By Judith Rasband

It’s not easy to have fun while you’re on chemotherapy, but I admit to having fun with headwraps. It is the closest I can come to making lemonade out of a real lemon in my life.

Losing your hair as a side effect of chemotherapy is often more traumatic than many women expect. I was no exception. Prior to losing my hair, I didn’t look or feel sick. After losing my hair, it was a shock to see myself in a mirror. I looked sick.

Without hair, I had somehow lost much of my personal identity—that part of me communicated by the color, length and style of my hair. Without a frame for my face, I felt exposed. I didn’t want anyone to see me. At the same time, I was determined to maintain as much of my normal activities as possible. I had to find an alternative to hair.

I followed advice from other women who have had chemotherapy. I bought a wig, a very natural looking wig in a style much like how I had been wearing my hair. I took the wig to my hairdresser to keep until I needed it.

I remember the day I began to lose my hair. I started to comb through my hair as usual. In went the comb and out came a clump of hair. I gasped in disbelief. For one week I pampered my hair—simply fluffing the curly perm in an effort to avoid the inevitable.

A week later it all came out when my hairdresser attempted a shampoo. The time had come. I put on the wig and she trimmed it into final shape.

Much to my surprise, I didn’t like wearing a wig. People said the wig looked great—”like my real hair.” But I felt phony. I wore the wig twice more and put it away. Like many women on chemotherapy, I prefer wearing a headwrap.

I quickly discovered that wrapping my head with a beautiful silk scarf doesn’t work. Silk and polyester slip off a head with no hair. Cotton, cotton blend and rayon scarves stay put. Problem is, they’re hard to find. Solid colored cotton scarves are nearly non-existent.

I learned that scarves 21 to 26 inches square tie into your basic peasant-style babushka—not much left to tuck.

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Larger squares from 32 to 36 inches can be tied and tucked under in back or left free hanging You can tie it on the side for a change.

Personal Styling: Headwrap3I use a gorgeous 48 inch square for a “long hair look.” Wear it alone or under a hat Instead of leaving all the ends to hang free in back, twist the ends and wrap them around to knot at the top of your head. Tuck the remaining loose end under in back or let it hang free.

Narrow, oblong scarves twist into headwrap trims. Wider oblongs will cover the head and twist around themselves for a classy look.

Fabric stores are a good source of inexpensive material for scarves particularly those on the remnant table. Simply buy a square of fabric the desired weight and size. Then hemstitch the edge with a one-eighth inch double fold.

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Cotton knit headbands, knotted in the middle, add extra interest, width and color when they’re worn over a scarf. Women stop to tell me how great the headwraps look—”so fun and colorful.”

Fashion headwraps by Judy Stewart, designed to fit the special needs of women experiencing hair loss, are terrific. Six feet long and made of cotton knit fabric, they look something like the longest stocking cap you ever saw. Twist the tail and wrap it twice around your head.

And what do you know, a knotted headband looks great worn around the fashion headwrap. Dress it up with a pin if you prefer. Women stop to tell me how fantastic this head wrap looks—”so chic.” They even want to know where they can get one too.

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