6 Ways to Prepare for Hair Loss During Chemotherapy

If your healthcare provider has prescribed a chemotherapy drug that is known to cause hair loss, make the decision to prepare yourself for hair loss before treatment begins. Cancer already does a number on a person's self-image, and hair loss can be a seriously devastating side effect. Early preparation can help you cope when your hair begins to fall out.


Buy a Wig

Rob Atkins / Getty Images

If you plan on wearing a wig after you lose your hair to chemotherapy, try to buy one before your hair begins to fall out. Purchasing a wig before hair loss is ideal because it allows you to choose a wig that matches your hair color best and you'll have it on hand when hair loss starts.

You may want to consider buying at least two wigs. That way one can be worn while the other is being washed or styled. Many insurance companies will cover the cost of a wig, too, so be sure to check with your provider before you make the investment.


Opt for a Short Haircut Before Treatment Begins

A woman having her head shaved by a hairdresser
Linda Raymond / Getty Images

Many women choose to cut their hair short or shave their heads entirely before hair starts to fall out. It's a lot less shocking to have short clumps of hair fall out in the shower or in your hands, rather than a handful of long strands. Plus, hair tends to come out in uneven patches, and short hair can help to temporarily mask this.

Best of all, short hair is in style.


Go Hat Shopping

Hats for sale in an outside marketplace
Krzysztof Dydynski / Getty Images

Even if you buy a wig, you will need some type of head covering for when you are not wearing your wig, especially during chilly weather. Your scalp will most likely be sensitive when not covered, not to mention cold. Hats also provide excellent protect protection against the sun and wind when outdoors.

If you're feeling crafty, learn how to knit a hat. If not, learn where you can find beautiful, fashionable scarves that offer a taste of luxury.


Stock up on Sunscreen

Suntan lotion
Image Source / Getty Images

If you venture outdoors without covering your head after your hair has fallen out, you will absolutely need to wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn. An already-sensitive scalp, combined with a sunburn, can be extremely uncomfortable. Learn how to properly apply sunscreen—yes, there is a right way—and how to choose the best sunscreen for your skin.


See a Cosmetologist

False eyelashes
TEK IMAGE / Getty Images

Because chemotherapy can cause hair loss all over the body, some people consult with a cosmetologist about what to do when eyebrows and eyelashes are gone. A lesson with an experienced cosmetologist will teach you how to pencil in eyebrows and apply false eyelashes.


Find a Support Group

Breast cancer group therapy meeting
Steve Debenport / Getty Images

Most people are not as emotionally prepared to lose their hair as they thought they were prior to chemotherapy. This is why having someone to turn to who has experienced chemotherapy-induced hair loss is helpful. Support groups for those undergoing chemotherapy are ideal places to learn how to cope with hair loss during chemotherapy.

Was this page helpful?
5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Hair loss in chemotherapy: Overview. 2019.

  2.  Sotelo Teague, C; Hutchison, M. Wigs. Breastcancer.org.

  3. Qi J, Garza LA. An overview of alopeciasCold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2014;4(3):a013615. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a013615

  4. Watanabe T, Yagata H, Saito M, et al. A multicenter survey of temporal changes in chemotherapy-induced hair loss in breast cancer patientsPLoS One. 2019;14(1):e0208118. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0208118

  5. Suwankhong D, Liamputtong P. Physical and Emotional Experiences of Chemotherapy: a Qualitative Study among Women with Breast Cancer in Southern ThailandAsian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2018;19(2):521–528. doi:10.22034/APJCP.2018.19.2.521

Additional Reading
  • "Caring for the Patient With Cancer at Home: A Guide for Patients and Families." Treatment Topics and Resources. American Cancer Society.