Before you lose your hair you may like to consider finding a caring and knowledgeable hairdresser who can discuss your concerns and offer you options such as cutting hair shorter prior to hair loss.
Many hairdressers will have come across people who have concerns about hair loss and medical hair care situations, but they may not have a specialist skill such as wig cutting. If they do not feel able to offer you a direct service themselves, ask them to recommend someone who can. Most importantly, don’t feel bad about seeing a different hairdresser for a period of time, hairdressers are used to seeing their clients come and go – it’s part of the job.
If your hairdresser does offer services to people with cancer, whether it's extensive wig cutting services or cutting your style short in preparation for hair loss, please do let us know so that we can add them to our directory.
If you’re not sure what your hairdresser can offer, or who to turn to, let us help you find out. With this in mind, this section will offer ideas on how to find a hairdressing or specialist service that is right for you during this time.
Follow our simple 3 Step plan to find a hairdressing service that is right for you.
3 Step plan to find a hairdressing service that is right for your needs
Step 1 Salon or home?
Depending on what stage of hair loss you are at will define what services you need. We recommend that you take a look at the list of services below that will help to give you an understanding of what most regular hairdressers can offer and when you may need to seek a specialist service. In this section we will help you to think through whether or not you need a private environment or maybe home hairdrsser to visit you at home.
Most regular home and salon hairdressers offer:
• Cutting your hair short in preparation for hair loss
• Cutting hair that may be slightly thinning
• Cutting and colouring new hair growth
• Advice on styling ideas and products
• Advice on everyday scalp and hair issues
Additional services may include:
• A private room
• Expert colour and technical services hairdresser, normally called a technician
• Conditioning and scalp treatments
• Some form of wig, extension, hair piece service (may be more fashion orientated and not hair loss specialist -so do check)
• Natural and organic hair care products and services
• Temporary colouring products for when you can’t colour your hair
For the following services you will normally need to see a specialist hair care expert/shop or specialist hairdressers who offer services to cancer patients
• Specialist head scarves and cover ups
• Extensions and hair replacement systems for hair loss and new growth
• Specialist cutting and colouring to disguise hair loss/thinning/new hair growth
• Advice and products for problem scalps
• Solutions for long term and permanent hair loss management
• Permanent make up for thinning or loss of eye brows
Step 2 Book a consultation or appointment
The very best way to discuss your hair care needs is to have a consultation. If you don’t feel able to visit a salon, then ask a hairdresser or specialist to make time to speak with you on the phone – most are very happy to do so.
A consultation is normally offered free of charge by regular hairdressers but you may need to pay for specialist consultations - so do check first. A consultation is an ideal way for you to discuss your needs without the commitment of a full paying appointment.
Phone first Call first to check what services are available, the costs involved and to book a consultation. It is also worth checking how soon an appointment for services can be available. For example, some salons may fit you in for a quick consultation but not be able to offer you a service appointment for several weeks – so do check. Most NHS prescription wig suppliers will need your referral letter in advance of your appointment.
Having had a consultation - If you then feel comfortable with the services offered then you can go ahead and book an appointment, which will normally be at a later date.
Tip - Home hairdressing may offer you a more private and comfortable option, particularly when discussing hair loss issues. If visiting a salon do ask if a private room is available if this is more comfortable for you. Colour - If you are having colour or a technical service you may need to have a sensitivity test (this is free and only takes a few minutes).
Having booked your consultation appointment now go to step 3
Step 3 Preparation - get the most out of your consultation/appointment
Do write down/take with you any key information as it may be helpful to the person advising you, for example:
• Key dates when you may start/end treatments
• Any information about hair loss/thinning and your treatment you may have (especially time frame for hair loss). If you are not sure ask your doctor or nurse or look up your medication on a web site
• NHS prescription/referral letter (normally only for wigs and must be a supplier who accepts NHS prescriptions)
• If you are having colour or technical services (perms etc) you must have a sensitivity test (normally 48 hours prior to colour) and seek the approval of your doctor (especially during active cancer treatment).
Take a picture with you Pictures can be so helpful to describe a style, so take photographs or pictures from magazines or even your own photographs of styles you do or don’t like. Most hairdressers welcome the opportunity to see exactly what you have in mind. This also applies when preparing to see a wig or hair loss specialist.
Think about funds and budgets It is worth thinking about what budget you have in mind
The only service that is likely to be funded by the NHS is a prescription wig which is part funded by, BUT not made by, the NHS. If you qualify for help towards this you will normally get a prescription or a referral letter from your GP. This may be free, or you may need to pay a part of the cost (£60.00 is normal).
Discounted service – Many hairdressers offer discounted services to people with cancer so do ask. If you are having financial problems speak to your local Macmillan nurse or cancer support organisations as they may be able to help by arranging transport to see a hairdresser/specialist or help towards costs.
Do you need a friend to come along for moral support? Sometimes it can feel daunting when trying on a wig or having your hair cut short in preparation for hair loss. Why not consider taking a friend or family member along for support. Or perhaps arrange to meet them afterwards for a coffee and a catch up and some moral support.
Best of luck with finding a good hairdressing service– please remember to let us know all about hairdressing services that you have found so that we can pass on the contacts
Pink scarf & fake fringe by Sara
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Sara blue scarf step
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Cancer Hair Care is proudly run by the charity Caring Hair. Registered number 1145258 England and Wales Privacy Statement click here Terms and conditions click here
Please kindly note that Cancer Hair Care and The Caring Hair Boutique are not designed to provide medical advice. You should always consult with your doctor if you have any medical concerns or queries.