If you are beginning to experience hair loss during treatment, you might be considering choosing chemo headwear such as a hat, cap, scarf or bandana. There are some ways you can prepare yourself during this stage, we hope that this guidance will be of help to you in your preparation.
If you feel comfortable doing so, talk to family and friends. They may be able to offer you help and support. Alternatively, finding a hair loss support group where you can talk to others experiencing the same thing may be of use to you. You will be able to offer each other encouragement and exchange tips on how to cope.
One way to consider preparing is by cutting your hair short, which you may find easier in stages. You could ask a salon that specialises in styling hair for people affected by cancer to cut your hair for you. If you decide to wear a wig, it is a good idea to buy one before treatment starts. It will be easier to match it to your colour and style, and you can get used to wearing it.
But if a wig isn't for you, you may want to buy a hat or other chemo headwear to keep your head warm and protected. Sabine Brannan-Weterings was born and raised in the Netherlands, growing up in a family interwoven in the tradition of fabric trading, working on the markets. Here she explains how she came up with the idea of 'Hipheadwear' and how best to wear her 'All-seasons Bandana'.
So, on a Monday morning I sat down and thought, if I was in her situation, what would I want to wear? I would want it to be stylish and fashionable but most of all, comfortable. Hair is often such a big part of a person's identity and loosing it can make cancer treatment very stressful. My friend was quite restricted in movement and very tired from her chemo. She didn’t want to stand in front of a mirror in the first place, let alone try to tie a square scarf around her head for half an hour, just to take the kids to school! On that day our first headwear design was born, the Jersey with a Knot.
I made her 10 different Jerseys in various colours and patterns. I felt very helpless seeing her trying to fight this cancer battle and was so pleased to be able to help her in some way, seeing the confidence it gave her to wear something that was practical and fashionable. She had to go to various hospitals for her treatment and people started asking her where they could buy the headwear. So she asked me to set up a business so that more people could be helped.
"Before starting as an entrepreneur, I worked for a bridal couture designer, designing bespoke wedding dresses; when one of my close friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since she didn’t want to wear a wig - and had received a bag full of second hand headwear that looked awful - she asked me if I could design something comfortable for her to wear.
On 8th August 2008, we launched the Dutch company 'Hippemuts' and before my dear friend passed away she made me promise to make this a big success. That promise made me work even harder, and within a couple of years we were awarded a nomination award for our special designed nightcap, also coming second in a competition set up by the Chamber of Commerce for the most innovative entrepreneur in my home town. She would have been so proud, and I could feel her presence whilst I was pitching the design to the 850 expectant faces - I was a nervous wreck but did it! With this came a significant amount of media attention, which in turn led to one of my relatives asking me if I wanted to expand my company abroad. He had a contact in the UK who was interested in becoming an agent.
I flew over and had meetings with Macmillan, the NHS, Breast Cancer Care and more. On the whole, these organisations thought it was very innovative, stylish, comfortable and user-friendly product that would benefit patients here in the UK. In one of the meetings I was turned down as a supplier as my products were "too fashionable". Whilst disappointed, I decided to see this as a compliment! 'Hipheadwear' was born not long after that, and we have been trading in the UK for 6 years now. The agent that took us on in the UK, serendipitously, became my husband and I moved to the UK in 2013 with my youngest son.
All in all, it has been a magic journey with many ups and downs but I have met so many strong men, women and children struggling with their hair loss. I feel blessed that I was inspired by my friend to help bring confidence and comfort to those who need it.
I hope you enjoy this demo on how to wear the all-seasons bandana."
If you would like more tips for coping with hair loss during your cancer treatment, you can find a range of tips from Dr Don Grant in our Chemotherapy Hair Loss - What You Need to Know Guide. Alternatively, for one-to-one advice or to speak to our counselling team, give us a call on 0303 3000 118.