Hair Alternatives


Hair Loss          WIGS         SCARVES       HATS    

Managing Hair Loss

We have been told by many women that the loss of their hair was more devastating than their cancer diagnosis. Remember that hair loss is temporary. But, in the meantime, Look Good Feel Better provides hair alternatives solutions to meet this challenge ‘head on.’ Whether you want to look more like yourself, or try a new look, we have a few tips and suggestions.

PRIOR TO HAIR LOSS
Depending on the type of treatment you’re receiving your hair may either thin during the course of treatment or fall out completely. Your oncology
team will be able to inform you when to expect hair loss. It is best to look for a wig prior to starting treatments so your hair alternatives specialist will be able to match your present hairstyle, colour and texture as close as possible.

REMEMBER
Don’t shave your head to the scalp as this may cause irritation. It’s recommended to cut hair to 1/8 of an inch.

THINNING HAIR
If you notice that your hair is thinning, take note of the following:

  • Refrain from colouring your hair.
  • As the texture of your hair will change and may feel brittle, a hydrating shampoo and conditioner will help your hair feel softer.
  • Consider cutting your hair shorter than you usually wear it as this will help your hair look thicker and the hair loss less noticeable. Also, short hair doesn’t put stress on already weak  hair follicles.
  • If possible, avoid overusing blow dryers, curling irons, hot rollers, hair sprays and any products with an alcohol base.
  • When sleeping, use a satin-like pillowcase to minimize tugging your hair at the scalp.

FULL HAIR LOSS
When hair loss starts, your  scalp  will be very sensitive, and hair will fall out gradually. At this point, you may want  to have your hair cut to at least 1/8 of an inch. This will help ease the stress of watching the loss of hair and will help your scalp feel less sensitive. During  this time, you may wish to wear a sleep cap during the day and at night to catch the hair.

CARING FOR YOUR SCALP
When you’ve lost your hair, your scalp may become drier. Gently massage your scalp with your facial moisturizer to make it feel more comfortable and increase circulation to your stressed hair follicles. Caring for your scalp will greatly reduce sensitivity and itchiness, allowing you to wear your wig, scarf or hat more comfortably.
 

All About Wigs

Today’s wigs can be made from synthetic or human hair, and there are a variety of styles and colours that you can choose from. Choosing a wig may take a little bit of time and effort, but it will be worth it to find the wig that is perfect for you! Remember that wearing a wig takes a little getting used to. Give it a fair shot and it will soon become as familiar as any other accessory in your wardrobe.

 

The first question that many women have when considering a wig is ‘synthetic or human hair?’ Both types have advantages and disadvantages.

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Selecting a Wig

Choosing a wig may take a little bit of time and effort, but it will be worth it to find the wig that is perfect for you.

BUYING TIPS

  • Make an appointment – it can take 45 minutes to an hour to discuss options, choose the right wig and get fitted.
  • For hygienic reasons, make sure the salon provides clients with nylon caps to wear when trying on wigs.
  • Take a friend or family member for support and second opinions.
  • Take a photo of yourself with your favourite hairstyle and colour for reference.
  • To ensure the best fit, make sure your own hair is no longer than ¼ inch long.
  • Try a variety of styles and  colours – having choices is really empowering.
  • Don’t feel pressured to buy a wig immediately. Take your time and be sure you have chosen a wig that you will feel comfortable wearing during the duration of your hair loss.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO FIND A WIG DURING COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS CLICK HERE

Wig Care

Whether you’ve decided on a synthetic or human hair wig, a little care and attention will ensure your wig looks its best. 

WIG CARE: WHAT YOU NEED

  • A wire stand that allows air to circulate through the wig.
  • If your wig is synthetic, special cleansers and leave-in conditioners (available at all wig salons), and a wide-tooth comb.
  • If your wig is human hair, salon- quality shampoo and conditioner for chemically treated hair.
  • About an hour for your first wig- cleaning experience (it’ll take less time as you get more practice).


Whether you’ve decided on a synthetic or human hair wig, a little care and attention will ensure that your wig looks and feels its best.

CLEANING YOUR WIG
Synthetic-hair wig

  • With a wide-tooth comb, gently but thoroughly brush or comb your wig before washing.
  • Fill sink with cold water and thoroughly mix in 1 to 2 tbsp. (15–30 ml) of appropriate shampoo.
  • Turn wig inside out, swish through water and submerge a few times.
  • Drain sink and refill with fresh cold water, then immerse wig a few times to rinse.
  • Gently shake water from wig over the sink – do not squeeze or twist.
  • Place on wire stand to dry – about eight to 12 hours.
  • Never comb or brush a wig when it’s wet; wait until it’s completely dry.

Human-hair wig

  • Run wig under warm water.
  • Place a small amount of shampoo on fingers and gently work into the hair, stroking downward from the weft (base) to the ends.
  • Rinse thoroughly under warm running water until water runs clear.
  • Place a small amount of conditioner in your hand; gently work into hair and let sit for three to five minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly in warm water.
  • Gently comb wet hair with a wide-tooth comb from weft to ends.
  • Place on wire stand to dry.

 

 

Wig Styling

Taking the extra time and effort to style your wig will make you feel more confident as people will not be able to tell that it’s not your own natural hair.

Use your fingers to create a slightly tousled style which looks more natural; avoid brushing your wig flat. 
Don’t be afraid to be creative when styling your hair. For example, if you have a long-hair wig, wear a head band or put the hair in a ponytail. Be sure that you’ve covered the edge of the wig cap with some hair.

Remember: You can use hair dryers, flat irons, curling irons, etc. on a human hair wig, but NOT on a synthetic wig.

PUTTING ON YOUR WIG

  1. First thing to do is determine the front and back of the wig; there should be a label at the back.
  2. Put your wig on your head and find the side tabs on either side and align the tabs with your temples.
  3. Expose your ears.
  4. Find your hairline to determine where the wig should fit on your forehead.

 

 

Scarves

Scarves can be stylish alternatives to wearing a wig. Have some fun and experiment with different styles, fabrics and colours. Then, finish the look with some great earrings and a pair of stylish sunglasses, and you’re good to go.

When choosing a scarf be sure to look for one made of a soft cotton blend, rayon or polyester to avoid slipping.

OBLONG SCARF

  1. Drape scarf over head and let
  2. ends hang down evenly.
  3. Tuck in excess hemline of scarf before securing in a knot at nape of neck. Tie a double knot in back and, if you like, bring one of the ends over your shoulder.
  4. For a little personal style and pizzazz, top it off – place a hat  over scarf and position as desired.

 

 

LARGE SQUARE

  1. Fold square diagonally and position folded edge on hairline.
  2. Cross tails at back of neck.
  3. Tie a double knot in back.
  4. Voila, you’re as cool as a cucumber in a sporty bandana.
     

Hats

Hats are enjoying a fashion resurgence. There are lots of styles available –  from berets to caps to hats with wide,
glamorous brims. Here are a few helpful things to keep in mind when hat shopping.

  • Look for hats that are made from natural fibres such as cotton, linen, wool and silk. These fabrics breathe and have more give which makes the fit more comfortable. If the hat isn’t made from these fibres, make sure that it has a lining that is.
  • Don’t forget that hats are usually made to fit heads with hair. If you’ve lost your hair, make sure that the hat you select offers a snug but comfortable fit.
  • Choose a hat that provides total coverage of your hairline.
  • You’ll need a few different styles to fit in with your lifestyle. Look for hats
  • that you can wear to work, on the weekend or if you’re going out for the evening or to a more formal event.
  • Sun protection is even more important when receiving cancer treatment. opt for wide brims or UV hats that provide added protection.
  • The colours that you go with should complement those that you find in your wardrobe. If you’ve noticed that your skin colour has altered due to your treatment, choose colours that complement your changed skin tone.
  • You can add a little pizzazz to your hat with a colourful scarf or a great brooch.


REMEMBER
A lot of your body heat escapes from your head. A sleep cap will keep you warm in the evening.
 

 

 

We hope the steps outlined here will help you find ways to manage the appearance-related effects of cancer treatment.

These steps are not intended to replace medical care in any way. These steps are meant to support the advice from your healthcare team. You should always consult your healthcare practitioner with any questions or concerns.