Cool headwear for hair loss
Many breast cancer (chemotherapy) treatments have hair loss as a side effect (but not all, I only lost a little bit with the current chemo treatment).
What I did
When I did chemo four years ago, I lost my hair for around six months. I found it good to have a selection of wigs, hats, buffs and beanies for different purposes, outfits and moods:
- I liked to wear my wig to work or social events. My natural hair colour is brown and I had a brown natural hair wig; it made me feel normal-ish. N.B. There is a Ministry of Health subsidy so this may be free for you.
- A friend lent me her blonde and redhead wigs so I had a good wig selection based on how I felt on the day.
- I wore buffs most at home as I found them the most comfortable and easy to sleep in (it can be chilly with no hair). A friend Amanda lent me five or six in all different colours.
- For out and about, I wore beanies; they are super warm and look casual and cool. I had about five different ones and the Icebreaker ones are reversible (do I feel like wearing red or blue today?).
- At the end, I was bored with all the ‘looks’ and needed something different. I started wearing wool and cotton caps (from Accessorise and Glassons) with or without a wig.
Other women wear different types of hats, coloured wigs, scarves or turbans. Layering of beanies also looks good and is very warm. We are all unique and will want different things (some brave women don’t wear anything on their heads and look amazing.) It is all up to you.
Here is some information on buffs, beanies, wigs and the wig subsidy. I will add more information over the next month:
I had not heard of buffs before my friend lent me hers (she had worn them through her chemo); they are brilliant. A buff is a seam-free multifunctional tube designed to be worn in a number of ways while offering protection from the elements. I found them very comfortable and easy to wear with a great colour range. These are available at outdoorsy shops such as Bivouc and Mountain Designs. They are also available online at http://www.buffnz.co.nz or phone 09 473 6914
There are lots of beanies around these days and they look great, colourful and keep you warm. Doubling up with beanies/layering looks good too.
- J Beanies are bright, light and colourful chemotherapy beanies. J Beanies are beautiful beanies handmade by Julie Clarke a former breast cancer survivor. Her website is full of beautiful and different beanies http://www.jbeanies.webs.com or phone Julie on (04) 904 0042
- Kathmandu has a good range of fleece and merino beanies. There is a good colour range too. http://www.kathmandu.co.nz
- Icebreaker have an excellent range too. I love the reversible ones as it increases your outfit options.http://www.icebreaker.com
With hair loss, many women prefer to have a wig. N.B. Information on the Ministry of Health Wig and Hairpiece Subsidy is below.
Often women cut their hair a lot shorter before it starts to fall out as it makes the transition a bit easier. I bought a wig similar to my hair before the haircut so it’s good to take the new hair cut into account when choosing a wig style. Some women like to have a different look altogether.
I recommend getting a quality wig that you are 100 per cent happy with. Take your time and get something perfect for you.
If you are lucky enough to be in Wellington, Leigh Renai has an incredible range or wigs by Haircreations Ltd. Leigh also has a good range of beanies and hats. Haircreations Ltd are hair replacement designers and retailers or medical wigs. They have a variety of light well, ventilated and amazing wigs designed and distributed specifically for the medical market and reflecting individual hair types.http://www.wigs.co.nz/. To find out your nearest agent check the website, phone 09 357 6159 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the Wellington area, contact Leigh Renai on 04 475 8185 or 027 244 1538
A Subsidy for Wigs
I have copied this information directly from the Ministry of Health websitehttp://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/sectorservices-claims-wigs#what
For further information, please call the contact centre on: 0800 458 448
Monday – Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm,
Except Wednesday 9:30am – 5:00pm
What is the Wigs and Hairpieces service payment?
It is a payment to people who suffer from serious hair loss because of a medical condition or from certain cancer therapies. The payments are to reduce the cost of purchasing and maintaining a Wig or Hairpiece or other related products. Sector Services on behalf of the Ministry of Health will pay these service payments to either the claimant or the supplier of the product.
Wigs and Hairpieces service payments notice
This Notice sets out the terms and conditions on which the Ministry will:
- pay any Provider for providing wigs, hairpieces or other headwear (“the Services”) to any Eligible Person; or
- pay any Eligible Person for the purchase of the Services by that Eligible Person from a Provider.
Who can claim this service payment?
You may claim for this service payment if you:
- are a New Zealand citizen, or are ordinarily resident in New Zealand; and
- have a medical condition that has caused you to lose your hair (like treatment for cancer, alopecia or other scalp conditions that cause hair loss). Your specialist or general practitioner (GP) needs to give you a current medical certificate with your NHI number, details of the hair loss condition and whether it is permanent or temporary.
What can I use the service payment for?
The service payment is available to cover the cost of the following items only:
- Wig or Hairpiece
- headwear (hats, turbans etc).
How much can I claim?
If you are an adult (18 years or over), the amount you are entitled to depends on whether your hair loss is permanent or temporary. If you are under 18, your entitlement is the same whether the hair loss is temporary or permanent.
For adults (with permanent hair loss)
Your entitlement is $2330.66 (GST incl) over a nine-year period. You can claim all of or part of your $2330.66 (GST incl) entitlement at any time over the nine-year entitlement period.
For adults (with temporary hair loss)
Your entitlement is $408.88 (GST incl) over a one-year period. You can claim all of or part of your $408.88 entitlement at any time over the one-year period.
For children (with temporary or permanent hair loss)
If you are under 18 your entitlement is $1226.66 (GST incl) over a three-year period or until you turn 18, if that happens first. You can claim all or part of your $1226.66 entitlement at any time over the entitlement period.
If you are 18 or over and your growth has been affected by cancer or cancer interventions you may still be entitled to $1226.66 over a three-year period. To apply for this entitlement you need to contact the Ministry of Health and provide supporting medical information.
Requests for this entitlement should be sent to:
Ministry of Health,
PO Box 5013,
What if my hair grows back for a while and then I lose it again?
If you lose your hair again and it is still considered temporary hair loss, your second claim is treated in the same way as your first claim. You will be eligible for an entitlement of $408.88 for a one-year period from the date you make your first purchase after losing your hair again.
How do I claim?
Your GP or medical specialist will inform you about the service payment and issue you with a medical certificate. All you will then need to do is go to a wig supplier and choose the right Wig or Hairpiece for you. Once you have chosen your wig, hairpiece or other item you may either request the supplier to make a claim to Sector Services on your behalf or make a claim yourself.
Claim by supplier
The supplier will fill in details of the product and its cost on the Wig and Hairpiece Claim Form and then ask you to fill in your personal details, and sign the form. The supplier will then complete an additional form (stating that they are claiming on your behalf ) and forward both forms to Sector Services, with your medical certificate (where this is your first claim). You do not pay for the product yourself but keep a copy of the receipt the supplier gives you for your personal records.
Claim by you
You pay for the product yourself. To make a claim for reimbursement you must first have a Sector Services payee number. Ring Sector Services on 0800 458 448 for a Payee Number Application Form and a Wig and Hairpiece Claim Form. You will need to complete the forms and return them to Sector Services for reimbursement of your costs.
Sector Services will not pay any claims unless they receive the following three items:
- completed Wig and Hairpiece Claim Form
- proof of purchase (receipt) issued by the supplier
- current Medical Certificate for initial claims.
What if the Wig or Hairpiece that I choose costs more than I am entitled to?
Where an item is purchased that is more than your entitlement balance you are responsible for the additional cost. For example if you have temporary hair loss and the Wig or Hairpiece you have chosen for your first purchase costs $495, the final cost to you will be $86.12. You or the supplier can claim the remaining $408.88 from Sector Services.
What happens when my entitlement period ends?
At the end of the your entitlement period any unspent amount is cancelled. If the Ministry is satisfied that your hair loss is permanent, an entitlement of $2,330.66 (GST incl) will be credited, for a nine-year period. In other cases you must apply to Sector Services for another entitlement. To do this you must send in a new medical certificate that verifies that your hair loss is either temporary or permanent. A new entitlement balance with then be credited.
For further information, please call the Sector Services contact centre on: 0800 458 448
Monday – Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm,
Except Wednesday 9:30am – 5:00pm
Please note: you should not rely solely on the answers provided here; the contracts applicable to each provider and all relevant legislation must be consulted to determine the full rights & liabilities applicable to any service provider or funder.