One of the most traumatic things about cancer treatment is the loss of hair that accompanies chemotherapy treatment. In this episode, we talk about cancer and hair care with my personal stylist, Angie Defrancis Cox.
One of the best pieces of advice I was given before starting treatment was to schedule a series of 5 or 6 appointments with my hairstylist after surgery to have my hair washed and styled (in my case, blown out). These visits get you through the critical first few weeks after surgery when it’s most difficult to care for yourself.
Angie was a life saver! I went to her every 3-4 days to have my hair taken care of because after surgery, I couldn’t lift my arms to wash or style my hair and I wasn’t supposed to shower (baths were okay). Needless to say, it was a challenging time for many reasons.
Losing your hair is not just a challenge because it is part of our identity and our signature look. For me, I personally felt like I looked like a Holocaust victim and it scared me. Not to mention, you lose all your hair, not just that which is on your head. I’m talking about eyebrows, eyelashes, and yes, the other stuff too. It makes you look sick.
Because I continued to work through treatment and I didn’t want everyone to know what I was going through, I got really at painting on eyebrows and sticking on eyelashes. I also wore a wig made of human hair (donated of course) which brought the whole look together and not only hid my secret, but also made me feel “normal”.
Afterward, when my hair started growing back, it came in much thinner than what I was used to having and it makes it difficult to have the same hairstyles I was used to in the past. So naturally, it’s a point of stress for me. I’ve tried everything from hair thickening products to hair extensions, but nothing really seems to make my hair thicker.
Hair can come back straight, curly, gray, thicker, thinner, different from what you had in general. We talked about embracing your new hair and maybe even a new look entirely.
Finally, we talk about the importance of using clean products on your hair, your skin, and your make up. The average woman is exposed to 120 chemicals before she goes out the door in the morning.
“I recommend avoiding petroleum based products. Our skin is our largest organ absorbing all that we put on it and we weren’t meant to have petroleum in our bodies. We have a lot to combat as people invested in our health. You really do have to educate yourself and try and find good information and good products to align with.”Angie Defrancis-Cox
Highlights from the episode and a link to the whole episode are below.
Here are some highlights from our conversation:
- 3:14 Preparing for hair loss prior to treatment.
- 5:25 The difference between going through chemotherapy and radiation.
- 7:29 Taking care of your scalp when you are bald.
- 12:40 Expect that your hair can come back different than it was.
- 14:53 Suggestions for embracing what comes back.
- 19:25 Chemicals you should avoid in your personal care products.
- 23:59 Beauty Counter – clean and ethical make up brand.
Links mentioned in today’s podcast:
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