Hair Growth After Chemo: A Hairdresser’s Cancer Story
How long will it be before my hair grows back after chemotherapy? If I had a pound for every time that I was asked this question, I would be rich! Without a doubt, this is probably the most frequent question that I hear from ladies who are facing hair loss. For so many of us, our hair is our crown. We
feel lost and broken without it.
For me personally, living my life as a hairdresser, my hair plays such an important role in my identity. I just don’t feel like myself unless I like how my hair looks. From the first moment that I tell anyone what I do for a living, I feel that person’s eyes drift up to check out my crown!
Time and time again, I remember when I was in treatment and people would say to me, “Wow, you don't even look poorly. You look amazing. Are you sure you have cancer? You look great!”
That is solely because my attitude was to never let cancer win. From the get-go, there was absolutely no way that I would let cancer strip me of looking professional, polished and feminine. In my house though, that was a different story. Behind my four walls, there were many days where I was bound to my bed. I wouldn’t take care of myself, or wash; I would just cry. Like anyone else, I dealt with pity and worry, and self-loathing.
But, as soon as it was time for me to face the world again, I would have my ‘game face’ on. Whether that was to direct my team in the salon, or head out to the hospital and receive the results I had been worrying over for 11 weeks, I would be well-dressed, and wearing a full face of make-up with my hair immaculate. In my mind, feeling good about how you look is what gives you confidence.
I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone looking at me, tilting their head to one side and saying, “Oh, how are you? You look so poorly...”
I didn't want sympathy. I wanted to be me. Nicola, a wife, a mum, a business owner. I didn’t want to be ‘Nicola with cancer’. When I stepped out of my front door, I wanted to be respected at work, not pitied. I wanted to be able to go to the supermarket without looking like a cancer victim. I wanted to look ‘normal’. Nothing reveals you as someone with cancer than the sight of a scarf or a bare head.
That being said, many women embrace it! They shout about and they feel very comfortable without their hair, and I think that’s awesome. It really is. I applaud every single one of them but, for me, I just wanted to blend in and not look any different. The thought of people looking at me differently or wanting to talk to me about my body just felt so intrusive.
I remember lying on the anaesthetic table just before being wheeled in for my cancer surgery, terrified. Frozen. My wonderful oncologist popped his head in to see me and he just burst into laughter. I said, “What are you laughing at?”
He said, “Well, Nicola, I just had to check the notes to be sure it was you. This is the very first time I’ve seen you without your make-up on, I wish I had my phone to take a picture of you. I’d bribe you forever!”
Then, we giggled together but this was true of me the whole way through. In my mindset, you can get bad news as long as you look amazing while getting it! So, after all of that, no matter which side of the fence you are on - whether you want to be back to normal as soon as possible, or if you embrace both baldness and your own hair - everyone wants to know the same thing. When is my hair going to grow back after chemotherapy? Will it look awkward for ages?
So, take it from me:
- 3 weeks after your last chemo, most people have a full covering of hair. They no longer look bald and you start to feel much more comfortable!
- 3 months after your last cycle, most people will have enough hair so that it can be trimmed around the ears and look a little tidier. Most annoyingly, it tends to be the very front of the hair which grows back the slowest - but all progress is good progress.
- 6 months after your last cycle, most people will have a decent pixie cut. They will be able to have some colour added at this point and some will be able to move into a hair integration system.
Hair integration systems involve blending your own hair in with human hair that has been attached to an ultra-soft mesh. Offering the illusion of real hair growth, this clever design gives its wearer a big confident boost.
- 1 year after your last cycle, most people will have a few inches of hair. They will be able to play around with hair extensions and enhancers, so getting your hands on a long-length style becomes a possibility! You can shop with us for all your hair enhancement pieces.
- 2 years after your last cycle, most people will have a decent bob of their own hair and so it keeps on growing, bit by bit!
Of course, this loose guide differs from person to person but our expert team, here at The Wonderful Wig Company, are here to help you during every step of the way. Better yet, your first haircut after chemo is completely free and on the house! We even do unique tests to determine your exact date for hair colouring to keep every part of our award-winning service personal to you.
Book an appointment today
Book an appointment with one of our hair boss consultants and take control of your hair loss. Call 0330 229 0925, book online here or email firstname.lastname@example.org