Breast Cancer Awareness: Experience with Hair Loss and Regrowth After Chemotherapy
“Once I overcame breast cancer, I wasn’t afraid of anything anymore.” – Melissa Etheridge
This month is a somber and hopeful time. As a female-led, female-oriented brand, TIY hair ties is dedicated to the cause of breast cancer awareness. All of our lives have been touched by breast cancer, and we know that its impact is untold. From the threat to our lives, and the women in our lives, to the grief of illness, hair loss, and more, we want to honor all of the women who bravely endure this kind of trial.
Because we produce and sell hair ties, we are particularly interested in the emotional and social dynamics around hair loss and regrowth after chemotherapy. The season of recovery after cancer is further challenged when a woman’s entire appearance changes. However, as our bodies do all the hard work of healing, and hair regrows, there is a restoration and triumph at work as well. We don’t pretend to understand the ins and outs of this, but there is something we know: the female spirit is unbeatable and unbreakable.
So, whatever your experience is with breast cancer, treatment and recovery, here are some moments of inspiration to feed your power.
Prepare for Hair Loss During Chemotherapy
“Breast cancer changes you, and the change can be beautiful.” – Jane Cook
Women who have been through this are keen to share some tips for how to emotionally and physically prepare for hair loss during chemotherapy. Here are some of their recommendations:
- Many women choose to cut their hair short, or even shave their heads, in advance of chemo. It may be a good idea to think through how you want your hair to look, and start to plan in advance for what it could be like if you do lose all of your hair. Will you use scarves? Wigs? No one can prepare you for that decision, but if you can prepare yourself, it may be an easier one to make.
- See a cosmetologist and/or make a plan for hair loss all over your body. Remember that hair loss will occur all over the body, and there are great options for false eyelashes and eyebrow penciling techniques that may help you feel like yourself when you look in the mirror. Cancer doesn’t have to steal your identity: you own who you are, and you have some control over what you look like.
- Connect with other women. Invariably, women who have undergone this say that a community of women who have also lost their hair or experienced chemotherapy makes a world of difference. There are countless online groups, forums, message boards and even apps that can connect you to women who understand what you’re going through.
Tips for Hair Regrowth After Chemo
“It’s about focusing on the fight and not the fright.” – Robin Roberts
Here are some expert-approved tips for hair regrowth after chemo:
- Do/have a loved one do scalp massages.
- Use aloe vera as a way to clean and soothe the scalp.
- Take fish oil supplements and generally boost antioxidants and healthy diet.
- The essential oil, rosemary oil, has been shown to promote hair growth — it should always be used with a carrier oil or in a shampoo.
- Use coconut oil and healthy fatty acids as leave-in treatments or overnight treatments.
- Once your hair has grown in some, limit heat styling.
There are also some FDA-approved treatments and supplements for hair regrowth, which a physician can tell you more about.
Short Hairstyles After Hair Loss and Regrowth
“My diagnosis flung me into despair until it hit me: I’m alive.” – Dana Dinerman
Post-chemo hair growth may include hair that has changed texture or color or grows back in inconsistent ways. Remember the community aspect to this: it can be hugely helpful to talk to other women about what to expect. You’ve survived. Now you get to own short hairstyles as your hair regrows after chemo treatments.
Here are some post-chemo hair growth reminders:
- Post-chemo hair may be more coarse, and even curly. This is often a short-term effect that may resolve once the chemo is out of the body entirely, but it can impact a pixie cut or short hair style.
- As hair pigment rebounds after chemo treatment, the color may take a while to return. For many women, hair grows in darker than it was before chemo, but that may also be a temporary side effect that only affects hair growth in the months immediately following treatment.
Here is some short hair inspiration from rethinkbreastcancer.com:
- Spunky side-sweep, a’la Katy Perry
- Mini double bun, like Miley Cyrus
- On-the-go headscarf, inspired by Alicia Keys
- The dainty headband, courtesy of Millie Bobby Brown
- The slicked back look, like Emma Watson
- The bold buzzcut, like our girl Lupita Nyong’o
- A textured cut, shown icy cold blonde on Cara Delevine
Jennifer Keddy’s Story of Ovarian Cancer
While we are focusing on breast cancer awareness in the month of October, there are other forms of cancer that only impact women. Our girl Jennifer is the beautiful model who provided photos for this post, and her indomitable, boundary-busting energy typifies the overcoming spirit of women who undergo cancer.
She shares her story with our Co-Founder, Andrea Nucete-Elliot, on our YouTube channel here:
Female-Owned Brands: the Endless Power and Possibilities
“Some days, there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.” – Emory Austin
As a female-led and female-operated company, TIY products is passionate about empowerment. From our Olympic and professional athletes to the moms and grandmas who live everyday with hustle and heart, this is our shared humanity. We don’t have to do it alone. As we reflect and rally together this month to share stories, cry together, laugh together and win together, it’s essential to remember that together is where our power combines. Together is how we make it through even the darkest and hardest things. Together is where we grow stronger and bolder and we recover the spark, even when it’s hard.
Team TIY is open to anyone: you’re invited, too. Join us on Instagram, subscribe to us on YouTube, sign up for our e-newsletter (fill out the pop-up form to do that) and join a group of women who are in all seasons of life, living loud every day.