Location: the United States of America

Information for your hairdresser

Visiting the hairdresser can feel like a welcome relaxing treat. You don’t need to completely avoid the salon during scalp cooling, but it is important to share information with your stylist.

Information for your hairdresser

Visiting the hairdresser can feel like a welcome relaxing treat. You don’t need to completely avoid the salon during scalp cooling, but it is important to share information with your stylist.

If you ensure you are transparent about your needs, your hairdresser can help to support you during your scalp cooling journey. 

This page will give all the information your hairdresser will need to safely care for your hair through your treatment and beyond. Share the link for this page with your stylist, or you can download the information to print and take with you to your appointment.  
Download hairdresser information

Supporting your client while they scalp cool

Your client is going through scalp cooling. This is a simple treatment that is clinically proven to help manage and prevent chemotherapy-induced hair loss.

The patient wears a cap and cover that reduces the temperature of the scalp before, during, and after their chemotherapy treatment. Cooling the scalp reduces the amount of chemotherapy reaching the hair follicles and provides protection for the follicles at a biological level if chemotherapy does reach them.

There are no guarantees with scalp cooling, but generally, patients will have a 50% chance of retaining 50% of their hair. Scalp cooling also promotes faster hair regrowth, even if they see a lot of hair loss.

Things that you should keep in mind

There are some key things to keep in mind when caring for your client’s hair during their scalp cooling treatment and for a period of time after their chemotherapy is completed.

Be as gentle as you can

When handling your client’s hair be mindful that the hair and particularly the follicles are going through a lot. Your client may be very anxious and feel that their hair is even more precious to them than usual. Try to avoid any additional tension on the roots of the hair by ensuring extra care is taken during activities such as brushing, blow drying, washing etc.

Chemotherapy dries out the hair, skin and scalp

Your client’s hair will likely be a lot drier and potentially more damaged than it was before they began chemotherapy.

What you need to know

Washing your client’s hair

The drying effect of chemotherapy means your client will need to wash their hair less often than they did. When washing your client’s hair, avoid any rubbing or circular motions with the hair that could cause matting and tangling and don’t massage the scalp.

Avoid products that contain sulfates or parabens. Perfume and color can also cause problems if your client has a sensitive scalp from the chemotherapy treatment - hypoallergenic products are the preference. Conditioning products and those for dry and damaged hair are also a good idea.

You may see more hair than you would expect coming out during the washing process. Washing will liberate shed hairs, which is essential to avoid tangling and matting, but can look a bit scary. Washing, as long as it is done gently, won’t pull out hair that wasn’t already shed.

Do not towel dry – rubbing the hair should be avoided. Gently pat dry to get rid of excess water.
The drying effect of chemotherapy means your client will need to wash their hair less often than they did. When washing your client’s hair, avoid any rubbing or circular motions with the hair that could cause matting and tangling and don’t massage the scalp.

Avoid products that contain sulfates or parabens. Perfume and color can also cause problems if your client has a sensitive scalp from the chemotherapy treatment - hypoallergenic products are the preference. Conditioning products and those for dry and damaged hair are also a good idea.

You may see more hair than you would expect coming out during the washing process. Washing will liberate shed hairs, which is essential to avoid tangling and matting, but can look a bit scary. Washing, as long as it is done gently, won’t pull out hair that wasn’t already shed.

Do not towel dry – rubbing the hair should be avoided. Gently pat dry to get rid of excess water.

Cutting

It is fine to cut your client’s hair during the scalp cooling process. The day-to-day care can be made easier by removing dead and split ends, and if your client is struggling with managing their hair, they may want to consider losing some length. Cutting hair short is not necessary to make the scalp cooling process more effective, but very long hair can be difficult to look after. Lots of patients find that a collar bone length cut is a good compromise as it allows enough length to gently tie up, but it isn’t so long that daily brushing is a challenge.

Your client may have experienced some noticeable hair loss, and there can be some awkward stages if they have a variety of different lengths as hair starts to grow back. Try to think in the long term and take things steady – cutting the hair very short may not be necessary if the client doesn’t want it, if you can find inventive ways of styling the hair to hide patchy hair loss etc.

Styling

Do not use heated styling tools on your client’s hair. It is fine to use a hair dryer or blow dryer but use the cool setting at a gentle speed. Use your fingers rather than a blow dry brush or anything that is going to cause tension at the roots of the hair.

Do not use products that are going to make the hair sticky or difficult to wash or brush. Leave-in conditioners and oils are usually fine but be aware that your client’s scalp may be sensitive due to chemotherapy.

Dyeing and chemical processes

Do not dye or use any chemical processes, including bleaching, coloring (with permanent or semi-permanent dyes), perming or chemically straightening, or relaxing your client’s hair during their chemotherapy and scalp cooling treatment, or until their shedding rate has returned to normal. Exposure to any chemicals that are involved in these processes can cause a reaction due to the chemotherapy drug’s effect on the body. Even if the patient didn’t react previously, it is not safe during chemotherapy treatment.

Post-treatment advice

Your client’s hair may be very dry and damaged after their chemotherapy treatment and might not be in a good enough condition to deal with a chemical process. If necessary, work on improving the condition of their hair first.

When your client’s hair is ready to be dyed (usually around 3 months post-final chemotherapy), it is imperative that you patch test in advance. Even if your client had no issues before chemotherapy, they could still be more reactive than they were before they started treatment. Better to be safe than sorry.
Chemotherapy drugs can sometimes cause hair dyes to develop in a different way to normal. Some colors may come out more or less intense than you will expect, or even come out as completely different colors.

Hair extensions can be a good choice to increase volume or to help hide patchy hair loss as your client goes through the regrowth stage. Please note that your client’s hair will be fragile for a period of time after chemotherapy, and we would not advise adding extensions of any variety on hair shorter than a couple of inches.
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My hairdresser was a big support to me. Knowing I could share specific information with them was a comfort

Jennifer
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