I don’t think there is any such thing as a right or wrong answer when it comes to this question. Everyone is different in the way they choose to deal with cancer and its treatment and what’s right for one person may not be right for another. But, it is helpful to read up ahead of time on what to expect in the process of losing your hair, that way you will be more empowered in the choices you do make.
It may be unrealistic to say I know what I would do, seeing that I haven’t been diagnosed with this disease, but from my experience with clients and friends who have gone through this, I think getting a short haircut before starting chemo treatments is best for a number of reasons.
It’s uncertain as to when hair loss will happen, it can start in the first few weeks of treatment or later but one thing is certain, it is always surprising, no matter when it starts to fall; “Days after my first dose of chemotherapy, my hair started coming out. It was New Year’s Eve and I was in the shower washing my hair, getting ready for the night ahead and I wasn’t quite ready for the shock of chunks of hair coming away in my hands as I shampooed.”
A short haircut can play a big part in smoothing over the psychological transition during hair loss. When it’s short, the amount of hair loss seen is significantly less than with longer hair. As it falls out there will be less of it on the floor in the brush, less of it in your hands, in the shower or elsewhere. And for many, a short haircut can be easier to accept than going through weeks of long thinning hair.
“Once I knew it was certain I would lose my hair, I cut it into a cute short hair style. I loved it! It wasn’t until six weeks into treatment that it started falling out and my hair stylist cut it into a pixie cut. It was shortly after I decided to shave my head. I had a wig ready to wear and I’ve gotten lots of compliments in it. This transition worked better than I imagined.”
A short haircut early on will give you and others, time to become accustomed to seeing you with short hair. A short hair cut can also be a fun way to try a new daring kind of look. You may find that a dramatically shorter cut accentuates your eyes or facial features in a way that you never expected. And, when your hair does start to grow back, you will have experience with new hairstyle options.
With a short hair style, you can experiment with wigs, hats and scarves, so you can perfect your scarf tying techniques, and be more comfortable (and stylish!) with the look when it’s needed
Be gentle with your hair during this difficult transition. Don’t worry about trying to recreate the same hair styles and looks that you are used to, it will only cause frustration. Be kind and gentle to yourself and your hair and once your health and vitality is restored, you can go back to looks that are familiar . . . or maybe not.
Remember that the familiar will be comforting during this phase of your life, so now may not be the time to tap into your wild side for hairstyle inspiration. Then again, you may choose wearing a wig as a new beginning and the opportunity to try a new hair style, hair color or length, even if only on a temporary basis . . . Good Luck, and I wish you the best of outcomes.