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Looking Your Best When You’ve
Lost Your Locks

Advice from Beauty Expert David Babaii


Knowledge image

At an early age, world-renowned celebrity hairstylist David Babaii encountered a deep passion and love for hairdressing. Quickly, his imaginative hair creations gained him worldwide notoriety, allow­ing him the opportunity to work within the world of haute couture with design­ers, fashion magazines, and the world’s top models. A Look Good Feel Better featured beauty expert, David’s passion for hairdressing has also led him to share some of his best advice for women coping with hair loss as a side effect of cancer treatment.

During chemotherapy, many women experience hair thinning and hair loss. What is your recommendation for the best way a woman can camouflage spots where her hair is thinning?
Since this is such a difficult time for women, both physically and mentally, I like to place more emphasis on some of their other assets. I might mention they play up their eyes or lips to draw attention away from what they are going through and seeing in a mirror. If they have a love for jewelry, scarves, or hats, I use this to help them create a new look that will make them feel beautiful and not put such an importance on the hair.

Many women opt to wear a wig during chemotherapy treatment. What are a few things women should look for when picking a ’do?
I love the scenes from Sex and the City when Samantha went through her chemo. She wore a different wig for each scene. The color, the cut, and the style didn’t matter; she was determined to look fab­ulous. This opened the door for many women to do the same and not settle for one style. I think women should experi­ment and try various styles, colors, and cuts. Feeling good about how you look is always good medicine.

Often during chemotherapy, women keep their hair shorter. What are some fun and easy ways to style short hair?
Short hair has so many benefits and makes its own style statement. Women can look fresh and beautiful with short hair. I always make my clients feel sexy and gorgeous by showing them various ways to wear their hair, along with the right styling products. My favorite way to wear short hair is naturally textured, almost as if you just woke up. To change your style, I recommend wearing hair accessories, such as headbands or a thin scarf, and letting some soft wisps of hair show through.

Wigs make it easy to change your hair color on a daily basis. What colors do you think look the best on brunettes, blondes, and redheads?
There are so many color choices when it comes to wigs today, but women on chemotherapy need to shy away from some cool tones and instead look toward shades that will brighten their skin tones. At times, chemo can rob a woman’s skin tone of its vibrancy; the right color wig can help correct that. Their bodies endure a great deal during these treat­ments, so any color that makes them feel or look better is the way to go when selecting a wig.

How do you recommend women keep their newly growing hair healthy after completing chemotherapy treatment?
It is important for them to have a good hair- and scalp-care routine. This starts with a gentle shampoo and conditioner, along with a leave-in treatment to properly treat the scalp and hair while maintaining the balance and condition. Next, they’ll need regular trims to cut off any split or dry ends and to help maintain their hairstyle.

Sometimes after chemotherapy, women’s hair grows back gray or a different color than they are used to. How do you suggest women use hair color to fix this problem?
Yes, this is very true. Plus straight hair often grows back curly, coarse, and thicker. This is certainly an adjustment for many women who have already had to endure many physical changes due to cancer treatments. If a woman would like to correct her hair color after treat­ments are over, she should first consult with her oncologist to make sure she is ready to have her hair colored. Then, as with any color consultation, her skin tone and eye color play an important role in deciding on a hair color, along with her lifestyle. I would also use an ammonia-free hair color since it will be gentler on the scalp and the hair.

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Reprinted with permission from, copyright © The Personal Care Products Council Foundation.

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, March/April 2014.