How to Get Free Headgear During Chemotherapy

Wigs, Hats, Scarves, Caps, and More

When you're heading into chemotherapy for breast cancer, it's a good idea to prepare ahead for hair loss. Many of the drugs used to treat breast cancer result in complete hair loss, and gathering headgear before it occurs can help you avoid rushing at the last minute. Plus, you may not be feeling like wig shopping during chemotherapy.

You may get help from your health insurance (as long as you have a prescription written by your oncologist for a head prosthesis) to pay for a wig, but if you don't, take heart. Here's how to get free wigs, hats, caps, and scarves during chemo for breast cancer. Save money and have fun with colors and styles until your hair comes back, and then donate your headgear for others to enjoy.


Wigs in store window
Chris Clor/Blend Images/Getty Images

Wearing a wig during cancer treatment provides great camouflage and insulation for heads left bare from the effects of chemotherapy. If you live in a colder climate, it's likely that you'll be surprised just how much insulation hair provides. A good wig can help you maintain an appearance of health and normalcy—valuable things when you don't feel that great.

Wigs can be expensive, and not everybody can afford a nice one. Why not look into these places that can help you get a free wig—then when you don't need it anymore, pass it on to others in need.

It's important to note that many insurance companies cover the cost of one wig during cancer treatment. In order for a wig to be covered, however, your oncologist will need to write a prescription not for a wig, but for a "cranial prosthesis."


Sun hat and sun glasses on a table
Nela Petria / EyeEm / Getty Images

For those days when a wig is just too hot, too much work, or takes too much time to style, a hat is a great alternative. On the other extreme from wigs in cold weather, many people in warmer climates will find a wig stifling at times, if not totally itchy.

Hats provide an island of personal shade when you need it—an oasis from the sun when you're photosensitive from chemotherapy. But nice hats can come with a hefty price tag unless you know of a great resale store, so why not get a free hat? Better yet, get a couple of free hats to boost your style during cancer treatment.

Breast Friends Hat Project is a U.S.-based organization offering free hats for women with breast, ovarian, or gynecological cancer going through chemotherapy. Started by a woman diagnosed with stage II breast cancer, more than 500 hats are donated annually.

When you are done with treatment and your hair grows back, consider donating your hat for another patient facing chemotherapy.


Stack of knit hats
Christine Lauritzen / EyeEm / Getty Images

Caps will stay put, and unlike a brimmed hat, they won't betray you by blowing off on a windy day. A good, snug, soft cap helps you sleep in a cool room, keeps your head covered in public, and tops off your outfit with color. Caps can be used to anchor a hat or scarf on a bald scalp. 

You can find inexpensive caps on sale or at resale stores, but free caps are available, too. It's easy to find inexpensive caps if you know where to look.


Woman sitting on a couch wearing a headwrap
FatCamera/Getty Images

France Luxe offers a variety of colorful headwraps through their Good Wishes program. CEO Laurie Erickson created the complimentary scarf or headwrap program when a customer in chemotherapy asked what they had for women who were temporarily hair-free. Erickson designed these elegant scarves from "soft and silky, hand-picked breathable fabrics." Each scarf has been shaped and elasticized to create a cap shape, from which stream two colorful bands of cloth. You will feel pampered and beautiful in a free scarf from France Luxe. Call the company at 888-884-3653 or email: to ask about a free headwrap to wear during chemotherapy.

Completing Your Look

In addition to head coverings, there are many options for coping with hair loss. For example, many women aren't sure what to do when their eyebrow hairs fall out. The program Look Good Feel Better provides free beauty-technique consults for all women going through cancer treatment as well as samples of cosmetics and more.

Other Free Things for People with Breast Cancer

Free headgear can be wonderful when you are coping with hair loss from chemotherapy, but there are other free offers available for people facing cancer as well.

Free Retreats

There are a large number of free and discounted retreat options for people facing cancer. We offer examples of only a few here.

Casting for Recovery offers free fly fishing retreats in a number of U.S. regions for women facing breast cancer.

Camp Kesem is an amazing nationwide camp that offers free camping experiences for children who are affected by a parent's cancer.

Free Housecleaning

Though they can't guarantee the service will be available everywhere, the organization Cleaning with a Reason provides up to two free housecleaning visits for people living with cancer.

Free Legal Assistance

Legal help can be expensive, and fortunately there are a few options through which people living with breast cancer can obtain free assistance. These legal resources include:

Free Airline Flights

While plenty of restrictions apply, free flights for cancer patients can sometimes reduce the strain of air travel when you need to travel for treatment.

Accepting Help and Giving Back

Some people are hesitant to accept freebies during cancer treatment. If this fits your personality, there are few things you may consider.

Accepting Help

Cancer is expensive! The combination of more expenses and less time to work can quickly put people in the red. If you're hesitant to accept help, remember that you didn't choose to develop cancer. Many people have times in their lives when they need to sit on the receiving rather than the giving end of the equation. Chemotherapy is one such time.

Yet there is another reason to accept help. Loved ones of people with cancer often claim that the feeling of helplessness is what keeps them up at night. By accepting help, you may actually be helping others cope with their own challenges as loved ones.

Giving Back

When you are done with your infusions, you may wish to consider giving back in some way. This could simply mean donating your now unneeded head covers to those who are beginning chemotherapy. Others may choose to grow out and donate their beautiful hair when it returns.

A Word From Verywell

If you're just starting chemotherapy, don't worry about making a decision as to whether you should wear a wig, scarf, or hat. Having at least one of each on hand ahead of time gives you options to try when the time comes. Many people alternate between these different head coverings depending on the weather, occasion, and whether they will be lounging at home or heading off to work.

While losing your hair can feel devastating (and the fact that you may not need to shave your legs for several months doesn't quite compensate), reframing your thoughts so that you view this as a time to experiment can be helpful. Who knows, you may decide you like your new look even after your hair returns.

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  1. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Wigs and hair prostheses for cancer patients.