Selecting your chemo headwear
Learn from the 4 beginners’ mistakes that Wendy, our designer, made
Choosing the right headwear during chemotherapy seems pretty complicated at first. People give you all sorts of well-intentioned tips, but what actually works? What headwear is available? And above all, what should you consider when choosing a chemo scarf or hat?
Many people start looking for headscarves before their chemotherapy starts. When they still have their hair, in other words. So they don’t really have any idea what it will feel like to have no hair. And that is why so many people make beginners’ mistakes. Wendy, our designer, made the same mistakes when she lost her hair due to chemo. She shares her experiences and gives you tips get things right from the start.
Wendy: “I really am a go-getter and I can be quite stubborn. So when I lost my hair because of chemotherapy I decided to look for trendy headwear myself in my own way. The result? I bought a whole pile of scarves and hats, and more than half of them got left in the cupboard because they were too warm, too rough, to boring and so on. To prevent you from making the same bad buys, I have decided to share my beginners’ mistakes with you.”
BEGINNERS’ MISTAKE NO. 1: I refused to set foot inside a specialised store
“I didn’t dare visit a specialised hairdresser to buy hats or scarves. I was afraid of being totally drowned in a world of cancer. No, I thought, I‘m a tough cookie, I’ll do things my own way. So I went to all the ordinary shops. But all I found were hats for outdoors, in fabrics that were far too warm to wear indoors for several hours. And they did not cover my neck enough, which is a problem when you want to disguise the fact that you have no hair.”
The moral of the story is, pluck up the courage to buy special scarves and hats for chemo patients, even though you really don’t want to feel like a sick person. Luckily, there is a wide selection of items available on the Internet and online shopping makes it feel less daunting.
BEGINNERS’ MISTAKE NO. 2: I bought scarves and hats with itchy seams and stitches on the inside
“Another disadvantage of my “ordinary shop hats” was that they were not made for a bald head. They had seams inside, which scraped my head and started to seriously irritate my scalp after a while. However, you need to do your best to avoid any form of irritation or small cuts during chemotherapy. Even the special chemo scarves which I started to buy after a while often were not soft enough.
Once I started to dream of my own collection of scarves and hats after chemo, I immediately knew that everything I would sell would not have scratchy seams, elastic or Velcro. And that has become the trademark of Rosette la Vedette.”
BEGINNERS’ MISTAKE NO. 3: I bought bamboo and silk
“Everyone kept on telling me that I should buy bamboo hats because bamboo is a very soft, natural and breathable fabric. True. But I soon realised that they also have a big disadvantage. Wear them often and they start to stretch, losing their shape. After washing them, the fit would usually be tighter, but only for a few days. Which is unfortunate, because bamboo hats are quite expensive. Silk also turned out to be a bad choice. Now and then I would tie a regular, oblong scarf around my head, but my nice silk scarves tended to slip off because they were so smooth.
That is why I have chosen to use stretch viscose for my chemo scarves and hats. This very soft stretch fabric retains its elasticity for a long time. But it’s a synthetic fabric, is it sufficiently breathable? This is a big misunderstanding. Viscose is half-synthetic. It is a man-made fibre using a natural material that feels just as pleasant as cotton. So why didn’t I choose cotton? Because viscose remains softer longer than cotton after washing!”
BEGINNERS’ MISTAKE NO. 4: I played it safe and started by wearing black and grey
“Since my chemotherapy I have rarely worn black. Before I used to wear it almost all the time. So I thought it was a good idea to shop for some basics: scarves and hats in black and grey. They would go with everything and they wouldn’t stand out too much, right? But soon the treatment began to take its toll and I started to look pale and sallow. The black only emphasised the dark circles under my eyes. Until I started to wear bright pink and aqua green. People were always complimenting me at the hospital!”
Conclusion: don’t be afraid to stop wearing the safe, simple colours you usually wear. Bright colours do wonders to brighten up your face – and your spirits! You will look better and feel more energised. If you prefer to wear simple basics, then cheer them up with the right earrings or a colourful scarf.