The Cold Cap

The Cold Cap sounded like a great opportunity to keep my hair when I was first told about it,  the more I looked into it and read peoples experiences I really wasn’t sure I heard mixed reviews. Some people just couldn’t face extending their treatment and having brain freeze. Treatment is hard enough as it is and it sounded painful and unbearable. The only thing that made me try us seeing my sons reaction  when I said I could end up bald. 

The cold cap is a rather ugly tight cap that is strapped very tightly to your head, the inner cap freezes and goes into your wet hair that also has condifioner on.

Inner cap-

It gives you mega brain freeze,  you can have paracetamol 1 hour before.  I had to wear mine for an hour before,  during and after chemo!  it freezes hair follicles to stop hair falling out.  

Everyone reacts different often people lose a lot of hair still so decide to stop using it,  I have read girls who have lost a lot for rounds two and three but then hair has regrown through the rest of their cycles. A few girls have said it thinned out too much. My hair is thick so hopefully won’t be too bad I’m expecting to ruin a lot and lose clumps. My hair will constantly be shedding and I won’t be able to wash it much or brush it,  I’ll be hiding under wigs 🙂  I can see why people give up on it if they aren’t seeing results! 

A few researchers in America say the cold cap dilutes chemo getting to your brain and everywhere in the body needs chemo.  My Oncologist believes it is safe and the cold cap has been approved by the FDA in America so it must be safe enough.  

There’s a lot of rules with the cold cap,  you wet hair and add conditioner before the ice goes on and it cannot be washed much afterwards. A wide tooth comb must be used and no heat can be applied.  Someone I know wrapped their hair up in a towel and all the hair came out!  Pressure to the follicles can make them come out.  Here are some rules I was sent recently…… 
This is Nadine’s (a YBCN member who did really well with the cold cap) advice which has 

From: Aspinwall Nadine

Firstly it will be uncomfortable for about the first 5-10 mins but taking a paracetamol before will really reduce any discomfort. Once you get over that you don’t feel anything. So much so that I am constantly asking them to check it’s still on. If your having FEC you will be there for about 5 hours. With tax it’s significantly reduced. The rule of thumb is if you keep your hair with FEC you will keep it with tax as FEC has the epirubicen which hates hair! 

On my first fitting I took about 2 hours to get it right. Do not feel pressured. If your going through it it needs to be right. The main thing is that it covers the roots of your hair. It’s the roots that count and that includes at the front of your head.

I use a large inner and a small outer. I don’t have a massive head but it gives the best coverage. The smaller outer is what makes it fit snug on the head.

Prep tips in advance of starting treatment –

1.only use simple shampoo and conditioner on your hair before and during treatment.

2. Change your deodorant to paraban and aluminium free- again this helps fight against the hair loss. I use keep it kind fresh kidz- you can get it from boots. No aluminium , parabans , alcohol and fragrance free. Can’t remember exact price but defo under £5 and last for ages. 

3. Buy a spray bottle- you will need to fill this with a conditioner / water mix. You spray you hair to just past the roots at the back- you do this before treatment – it acts as conductor and stops the inner sticking to your hair when you finish.

4. Take a small towel to cover your clothes when spraying your hair.

5. You will need a towelling cover ( ones that you use to dry wet hair with) to go home with so you don’t feel cold etc. get them from home and bargains 

6. Take a blanket it can make you feel cold. 

After treatment- 

7. Your head will be covered in ice when you finish- remove the inner slowly so you don’t pull the roots.

8. Personally I don’t wash my hair for a week after to let the roots settle.

9. When washing your hair- stroke the shampoo over don’t rub it in roughly- rinse with the coolest water you can. Hot water will open the roots.

10. Always condition your hair- the cold cap can dry out your hair- so when washing smother with conditioner.

11. Always use a wide toothed comb to brush hair. Hold the roots so there is no pressure when not brush hair when wet. 

12. Use a soft bobble if you have long hair to tie back nothing that will pull or snag – or a butterfly clip loosely attached. 

13. Invest in some horse riding nets- I wear them in the house and to sleep in- they relieve the pressure on the hair.

14. I only after the first wash- wash my hair every 10 days. The ice cap will take the moisture out of your hair. I went from washing my hair every other day. I work full time and it’s fine. The less you can get away with washing your hair the better. 

15. Do not use any product or heat appliances- you must let your hair dry naturally. 

16. I do however use a high quality hairspray on occasion but only sparingly. 

17. I invested in a silk pillow case to stop dragging on my hair (and skin!) 

Other tips-

You will lose hair- the first week is the worst. It reduces each week.

Do not panic! You have a lot of hair- and remember that the cold cap protects new growth. It will feel like a lot more because you are using a wide tooth comb so it will look a lot worse because your usual  hair brush catches the hair while the wide toothed comb won’t.  

When you wash it- you will have more of a loss. Remember you lose hair every day- but you will feel super conscious so you will be looking at every strand and counting them (I did) 

In terms of cutting your hair – I’m not sure it matters


 A lot of people just can’t be bothered with all of this and I can understand why.  I went for it I think it’s worth a try I did it today 19th October 2016 and it was nowhere as near as bad a so thought it would be it was more tight and uncomfortable than anything!! I only went for it when I heard women saying it wasnt too bad so sometimes you have to ignore those people that say it’s invariable,  everyone is different! 

If you try and it doesn’t work you can always shave the hair off and know at least you tried.  You will then only have to be in the hospital 1 1/2 hours instead of 3 1/2

Here is some results from a girl from the Facebook forum,  this is a very good outcome and it made me want to try:

I think even with these results a wig would be needed.  It will be like having a bad hair day every day.  I straighten my hair every day now and I’m putting them away tonight,  how strange!  See you next year straighteners,  hopefully! 

If you would like to help me with my hair loss I would be so grateful –  wig fund – despite trying the cold cap my hair will be in a very bad,  weak condition and I plan to hide under a wig for a good 9 months. 

This picture of my hair looks so bad but I couldn’t really feel the ice after 15 minutes it was easier to handle I had no idea I had icicles on my head!! 

These are my results so far and I only have 2 more chemotherapy treatment left. I think it’s starting to grow back now 🙂 fingers crossed. 

Update February 2017 

I am now finished chemotherapy and my hair is growing back. These are my results so far.. 


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