Some people choose to wear a wig, hat, scarf, turban
or beanie after losing their hair, others prefer not to
wear anything on their head.
The important thing is to do whatever makes
you feel comfortable and gives you the most
- 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 can be tied in
lots of different ways.
- A beanie, soft cap, or turban is often a comfortable
- Bucket hats are popular and they offer more
protection for the face.
Choosing a wig or hairpiece
Wigs are made from real hair or synthetic materials.
Both can look natural.
Human hair wigstend to be more expensive and
need to be washed and styled like normal hair with
hot rollers, curling wands and straighteners. They
can be trimmed and coloured darker but not lighter,
they are heavier and will last longer.
Synthetic wigsare less expensive, lighter, dry
quickly and need less care. They can’t be restyled or
recoloured but they can be trimmed. Synthetic wigs
will only last about nine months but this may be all
Before selecting a wig
Take a friend or family member along with you for support
and to help you choose your wig.
- Check if your treatment centre or local Cancer
Council has a wig loan service or donated wigs
at a reduced price. This can be an economical
alternative to buying a new wig.
- Ask your hairdresser or speak to the 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 a decision.
- Visit specialty wig suppliers who are experienced in
fitting wigs for people receiving chemotherapy. Look
in the Yellow pages for suppliers or contact Cancer
Council 13 11 20.
- Iif you want to match your wig to your own colour
and style, start looking for it before hair loss begins
or take a photo from before losing your hair. Some
people like to try something different and choose a
different style and colour.
- Look for a wig that adjusts to any head size to allow
for variations as you lose your hair.
Paying for a wig or hairpiece
You may be able to get assistance with the cost of
your wig or hairpiece.
Treatment in a public hospitalyou may be
entitled to financial assistance towards the purchase
of a wig. Ask your nurse or social worker for
Health insurance fundssome will cover part
of the cost of a wig if you are losing your hair due
to disease or treatment. You will need a letter from
your doctor to accompany a claim. Check your
entitlement with your particular fund before you buy
Department of Veterans’ Affairswill cover
the total cost of a synthetic wig if you have full
entitlements as a veteran.
Look Good... Feel Better workshops are
dedicated to teaching men and women techniques
to help restore appearance and help maintain
self-image during treatment for cancer which can
improve self-confidence. Look Good...Feel Better
workshops are held regularly in metropolitan and
some regional areas.
Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for support and
information about services, resources or see a list of our upcoming Look Good...Feel Better workshops.
Acknowledgements: The information is based on the expertise of clinicians who work in the area and
consumer experience and was reviewed by: Karen Hall, Clinical Nurse, Cancer
Services Division, Flinders Medical Centre SA; Joy Hills, Support Officer Cancer
Council Tasmania; Frank Hughes - 13 11 20 consultant, Cancer Council Queensland;
Christine Long, Team Leader, Health Professional & Education, Cancer Council
Queensland; Sue Spencer, Clinical Manager Oncology, Breast Care Nurse, Western
Hospital SA; Cancer Council 13 11 20 nurses; Nina Mastrangelo, Consumer SA;
Clinical health professionals at Icon Cancer Care SA.