• Hair regrowth, color

    Asked by Valentinegirl on Thursday, March 21, 2013

    Hair regrowth, color

    My second question today...my last chemo was on November 1st, and my hair has been growing back very slowly. It also came back with much more gray in it than there was before. Once I am ready to ditch the wig, I am going to have it professionally colored, as i do want my natural color back, but in the interim, I bought some over the counter hair color so that I could see what I would look like with short, dark, hair (prior to chemo, my hair had been long for the past 20 years). The color didn't seem to take very well, and my hair came out a kind of grayish, sandy color. I tried again with a darker color, but go the same results. I'm hoping that when I have it professionally done, it may look better, more natural, but this is bothering me. I realize that in the grand scheme of things, that this is superficial and unimportant, but looking like myself again will help me feel better. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    18 Answers from the Community

    18 answers
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear Valentinegirl,

      It's completely natural for your hair to be more gray than previously, and it also makes total sense for you to want to look your best.

      You may want to call around to some of your local salons to see if any of the colorists have experience working on cancer survivors hair. Other than that I'm sure a professional colorist probably will have experience in this area, given how high the breast cancer rates are (unfortunately).

      I think once you have "corrective coloring" done by a professional (they use toner to set the color (which doesn't come in the kits you buy in the phjarmacies) you'll look more like you wish and feel much better.

      I color my hair (don't want to be gray) and I didn't have chemo-just vain!...;)

      Warm wishes,

      over 4 years ago
    • Miriam's Avatar

      I had a similiar experience with hair color and texture. When I finished my chemo in August my hair grew very slowly. I still only have about two inches. There was a lot more gray than before treatment so I tried coloring it myself and it turned an orangy blondish red. It was not attractive! My natural color is a medium to lighter blonde with a little gray. My hair stylist ( who laughed out loud when she saw my hair color)
      worked with me and we finally got it to look less like Halloween. We both did some research and found out that it will take some time for the hair to become normal again. The good news that it is curly for now and I have enjoyed that.

      When someone tells you " it is just hair, don't worry about it", they haven't experienced going bald and feeling like XXX. I think how we look is important for self esteem. Thank heavens I had a good wig when I need it. It made me feel more like my old self. I didn't want everyone who looked at me to see cancer. There is a light at the end of all this and we will get back to looking and feeling more like ourselves. Good luck with your hair experience.

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I would hold off a while. You may find that you don't need to color it. When my hair started to grow back in it was also very grey. But as it grew longer and the texture became more normal, it went right back to my natural color before I lost it. Whether you color it yourself or have it professionally done, I think you will find you will get pretty much the same results. You may need wait to let your hair get back to normal on its own....not only in color, but in texture.

      over 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      My hair is growing back because I switched chemo meds. Much to my surprise it came back at 75 dark brown, 25% gray, about what it was in May of last year. I understand why you want to color your hair, and I say go for it. I would suggest that you check with your oncologist first just to make sure it's ok. I'm one of those "I rather be safe then sorry" people, though I suspect it will be just fine.

      over 4 years ago
    • Deidre's Avatar

      Thank you for your question. i was wondering the same thing. My hair started falling out in clumps, so I shaved it. I just finished chemo. So it sounds like I have to wait awhile before coloring. My hair started growing back, but still continued to fall out in areas, which is weird. I look like I have a "past it's prime" steel wool pad on my head!

      over 4 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      I had more gray too and I colored. Gray hair is more resistant to color change than "regular" hair, so a higher % of peroxide is necessary. I bought my hair dye at Sally's beauty supply, wella for the color and 40% peroxide (drugstore stuff is weaker, not to mention is hard to know what color you're getting).

      Since you just colored I'd hold off another month or more before subjecting your hair to more peroxide.

      over 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      My post-chemo hair was an ugly pencil-lead gray color. I had good results using a semi-permanent color: Natural Instincts Creme Color (medium auburn.) it gave my hair a nice reddish tint that washes out gradually after 20-something shampoos. I'd never dyed my hair at home before. This semi-perm color was easy to do and inexpensive.

      over 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      my hair looked very salt and pepper when it started growng back, but as it got longer, the gray wasn't as prominant.....

      over 4 years ago
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar

      You ladies got gray? I got WHITE hair! Before cancer, I had actually forgotten what my "natural" color was, because I was coloring it so much and in so many ways. (I've always worn it short and color only lasts me about 6 weeks.) After reading about your experiences, I hope that eventually this white hair will grow out to reveal a beautiful shade of HOT PINK! Yeah, I think I'd like that...

      over 4 years ago
    • DianaL's Avatar

      I finished chemo is November and April 8th it will be 5 months. Mine is coming in black with lots of gray--my natural color was always brown. Just a mystery of cancer and chemo. Mine is still too short to go without a wig (my head still gets cold). Hopefully, May will bring an end to wigs and I will wait to color until my beautician says it can be done. She has been a blessing and so far everything she has said prior to losing hair was true. Good luck but wait a month to try to color again.

      over 4 years ago
    • princess123's Avatar

      My hair grew back in dark brown, the color when I was a child and had some grey. I used the coloring that colors the roots since I didn't have much hair. The color took just fine. White hair is more resistant to holding color. Now my hair is loosing the grey.
      I colored it before my hair fell out. I still wear a cap or wig but colored it because I didn't want to see the grey when I looked in the mirror. What ever makes you feel better.:)

      over 4 years ago
    • dls1007's Avatar

      If you get it done professionally it will take the color better. I had the same problem with my hair coming in grey. My stylist colored my hair to it's normal color and it took the color well. Good luck!

      over 4 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      Hi Valentinegirl.. a couple of suggestions. First, you are expressing the same thoughts as I had. It does seem like forever for the hair to grow back especially in the front (bang area). I finished chemo in August last year and still the front is taking a while. I've had two trims on the sides and back to shape only (so that was at 6 months first time). In Jan, my stylist asked if I was taking Biotin. Of course, I asked my onc about it first. She says it was fine to take ..it is only a B vitamin. But, it does signficantly help hair and nail growth/damage. For color, my styist specializes in helping cancer patients and in fact has a foundation in our area, so I was lucky to have good advice. I also had gray patches all over that I never knew existed before becaue my hair was colored and highlighted before, so the gray, was blended pretty well. My stylist recommened a semi permanent dye that also conditions the hair. This was amazing, do it every 4-6 weeks and it worked great. You never see that line of roots coming in gray unless you look very very closely. She used a french product, don't remember the name, but it works great. Definitely go to a good professional who had experience with this, don't use over the counter product. The scalp is sensitive now too as it grows in. As Aliza mentioned, they use a toner as well that also conditions. The hair texture coming is wonky for a while so the conditioners help. I'm just now starting to see my more nature texture coming in and because of the Biotin, it is growing like a weed! This too will end and you'll start to feel like yourself again. Don't feel bad about wanting to look good, that just means you are healing and ready to take on the world again.. this is a good thing! If you didn't care, you'd be sick. You're not, so go be beautiful! Best, Debbie

      over 4 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar

      I;m so with you on that Valentinegirl.. I bought wigs in my 'natural' Clairol Blonde. Then finished the six cycles of chemo and waited breathlessly... It was coming back... I had a crew cut of .... (wait for it)...... Pure WHITE hair. Okay fine!!!! I'll leave the product on longer... Back to Oncologist to receive results of the past years chemo.... GREAT - PET Scan shows no cancer anywhere from head to knees... GREAT... Then he says... he wants to do one more year... I, without thinking reach and touch my crewcut..... He says Yes it will leave again.. I go the one more year.. AND THANK GOD, I'm now writing this from the security of being 7 years out from DX. However... Hair grew in very sparce...Like maybe 45-50 hairs to a square inch. Still wearing blonde wigs and grateful. I'm alive, healthy and can be ready for a party in 1/3 the time now... Have great hair... ready to go. I'm glad yours is growing in. Society tells us hair is our 'beauty' of course we care about how we look. I'll stop when I die... till then, it's blonde wigs... might go white when I'm 80.. cause 70 is'nt going to do it. (((Hugs))) and have fun watching your hair go back to normal.

      over 4 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      There is an additive that you can put into hair color to make it "grap' the white hair . Gray solution by Nice and Easy.

      Stick with any color that contains the words "natural" like natural brown..this contains more pigment ( for any color) in the color chemicals. Revlon color silk , one of the cheapest color products you can buy offers the longest grey coverage than any other store bought products according to testing.

      The chemo hair is more brittle that the hair that will start to come in. If you choose to let that grow and continue to color your hair take a heavy conditioner product and apply to the ends "before you color to block that brittle hair from taking on too much color and more damage.

      I have always had very think wavey light brown hair..very little grey..Now I am 1/3 gray and maybe 1/2 the thickness, curley and about 1 1/2 inches long since I just cut about 1 1/2 inches of fuzz chemo hair off.

      over 4 years ago
    • Gena's Avatar

      I turned gray in my 40s and have always colored my hair a dark brown. When my hair started coming in gray during treatment, I had it colored at a professional salon when it was about an inch in length. Looked great, no problem with coverage and it was a dark brown.

      over 4 years ago
    • oceanblue24's Avatar

      I finished chemo in June 2012 but my hair started coming back about a month before. It came back white. Like others I had always colored my hair before chemo so didn't know what color it actually was. I liked the white for a bit then colored it a platinum blonde which looked just like the white! So a month later my hairdresser did it back to the blond I had before chemo. Everyone is different so go for what you like. PS I asked my Onco if the first dye I did was ok & he said yes.

      over 4 years ago
    • Honeypot's Avatar

      Unfortunately, as I have discovered, once you have gone grey, even if you go to a
      professional hairdresser and have it coloured dark, the moment you wash it, the
      colour fades considerably and I am very fed up about it. Honeypot

      over 4 years ago

    Help the community by answering this question:

    Create an account to post your answer Already have an account? Sign in!

    By using WhatNext, you agree to our User Agreement, and Privacy Policy

    Read and answer more breast cancer questions.  Also, don't forget to check out our Breast Cancer page.