Finding Stability

Managing Hair Regrowth After Chemo

Hair regrowth after chemo can be tough, but a bit of support from your loved ones (and a trusted stylist) can go a long way.

Your chemo treatment is finally complete. You’ve made it through a really rigorous course of treatment, and now you’re starting to feel more like yourself again. That means your hair will start to come back, but hair regrowth after chemo can sometimes feel awkward even if you’re excited for it. Your hair contributes directly to your self-esteem and feeling more like your healthy self. Getting your hair back to pre-chemo length and style, however, can be a process that takes longer than you may hope for.

What You Can Expect

Managing hair regrowth after chemo can be more emotional than you’d expect. You may be feeling frustrated or even depressed that you have a reminder of your chemo when you look in the mirror. Make sure you’re getting the emotional support you need by talking to a therapist with experience treating cancer survivors.

You can also expect some surprises with your new hair growth. Many cancer survivors report that their hair is different when it regrows after chemo. Your once curly hair may grow in straight, or your thick mane may be thinner than before your treatment. These changes can be unnerving, but with a bit of help from a trusted stylist, like the staff at Flourish Boutique, you can learn how to work with your locks and embrace your new look.

The Awkward Phase

As your hair grows back after chemo, you will go through a few awkward phases when your hair isn’t quite the length you would like. During these in-between times, make an appointment with your hair stylist or find one that specializes in working with cancer survivors, to experiment with your length. You might be surprised at the amount of options you have.

Shorter haircuts aren’t just stylish, but they’re more versatile than you’d initially expect. No matter what type of style you prefer, there’s a short look that will work for you. A shaved or partially shaved head sends a strong, edgy vibe, while pixie cuts can be more graceful and demure. Pinterest has a ton of ideas that you can bring to your stylist for inspiration.

“To get to the pixie stage free of tears, keep the sides and back portion of your hair shorter while you grow out the top,” says Refinery 29. While it may seem counterintuitive to trim your newly regrown hair, the logic here is that tidy sides and back will keep you from looking shaggy or weighed down, while the longer top of your head will contribute to the overall length of your hair. It will eventually create a stylish foundation for longer hair that you can build upon without worrying about looking awkward.

Put on the Ritz

To help you feel confident with your new hairstyle, consider adding in some fun accessories like headwraps, decorative hair clips, or headbands. Alternately, you can draw attention to other parts of your body that you love. Splurge on new eye shadow, or use contouring to highlight the strong facial structure your shorter cut accentuates. Take comfort from the fact that you’ll feel more like yourself soon. Patience, while difficult during this time, will prove to be your best ally.

Managing hair regrowth after chemo can be tough, but you have been through more difficult situations during your treatment cycle. Your hair should be a reminder of how strong you are and how far you’ve come. Have some fun in your stylist’s chair, and you will be back to yourself before you know it.

The Flourish Boutique at UVA Cancer Center helps people with cancer regain their confidence by providing specialized beauty products and services.

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Haley Burress
Haley Burress