyone likes it, and I get a lot of compliments but I think I get tired of it because I have no choice in having curly hair. My hairdresser also told me that it will probably stay curly a long time to come. I am grateful to have hair again and it is easy to care for. Best wishes.

carkris's picture
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

16 months post chemo I have had about 4 trims to get my hair to grow out evenly. used to have stick straight hair, now curly. It sure is convenient I just wash and go. I use frizz shampoo and conditioner from sephora and morrocan oil, Just a small amount and then fluff my hair and go. I will miss the curls when they go. My hair came in very dark so I color it blond.

Lynn Smith
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mar 2011

I didn't need chemo but my hair is thinning from tamoxifin.It was thin and long before but now slightly thinner.I found a shampoo that works great for me.It adds body and really works.Still though I do need to roll my hair to get the curls.Never had natural curly hair but hear so many have it after chemo.I wanted curls IF I would've needed chemo but fine with it all now.

The shampoo that is adding body to my hair is Herbal Essence.It is a voluminizing shampoo.If I didn't have this shampoo and my small rollers it would be very straight,thin and lifeless.

Lynn Smith

skipper54's picture
Posts: 936
Joined: Feb 2011

I finished chemo the day before Thanksgiving and was already getting some hair back. By Christmas I was going "hatless" and have now had my hair trimmed once, getting ready for the second trim. It was always stick straight but is now wavy. I don't know what to do with it! The color is about the same and it was always thick - neither of those things has changed. My blond and red hightlights aren't back yet though. I'm stuggling to deal with the waves as they are absolutely uncontrollable and my hair has always been "the way it dries is the way it stays" so I have to be very careful to deal with it as soon as I get out of the shower. Several women I have talked to said that the curls go away or at least relax in about a year to 18 months and then they were back to pre-cheom hair. Since we're all so different I guess I'll have to wait and see. I wish I had answers for you but I too am dealing with issues - my double crown can give me "devil horns" if I'm not careful. Any advice from anyone would be welcomed!

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

For those of you dealing with curls for the first time I recommend a book called Curly Girls. I got it for my daughter, for 10 years we struggled with her extremely thick extremely curly hair. She hated her hair and it was very hard to deal with. Then a friend told us about the book.

Curly Girls has a method for handling all kinds of curls...from wavy to ringlets to tiny kinky hair (my daughters)...even chemo curls and guy curls. The book also includes recipes for stuff you can make at home. The woman who wrote it has curls herself, and a salon in NYC that focuses on curly hair.

Please give it a try...it worked for us so well that my daughter doesn't even want me to touch her hair any more.



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