• When should I shave my head?

    Asked by mblea99 on Sunday, December 15, 2013

    When should I shave my head?

    I had my first chemo treatment 10 days ago for stage 3 bc. My hair us 13 inches long and want to donate it. I want to cut and shave before its starts falling out but want to hold on to is as ling as I can. Any advice? Please and thank you.

    52 Answers from the Community

    52 answers
    • glam's Avatar

      It varies a lot from one person to the other....I started losing my one from first to second chemo and before third round I had lost most of it.....people had advised me to cut it before it started falling because in this way it would could have be used to make a wig and so I would be able to wear my own hair and style in a wig.....I decided not to do so because I also would like to postpone being bald as much as I could.....wishing you all the best....God bless you and keep blessing all of us

      over 7 years ago
    • LynnT's Avatar

      I found that the right time was when it started to fall out and clung to my pillow at night and I woke up with hair in my mouth...YUK.

      over 7 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      My hair was long before I was Dx....still long at bilat....I had my hair cut into a bob after surgery and then 2 weeks later had it cut short, short in a "boy" cut...the next day it started to fall out....I cried when I went to a hair salon to get it cut....freaked out and left....so a gf who is a retired hair dresser cut my hair both times...the first time was at my house after my DD's 8th b'day party...the 2nd time was at her house before her DD's b'day party!!! She cut my hair for a couple years then I finally got the nerve to go back to a hair salon....

      over 7 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      Oh yeah.....I didn't shave my head for several weeks after my hair stopped falling out...I had dry straw hair that I held onto..finally had my DH shave it...at first it was traumatic, and half way through I had regrets, but once he was done I wished I had done it sooner....

      over 7 years ago
    • ladyhawk's Avatar

      within 3 weeks and the shedding should start,, and than GO FOR IT! :) You will be beautiful either way.

      over 7 years ago
    • midgieb's Avatar

      My Dr tells me it truly depends on the type of chemo you receive if you hair falls out or not. Trust me you will know when it is time to shave it. If you want to hold on as long as you can when you run your hands through your hair and the hair is all between your fingers it is time to shave it. It is really not that bad. As my dear Mother use to say you can get use to anything after a while.

      over 7 years ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar

      Not everybody loses their hair to chemo, so here is hoping that you are one of the lucky ones!
      But having said that, mine started to fall out about a week after my first chemo. And I think a week or two is about average. But everybody is different so you never know. The problem is that by the time it starts to fall out it is too late to donate, I wanted to donate mine as well but then I found out that my hair wasn't the right type anyway so it didn't matter. And once mine started to fall out I cut it short and then a few days later I cut it off completely.....losing it in a couple of stages made me adjust to it easier. Take care and good luck!

      over 7 years ago
    • avonlea02's Avatar

      It is hard to lose our hair, that's for sure! For me, the thought of waking up one morning to find it all over my pillow or pulling it out in clumps while washing it in the shower was very upsetting. I decided that I would make the decision and would "trump" cancer's ability to take that from me, also. I had my long hair cut - and donated it to "Locks of Love" and then had a friend give me a buzz cut. We played with it a bit at that time. She gave me a "mohawk" and took a picture of that.

      Finally, what I did with the hair she shaved off was to put it outside in my back yard. I had seen a book in my chemo suite where a woman had done that and birds came and used it to build a nest. I thought that was a lovely offering to make of my hair, so I followed it. I don't know if any birds used it; I saw no evidence that they did. But it became part of the earth, part of the ground, and I thought there was something soothing in that, also.

      Being bald, to me, was like screaming to the world, "I'M SICK!" and I didn't like that. I lost my hair in the summer, and it was unbearably hot. For me, wigs were just too uncomfortable and hot to wear. I got used to my scarves and hats. I adjusted. Actually, many survivors approached me who had gone through chemo, and we exchanged support and smiles!

      Hang in there, and know that you are not alone! We know what you are going through, and that there is hope!

      God bless you!


      over 7 years ago
    • lynnann1975's Avatar

      I think it varies. Im 11 weeks in n I still hve some hair. I cut it short when I noticed my end were breaking. My hair sheds instead of coming out in clumps. I usually wear hats...thnk god for winter. But I do hve a wig to wear as well. Good luck. Hair loss was a big thing for me n I cried a lot. But now I know it will grow back n there are worse things in life.

      over 7 years ago
    • MMarie's Avatar

      Mine started to fall out on day 14 after my first chemo tx. I had it shaved the next day.

      What a beautiful and generous donation.

      over 7 years ago
    • flamingogirl's Avatar

      I started losing my hair the night before my second treatment, so 13 days after my first treatment. My hair was fairly short, but I got it cut shorter. I had to wait for my BIL to come home from vacation as he was the one that shaved my head. That was about 3 weeks after my first treatment.

      over 7 years ago
    • Marisol's Avatar

      Following my sister-in-law's own steps as a cancer patient I ordered my wig about one month before beginning chemo and had my head completely shaved at the first sign of hair staying in my hands as I softly pulled, We have a Spanish proverb: "Once red is better than hundred times yellow", so I resolved I was spared scary visions and was goodlooking. Now my own hair is back and everybody tells me that this new curly style makes me look younger. I dreamt of a Charlize Theron shortcut but it tended to look more and more like a Jackson Five teenager.

      over 7 years ago
    • Pamela1957's Avatar

      My doctor told me after my second treatment my hair would start falling out. I had my head shaved after my first treatment and I felt empowered because chemo did not take it.

      over 7 years ago
    • Joachima's Avatar

      My hair was very thick and a little longer than mid-back length before chemo. It started to fall out on day 20, and and it took about three weeks before I got the nerve to shave it the rest of the way off. If you're donating, My guess would be to have it cut around day 20 or between 2 - 3 weeks into chemo treatment. This is my personal experience, and I'm told that we all experience our journey differently. Many blessings to you along your journey.

      over 7 years ago
    • DianaL's Avatar

      Mine started falling out 15 days after first treatment. I just had my hair buzzed like a man's. It was not so traumatic that way. I already had my wigs and hats. Good luck. Prayers and hugs!

      over 7 years ago
    • leslie48240's Avatar

      Not a fun time for sure! Mine was 10 days after 1st treatment...blew outta my head while walking the dog...I thought the dog was shedding..crazy! I could actually feel the scalp 'letting go' ...really weird. Try a cheap light weight wig...you might like it. I ended up with a completely dif color and style than my real hair. A wig cap (like a lite stocking) made the wig stay in place better and was smooth on tender scalp. Mostly wore it for work and to go out...scarves at home and with family. Like someone above said...it is amazing what you will get used to on this journey! hugs!!

      over 7 years ago
    • Garzatg's Avatar

      I wanted to donate mine too. Mine was down past my chest. I waited too long. I thought I could wait until it started to come out and quickly go, but it started to fall out and matted up so I couldn't donate. It also made me extremely upset when it came out so fast, even though I thought I was preparerd. Luckily I had ordered a wig ahead of time so that helped. Unfortunately it fell out two days before valentines day and also unfortunately I had an arbitration meeting for my divorce and my ex laughed at me in the wig , which was very painful and hurtful. My advice is prepare by getting a wig ahead of time, then make an appointment or have someone you care about shave it for you, then go to lunch or do something special. I would take control of it and lose it on my terms.

      over 7 years ago
    • Griffin's Avatar

      I had my first chemo treatment on March 5th, my started coming out on March 17th. It took a while before it all came out. God bless!

      over 7 years ago
    • Marci's Avatar

      Your call. Mine started falling out "a lot" about day 17 after starting chemo. I had short hair to begin with but elected to shave it all off due to the tight feeling on my scalp. Kind of like having a too-tight pony-tail. Once my hair was shaved, that tight feeling went away and my head was much more confortable. Be sure to keep washing your head with shampoo, even with no hair so that your head does not break out. Make a decision that feels best to you. Best wishes with your decision.

      over 7 years ago
    • Myungclas' Avatar

      Day 15 is pretty standard for a lot of people. The longer and heavier it is the more your scalp will ache if you wait.

      over 7 years ago
    • sue1037's Avatar

      Mine started falling out right after my second treatment. I had mine shaved right before second treatment.

      over 7 years ago
    • Giraffe's Avatar

      I shaved mine before it started to fall out. It was something I had control over. Be sure you have a hat or scarf. The hair does a wonderful job keeping you warm,

      over 7 years ago
    • cathieb's Avatar

      I had CA for my first rounds of chemo and people told me day 17 was the day my hair would flla out, and it was exactly that day that all my hair really started falling out in the shower when I washed it. A couple days before that I was starting to lose it on the pillow etc, so I was careful and didn't wash it till after my son got home from school. I wanted him to see me with real hair.

      I think once you start to see the initial signs of hair loss you could cut it then. I had long hair but not long enough to donate, so I cut it short before starting chemo, so it wasn't so hard to deal with when it fell out. My son then shaved my head for me, while I cried. It was hard. Then I had to fight with the wig, because we were going to church that morning. I almost gave up but was glad I didn't. People at church said they didn't even know. (I think they were just being nice, but I was glad for the encouragement)

      over 7 years ago
    • MariaM's Avatar

      I had made an appointment for a haircut before I knew I would be having chemo. Since it fell a few days after my first chemo, I just kept it and had my head shaved then. I didn't mind being bald at all and I certainly would never have wanted to hide behind a wig. My hair is growing back now and that requires more ingenuity than being bald did, since my hair is still too short to comb.

      over 7 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      My hair started falling out after the second chemo. On a Sunday afternoon, as my daughter was running her hand through my hair, it started coming out in handfuls. So she continued to massage and remove the loose hair -- it actually felt good and it was a very loving way to lose a good portion of it. Then -- my son shaved my head and had his head shaved in support of me by his dad. It was a real family affair. There are some pictures on my wall. The act of having your head shaved is a bold statement that you are still in charge and that you are moving forward to win this battle!! Good Luck!!

      over 7 years ago
    • Pooh64's Avatar

      I agree with the other posts. My first rounds of chemo I didn't loose my hair (for a year). But I just did stem cell transplant and they told me I would loose my hair. I had cut it shorter about 5 months prior to the chemo for transplant. Had Melphalin for chemo and 12 days after it started coming out in mass. I wish now I had cut it all off when I first entered the hospital because my hair literally hurt my head, but wasn't falling out yet. I know he feeling of wanting to be in control of something...you will know when it's time for you.

      over 7 years ago
    • vsdobson's Avatar

      I've had long hair my entire life. When I started chemo I went and got a really short new do and donated my long hair. I waited until my hair got painful and stared falling out to shave it. This was VERY traumatic for me. If I had to do it over I would have shaved my head sooner. Being bald is not bad. Very little maintenance and I treat myself to many beautiful scarves and fun earrings!

      over 7 years ago
    • sjk's Avatar

      I had a friend cut my hair right after the second chemo treatment. I would do it sooner if you want to donate it. I noticed my hair was getting darker and more brittle.

      over 7 years ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar

      MSM is a great supplement for hair growth, about 1500 mg a day. I use Trader Joes brand and it works great for me. And I would use the wait and see approach with your hair, congratulations that it is growing back so soon! That is wonderful! Maybe wait and see how it grows and not shave it, good luck and best wishes!

      over 7 years ago
    • jvbaseballmom2's Avatar

      I started losing my hair after my second chemo treatment, and decided to shave it off after several days of hair flying everywhere. I would suggest you do it before your second chemo treatment. Best of luck to you:)

      over 7 years ago
    • JODYRJ's Avatar

      Yes, some chemos have different results and some chemos don't have 100% hair loss.. However, if you're taking AC, you will lose it and you'll see the "day 14-15" schedule likely - and it will go very quickly, so cutting in order to have it in good shape for donating is a good idea. Some other drugs fall into less consistent category, with some losing it, some thinning, and some not. You should be able to check with your specific drug and be pretty sure.

      over 7 years ago
    • Fontadonna's Avatar

      I wonder this too. Had first ACT round 6 days ago... best of luck

      over 7 years ago
    • Carol1286's Avatar

      My hair was completely gone in three weeks. I had my first tx on a Monday, went to the hairdresser the following Saturday and donated the hair. The short hair I had left fell out in clumps. It was very traumatic for me because my hair was past my waist. I cried while the hairdresser styled the short hair, which was gone soon anyway.

      over 7 years ago
    • hippgolovchen's Avatar

      Last spring I had two months of weekly Taxol. It started falling out around the fifth week, I think. It was a slow process. No hunks. Mostly I noticed it when shampooing....hair tangled in my fingers. Later I felt a tickling sensation on my face. Often. That was eyebrows and eyelashes. That was more bothersome because I'd get hair in my eyes. I had it cut in a couple stages. Wore scarves and hats during the summer because my wig wasn't comfortable. In September, or so, I started going without scarves. I did enjoy some conversations over the produce, etc. with other chemo patients as mentioned by someone else here. My hair came in very curly. Maybe not so thin as it was before, but still on the thin side. Good luck to you. It's amazing how we can adjust to traumatic events.

      over 7 years ago
    • dmholt1957's Avatar

      I started losing my hair after the second AC treatment. It started coming out in my hands when I washed my hair so I had my daughter to come and shave my head. It was harder for me to see it coming out in my hands than to just go ahead and shave it off. I am not sure if the chemo might damage your hair or not if you are thinking about donating it, you might need to check on that to see when you should cut it. Good luck and God bless.

      over 7 years ago
    • rosepetal57's Avatar

      Right away... BEFORE it starts falling out, typically around 14 days after first chemo. I couldn't salvage a lot of mine, because I was hospitalized from day 7 to 15, and lost a lot in the hospital. :/

      over 7 years ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar

      It's all going to depend on your comfort with baldness. If you plan to donate your long hair to make a wig, you might want to get it cut as soon as possible before it falls out and have your hair very short so it won't make a mess once it starts to come out. I wasn't comfortable with baldness, nor was my hair long enough to donate, so I just did nothing and hoped for the best. I was reduced to baby fuzz for a while, but now it's starting to grow back. I know it is a heartbreak to lose your hair, and my heart is with you. God bless you and Merry Christmas HUGS

      over 7 years ago
    • Kaloha's Avatar

      My hair started to fall out exactly 14 days after my first chemo. That was pretty much according to what I had been told, but it prob. does vary a little as do the side effects.

      over 7 years ago
    • Kaloha's Avatar

      It is so depressing to see it coming out. I applaud you for wanting to donate it. Make something good out of a difficult and depressing time. I think getting it shaved off was the hardest thing I have ever done.

      over 7 years ago
    • MsV's Avatar

      I started AC on Oct 1. my 'Fall Fallout' began on 18th, I already had a short haircut. Unfortunately, itching and pieces of hair started falling onto my face and my plate. I just buzzed it off, and a washckith with baby shampoo gave relief.

      over 7 years ago
    • princess123's Avatar

      About 2-3 weeks you will start loosing your hair. it also depends on what kind of chemo. I was on Toxal.

      over 7 years ago
    • pataul's Avatar

      I shaved mine the minute it started to fall out and since yours is long you might want to do this also. It gives you a sense of control in an otherwise out of control situation. You'll find losing your hair is minor and there are plenty of wigs, hats and scarves at your disposable. Good luck with your treatment.....

      over 7 years ago
    • lawcreate's Avatar

      I cut my hair into a bob (about chin length) when I found out I would be doing chemo. Fortunately, my chemo came after my radiation and it grew a bit. I am glad I did not cut it shorter, because it came out in my hand as I ran my fingers through it (as opposed to stubble falling out on your pillow). As others have said, you first notice it in the shower and it ramps up from there. All said, it took a week for it all to come out (a few days prior to the second round of my 3 week chemo cycle). In the end, I gently pulled out what would come, twisted the clumps left and scissored them off before my husband shaved my head (#1 on the shaver). I had managed extremely well through out the first part of my treatment (no one knew I was in treatment), but the baldness was new (geez - I looked like my father!). I cried a bit - I now felt as if I wore a sign - CANCER PATIENT. This is the one time I really felt like the cancer had the better part of me. I got over it quickly! My wig was a huge success - I had so many compliments on my hair and ppl were asking where I got it styled/cut!!! And the wig was such a blessing - no hair fuss and you're out of the bathroom in the AM so quickly! I loved it. My hair came back quickly and WOW! is it curly. Can't wait for it to get longer. Best of luck as you go down his path!

      over 7 years ago
    • Mom007's Avatar

      If You have long hair (like I did). Do not cut it in short doses. I made that mistake. Finally when I was in the hospital for heavy cemo, I had it shaved (buzzed) from the 2" I had gone up to. I wish I had shaved it earlier. I think woman are prettier shaved. It also grows in nicer. I had a lot of compliments when other woman in the same predicament had not shaved, and wish they had when they saw how mine had grown in. I never wore wigs. If you are going to donate, it is a lot harder to do, one is Johnson and Johnson. Good luck, and remember, it is you that is beautiful, not your hair. Concentrate and accentuate another favorite feature of yours, while you are getting your new do..

      over 7 years ago
    • KatieL's Avatar

      I would suggest donating your hair now leaving you with a short haircut to get used to having not much hair. I didn't mind just brushing if out when the remainder started to fall out. KatieS

      over 7 years ago
    • cmontano's Avatar

      My experience was that my hair did not come out in clumps - I just began to notice that I was "shedding" a lot (much more than normal). (I'm getting chemo at 3 week intervals; the shedding began right before it was time for my second treatment.) At that point I went to my hairdresser and she gave me a super short cut and I left the wig that I had bought with her. This was over the holidays so I came back another day (about 3 weeks after the haircut) after she had died the wig for me. She put it on me and trimmed it a bit so it really suited me. Then she took it off and cut off my hair. By that I mean she gave me a "buzz" cut. It was really, really hard but believe it or not, you can get used to anything. I find that the bald lady in the mirror doesn't really look that strange to me now. I find my wig to be somewhat itchy so when I'm not at work I tend to wear head scarves. Regarding head scarves, at first I felt like I was wearing a sign on my forehead that said "I have cancer." But over a few weeks I've started to think of my head scarf as a sign on my forehead that says, "I have cancer and I'm really, really lucky that there's a cure for me. I'm getting it and it's tough but I'm tougher." I think it's awesome that you're going to donate your hair and turn something so hard for you into a gift to someone else who probably really, really needs it. Awesome way to "take lemons and make lemonaide."

      over 7 years ago
    • wiseye's Avatar

      I found my hair starting to fall out soon after my first chemo session. First when I combed my hair, then I started to wake up in the morning with hair all over me, very uncomfortable. I then went ahead and had a barber take it all off. I felt much better then. I felt that I beat the cancer, as I chose the time my hair was gone and not the cancer. A small victory, but a good one. I'd advise you to cut it now before it starts to fall out, as I think you'll be better able to donate it. Good luck.

      over 7 years ago
    • jewels4julie's Avatar

      I used the elastogel cold caps (which I purchased) with every chemo treatment, and I still have a full head of hair. My hair has gotten dry and somewhat brittle, and I did shed quite a lot of hair. But, the average person would not know that I've had chemo.

      I just wasn't brave enough to go completely bald, and I'm not a wig person at all. I wanted to look as close to "normal" since I have young children who are very concerned about my cancer diagnosis.

      My oncologist told me that I would probably lose all of my hair after my first treatment with TCH, but I'm happy to report that the cold caps worked well for me. I completed my sixth and final chemo treatment in mid December, and I still have lots of hair.

      I would be happy to help anyone who is interested in saving their hair by using cold caps. Please contact me and I will let you use my set of caps since I now own them.

      Hope this helps someone and God bless us all!

      over 7 years ago
    • vickiebacon's Avatar

      The first time I shaved my head before chemo, I knew it was going to fall out. I was devastated. I just took the bull by the horns, its only hair and it will grow back. At first I wore dew rags, I got tired of them so I went on u tube and learned how to take t XXX and make head wraps, they were so cute and easy. People would ask me how to do it they thought they were so cute. Also I seen a lady with a cute scarf wrap I just asked her how to do it. We were in public she whipped it off and she was bald also a cancer victim. She showed me how to do it. We talked a few minutes gave each other a hug and I learned a new skill. Ladies losing your hair isn't as bad as you think. You will adapt. When I had my stem cell transplant I had my hair cut short. I wish I would have shaved it off it kind of made my scalp sore when it started to fall out. Plus it was ugly looking because it falls out in patches. I've been cancer free for 2 years I feel so grateful I'm still here. Believe me it grows back and you become a stronget and more confident woman.

      over 7 years ago
    • vickiebacon's Avatar

      In my previous post it was t shirts I used to make head wraps.

      over 7 years ago
    • chilla63's Avatar

      I had long hair which started to fall out after my 2nd round of chemo. I woke up one morning and my ponytail was all matted. I woke my boyfriend up and told him it was time to take it all off. My boyfriend shaved my head which made it an intimate experience instead of just going to a salon. I never did wear wigs or head wraps as they were uncomfortable. I just rocked the bald look. It is a personal decision, but I'm sure you will make the right one and it does grow back. God bless.

      over 7 years ago
    • Smarti's Avatar

      I have always. Had long hair now I have none. I say shave it as soon as it gets painful which mine did good luck

      over 7 years ago

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