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Hair Growth After Chemo: Styling Tips

You came to terms with the diagnosis of breast cancer, which was likely the most difficult thing you’ve ever faced in your life. Chemotherapy was exhausting emotionally and physically, but during this time, you found an inner warrior princess you never knew existed. Now you are dealing with hair growing back in, perhaps with a texture and color different than the locks you grew accustomed to all those years.

It may even resemble “peach fuzz” baby hair, an adorable trait in babies, but not necessarily one you cherish. Any hereditary or genetic hair growth patterns (e.g. a widow’s peak or double crown) tend to be the same as before. Creating the ideal hairstyle after chemo may feel daunting, but with a little creativity and the right products, it is doable and can even be enjoyable.


Suggested Hair Styles

  • The Part

    As soon as a little bit of hair has grown in, you can begin to "part" it. A part is innately feminine in nature and masks the masculinity of the shorter crop hairdo. You may need to use hair paste to help define where you want the part. This little touch adds a flair to hair you might find frustratingly limited at its shortest stage.

  • The Comb Over

    Using hair paste can help you define a deep side part. This creates a feminine look that gives new meaning to the word usually associated with balding older men! 

  • Faux Hawk

    When hair starts growing back in, it will still be patchy and the center may be longer. Use hair paste to mold the middle into a modified Mohawk with your hands. This is a fun way to add a playful touch to short hair.

  • The Pixie

    Although a pixie hairdo might not have been on your wish list, some women who have been through chemo end up loving this style so much, they decide to keep it. Learn more about this timeless and popular hairstyle below.

  • Short Curls

    Use hair paste, pressing and rubbing it into your hair; Place hairpins wherever bits of unruly curls are sticking up. Use a mini straightener to help tame the little curls in front. Headbands are a great accessory to add panache to this simple style. Look for headbands with thin sparkly bands to add a little dimension to your hair and dress up your overall look.



The Pixie:


Many of the world’s most beautiful celebrities rock pixies and look divine – Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron, and Michelle Williams – to name just a few. A dime-size dollop of lightweight wax or pomade adds texture and volume. Blow-dry bangs to the side using a small round brush. For a wispy effect, you can use a flatiron to style face-framing sections, then tousle and separate with your fingers. Simply changing the placement of the part can make a pixie feel new and exciting.

Wear the hair tousled on top for a whole new look. We love the ease and versatility of this style.


Hair Growth Timeline

Once chemo is complete, most women discover new hairs sprouting fairly quickly, resulting in sparse visible hair within 2 to 3 weeks. Following treatment, the body may be run down and depleted of nutrients, so hair can take a little longer than normal to grow. The hairline at the front of the head, nape of the neck, and the crown tends to be the slowest growing area. By 2 to 3 months, a majority of women have enough new hair to sport a short crop style, however, it typically takes about 5 to 8 months before hair is long enough to see texture.

Take care of your scalp when regrowing hair after chemo by washing your scalp with a mild shampoo. Your oil glands in your scalp are the same whether you have hair or not, and this will keep your wig, hats and scarves cleaner.

Suggested Products

Some women swear by taking supplements such as Biotin, although there is little scientific evidence vitamins promote hair growth. Others use minoxidil 5% (Rogaine), the only topical medication approved by the FDA for female-pattern hair loss. Check with your doctors before using supplements or minoxidil. Most women recovering from chemo experience hair growth without these remedies, but some feel it gives hair follicles an extra boost. The following hair styling products can be beneficial during hair’s growth phase. You may have to experiment a little to see what works best for your hair texture and at different stages of regrowth.

  • Headbands

  • Hair Clips

  • Bobby Pins

  • Gentle Shampoo

  • Leave-in Conditioner

  • Hair Oil (e.g. Argan)

  • Soft Mousse

  • Pomade

  • Wax

  • Gel

  • Shine Spray

Eyelashes and Eyebrows:

The lovely locks on your head are growing back, but so are your eyelashes and eyebrows, and they look rather sketchy. During the growth stage, eyeliner, mascara, eyebrow wigs, eyebrow stencils, and false eyelashes can help you achieve a dramatic look. The combo of big, bold brows, long fluttery lashes, and a short “do” creates quite a striking fashion statement.

Growing hair out after chemo does not have to be a dreaded experience – with the right tools, a little know how, and creative panache, it can actually be a time to spread your wings. Be bold, brave, and beautiful in your own unique way!


Related Articles:

Chemo & Hair Loss

Cancer Survivors Share Their Best Advice

10 Tips for Getting Through Chemotherapy

Hair Loss During Treatments: Money Saving Tips

Tips to Help Your Loved One Cope with Hair Loss

Why Does Cancer Cause Hair Loss?

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Ms Review by Hair Growth After Chemo: Styling Tips
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I got a very nice wig for around $50. My hair was reddish brown and curly before, and what is coming in is straight and brown with a lot of gray. It is about an inch long now, 4 months after chemo was over. I will wear the wig for quite some time as I don't like the short hair. Then I will have to have it colored. Thank goodness for hair styists. My eyebrows and eyelashes also fell out. They have grown back after 3 months, but when they first fell out, I used eyeliner, and drew my eyebrows in with eyebrow powder with a brush. Well, I was very self-conscious with no eyelashes, but a lady told me I had striking eyes. Must have been the eyeliner. The point is, sometimes I don't know who that is in my mirror, but I look OK. It has taken some getting used to. I hope that you will find what works for you, so you can feel better about your looks too. It is important to us ladies, isn't it? (Posted on 05/09/2019)


Thanks for the tips, Pam! Everyone finds their own way that works for them and it sounds like you have found yours! We do want to caution you not to color your wig. For $50, this would be a synthetic wig and you cannot dye synthetic wigs - it will ruin the wig. Best of luck to you. Nothing can ever alter your inner beauty and that's what really matters. It shines from the inside out. You are in our thoughts and prayers. (08/19/2019)
Mrs. Review by Hair Growth After Chemo: Styling Tips
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I want to color my hair as soon as it is long enough to give up my wig. I had colored my hair for approximately 10 years....brunette with highlights .My hair iscurrently growing in black and gray. Ive never had black hair in life and I dont feel the gray will be flattering on me as I see it flattering other women. I am very concerned about the chemicals in hair dye, especially the professional ones. Can you recommend a hair color that is safe to use and also, when is it safe to begin coloring my hair. I think a teaspoon will do! (Posted on 03/24/2019)

Mrs. Review by Hair Growth After Chemo: Styling Tips
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I'm 6 weeks into hair regrowth after chemo and it is growing really fast on the top and the sides are thin. Also. It was strawberry blond red and curly before and is now dark dark brown and straight. Can't wait to work through new hair styles as it grows out. Great article!!! (Posted on 03/04/2019)

Monk Review by Hair Growth After Chemo: Styling Tips
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Really very helpful information, makes me excited to try these new styles as my hair grows back! (Posted on 02/12/2019)

Mrs Review by Hair Growth After Chemo: Styling Tips
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I had breast cancer and 13 limphnods removed .my hair came back in short stringy top and back like nothing ..dry broken terrible .also no eyebrows.little lashes ..can't even see them. I need a hair pieces. hair was long and very curly. Iam of Italian decent with very thick long curly hair. I'm devastated..truly I look 10 years older. And I always looked 10 years younger. Please help me figure how to left my hair help it look thicker or get hair pieces. I just don't know. I don't even want to look in a mirror ..I look awful also..they gave me steroids ..also and I blew up like a balloon. I lived on Popsicles for 6 months then soup and still couldn't eat right .but still looked fat. I also had 38 treatments of radiation and 8 months of herceptin. Please help..ty (Posted on 10/08/2018)


We are so sorry to hear of all that you are going through. We want to assure you that there is a solution that will make you feel like yourself again. We would be happy to help you. We will need a little more information to give you better direction. Please reach out to us at 1-800-264-4287. We look forward to hearing from you. (10/27/2018)
Mrs. Review by Hair Growth After Chemo: Styling Tips
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Interesting information concerning my new hair growth. Allows me a better understanding of what to expect during the regrowth process. I especially love the examples and pictures of the hair styles. (Posted on 08/05/2018)

mrs Review by Hair Growth After Chemo: Styling Tips
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this site is very helpful (Posted on 02/13/2018)