Wigs, turbans, scarves and hats
Some people choose to wear a wig, hat, scarf, turban or beanie after losing their hair; others prefer not to cover their head at all. The important thing is to do whatever makes you feel comfortable and gives you the most confidence.
- A beanie, soft cap or turban is often a comfortable choice; a wide brimmed hat offers more sun protection.
- Scarves usually need to be at least 50 cm long to cover the scalp. Cotton, lightweight wools or blends are the best fabrics to use, as nylon or silk tend to slip off the head too easily.
- Scarves and turbans can be styled in many different ways. You may want to search the internet and your local Cancer Council website for tips and tutorial videos on wigs to suit your face shape and how to style headwear.
Learn more about:
- Human hair wigs or hairpieces – tend to be more expensive, need to be washed and can be styled like normal hair with hot rollers, curling wands and straighteners. They can be trimmed and coloured darker but not lighter, are heavier and will last longer.
- Synthetic wigs or hairpieces – are less expensive, lighter, dry quickly and need less care. They can’t be restyled or recoloured but they can be trimmed. If you look after a synthetic wig it will last for as long as you may need it.
- If you want to match your wig to your usual colour and style, it’s a good idea to start looking before treatment starts and hair loss begins or take along a photo from before hair loss began. Some people like to try something different and choose a different style and colour.
- Take a friend or family member along with you for support and to help you choose your wig.
- Contact your local Cancer Council on 13 11 20 to ask if they offer a free wig service which may include a wig postal service.
- Ask your hairdresser or speak to a consultant at a wig salon about a style of wig that would suit you. There may be a cost involved for a wig consultation. Remember to ask about the cost when making an appointment or before making your decision.
- Look for a wig that adjusts to any head size to allow for variations as you lose your hair. Some people choose a wig after hair loss as this can often provide a better fit.
- Visit specialty wig suppliers who are experienced in fitting wigs for people having cancer treatment. Contact Cancer Council on 13 11 20 or search the internet for suppliers.
You may be able to get assistance with the cost of your wig or hairpiece.
- Treatment in a public hospital – you may be eligible for financial assistance towards the purchase of a wig. Ask your nurse or social worker for information.
- Health insurance funds – some funds will cover part of the cost of a wig if you lose your hair due to disease or treatment. You will need a letter from your doctor to accompany a claim. Before you buy your wig, check what your fund will pay.
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs – veterans may be eligible to have the cost of a wig covered.
We thank the reviewers of this fact sheet: Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Hayley Tuck, Clinical Health Professional, Regional Cancer Support Coordinator, Cancer Council WA; Jacqui Campbell, Nurse Manager – ICON Cancer Centre Hobart; Karen Richardson, Cancer Nurse, Regional Support Services, Cancer Council WA; Marion Bamblett, Nurse Unit Manager, Fiona Stanley Hospital WA; Molly Colussa, Coordinator Practical Support Programs, Cancer Council Victoria; Moira Waters, McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Breast Cancer Care WA; Natasha Girvan, Program Manager, Look Good Feel Better, WA & SA; Rosie Brown, Cancer Nurse, Breast Cancer Netw trangelo, Consumer SA; Tania Ward, Consumer WA.
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