Wigs: Prepping for hair loss due to chemo: Where to start?

Posted by ahurlbert30 @ahurlbert30, Aug 13, 2020

Hey all, just prepping for the loss of my hair. I’d like to get a couple wigs but don’t know where to start. I can’t tell online what is decent and what is not.

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My local Cancer Support Center gave me the names and addresses of what it considered the better wig sellers, after I purchased two disastrous wigs online. Unfortunately, one shop had nothing in stock which fit my head among the two I liked, and the other had nothing I liked. They also were very expensive and, after you purchase one, they recommend having it styled. The ones I did try on were uncomfortable (chemo had made the skin on my head very sensitive). When I added up all the expenses and discomfort, I decided to go without.

By the way, with a prescription for a wig from your oncologist, you can get insurance to reimburse you for part of the expense, if you buy one.

As I needed something to keep my head warm, day and night, I decided to go with some of the wonderful soft, knit chemo caps sold on Amazon, tie-dyed "hair bands" sold on Etsy, and scarves from my bureau. Combining them, I made some very attractive head coverings in colors which complimented my skin, eye tones, and clothing... and, I was comfortable. In about 6-8 months, I then had to learn about the various hair products to tame the new growth. It's always a learning experience!


Like @elizm , I thought wigs were the way to go. I got one and in ended up wearing only few times. Below are my experience with baldness and getting a wig at Mayo Clinic Store Flower of Hope in Rochester. This was in 2018 - 2019, pre COVID, so if plan on using Mayo Clinic Store you should check what services they are currently offering.


I was living and receiving treatment at Mayo Rochester when hair started falling out. I checked out the store and ladies there were wonderful. As soon as hair started falling out, I immediately had head shaved. If going to loss hair, I did not want it to drag out over weeks, so the store shaved for free and in private. I even took before and after pictures.

My oncologist wrote a prescription for wig that insurance covered. I had a consultation at store to try different styles and colors. They helped me determined the correct size and had many suggestion on how to wear and care for. Just like clothes, a large in one brand is not same as another. I went back for 2nd appointment with my sister to make final decision.

But in end, I only wore wig a few times. I found it easier to wear scarfs and hats. I am retired and during this time about the only place I went was Mayo for treatment, and seeing someone bald or having wearing a hair covering is not unusual in Rochester. First thing I learned is a MN winter is even colder without a hat. I bought some cute warm hats that I can use even with hair. I also found a variety of hair coverings on Amazon. And for fun, sometime I accessorize with pins. You can use head covering as your personal fashion statement.

When spring came, I had to remember to wear hats or sun tan lotion to keep from getting sun burn.

I did take a vacation in late spring to Hilton Head when hair was just fuzz and I was much more conscious of my baldness there. Like I said early, growing up and living in Rochester I guess I do not notice people with medical conditions as much as people in other locations might.

When people asked about hair loss, I would just joke about amount of money I was saving not having to color, cut or buy hair styling products. During last spring when hair salons were shut down and my hair looked terrible, I even used some of those scarfs to cover my head on bad hair days.

Good luck,



My experience with hair loss, getting a wig at Mayo Flower of Hope Store, and wearing the wig was exactly the same. I did have my head shaved a couple days after hair started falling out. I thought I would be the person that always wore a wig so I was fitted and picked one out before losing my hair. I maybe wore it a dozen times within a year. Wraps, hats, head coverings are much more comfortable and come in so many styles and colors. The ladies at the store in Rochester are wonderful! I was just recently fitted for a bra and was able to try on and get a swim suit. It is best to call and make an appointment when going to the Mayo store.


I bought local so I could try on and it could be adjusted to fit my head. The ABC program at YMCA's often has wigs and scarfs, fittings and scarfs for free.


I tried wigs but they were uncomfortable. So I went bald. I must say that it was a very freeing experience. Made sure I put my makeup on and went to work.


I just rocked bald.... many people still had idea I was battling Cancer! At the time I was the Chief Spokesperson for GSP International Airport. On TV at least 2 or 3 times a month.... face made up... rocking the bald! Liberating.


The Raquel Welch line is great! I bought mine well before chemo began, which is what is suggested, as you probably prefer the same cut and style as your real hair. Chemo liners, which are made of slightly stretchy cotton, cool and comfort your head. Best of luck to you.


@ahurlbert30- Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I am a lung cancer survivor. When I was about to have my chemo I was all set to shave my head. My hairdresser even came to my house and was ready to cut. My hair was long and thick and I was determined to be a warrior and brave the baldness! Just before I sat down for the first snip Jen asked me if I was sure that the chemo that I was going to get would make me lose my hair. WHAT? I called my to-be-infusion nurse and she said not always! So I didn't get my hair shaved. My hair thinned but eventually filled out.

Are you sure that your chemo will make your hair fall out?


Only cut you hair about 2 inches from your scalp. Not all hair falls out & even a small amount of fuzz will protect your scalp from getting itchy while wearing a wig. Also, once your hair starts to grow in, it quickly appears longer while the new growth just makes it thicker .
Get a wig prescription from your oncologist. Even if your hair doesn’t fall out, wigs worn everyday don’t last that long. Get a new wig every time your insurance plan allows so you have a couple on hand.
Get a wig from a wig salon. There are many to choose from and you can try on until you find a couple that you really like. Don’t settle. There should be many that look very natural & you might even find you like them better than your real hair. If your insurance plan allows a larger budget than the cost of one wig, buy a halo too. It’s basically a wig with no hair on top. You wear it under a hat during the summer.
Prior to buying a wig, I wore baseball caps. The kind without the adjustment strap & the hole in back. I bought many by Adida’s @ Marshall’s or TJ Max. I also bought strips of hair (bangs) that attach to the back of the hat with Velcro to cover my bare neck & lower back of my head. You can buy the bangs through the online cancer wig companies like headcovers.com. This combo was so easy to put on, rotate between caps & no one ever suspected I lost hair or even had cancer.
You may also want to prevent hair loss from chemo by doing cryotherapy. Even if your infusion center doesn’t supply equipment to do it, you can purchase or rent the cold caps online. If there isn’t any info about that on this website, join inspire.com as they have many old discussions from members who have advice.

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