Tips for Hair Care Before, During and After Chemo

  2. Use only cool water in the shower
  3. Wash hair gently. Use a shampoo with pH similar to that of the hair in the 4.5 to 5.5 range, and no parabens or sulfates. Use clear shampoos, not "milky" or "creamy" ones.

    Sojourn’s line of hair care products has a pH of 4.5 - 5.5. They recommend their Color Preserve or Moisture Shampoo.
  4. Do NOT use products that say volumizing, or that are opaque (rather than clear). Such products may coat the hair and keep oxygen from reaching the hair follicles
  5. Use a detangling spray such as Kenra® Classic Daily Provision* (spray-on conditioner) rather than a regular conditioner. Again this helps keep the hair follicles from being coated.
  6. Make the transition to these new hair care products as soon as possible before chemo starts, as it may take 2 weeks or more to fully clean old product residue off the hair.
  7. Coloring hair is not recommended until 3 months after chemo is finished, because the follicles still need time to recover from the trauma of chemo.
  8. Keep hair straight down during chemo; do not bunch or pile on top of your head.
  9. Be sure to change the hair part line with each session of chemo. It helps to protect the scalp.
  10. Hold hair when combing so as not to pull on the roots. Paxman recommends Tangle Teezer, the original detangling hairbrush, easily found online. Another flexible detangling brush that is easy on hair is the L'Ange Siena Flexi Vented Brush.
  11. Drying hair with a microfiber towel and sleeping on a silk/satin pillowcase are two ways to minimize damage and breakage to the hair. L’ange offers Microfiber Hair Wrap Towels and a Silk Collection.
  12. Do not use curling irons, electric rollers, or hot air hair dryers.
  13. Use adhesive-backed moleskin**, cut to the shape of the forehead, to protect skin when cold caps are on. If your hair doesn't cover your ears, use foam headphone covers to protect your ears.
  14. Have warm blankets, an electric blanket, or heating pads on hand to use, especially during and right after each cap change.
  15. Sit in a chair without a high back – otherwise working at the back of the head during cap changes is difficult.
  16. Use a travel-type neck pillow to support your head/neck during chemo.
  17. Find out if you can have lab work done the day before chemo, to shorten chemo day waiting time considerably.
  18. Find out if you can call in and request to have your chemo order sent up from the pharmacy before you leave home the morning of chemo – saving you up to an hour.
  19. Lucinda Ellery is a company that has a unique program for those with thinning hair (and even no hair). Read more at
  20. If you are looking for help camouflaging thinning hair, once all chemo treatments are finished, consider Nanogen Keratin Hair Fibers, which can be viewed here.
  21. Hair With A Cause offers post chemotherapy hair extensions as well as several other post cancer and post chemo aesthetic solutions.
  22. Chemo Hair and Skin is a line of beauty care products specially formulated for chemotherapy patients.
  23. Paxman Scalp Cooling has a section on hair care and hair care products in their patient centered website.
  24. offers clothing lovingly designed to support patients during chemo. Their fleece jackets that accommodate ports are especially popular.
*Click here to find a location in your area that carries Kenra Professional hair care products.

**Moleskin Plus is a Dr. Scholl’s product that can be found in any drug store. Purchase the padding roll so you can cut it to the size needed for your forehead


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