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Advice on wig and other head coverings - when to shop for one?

zsazsa1
Posts: 290
Joined: Oct 2018

I'm starting chemo in 3 days.  My oncologist gave me a scrip for a wig.  I was thinking I wouldn't go shop for one until the hair fell out, but now, reading about how people say that the hair loss is very physically uncomfortable, I'm thinking maybe it's best to do it now.  Any advice on when to shop for a wig?  Advice on other comfortable hair coverings?  I was being so cavalier, saying that I would just wear one of those ski hats with the soft lining and the braids by the ears, but now I'm realizing that if the scalp is very sensitive, it's going to hurt to wear anything that's snug.  But I have a 15 yr old son at home, and I just do NOT want him seeing me looking chemo-sick bald!

derMaus's picture
derMaus
Posts: 552
Joined: Nov 2016

I never did a wig; I knew I wouldn't be able to abide it. I wore those slouchy beanies because they provided a little bulk and the illusion that there was something under my hat besides my patchy skull. I never shaved my head, although I had my shoulder-length hair cut very short before I started chemo. Almost all of it fell out, but not until the end when there were still a few strands hanging on. I looked like Gollum's mother. You can also get a headband with bangs on it, which I used once or twice. Mostly my ears were cold so I kept the beanies on all the time. YOu'll also want a fitted one for when you sleep. Your scalp probably won't be super sensitive once the hair starts falling out, although it'll probably be itchy/tingly/painful for a few days when the hair follicles are dying. 

janaes
Posts: 741
Joined: May 2016

I bought my wig shortly after i knew i was possibly doing chemo. I was angry i had to do chemo. I had done it before an didnt want to do chemo again. But getting a knew wig was a possitive thing for me for the most part. It was the part that motivated me to go forward. I had my sister come. It was fun to pick out the one i liked and try theme on. There was a worker there that put it on for me and styled it. I had to put a few on before i decided what i wanted. I was glad i had it before i started chemo because i wasnt under the chemo drugs so i enjoyed my experience better. And it was just nice to have so i could make the transition to the wig. I would put my wig on here an there before i lost my hair. Infact i was wearing it permenatly before i lost all of my hair.  My har was mostly falling out before my second chemo.

ConnieSW's picture
ConnieSW
Posts: 1415
Joined: Jun 2012

losing your hair will necessarily be uncomfortable. I had absolutely no sensations at all. It just came out. Since I never liked wearing hats, I was surprised that I tolerated a wig well once I got used to it. Because it was summer, I also wore little scarves with padding in the front and jersey knit caps. Both were soft, comfortable and would be good inside during the winter.   Check out American Cancer Society "TLC" web site. 

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2544
Joined: Mar 2013

The wig shop I went to wanted me to come in prior to losing it so they could see my current hair.  If I wanted something that looked like my current color/cut - they could best help.  

For me the wig itched some, but it just got hot.  I would pull it off on my drive home from work and can only imagine what people alongside me were thinking when they looked at my vehicle. 

There are videos out there on how to wrap a t-shirt around your head - and a soft t-shirt felt so good and how I hung out at home.   

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 781
Joined: Feb 2016

i bought 3 wigs. An expensive one that resembled my current hairstyle. And a couple other fun ones. But frankly they always felt like they were riding up in the back. I also got a hat with hair. Frankly I was most comfortable in turbans. 

evolo58
Posts: 293
Joined: Dec 2017

See if your care center has free ones. I got a whole bunch of those, mainly donated by a local department store. They weren't the more-expensive ones you see out there, but they were comfy and washed really well. I even wear the light wool caps now that the weather has cooled. My hair is still pretty short!

I did not like wigs. My care center had free ones, but I have a large head size, and the wigs looked awful! Never got into scarves.

As for the nicer non-free caps, I bought a couple of Headcovers Unlimited caps on Amazon. Soft and comfy.

MAbound
Posts: 829
Joined: Jun 2016

We're going into winter, so a wig is probably more comfortable now than it would be during summer. I only bought one wig that I agree felt like it wanted to ride up in the back. I think that is because they make a little dome on the top to fit your hair in and without hair we want to pull it down more than it's meant to do. I, too, have a big head though.

I wore the wig when I went out to fit in. I didn't want to be seen as a "sick" person or be asked questions I didn't want to answer. The lack of fuss throwing it on and going was a perk. I named it "Cordelia".

I went to get it while I still had hair. It probably would have been easier to try them on without, so you could wait and just take a recent picture of yourself with you.

zsazsa1
Posts: 290
Joined: Oct 2018

Thank you for everyone's input.  I could say you have no idea how wonderful it is to hear from women who have been through this already, but every single one of you DOES know exactly how helpful it is to have advice, feedback, and support from those who are also traveling this difficult road.  I'm grateful.

LisaPizza's picture
LisaPizza
Posts: 207
Joined: Feb 2018

I actually found that an extra loose cap was the most comfortable at night. The itchy sore scalp recurred for me with every cycle. By the end of the day of wearing my beanie at work, the soreness was a little bit better with nothing touching it. The loose cap was the perfect compromise if my head was a little chilled. One thng you can see, is that it affects us all a bit differently. I personally still found it really helpful to read all the different ways other women were affected, because it alleviated some of the stress by having an idea of the possibiltiies.

Armywife's picture
Armywife
Posts: 266
Joined: Feb 2018

I also had a prescription for a wig - I laughed at it being called a "cranial prosthesis."  Maybe they thought I needed a whole new head!  Like Connie, I had no pain or sensitivity on my scalp when I lost my hair.  I did go for the wig before chemo, because I wanted to try and get everything done beforehand in case I was really sick.  I was surprised how very emotional I was when trying them on.  A friend was with me and that helped some, but it was not easy.  I wore my wig all the time when I left the house and for almost a year.  It was fraying and frizzy at the ends by the end!  At home, I wore soft cotton beanies from Headcovers.  I ordered several different styles and discovered that I had definite favorites.  Beanies are a must for sleeping - your ears will get cold!  I'm not artsy enough with my hands to do turbans or scarves, but I loved them on other people.  I still wear a beanie on cold nights - they feel comfy!

Soup52's picture
Soup52
Posts: 894
Joined: Jan 2016

I ordered a wig while istillhad hair, so it matched my style and color. It was comfortable for me while i was out and most people couldn’t tell. At home it was caps or nothing. Also my head never hurt while it was coming out. The wig spa buzzed the rest of my hair off when it started coming out.

hopeful56's picture
hopeful56
Posts: 73
Joined: Jul 2017

I shopped for a wig before my first chemo.  I was fortunate to have a salon close to home and it was easier to compare wigs while I still had hair. I also bought soft cotton caps to wear.  I used them when I was home.  On line I bought a couple more wigs to use as alternates.  About 5  days after lst chemo I cut my hair real short and used my wig at work.  It was similar in style to my hair.  I  remember my scalp burning and hurting real bad one night soon  after my lst chemo when I went to bed so I knew loss of hair would start soon.  I found the caps very soothing and comforting, especially when I went to bed.

EZLiving66's picture
EZLiving66
Posts: 1320
Joined: Oct 2015

My hair started to shed right after my first chemo. I went to a local wig shop and bought one that matched my color and style. Then I put my long blonde hair in braids and had them cut off each one and I saved it. Then they gave me a short cut but as they were washing it, handfuls were coming out. By my second chemo it was all gone but I never had any pain, itching, bumps, etc. I wore the wig during the day and at night I bought some cotton beanies that I would put on to keep my head warm. I also bought a few fun (and much cheaper) wigs to change things up a bit but mostly wore the expensive one. A lot of people never knew I lost my hair. Believe it or not, I thought it was kind of cool to be bald - LOL! I also lost my eyebrows and eyelashes. When they came back, only my right eyebrow came back and my left eyelash continues to grow - I have to trim it so it doesn't hit my glasses. Some of my fingernails never really came back and are not attached to the nail bed. I wear acrylic nails and they look great - it's just hard to keep them attached on a few of my nails. My toenails grew in with rough ridges on them and it's been almost three years since my last chemo so I doubt they'll ever grow back right.

One of the weirdest things is my arm hair. I have none BUT every once in a while, a black hair will grow and grow and grow. It's in different places and it's only been one at a time. When I notice them I pull them out but just for the heck of it, I decided to let one grow and it was almost two inches before it fell out. 

My hair is long now and the ends are still very curly. The lady who does my hair (I get oil treatments because it's so dry) said there is a natural wave but not the curly, curly hair. My hair before chemo was "stick-straight" and is now pure white. I've been braiding it and winding it around my head - picture the stereotypical Scandinavian lady. 

I just cut an article out of the local Tampa paper about a new neuropathy treatment approved by Medicare and I'm going to check it out.

Good luck with your wig!!

Love,

Eldri

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 781
Joined: Feb 2016

Eldri

I’ve searched and searched for your hysterical wig and powdered doughnut story and I can’t find it. It literally made me pee my pants.  with laughter. Perhaps we should revisit it here. 

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2544
Joined: Mar 2013

This one CQ?  https://csn.cancer.org/node/298226

or is there another one I need to look for?

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 781
Joined: Feb 2016

Nope!  That was before I was diagnosed but I see our Eldri was entertaining with her wig stories way before I got here. I was referring to her story about when she was working in the office and a customer came in and she didn’t know until after he left that her wig was askew and her face was full of powder from a doughnut she had just eaten. 

ConnieSW's picture
ConnieSW
Posts: 1415
Joined: Jun 2012

is the one I'll never forget. I laughed so hard and promptly fell in love with EldrI. 

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2544
Joined: Mar 2013

FOUND IT!!!!

https://csn.cancer.org/node/301712

Ha!  Because you ladies all need to enjoy this.

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 781
Joined: Feb 2016

I have more control over my bladder now, but still hysterically laughing at the thought of a crooked wig and powdered face. I was always afraid my wig would fall off. And this always made me laugh  I was always careful not to ride in my husband‘s convertible  

https://youtu.be/Re_H-OLHMo0

janaes
Posts: 741
Joined: May 2016

You know i remember reading thes experiences Edri had when i was loosing my hair. I loved these stories and especially edri's additude about them it really helped me along. I remember when i first started wearing my wig and it was windy. It took me a little bit to beable to not hang onto my wig while walking out side. My kids and i had fun with it.  I dont know that it is still avalible but i remember. Finding a you tube video about going bald because of chemo. It was an upbeat song that helped me through. After my 10 daughter saw the video she would play the piano and sing her own verson of the song. It was fun and we would laugh.

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