Capecitabine and hair colour

  • 17 replies
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Hi everyone,

I just rang the Chemo Dept at my local  hospital regarding whether I can visit the  hairdressers to get my roots coloured. The reply I got was vague and “we don’t recommend it.”

I’m on oral chemo tabs Capecitabine my first 2 weeks cycle ended today.  What do other people know/think please? 

I know it varies for people. She initially said it does not appear to be an issue but” we don’t recommend it“

She also said to me you could buy a wig, but my hair hasn’t thinned yet, so I don’t understand that response. Thank you.

Judith xx

  • FormerMember


    I've been thinking exactly the same thing. I'm on gemcitabine and carboplatin. If I don't lose my hair and it just thins, I would like my roots doing. I'm a bit of the same mind as you, can't really see what the problem would be.

  • hi both

    as I understand it there are options with the range of colouring products available

    I was always 'sensitive' but now found I am now much more sensitive to more products since chemo and it really does seem to be down to trial and error.  Obviously if you're going to have  reaction to the chemo drugs that's what the medical team are going to be focussing on and the last thing they need is another allergic reaction thrown into the mix, so I can see their point

    but I'm not about to go around with grey roots

    that one caught my eye but a quick google of 'natural' hair dyes finds quite a few

    then there are the brush on ones, which I'd have thought would be less likely to cause a reaction but you'd just need to test them

    The expense of buying up so many is going to be a bit depressing, I wonder if some would offer a free sample ??

    perhaps it's a case of trial and error in the middle of a cycle so if you react it's not going to impact the treatment ?????  maybe ????

    and patch test everything



     real life success stories to remind you that people do survive breast cancer

    Dr Peter Harvey


  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to Carolyn28

    Hi Ladies

    You could try dry shampoo which has a colour in in for a quick fix. super drugs own brand is a good one.  I used the cold cap as I had docotaxel didn't loose my hair but having a white stripe did get me down but was too scared to colour it.  Once I had finished I used Holland and Barrett vegetable colour but if I do chemo again I think I would colour it with the vegetable colour, it had no smell to it at all, my hairdresser put it on for me and said there was nothing in it at all.  It is a personal choice whether to or not but I chickened out in the end until I was finished.

    But as I say I would use it if I did chemo again which certainly will happen at some point.

  • Hi. I'm tagging  who is our hair guru. 

    Lynn xx 

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to Kacang


    Thank you :-) Judith xx

  • Hi jmp

    I fear has oversold me a little! I've been a hairdresser for many years and would always advise not to colour while on chemo - it's mainly an issue with skin sensitivity and, as someone who has dyed my hair for 35+ years, I now find my scalp is more sensitive than it used to be (18 months since chemo) - I also found that the colour didn't take properly after FECT chemo but that may not be the same for the regime you are on. You've already been given great advice about alternative products and you could look at semi- permanent colours which are gentler or a technique that doesn't touch the scalp - like highlights. Another breast champ often recommends the Trevor Sorbie charity my new hair. They have a lot of information on their website and a database of hairdressers they have trained to deal with clients who have/had chemo.

    There is also a very good booklet by macmillan about hair loss - but it has a section at the back about "when hair grows back" which may be more relevant to you.

    I'm trying to be flash but having trouble with the link - you can find it here

    Obviously it's up to you if you take the risk - some people will probably be fine - others not. If you already have a hairdresser you trust then I'd suggest having a chat with them - they may or may not be prepared to do it for you but for a regular client, most hairdressers would try to find some sort of solution - there are lots of options in terms of products etc.

    Hope you find an answer that works for you - let us know what you decide


  • FormerMember

    Hi jmp

    I'm on capecitabine now nearly finished 6 cycles.   I haven't lost and hair this time and went a head and ho!me co!lured with olia with no problem or side effects.  I hate having grey hair I just look washed out.  Some folk absolutely rock it.  Maybe test a little area first if in sure.  

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to FormerMember

    Hi all,
    I had 6 cycles of docetaxel and cyclophosphamide chemo which finished in mid-November.
    I used the cold cap and kept my hair, which is normally thick. It thinned a bit but not so that it was obvious. (Incidentally the nurses seemed surprised how well my hair had survived.)
    The hospital advised that I should not colour hair for six months afterwards.
    At first, I followed the advice and just visited my hairdresser for ‘gentle’ shampoo and trims, but found it increasingly difficult when grey hair grew out. This did not feel like ‘me’ at all and made me feel old. My passport says I’m late sixties but I feel much younger.
    Eventually I could stand it no longer and visited my hairdresser, who has been amazingly supportive throughout. We agreed to take the risk and colour it (again taking extra care) and using my normal colour which does not contain much bleaching agent. (I don’t know what it’s called.) This was three months after ending chemo. However, I think the chemo does make your scalp more sensitive for a while, so I suggest that you have a test before using any hair treatment.
    The colour took really well and I walked out of the salon feeling a million dollars. So far, after nearly two weeks, there have been no ill effects. It has boosted my morale tremendously.
    Good luck whatever you decide. xx

  • FormerMember

    Dear judity,

    im in Cape tablets and use semi pennant colours on my hair to no ill effect. I have a tiny patch of greyvand don’t like it! Nice ‘n Esay is goof And Superdrug do something called Special Effects shampoo.,I put it on dry and leave it a while. Brilliant stuff

    pepys xx

  • FormerMember

    Hi Judith,

    Havigcourg products are sometimes less effective and may not take at all . So it's a bit of a lottery.

    Hope this helps