Originally posted over at BVHairTalk.com.
This is the time of year where pink ribbons mysteriously appear on every item at the drugstore, where annual walks are walked and funds are raised, all in the names of the Susan G. Komen fund and breast cancer research.
When most people think of breast cancer, they think of the most obviously affected area. Not everyone addresses the less obvious things that are affected by breast cancer, like self esteem, overall well being, and hair. But for some women, cancer can attack those things are well.
When my Aunty Gemma was diagnosed with breast cancer, I got to see how breast cancer can go far beyond the chest. My aunt struggled with hair loss, and what to do in the aftermath of cancer therapy. In an effort to answer some of her questions, I reached out to an expert in the field.
Vaso Spirou, the owner of Miami Beach’s Salon Vaso is known and widely respected as a master colorist and hairstyling artist who specializes in curly hair and caters to the needs of South Beach’s elite. Her salon is sleek, sexy, and captures the exclusivity of the city. But Vaso’s hidden passion is in helping and serving the needs of those affected by cancer. As a survivor herself, she knows all too well the debilitating effects the disease can have.
“It has a major emotional effect on your beauty. Losing your hair can help you feel even worse,” she said in a telephone interview.
For clients of her gorgeous salon, Vaso customizes store-bought human hair wigs — offering scalp measurement so the wigs fit perfectly, and styling the wigs so they look normal and natural for each customer. “Why would you want to look different, especially when you are going through something as serious as breast cancer?” she asked.
Vaso offered five helpful tips for patients dealing with cancer-related hair loss.
1 — Find a hairdresser who knows you and knows what you’re going through. Tell them you’re hunting for wigs that they can customize. It takes personal attention, and if they’re unaccustomed to styling wigs, perhaps they know someone who can help.
2 — When the hair grows back post-chemotherapy, it will grow back thicker, denser, and more coarse. Definitely different. It’s typically more wiry. So be aware that there will most likely be a change in your hair’s texture after cancer. Sometimes it even grows back a different color.
3 — Don’t even think about relaxer, chemical treatments, or extensions right away. When your hair grows back thick and healthy enough, you can use extensions and chemical treatments again. If you know you’re going to go through chemotherapy, it may be best to consider cutting your hair off and wearing a wig at a certain point — just to have an easy transition into the hair issues that may result.
4 — Don’t be afraid of looking like you’re wearing a wig while you’re wearing a wig. There are amazing wigs that kind of adhere to your scalp. I recommend hotheads.com.
5 — Last, and in my opinion, most importantly, Vaso recommends dealing with the psychological effects on self esteem by taking a positive attitude. Speaking from her own experience, she declared “I woke up this morning saying to myself — I wanna live, I don’t want to just survive. They have to make up their minds to live every day.”
In addition to being sagacious, sweet, worldly and wonderful, Vaso is charitable. Here’s another reason for you to make an appointment with her if you’re ever in the 305 — all proceeds earned on Mondays in the month of October will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Salon Vaso also offers incredible manicures, pedicures, and body treatments. Visit her website here, and you can also follow Salon Vaso on Twitter.
Are you a breast cancer survivor? Or do you know someone who is? Please feel free to share your experience and advice regarding cancer and hair loss right here — you could be helping someone who’s dealing with this issue right now!