Going Bald for St. Baldrick's

Cuting a ponytail for a St. Baldrick's headshave
Photo: Shutterstock
Q: A few months ago my best friend convinced me to join her and sign up to become a shavee for St. Baldrick’s. We raised a nice amount of money, and the inevitable will happen next week: we are both going bald. I’m a very fashion minded young woman and I love my long sleek and shiny hair. The idea of going bald is horrifying.
What is even more horrifying is that someone told me that my hair might have a different structure when it grows back after being bald. Is this true? Is there a risk that I might no longer have straight shiny hair when it grows back? Would it be better to get it buzzed to almost zero instead of going completely bald?

A: First of all, kudos to you for making such a noble sacrifice to help others in need. And now let’s address your concerns:
The hair texture and wave pattern can transition over the years as we grow and age. Children who have fine-textured, yellow-blonde curls often grow up to have coarser, straight brown hair in their teens and twenties, and then find that their hair grows thinner as they get older still.
Most of us are unaware of the changes in our hair, because they happen gradually and if we have long hair, an increase in curl in new growth can be stretched out by the weight of the existing hair.
People who feel that their hair changed after having it shaved off, are simply making a faulty association. Because of the facts mentioned above, natural transitions often go unremarked, and yet, when the hair is “reset” to a starting point in growth, you can see changes (if any) very clearly.
So, I can’t tell you that your hair will be exactly the same as it is now after you have your head shaved, but I can assure you that the differences between the hair you have now and what will be after should be minimal.
And, no, opting for a zero-level buzz rather than shaving won’t change the possibility of the hair looking different, though it may make it less-likely that you’ll have itching as the hair grows back in, since the hair will have already emerged from the scalp.
See also:
How hair grows
Hair texture and wave pattern
How to shave your head