new curls after chemo, what to do with it

DebiDebi Registered Users Posts: 1
:( Hello out there, I am a year after my last chemo for breast cancer. My hair was very fine and straight before and never grew past my shoulders. Now I have this still very short, but curly and thick hair. I have no idea what to do, I feel like I would rather have my bald head back. I look like an 80 year old woman with a new perm. I hate myself and need advice. I try to use a large curling iron to straighten it some but by the end of the day it has sprung back to its small little curls. Please help me, Little Orphan Annie (aka Debi)


  • SnarlsSnarls Registered Users Posts: 2,537
    Hi Debi,
    Sorry to hear that your hair didn't come back the way it was before.

    Do you want to straighten your hair, or go with the curl? I haven't ever straightened (but I have used a curling iron with dubious results), but one way is to do a "blowout" with a dryer...or to use a hair iron.

    If you want to keep the curl, most curlies benefit from keeping their hair well moisturized, using gentle shampoos (usually without sodium lauryl sulfate), avoiding products with silicones and using a gel or cream to enhance curl and manage frizz. It helps not to brush or even touch your hair while it's drying.

    Do you want your hair to feel softer, or to be shinier? Your frustration is coming through loud and clear, just not sure what I can do to help!
    formerly Castella
    (my dogs aren't snarly, my hair is)
  • picklesgirlpicklesgirl MissouriRegistered Users Posts: 1,955
    First on Congrats on beating breast cancer, that's no small feet. My friend just got done going through all of her treatments for breast cancer and was actually hoping for curly hair when her hair grew back but she didn't get her wish.

    If you don't like your hair the way it is now you could always blow it straight, like Castella suggested or maybe you could call a stylest to take a look at it. But I think once your hair gets longer you may enjoy the new curl. But I do understand how frustrating it must be for you to not know what to do with your hair now that it grew in different because I've had curl forever and sometimes still don't know what to do with it. Just think of all the people out there who would love to have curls and embrace them. Sorry if I wasn't any help

    Congrtualtions again on beating the cancer :lol:


  • multicultcurlymulticultcurly Registered Users Posts: 5,136 Curl Connoisseur
    Debi, I know the Orphan Annie look sucks; I kind of have that problem myself. :roll: I would second what everyone else said. There are a lot of great suggestions on this site. But if you want some suggestions, here goes: use baby shampoo because it does not contain sodium laureth (or lauryl) sulfate or a health food store shampoo that is sls free. Use a moisturizing conditioner -- Dove is a good one to start with and is inexpensive. If your hair is really curly, a little gel, smoothing serum or cream based styling product would all be good options, especially since you described your hair as thick. Using bobby pins and hair clips to keep the hair from sticking up helps keep me sane during the growing out process. If you want a smoother look, you could use these same products, but instead of being hands-off during the drying process, you could use a smoothing brush and a blowdryer on high or a flat iron once your hair is dry. You could also use duck bill clips to create waves while damp hair dries. Sorry so long, but I wasn't sure what you wanted to know. I hope some of this helps.
    3b/c, medium-coarse, low porosity, high density
    HG: Jessicurl Too Shea and Kinky Curly Curling Custard
    Shampoo: nonsulfate shampoo and Suave Naturals sulfate shampoo when needed
  • razicellirazicelli Valencia, CARegistered Users Posts: 139
    I work with oncology patients so I have seen the curly growth you speak of. As a matter of fact, I tell my patients what to expect after chemo is done and the hair grows back.

    First of all, the hair that grows back IS usually curly and super soft, but it isn't exactly like naturally curly hair. It is more "U" wavy than "S" wavy, and not really spiral curls. Am I describing what you have??? Hair color may even change too.

    Secondly, the new growth doesn't last forever. Most patients tell me that after about a year, the hair goes back to it's original state. So don't fret too much about being permanently "stuck" with "after chemo hair". Find what works for you for now. Much like getting a bad hair cut, you need to live through the outgrowth.

    Third, if you have ever had the privelage of seeing a good wig store (one that sees many chemo patients) during your "hairless" days, they may be a good source of information in dealing with post-chemo hair. Your Oncologist Office Nurse should have a good referal to a wig shop. Talk to the wig shop owner. It is worth a try anyway.

    I hope that helps.
    pw: wavehead
    3a/3b, 2b underneath M/Ciii, coarse crown
    HG: CK
    Currently BRHG, SIF
  • mimibmimib Registered Users Posts: 1
    I'm in the same boat. 1.5 years post chemo and my hair is CRAZY! It's very porous, very fuzzy, very stiff. I keep buying products for curly hair and just can't find the right combination of shampoo, conditioner, styling product. I have been trying to let my hair grow out because I actually have always dreamed of having a full head of soft bouncy ringlets. Problem is, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I really feel more like Bozo the Clown than Nicole Kidman.

    Can someone offer a specific product combination (start to finish)? I don't mind paying a little bit for a product if that's what it will take, but I'd rather stick to drugstore products, or at least Ulta.

    Thanks, Mimib
  • izzyvetizzyvet Registered Users Posts: 28
    I am in a similar situation, but growing my hair out after being bald from Alopecia Areata. When it was shorter and curly (from about 1/2" to 2") I would blow dry it gently, and used Aveda Light Elements Defining Whip to retexturize it. This is a fairly heavy styling cream/wax. I liked it alot, but got too heavy when my hair got longer. (and ever more curly!) I had been fighting it for the past month or so when I stumbled on the mention of the book Curly Girl at another message board. For a week now have been following the recommendations and I can't believe the results! I really wanted to grow my hair out very long and now I really think I can do it and succeed at having it look great! I am using mostly Deva products, but am still using some Aveda gels and conditioners.

    I second the poster who recommended the wig shop for advice on when your hair grows back. I called my wig store here in Denver desperate for help when it was first growing back. Mine grew back in very uneven patches all over my head and it grew back mostly white! It was horrid. Looked like someone had hacked it off with a dull razor blade. I was ecstatic that I now had hair, but what to do!! To my surprise, my wig lady also cut hair for chemo patients and people like me who had lost their hair. She gave me a great cut and color and advised me on how to style it. (go figure that I had to learn to style hair that was about 1/4" long :? )

    So now I guess I am a Curly Girl and I hope to stay that way!! Maybe try using some of the methods in that book, it has sure helped me!
    Izzy, started CG in January after being bald for over a year!
    Currently using Devacurl No-Poo, One-C, Angell, Set-it-Free. Weekly Jessicurl WDT. Lemon-aid every other week.
  • RylandCurlRylandCurl Registered Users Posts: 33
    Hey, girls, I feel your pain! I also had chemo for BC, and was bald as an egg.

    I was curly before, but it grew in merely wavy, then after a year went back pretty much to the curl I had before, although a bit looser and softer, much better.

    Your hair texture will change as it grows it. Starts out downy, not much to do with that! Mine felt like real hair after about 6 months, although it was a steely gray. The color changed gradually until about a year had gone by.

    It IS hard to grow in! I did figure out some things that helped me, so I want to share.

    Curly hair when it is short has a tendency to look alot like an old lady who had rollers put in, then forgot to do anything with it when they were taken out. Kinda too prim, and stiff. I found that it looked better as I got a bit more length. But doing it the way I describe below allows the curls to move and sproing a bit, which looks great. Makes the most of the short length.

    However, if you want to have pretty curls and your hair is short and still growing in, here's something to try. Shampoo (not every day!) and condition (every day!) in the shower. While still in the shower, or outside when it is still sopping wet, bend over from the waist and either comb with a wide-tooth comb or rake with your fingers, so your hair is facing the floor. Smooth in some leave in conditioner, then some styling gel or lotion (I never had luck with mousse), and be generous - you can adjust next time. Still it should be quite wet when you do this so the curls can form.

    Extra optional step : PLOPPING. You can wrap it in a tshirt (rather than a towel), don't disturb the curl - look on the main discussion board for a description of PLOPPING, that's what you want to do.

    anyway, dry with diffuser. bend over, let the curls fall towards the floor. scrunch them. then use diffuser. You can keep scrunching, but don't disturb the curls - they formed when wet, and you put on the styling stuff. Just trust the curls. Diffuse it, and you can leave it about 10% damp. Then flip back rightside up. You can shake a bit. When it is all dry, really dry, you can flip over again and use a pick - but just at the scalp, and pull the hair a bit away from the scalp - it'll loosen things up a bit.

    The secret is, that if you do it upside down, the curls form nicely and dry nicely without any interference from the head. Honest, it'll make the most of any curl that you have, and if you can manage NOT to play withthe curls until they are dry, they will NOT frizz, they will look great!

    Good luck! I am 3 years out, and I LOVE my new curly hair!
    Suburban DC area.
  • RougeiRougei Registered Users Posts: 1
    I am just now getting my hair back from losing it with high dose chemo treatments for BC.
    My hair was curly before and is growing in curly again. Just now about 1 inch long and I don't know what to do with it.

    But if you are still curly I used Quidad products. Love them. Quidad is for curly hair.

    I just don't have enough lenght to have a style and I have come to the conclusion that this is my growing pains....

    Look up I still use the products - have been using them for the last 3 years (except during my bald months - April to Dec 2006).

    Good luck.
  • GretchenGretchen Administrator Moderators Posts: 10,840 Curl Virtuoso
    Here's an article you might find interesting:

    Gretchen co-founder

    You are beautiful!
  • AnggiAnggi Registered Users Posts: 8
    Following radiation and chemo I too have Bozo hair. Before cancer, I had straight fine hair. Now it's curly around the ears and back but fuzzy on top and in the front down the side of my face. It's rather dry so I codniton a lot and only shampoo once a week with a No Poo type product. It is only about to the bottom of my ears in the backand jaw length in on the sides with bangs. I'm trying to have patience to grow it out, hoping the length will help it not look like a mixture of Bozo and Don King. However, in the mean time no matter what I do with it, it looks fuzzy or greasy/crunchy from products. If I could go back to bald without having to shave my head every day I would in an instant and never look back. Those were the days, no time to style your hair, less time in the shower, no hat head, no bad hair days, save money on product, etc. It has been right at a year since my chemo and radition, but the hair is still crazy. I can't tell you how much I hope my hair goes back to straight. If anyone has any sugeestions, let me know.
  • rachel_borachel_bo SeattleRegistered Users Posts: 17
    hi! i just finished chemo for hodgkins like a month ago. my hair was wavy before so i assume it'll come back the same if not curlier. how long did it take you guys for your hair to start growing again??? i'm desperate for some hair, it's getting cold out and my head is freezing!!!! :wink:
  • AnggiAnggi Registered Users Posts: 8
    My hair started growing back in about two months after the end of chemo and radiation, but I think that is because my hair loss was due to the radiation not the chemo. My friends with chemo didn't seem to get their hair back as fast as I did. If you don't get it back as quick as you would like, I suggest a fleece stocking cap, not the knit knid. The fleece ones are really soft and warm. I wore one to bed even because my head got cold at night. I found the softest ones at Old Navy. Good luck and let me know how you're doing.
  • rachel_borachel_bo SeattleRegistered Users Posts: 17
    i have peach fuzz!!! during class today i just kept rubbing my head to make sure it was still there :)
  • AnggiAnggi Registered Users Posts: 8
    Congratulations!!!! Enjoy the soft fuzzy hair. If your hair grows in as thick as mine, expect to go through a short period of really pokey stubble that pokes at your head when you sleep (but this too shall pass). I just learned to take care of my new curly hair and now I guess I am going back to bald because my cancer is back and unfortunately, not cureable (so I guess I won't have to worry about any bad hair days for the rest of my life).

    Good luck!
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
    I don't know if you want to keep the curls or not.

    My grandmother went through chemo and radiation and lost all her hair. It grew back very, very curly and it stayed that way for about one year and then her roots started growing in straight. Her hair went back to it's former state after about 2 years.


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