Using hair dye after chemo | Cancer Research UK
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Using hair dye after chemo

Changes in your hair can affect how you feel about yourself. For some people this change is one of the worst parts of their treatment. It is understandable that you might not want to wait to dye your hair. You can ask your hairdresser to suggest henna dyes or vegetable based dyes for you. These are gentler on the hair than the other types of hair colouring. So hair specialists think it is safe to use them.

It is best not to use dyes or perms for around 6 months after finishing chemotherapy. This is because when you are recovering from chemotherapy, your hair is more fragile than usual, and it is more likely to get damaged. It takes about 6 months for the hair to become stronger. It isn't a good idea to use 

  • Permanent hair dyes 
  • Semi permanent hair dyes
  • Perms

These products contain strong chemicals that can damage your hair. Your scalp may also be drier and itchier than normal during this time. Using strong chemicals on your hair can make this worse.

Even with a vegetable dye, it is worth testing before you use it. You can test the dye on a small section of your hair first to see how it works.

How your chemotherapy affects your hair will depend on which chemotherapy drugs you had. Some types of chemotherapy make hair fall out completely. Other types make the hair thin, or change in texture. You may find that your hair doesn’t grow back exactly the same as it was before.

  • The colour may change
  • The texture may be different
  • Your hair may be more curly
  • It may be straighter

So, you may want to get some advice from your hairdresser about any changes you need to make in the way you look after your hair.

There is more information about hair loss and cancer drugs in our treatment section.

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Updated: 19 January 2015