Part 1: Cutting Your Hair Before Chemo
At StyleEsteem we believe that hair loss is so much more than the clumps of locks that find their way into your hands. Hair loss is something that starts the moment you are diagnosed. And it stays until you find new self-love and confidence during hair regrowth. Although cancer itself represents something which takes control away from your life, hair loss is something which can bring that control back.
That’s why this series is all about sharing the stories of how the brave women in our community stepped into their own hair loss story. If you’re asking yourself “Am I strong enough to get through this?” “Should I cut my hair short before chemo?” “Can I still feel like myself with no hair?”, then you should keep reading. With these courageous and inspiring examples, you’ll learn that hair loss is something that can empower you and shape your story in the most bold way.
“My hair was very long. I decided to cut it to my shoulders before starting chemo to avoid too much shock. I thought cutting it would help ease the transition. I knew I would want to shave my head, just to help me feel like I’m in control of something. Around day 17 on AC chemo, my hair started coming out in clumps. I was worried I wouldn’t know when to shave it, but I trusted my gut, and on Easter I decided it was time. The amount of hair that came out in the shower was overwhelming and honestly, I wish I would have shaved it a day earlier. My husband shaved his head the same day and keeps it shaved as a sign of solidarity!” – Rifka Coleman, Mom and Breast Cancer Survivor
“I was never attached to my hair and looked forward to the day I could leave my hairdryer and straightener in the drawer. In welcoming the next chapter of life, I held a haircut party with my close girlfriends, hosted by a darling friend who owns a hair salon. We came together, enjoyed non-alcoholic libations and watched as the years of hair growth fell away in a matter of minutes. Weeks later, one of my best friends flew in to help shave the rapidly-disintegrating mop. Both evenings left great memories in place of something we typically find traumatizing.” – Nicole Conge, Advocate for Early Detection
“I decided when I was told my hair was going to fall out, I was going to take control and do things my way. I decided to shave the sides off and dye the middle purple. So I had a purply pink mohawk! That lasted for one chemo session and I ended up asking my friend for his clippers, so I could shave it off my self.” – Shoni Brown, For The Breast Of Us Ambassador
“After I was diagnosed, I immediately made an appointment to get fitted for a wig “just in case” I lost my hair. My hair was always something I took pride in. I never left the house without having my hair done. I started losing my hair in clumps on day 11 after my first “red devil” chemo treatment in October 2019. I had been in denial about the possibility of losing my hair, although I had prepared for it. I was at a Warrior Revolution retreat where there were other women who had either gone through or were going through breast cancer. These women embraced me and shared their hair loss journey with me to make me feel better about hair loss. And I was honored to meet Sonya from Style Esteem who fitted me with the most beautiful head wraps. It was so empowering!
That following Tuesday after the retreat I had my second red devil treatment and my oncologist told me I needed to shave my head the next day as it was going to start falling out more. I Immediately called one of my best friends and asked her if she could take the day off and go with me to shave my head. I threw on my cutest jumpsuit, high heels, and lip gloss and off we went to the studio where I was getting my wig from! We laughed. No crying and made a girls afternoon of it.” – Christy Greenleaf, Advocate for Mammograms and Helping Women Overcome Adversity
“When I was first diagnosed in 2014 I didn't know how to approach losing my hair. One of my nurses suggested that I get a wig before my hair starts falling out to get a wig that matches my hair color and style. I went to a wig shop that was run by 2 breast cancer survivors and they helped find me the perfect wig. As they were fitting my wig they noticed that my hair follicles were already very sensitive and said that my hair would start falling out. So they shaved my head right then. I don't regret doing it. It prevented me from waking up with clumps of hair on my pillow or while I showered pulling out clumps. Not having to deal with this helped me mentally during my chemo treatments.” – Maggie Kudirka, Founder of Bald Ballerina. Advocate for Breast Cancer Research Foundation, The Pink Agenda, Dancers Care Foundation, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Metavivor and Tigerlily Foundation
“I decided early on that I was going to get ahead of the hair loss. It was very difficult because my hair was down to my waist at the time of my diagnosis and I had grown attached to the length. I knew it would be too painful to watch my long hair fall out in clumps, so I made an appointment at a hair salon that my friend recommended and I got my hair cut into a long pixie a week and half before I started chemo. I ended up loving that haircut on me, and it felt like I had taken a weight off my shoulders (which I guess I had!) This also allowed me to ease into the hair loss, which started happening about 2 weeks after I started chemo. Four days after my second infusion, the hair loss got overwhelming for me, so I asked my mom and my boyfriend at the time if they would help me shave my head. It wasn't a "head-shaving party" per se, but it helped to have their moral support present when I did it.” – Sandra Roldan, Cancer Survivor
We will be sharing new hair cutting stories here on the blog periodically, so please check back for more soon!