The responsibility rests with patients to contact CANSA for assistance. Read more...

CancerCare Coping Kit

Can I Use Hair Dye After Chemo?

Dyeing Hair After ChemoChanges in your hair can affect how you feel about yourself. For some people this change is one of the worst parts of their treatment. It is understandable that you might not want to wait to dye your hair, but take the information below into account before you take the plunge.

How Chemo Can Affect Your Hair:

How your chemotherapy affects your hair will depend on which chemotherapy drugs you had. Some types of chemotherapy make hair fall out completely. Other types make the hair thin, or change in texture. You may find that your hair doesn’t grow back exactly the same as it was before:

  • The colour may change
  • The texture may be different
  • Your hair may be more curly
  • It may be straighter

Avoid These for Six Months After Chemo:

It is best not to use dyes or perms for around 6 months after finishing chemotherapy. This is because when you are recovering from chemotherapy, your hair is more fragile than usual, and it is more likely to get damaged. It takes about 6 months for the hair to become stronger. It isn’t a good idea to use:

  • Permanent hair dyes
  • Semi-permanent hair dyes
  • Perms

These products contain strong chemicals that can damage your hair. Your scalp may also be drier and itchier than normal during this time. Using strong chemicals on your hair can make this worse.

What Can I Use On My Hair Now:

You can ask your hairdresser to suggest henna dyes or vegetable based dyes for you. These are gentler on the hair than the other types of hair colouring, so hair specialists think it is safe to use them. However, even with a vegetable dye, it is worth testing before you use it. You can test the dye on a small section of your hair first to see how it works.

Source: Cancer Research UK
Article approved: Prof Michael Herbst (CANSA)

Queries CANSA

For any other queries you may have regarding this, please email us at or write in the comment box below. See information re wigs here…



  • cat Ireland says:

    I am in chemo treatment for CLL. I am on the FCR treatment. It has been said I will not lose my hair. I am wondering of I can use Henna to darken the white hairs growing on my temples? Please feel free to email me. Thank-you.

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Cat, it would be better to get in touch with your medical team as they would know best regarding any possible side effects. Treatment is individual and individuals are unique with a variety of health issues to consider, so what is best for the individual person should be considered, all factors having been taken into account.

  • Patricia says:

    What about eyebrow tint?

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Hi Patricia, it is advised that one should be out of chemotherapy for at least 6 months before a chemical dye is applied to the eyebrows. Vegetable dyes, however, are safe. In the interim a good quality eye pencil should be used. Hope this helps!

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment from showing. There is no need to resubmit your comment.
Comments will be made public, should they be approved.

Do you have a question?


Book a counselling session

CANSA Tele Counselling