Step By Step Guide to Hair Follicle Drug Test

Today, drug testing is a common practice in many contexts, including the workplace, courtrooms, and even private settings. Among the various types of drug tests, the hair follicle drug test stands out as a reliable way to detect drug use in a person’s system over an extended period of time.

hair follicle drug test

In this comprehensive guide, we will go over every aspect of hair follicle drug testing, including its goals, procedures, and moral and legal implications

1. What Is A Hair Follicle Drug Test?

A hair follicle drug test test, also referred to as a hair drug test or a hair analysis test, uses a small sample of a person’s hair to analyze for the presence of drugs in their system. Hair follicle tests have an advantage over other drug tests, such as urine or blood tests, in that they can detect drug use over a much longer time frame, frequently up to 90 days. This is due to the fact that as hair grows, drugs and their metabolites are incorporated into it, creating a historical record of substance use.

2. Why Is Hair Follicle Drug Testing Important?

Drug testing on hair follicles has several crucial uses:

Longer Detection Window:

As was already mentioned, hair tests are especially helpful for identifying chronic or habitual drug users because they can detect drug use over a longer period of time.


Hair testing’s potential to reveal past drug use can serve as a deterrent, preventing users from using illegal substances.


Compared to urine tests, hair tests are more accurate and less prone to manipulation.

Hair follicle tests are frequently used in courtrooms to identify drug use in situations like child custody disputes, probation, or parole.

Workplace Safety:

Employers can ensure a drug-free workplace by using hair follicle testing.

3. Hair Follicle vs. Urine vs. Blood Drug Tests

It’s important to comprehend the main distinctions between hair, urine, and blood drug tests before learning more about hair follicle drug testing:

Hair Follicle Drug Test:

  • Provides evidence of drug use for up to 90 days.
  • Indicates a history of substance use.
  • Less prone to tampering or adulteration.
  • Needs a sample of hair, typically from the head.

Urine Drug Test:

  • Detects recent drug use, which can range from 1 to 30 days, depending on the substance.
  • Less costly and intrusive.
  • Susceptible to adulteration of samples.
  • Requires a urine sample.

Blood Drug Test:

  • Detects the use of drugs right now (usually within a few hours to a few days).
  • Frequently applied in accidents or medical emergencies.
  • Used frequently in accidents or medical emergencies.
  • Calls for a blood sample.

4. How Does Hair Follicle Drug Testing Work?

how hair follicle drug test work

Drug testing in hair follicles is based on the idea that drugs and their metabolites travel through the bloodstream and eventually end up in hair as it grows. This is how the procedure goes:

Sample Collection:

Usually, a small sample of hair is taken from the person’s head, close to the scalp. Body hair may be used as an alternative to head hair if it is not available.

Hair Preparation:

The collected hair is cleaned, ready for analysis, and free of outside impurities.

Testing Method:

Drug metabolites can be detected and measured in the hair using a variety of testing techniques, including gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).


Depending on the quantity and presence of drug metabolites in the hair, the results are either reported as positive or negative for particular drugs.

5. Do You Use Body Hair or Head Hair for Hair Drug Tests?

Body hair and head hair can both be used in hair follicle drug tests. But when available, head hair is preferred because of its growth pattern, which offers a more precise timeline of drug use. Body hair, such as chest or leg hair, can be used if head hair is too short or unavailable, but it may have a smaller detection window.

6. What Drugs Show Up in a Hair Test?

Numerous drugs can be found using hair follicle drug tests, including:

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine
  • MDMA (Ecstasy)
  • Opioids (e.g., codeine, morphine)
  • Amphetamines
  • Benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax, Valium)
  • The specific drugs tested for can vary depending on the testing panel selected by the testing facility or employer.

7. How Far Back Do Hair Drug Tests Go?

Hair drug tests typically have a 90-day detection window, but they sometimes have an even longer detection window. The length of detection is affected by a number of variables, including the rate of hair growth and the size of the collected sample of hair.

8. How Much Does a Hair Follicle Test Cost?

Depending on the location, the number of drugs being tested for, and the testing facility, the price of a hair follicle drug test can vary significantly. Basic hair drug tests typically cost $75 to $150, but more extensive panels might cost more.

9. Hair Follicle Drug Testing Laws To Know

It’s critical to understand the legal implications of hair follicle drug testing:

Most of the time, people are required to give their informed consent before a hair follicle drug test.

When performing hair follicle tests, particularly at work, employers and testing facilities are required to adhere to specific legal procedures.

False Positives:

People have the right to dispute and independently verify their test results because false-positive results can happen.

10. Conclusion

Drug testing on hair follicles is an effective method for identifying drug use over an extended period of time. It is useful in a variety of contexts, from employment screening to legal proceedings, due to its accuracy and long detection window. Both individuals and organizations that rely on this type of drug testing must comprehend how hair follicle tests function, their benefits and limitations, and the legal issues connected with them. All parties involved must stay current on new developments as drug testing procedures continue to change.

How long can drugs be detected in hair follicle drug test?

The equivalent of 90 days when result appears.

Is it easy to pass hair follicle test?

The drug tester needs hair strands that are 1.5 inches long. After accounting for all of these factors, it is estimated that the toxic residue would remain in the hair for about 90 days. Consequently, it becomes challenging. The best way to pass a hair follicle test.

How many hairs are taken for hair follicle test?

Several hundred hairs are needed for each sample when testing hair strands. A donor may be required to provide up to 4 samples totaling 200 hairs when both hair drug testing and hair alcohol testing are requested and “B” Samples are taken into consideration.

What is a hair follicle drug test?

A hair follicle drug test is a type of drug screening that analyzes a small sample of hair to detect the presence of drugs or their metabolites.

Is a hair follicle drug test accurate?

Hair follicle drug tests are generally considered accurate and reliable for detecting drug use within the specified detection window.

Can hair products, like shampoos, affect the results of a hair follicle test?

Specialized detox shampoos are marketed to remove drug metabolites from hair, but their effectiveness is debated. Most drug testing labs are equipped to detect and account for these products.

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