Hairdressers Compassionate Support Clients Cancer
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How Hairdressers Can Support Clients With Cancer

by eleanor / last updated October 26, 2021

Hairdressers can often be unsure on what to advise when their client is going through cancer treatment and how they can best look after their hair before, during and after treatment. But there are many ways hairdressers can support clients with cancer.

“Hair loss from cancer treatment can be a very emotional time that affects the client’s quality of life and self-image,” says Mark Blake, Nioxin trichologist. Here, the experts share their advice that you can pass on to your clients.

How Hairdressers Can Support Clients With Cancer

Upskill with a Dedicated Course

Upskilling by taking a dedicated course can help you to feel more confident. Cancer Hair Care has launched its Independent Hairdressing Practitioner Course. “We’ve combined our charity’s expertise with these innate hairdressing skills to compassionately upskill attendees to become confidently caring to clients during their cancer treatment,” says Jasmin Julia Gupta, founder of the charity service Cancer Hair Care. The charity delivers regular virtual workshops where patients can learn how to prepare for hair loss, tie headscarves, care for a wig and optimise new hair growth. 

Be an Open Communicator

Keep communication open and try to be flexible of when and where you see your client, says Zoë Irwin, ghd brand ambassador. “They may not feel comfortable coming into the salon when it’s very busy, so think about using a private space or providing special appointments out of hours,” she says.

Recommend Accessories

“Accessories are also a great way to dress up hair as it grows out, and they’re really on-trend. There are lots of fantastic hairbands available and I love silk scarves which are extremely gentle on the hair and very stylish,” says Zoë.

Reduce Heat

“When it comes to styling, turn the heat of the hairdryer down to medium,” recommends Zoë. “Warm the hair gently to style, then use the cold shot to set it. If you’re using a brush, make sure it’s a gentle bristle brush,” she says.

Recommend Suitable Products

Your client may find serums or oils too heavy. “Conditioner can be used as a styling product and a little bit of product can create texture and calm unruly hair – even if it is very short,” says Jasmin. “A lightweight conditioner is a good option for new hair and especially for curls, dry and Afro hair. It provides a great extra protective layer for new hair as well as gentle moisture.”

Another tip is not to weigh new hair down with too many heavy oils or serums, says Jasmin. “Suggest using JoJoba Oil to begin with as it’s the closest to the natural sebum created by the scalp,” she says. “Soft mousse is ideal to add texture to fine hair that is static. It can also be used when the hair is dry to scrunch in a more defined curl or de-fluff flyaway hairs.”

Caring for Afro Hair

Afro hair is naturally more vulnerable than other hair types. “There can be scarring or traction alopecia from years of clients having weaves or braiding techniques. As such, clients with hair extensions, weaves and braids all need special consideration before, during and after cancer treatments that cause hair loss,” explains Jasmin.

“NHS wig suppliers must offer those with Afro hair a wig in a natural texture that represents their hair and you can use scalp cooling (cold capping) if you have Afro hair,” she adds. “When it comes to relaxing afro hair, it really is worth waiting for at least 3-4 inches of growth post-treatment before you do this.”

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is brought to you by ghd. Connect with ghd on social media – Facebook @ghdprofessional & Instagram @ghdhairpro and YouTube @ghd.

Click here to read the Official Schedule for HJ’s Breast Cancer Awareness Week.

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