Nearly 4 years ago, my friend Tracee was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She was only 33. Hair + boobies are EVERYTHING at that age– especially to Tracee considering she was quite blessed with both. The news was shocking, but in typical Tracee fashion she soon requested we all “get it together” so we could support her in her fight. One night she called and asked if I would cut her hair off before she started chemo. I was thrilled to do that for her. We made it really fun. She always wanted to know what she’d look like with short bleach blonde hair anyway… Wish granted! We set aside 4 or 5 hours and gave her all KINDS of different haircuts on our road to a platinum pixie. We laughed so hard at some of the cuts and kept some in mind for when her hair grew back in. Seeing her so happy before bravely heading into chemo was pretty unforgettable. If you’re going through or about to go through chemo, I strongly recommend that you cut your hair short prior to fall out. Long or even medium hair can be really scary when it falls out because there’s so much more of it. Minimize the shock. No one wants to loose their hair, but on the flip side, you never know… you may love chopping it off!
During chemo therapy, a lot of your time is spent in doors, resting, eating popsicles + trying to get well. In this down time, watch some youtube videos. Learn how to draw in your eye brows when you don’t have any, and learn the trick to giving yourself lashes when there’s nothing there. Figure out how to properly wash a wig, practice putting it on, learn to style it. Figure out how to master scarves + turbans! You’ve got a lot of work to do. There is so much info on the internet, and though some is out dated, keep searching! Tracee ended up like Samantha from Sex In the City. She got multiple wigs and had fun with them. As you can see in the pictures below, she added roots to a blonde wig, cut bangs (always helps a wig look more real), styled it with headbands and braids, etc… She always looked gorgeous. How you feel about yourself is really important during recovery. Anyone will tell you, positive feelings are MAJOR.
I get asked about wigs a lot from people going through treatment. Luckily, if you live in a major city you can waltz right into your local wig shop and try things on. If you don’t, unfortunately it’s a little harder. If you can’t go try something on in person, my absolute favorite for women who have lost their hair is the Racquel Welch wig line. They update their looks, you can get synthetic or human hair, they’re easy to style and they’re not too itchy on your head like some others. If you can’t really afford a wig, check out this donation program! If you’re young enough, check out this one! You can also ask around to see if there’s a hair stylist who’s willing to help shape the wig for you. Sometimes a ready-made wig can use a little adjustment or shaping, depending on the person’s head size.
As far as regrowth, I can’t recommend any particular regrowth products because you need to ask your doctor or dermatologist about that when going through chemo. That being said, there are some incredible hair growth boosters out there! I can tell you that the new hair will usually be really soft like a baby’s hair. Sometimes even with a slightly frizzy texture. Smartest to trim the neck and around the ears as it’s growing in so you don’t grow a mullet. Look for inspiration on short cuts like this or this or this! Get a water based pomade (google it or ask your hair stylist, there are SOOO many) and learn how to use that for your short hair. Products for long hair don’t really do much for short hair.
photos: tracee manzanares post designed by kristin ess
I hope these tips are helpful and that you’re recovery is QUICK! Leaving you with some links that I love…
Xx Kristin (and Tracee!)