Sunday, 19 October 2014

Hair Diary

I thought that as part of the next stage of my blogging journey, it might be a good idea to keep a hair diary. Firstly so that I can track my hair growth progress, and secondly so that I might help other people in the same situation understand what stage they might be at by what time.

My Head Hair regrowth from November 19th 2012 to October 19th 2014

Each photo is taken on the 19th of each month and is au naturel, so no make-up or hair products (apart from my trusty GHDs!).

Here's a breakdown:

Month 1 - November 2012
First set of pictures taken exactly one month on from my last chemo treatment...

Head Hair



P.S. What can be done with a bit of make-up.....

Month 2 - December 2012
Head Hair
So my head hair is coming on quite well :)

Eyebrows & Eyelashes
These are still a bit sparse but they're slowly growing...

So although my hair is still fairly thin, I'm not bothered about wandering around without any sort of head covering...... Was nice and early into work today so decided to stroll to the coffee shop and grab a drink. Place my order and as I'm waiting the serving "wench" says to me.... "Oooh that's a very short haircut, what made you do that?" so without thinking I replied "cancer" - her face was an absolute picture!

Month 3 - January 2013
Head Hair
Continues to grow, although I do appear to have a random bald patch at my crown!

Eyebrows & Eyelashes
I think my eyebrows are almost back to normal. My eyelashes are certainly getting there... The lower lashes are longer than the top ones which looks a little bizarre but hey, they're there!

Month 4 - February 2013
Head Hair
My hair is growing at a super speedy rate! It seems to have developed it's own Jedward Mohican type style and it growing upwards... Hopefully it'll be long enough to do something with soon enough.

Eyebrows & Eyelashes 
My eyebrows I think are pretty much back to how they were before. They're a little patchy in places but as I had almost plucked them into oblivion before, I'm not 100% sure how they will grow back anyway.

My eyelashes are getting there. The lower ones are still longer than the top ones but i think they appear to be thickening out which is cool. There are still not as many as I had before, but I don't think Joe Bloggs on the street would know that...

Month 5 - March 2013
 Head Hair
Head hair is still growing at a rate of knots! It now looks like this:

So I have a random bald patch at my crown and my hair is going wavy (a little mullet-like!) but I am leaving it as long as possible before I get it cut so there is more to work with for the wedding!

Eyebrows & Eyelashes 
Apologies for the shiny forehead in this one! Blimmin flash. 

April 7th 2013
2 weeks to go until the wedding! I've got my "first" haircut booked in on Thursday 11th April, am absolutely bricking it for some reason but fingers crossed :-)

Month 6 - April 2013
New Haircut.... Top left is before, others are after - excuse the cheesy grin!

My eyebrows and eyelashes haven't really grown much this month but they're still there! I'm also having individual falsies on my wedding day 😊

My Wedding Day 21/04/13 - 6 months + 2 days post chemo
I'm not naked in this pic! Am being laced into my dress. My hair looks really full and thick plus the hairdresser managed to straighten it :) The eyelash falsies look amazing too!

Month 7 - May 2013
Head Hair
Seeing as I had a haircut a month ago my hair has grown like crazy! I think the Mexico sunshine has made it go a bit more blonde too!

Eyelashes and Eyebrows
I think my eyebrows have been dyed a bit by the sunshine and so look a bit more sparse. I also need to start shaping them a bit now!

Here's a close up of my eyelashes:

Here's what can be done with a bit of make-up 🙂

Month 8 - June 2013
Head Hair
My head hair has gone a bit bonkers! I really need it cut again!

Eyelashes and Eyebrows
I think my eyelashes are pretty much back to normal now which is great. My eyebrows are gradually filling in but still fairly thin. Pencil and brow make-up are still in constant use!
Month 9 - July 2013
Head Hair
My head hair has really had a growth spurt. It's also become really shiny :) I'm able to use my straighteners on the ends now too which is great. I'm still deciding whether or not to get it cut so it's more one length but I think I'm going to leave it for now.

I was going to edit this photo before I uploaded it but I think it's kinda funny to see rob & I in the mirror - peekaboo!

I sent a copy via Twitter of my Months 1-9 photo and they retweeted it :-)

Macmillan Cancer
@joanna_cugley thanks for sharing that Joanna. Really reassuring for others going through the same thing #notalone

Eyelashes and Eyebrows
There's not been much change again here so I think they might be back to where they were before. I had really over-plucked my eyebrows as a teenager so I think it'll take a long time for them to become full again. My eyelashes are *almost* there. They are definitely as thick but not quite as long yet - hooray for good mascara!

Month 10 - August 2013

Head Hair
My head hair seems to be changing every month. It's almost long enough to have a proper style now. What I might do is have it cut ready for Michelle's wedding when I'm a bridesmaid :)

Hooray for GHDs

Eyelashes and Eyebrows
Not much change again tbh but I do think they're both thickening up :) My eyebrows are becoming more solid rather than patchy and my eyelashes are feeling a bit thicker. They don't look much different in the photo but I can feel it!

Month 11 - September 2013
Head Hair
It's getting pretty long now and is easy to straighten because of the length :-) The other day it even got tangled and knotty!! It still feels really soft like baby hair so I am extra careful when using my GHDs and use a heat protection spray every time.
Exciting news is that I have booked in my first proper haircut. I know I had one in April before the wedding but there wasn't this much to play with then! Am also gonna have some highlights put in it :-)

Eyelashes and Eyebrows
Some definite thickening this month - hooray!

Month 12 - October 2013
My First Proper Haircut! 
 Now I know I had a haircut before my wedding but there wasn't that much to play with. so I was a bit nervous before going for my first "proper" haircut.... but I'm delighted! Results below (had a cheeky bit of colour put in too)
Eyelashes & Eyebrows
My eyelashes are definitely thickening up :)
The reason I've left this photo in is so that you can see how long the shortest bits of my hair is. I don't think it will be very long until I can tuck it behind my ears!

I've also just realised that my brows are going a bit ginger! Nothing wrong with that, just a bit new having never been a redhead!

One Year On
Here's a snapshot one year on!

Month 13 - November 2013
Head Hair
Boy my hair has grown quickly again! I want it highlighted and cut again soon. It sounds silly but I have my first annual mammogram coming up and I don't want to have my hair done for fear of cursing it and having to have chemo. Might be an irrational fear but until you've had BC it's really hard to explain something like this.

 Eyelashes & Eyebrows
Finally some growth, darkening and thickening!

Month 14 - December 2013
Head Hair
I think I can officially call my hair shoulder-length now. In fact, from this picture it looks like it's just below my shoulders :) There are parts that are still shorter and wispy and I still can't quite tuck those bits behind my ears but it won't be long! I'm so pleased with how shiny my hair is now as well.

 Eyelashes & Eyebrows
I'm still a bit fed up with my eyebrows - they just won't grow! I think I'm going to invest in some Browzings which all my YBCN girls rave about. I do have some eyeshadow in on this photo but no mascara. 

Month 15 - January 2014
Head Hair
My hair is now getting to a real length. I'm able to put it back in a ponytail, though wispy bit do fall forward at the front.
Also as I had my clear mammogram (yay!) results I've booked myself another haircut for the beginning of February!

 Eyelashes & Eyebrows
Getting fed up with my eyebrows now, just wish they would grow! My lashes are back and full, and thick but no joy on the blimmin brows!

Month 16 - February 2014
Head Hair
My hair was getting pretty long and a bit unruly being lots of different lengths so I was really looking forward to my haircut that I had yesterday - before and after pic below! Went a bit blonder this time as well - am really pleased!

 Eyelashes & Eyebrows

Blimmin brows look even more sparse this month! Grow damn you.... I think I might get some Revitabrow and see if that makes any difference but it's so bloody expensive.

Month 17 - March 2014
Head Hair
My hair is really getting manageable now, I can do lots with it and *almost* tuck it all behind my ears. It's still a bit of a pain to go to the gym with but it's getting there. I think by July it'll be where I want it to be. Although I had it dyed last month, I think it went even lighter from my holiday :)

Eyelashes & Eyebrows
Although my brows got lightened a bit on hols I think they're growing - hooray! If you click on the below photo and make it larger, you can see a few stray hairs where the brows either need plucking or I need to have the untidy look until they fill in. I think I'm going to brave leaving them messy and will just neaten them up a bit using make up :)

Month 18 - April 2014
Head Hair
Check out the length of my hair now!! I'm so pleased with it :) It's not all one length still but I can get it up in a ponytail for the gym. In July I'm a bridesmaid for Amy & Andy so fingers crossed by then I can have it in the style I want!

Eyelashes & Brows
Have finally started lengthening but my brows are still sparse. I think I'm just going to permanently have lighter, thinner brows now.

Month 19 - May 2014
Head Hair
I'm so pleased with my hair now, I can finally tuck it behind my ears, get it up in a ponytail and just feel like I have "normal" hair :-)

Eyelashes & Brows
I've started to need to pluck my eyebrows this month. Although they are looking thinnish still they are getting messy. I guess that's a mini bonus!

Month 20 - June 2014
Head Hair
Only a bit of growth this month and it's going more mullet-y with sticky out bits.... But I am having it cut next week which feels like such a treat.

Eyelashes & Brows
My brows are definitely getting messier, they just won't really grow thicker. Ho hum! I think I'll ask for some nice eyebrow make-up for my birthday in a few weeks' time.

Month 21- July 2014
Head Hair
I had my hair cut at the very start of July ready for Amy's wedding. It was more of a trim than a restyle this time as my hair is gradually becoming one length. I also had it highlighted again. I love being a bit more blonde, helps me feel summery!

Eyelashes & Brows
Both my lashes and brows are thickening now :) I'm trying to leave my brows alone because I'd like to get them properly shaped but there are a few messy stray ones. I'll try and cope for another month or so I think!

Month 22- August 2014
Head Hair
It's really becoming one length now, I'm so pleased to have "proper" hair again. It's softer than ever before and really easy to manage. I know a lot of girls get massively curly hair after chemo but mine is just wavy like it was before. Next month I'll post a picture of it in its curly state just so you can see how it is without the mighty GHDs

Eyelashes & Brows
I'm really happy with my eyelashes now. I still wish my browns would thicken out but I fear I may have damaged the roots beyond repair when I was younger.

Month 23- September 2014
Head Hair
As I said last month, my hair is really getting back to being one length. I can put it in a ponytail with ease. There are wispy bit still that I have to clip back but on the whole it's really manageable. Pictures below taken with a really low top on so you can easily see that it's below my shoulders.

This is it up in a ponytail:

Eyelashes & Brows
Finally!! Some thickening and growth and noticeable change :)

Month 24 - October 2014
Two Years On! I've decided that this will be my last Hair Diary post. 2 years is a good amount of time to document hair growth and anything on from this will just be me having haircuts etc. I really hope that this diary has been useful to anyone who's read it and provided some reassurance that it does come back (and pretty quickly!)
Head Hair
I think the pictures speak for themselves....

Useful websites:


  1. You rock! I love your blogs xx

  2. Thanks Mayna :) Bit of a big step putting baldy pics up but it's strangely cathartic xx

  3. Your head looks a lot like mine! I'm 2 3rds of my way through 6 FEC so I don't have any regrowth but I've kept some long wispy bits of hair!

  4. Hi Jojo,

    Don't know me from a bar of soap, but I had bookmarked your top tips on getting through chemo. My wife is about to have FEC no3 tomorrow and then she too starts the T part in three weeks time. It sounds like you and she have a very similar cancer - Rachael (my wife) also has grade 3 invasive ductile carcinoma which sadly got into the lymph system (one positive node from the sentinel node biopsy). Rachael had a mastectomy on October 1st with immediate reconstruction. Her cancer scored 8/8 on the ER scale so she too will have Tamoxifen for 5 years.

    Don't know why your chemo preceded your op - weird - different health authorities do it different way round it seems. Still I just wanted to say well done you for posting this blog - really useful stuff on it and you have done so well to get through to where you are and sounding so brave and positive.

    Rachael can't do the research stuff, doesn't want to know what is coming up but prefers to roll with the punches, but I am trying to research stuff for her to ensure I can ask as many of the right questions as possible, and try to prepare for what may be round the corner.

    The T part of the Chemo is not something she is prepared for, and the a few things I have picked up as needing to set in place is the nail ointment, some mighty pain killers for possible bone pain and maybe some good mouth wash. She has another three weeks but any other tips for me?

    PS Rachael is 44 so thankfully didn't have to go through egg harvest - SO sorry this has hit you so early on inline - real bummer!!

  5. Hi Jamie,
    I've replied via email to your Blogger account so please check there for my reply,

  6. Hi Jo, sorry being really dim, not sure I know how to retrieve that email! Just tried to find it but had no joy.

    1. Jamie, I'll copy and paste it into here x

    2. Hi Jamie,

      So sorry your wife is going through this. It's pretty shitty but it is doable. I had my chemo first to tr and shrink my lump so that the surgery would be less invasive for me. The chemo world really well and I ended up having a lumpectomy instead of mastectomy.

      If you have a look back through my blog there are a few posts about the T part of chemo, to be v honest with you I did find it more difficult than FEC but some people found it easier. T #1 was definitely the worst and my BCN said it was as I still had some FEC in my system so it's like a double whammy. T#2 was easier than T#1 and then T#3 was easier again so please take hope from that.

      If your wife gets a sore mouth get your GP or oncologists to prescribe Difflam, it's a numbing mouthwash & an absolute lifesaver. There is also something you can get called Gelclair, you can get a free sample by going here Pineapple was also my saviour. I found that 3 days after each cycle I got oral thrush, it was so gross and made everything taste like wet cardboard but pineapple was something I could taste and it also broke down part of the thrush on my tongue. Pineapple ice lollies were the best as the coolness also soothed my mouth.

      In terms of aches and pains, yes painkillers are good but I also really found my hot water bottle and the teddy bears filled with wheat that you pop in the microwave were really great.

      I also found audiobooks a godsend. I found it too hard to concentrate on reading, watching tv or things like that, so audiobooks were great. You can download them from iTunes or amazon or rent them from your local library.

      That's all I can think of at the mo but will let you know if I think of anything else.

      I'm replying from my email address,, if your wife would like to chat to me (or you again :) ) please feel free to pass it on.

      Have a Merry Christmas,

      Jo x

  7. Hi Jo,

    Great work on this. I wish I'd taken more photos - but I just hid away from cameras.

    You are looking lovely and hairy!! :)


  8. Thanks for the update, we were only talking last night wondering how fast my hair would grow back and now we know.
    X Yvonne

  9. Hi Jo,

    I just love your blog. I only stumbled on it part way through my FEC chemo, but i love how you have put sessions on the journey and also funny things which made me laugh, you are an inspiration to all going through this horrible journey no-one wants to be on.

    Keep up the good work as i am sure lots of ladies out there will find this a great help whilst going thro this journey.

    I love the way you have put the pics up of your hairs loss and growth. More especially as i had my last FEC session yesterday and am excited for the hair growth to come back. I like you had long hair and the thought of losing it filled me with dread, so i can't wait for it to come back now rather than watching it falling out. I might take notes from you too and take pics along the way to see the different as i'm sure i won't notice an inch without them lol.

    I hope you find the time thro your wedding plans to keep posting the hair pics as this gives hope to where i maybe be in a few months too. I wish you all the best and hope you have the most fabulous wedding as the journey you have been on, you deserve it. I am sure whatever length you get your hair too, you will still look beautiful on your day as the post cancer feeling must bring an inner shine and glow as well as strength to get through anything, well that's what i am hoping for anyway lol
    Take care
    Jane xx

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment Jane :)

      Congrats on finishing FEC - Are you having T as well or is that all your chemo done now? My head hair actually started growing (like peach fuzz!) on T so yours should start soon I hope. I'd defintely reccommend taking photos along the way, even if you don't share them with anyone, it's such a morale booster to look back and see the growth!

      I've booked my first haircut for 11th April so it's nice and neat for the wedding - will post a pic then so you can see what it looks like.

      Love Joanna xx

  10. Hi Joanna,

    Thank you. No not having T, so all chemo is done, thank god! so glad to see the back of it. I still have to have herceptin tho so can't avoid the dreaded needles. I also start my radio on 12th April for 17days, so will be glad when its over. Had to go for scan today and tattoos, so painful and not looking forward to it and maybe the tiredness. My partner is great tho, especially today again as i got upset. So much better tho when you have a caring partner, don't you think.
    I think maybe some of my hair is coming back altho far too grey lol I will get my partner to take some pics, i never thought of it before. So glad i found your posts.
    Aw, good luck for the new cut for the wedding and keep smiling and posting lol
    All the best love Jane xx

    1. Janey - good luck with starting rads tomorrow. My top tip, keep your skin really moisturised with aqueous cream, I did mine 3-4 times a day & my skin was fine xx

  11. Thanx Joanna. On day 3 of rads today. They have only told me to use E45 cream and nothing else. Am doing morning and night as they advised. Need to get some Rock deodrant tho, so weird without it again lol.
    Your hair looks lovely, very healthy and shiny too. Mine is coming on, new shoots. Like a cotton wool ball atm. Already have a thin spiky coverage and less than one month after last chemo, altho didn't go completely bald so many why. My hair does grow very fast normally tho so hoping it carries on lol.
    All the best for your wedding day, hope it all goes as expected and more.xx

  12. I love your photos - you are so organised! I also took photos of my hair regrowth on my blog but much more haphazardly. It is so nice when it starts coming back.....

  13. I just want to say that your photos are an inspiration to me - thank you for taking the time! I'm a long way behind you but your photos give me confidence that my hair will eventually be as long as yours! I look at this bloodspot at least twice a week!! Can I ask, is your hair now growing straight? I can't tell if mine is yet - it's definitely curly at the ends and I am dying for it to go back to straight like it was before chemo (or at least I am hoping it goes back to being straight!) Thanks, Tallulah.

    1. Thanks so much Tallulah, I'm so glad it's helped you :) My hair was wavy before chemo and it' has come back pretty much the same. If I blow dry it, it goes fairly straight but if I want it poker straight then I have to use my straighteners. I hope your treatment is going as well as possible. Love Jo xx

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