Hair Regrowth
For most people hair usually starts to grow back once their treatment is finished, and sometimes it may start to grow back before it’s finished. It may be weak and fragile or softer to begin with but over time the condition and texture of hair become stronger.

Will hair grow back differently?

Hair can sometimes grow back differently from what it was like before treatment. 
For example:

• The color may change
• The texture may be different
• It may be curlier
• It may be straighter

This change may only be temporary but occasionally it will be permanent.

For some people having hair grow back differently to what they are used to can be very difficult. You may feel it is another change to your appearance that you need to cope with, especially if you’re not able to treat or style your hair in the way you’re used to.

How quickly does hair grow back?

How quickly hair regrows will vary from person to person but most people will have a full covering of hair three to six months after treatment finishes. For some people, this may be patchy.

Many women wonder whether there is anything that can speed up hair regrowth.

There is limited evidence that a drug called minoxidil may help when applied to the scalp. Minoxidil can also be found in some hair loss treatments. You can talk to your doctor, a dermatologist or a trichologist about the possibility of using minoxidil.

The condition of our hair is strongly linked to lifestyle factors including diet. A healthy diet that is balanced and varied provides all the nutrients needed for healthy hair.

Although there are supplements available that claim to help strengthen hair or promote hair growth, there is limited evidence to support this. If you are considering taking any supplements, it is always best to check with your treatment team first, particularly if you are receiving treatment such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy.

Although there is some evidence that caffeine shampoos may promote hair regrowth, there is currently no evidence that these shampoos work for people who have had breast cancer treatment.

New hair growth can be fragile and it’s best to treat it with care until it feels stronger. You can also talk to your hairdresser about how best to look after your hair.

You may also find there is a period when your hair is still growing back but you aren’t quite ready to go out with your own hair. You may choose to continue wearing a wig or other headwear until your hair is longer.

Eyelashes and eyebrow regrowth

Body hair, such as your eyebrows and eyelashes, may grow back more quickly or more slowly than the hair on your head.

Eyelashes can be quite patchy when they start to grow back. They may take up to a year to grow back fully although they will usually grow back six months after treatment finishes. Studies have also shown that applying the drug bimatoprost to the eyelids may improve the regrowth of eyelashes. You can talk to your GP, a trichologist, or a dermatologist about whether this is an option for you.

Eyebrows will usually start to grow back after treatment finishes, but they may grow back thinner or patchier. They tend to grow back slower than head hair and in rare cases, they don’t grow back at all.

Coloring your hair

It’s best to wait until your hair is longer and your hair and scalp are in good condition before applying permanent hair color.

Although there is limited research in this area, doctors recommends you allow at least an inch (2.5cm) of hair to grow before coloring it, so you can be sure the hair is of good quality.

For some people, this may be six months to a year, for others it will be sooner. You can talk to your hairdresser about when to begin coloring your hair. Before you have permanent hair dye applied, your hairdresser should check how your scalp and hair may react by doing a skin-sensitivity test (patch test). They may recommend using more natural hair dyes such as henna or vegetable-based dyes as these tend to be gentler on the hair and scalp. Natural hair dye brands can be found online, in health food shops and in some pharmacies.

Temporary or semi-permanent dyes are a good way to find out if a hair color suits you before you try a permanent color.