Hair cut before cold cap?

arpha875 Member Posts: 5
Hello there!
I am going to start chemo soon and am going to use a cold cap. I've read your hair may still fall out so I'm wondering if I should still make a hair appointment to get it cut pretty short? Did any ladies with the cold cap get their hair cut short before starting chemo or should I just wait and see how my hair goes before taking drastic measures? And while you're at it, any tips on withstanding the cold cap? xx


  • Chrissy1121
    Chrissy1121 Member Posts: 20
    Hello. I didn't take any drastic measures, my hair was past my shoulders and I just got it cut to my shoulders for easier maintenance. The main tips I would give you is to stick to your routine and be consistent, even if it does get a bit tough it will be worth it.  I lost about 30% of my hair mainly breakage but it certainly wasn't obvious that I was having chemo treatment. Make sure the cap is fitted properly and speak up if its not, the nurses are great at helping you.  I used to wash my hair the morning of chemo and put leave in conditioner (Stefan gold brand) and then spray with water again before it was fitted and more conditioner.  I also would take ativan administered by the nurses each time to help calm any anxiety and help with any discomfort.  I only washed my hair once a week, usually the day of chemo.  I also bought a silk pillowcase. I did all the prep work myself before the fitting as it was something I felt I could control, the nurses thought it was great ,as then they only had to fit the cap properly. Make sure the cap it fitted and touching all areas on your scalp, you may have to adjust to make tighter.  Good luck and I wish you all the best.
  • linners
    linners Member Posts: 3
    Hi there!  I didn't have time before starting chemo to cut my hair, so just left it (shoulder length).  The nurses all said to avoid washing it at all if I could - so I didn't use shampoo (just rinsed in cold water every week or so) - after the first 3 or 4 weeks, your hair just balances itself and looks fine.  The only hair I lost was from one week where the cap wasn't fitted properly (lost a very small patch on the top of my head), so definitely agree that you need to speak up if you can feel that it isn't tightly fitted.  I took Panadol about 20 mins before the cold cap went on.  The first 20-30 minutes are unpleasant (think: ice cream headache) but definitely persevere.  I managed to get through the entire treatment without anyone noticing any hair loss and that was my goal.  Good luck with your treatment!
  • arpha875
    arpha875 Member Posts: 5
    Thank you ladies! That's really helpful advice xx
  • GenK
    GenK Member Posts: 65
    Second have said. My mum was told to cut her hair before chemo, long hair halfway down her back. She’s had her second chemo now and apart from some thinning where the cap wasn’t firm around the crown she hasn’t had much loss. She’s using a soft brush and limiting how often she washes her hair and the loss isn’t noticeable. We know there’s options of wigs, scarves etc but so far she’s upset with the loss but reassured that others can’t tell and has told me that at present she’s glad she didn’t cut her hair. Depending how the rest of treatment goes she may decide to cut her hair, but for now she’s glad she hasn’t. Up to you, that’s just our experience (I’m with mum at every appointment and I encourage her to decide for herself and just give her options/information, so it’s been others including staff who gave her pressure ironically, but she’s comfortable with her decision). 
    Also, Look Good Feel Better has workshops online and in person if you want to look into them, including ideas Re skincare and hair care, and they sent mum a kit of products she’s found helpful and comforting. I don’t know how well known this service is but it’s free 🌺
  • StarGirl
    StarGirl Member Posts: 135
    Hi. I used cold caps too. I have very long hair, didn’t cut it at all and washed it etc as normal the whole time. Why not wait and see how the cap works for you and then decide what you want to do? All the very best, Star xx
  • Abbydog
    Abbydog Member Posts: 485
    I used the cold cap with good results. I thinned slightly on top.
    I highly recommend trying it. I don't think a haircut is always necessary.
    I had my hair cut shorter. The only reason being, that I have curly hair that is difficult to manage without blow drying and straightening.  I did see a lady at my Chemo place who had long hair, and was having excellent results.
    If you have time before starting Chemo, I would recommend getting your hair coloured to your natural colour, as your roots will show before you finish Chemo.
    I did not take any medications relating to the cold cap. 
    I did not do any special  washing or conditioning on the day.
    The main thing is that your hair must be very wet, to conduct the cold to your scalp. I believe curly hair needs to be wetter.
    The cap must fit well, making contact all over.
    Thinning occurs especially if the cap does not fit well.
    Sometimes I had an extra strap over my head and under my chin.
    I believe washing your hair infrequently, and not styling is the best.
    I did risk gently blowdrying my fringe, with no additional thinning. I did feel that was risky business.
    I know it doesn't work for everyone. You should know if it works for you, by your second or third Chemo.
    If you want photos, just ask.
    Wishing you all the best.

  • Hann
    Hann Member Posts: 1 New Member
    Hi there, 
    I am having my first chemo next week. To be honest I am quite scared how I will react to it.
    Regarding the cold cap, the hair needs to be wet? Can you wet the hair at the hospital where my chemo will be done?
    My hair is very long and I will cut it shoulder length. So the cold cap really works? It would be amazing if I could keep my hair, even if I don’t wash it for 3 months.
  • Abbydog
    Abbydog Member Posts: 485
    Dear Hann, I presume your question is new here. It seems to be in an old chain of discussion. My story is just above. As Abbydog. I recommend trying for sure. I think at most Chemo suites the nurses put the cap on. At least 1/2 hr before the infusion starts. They sprayed my hair wet. It needs to be wet to work well. And the cap needs to fit well. When I had my Chemo, there was a lady with long hair using the cold cap successfully. I don't think it is necessary to cut your hair, so long as the cold gets through to the scalp. Good luck with your Chemo. I was quite lucky. I had manageable side effects. Nothing serious. No nausea. Go with an open mind, but report any problems. The Drs and nurses have advice and solutions to some things. All the very best.