The hair follicle drug test is the most notoriously difficult to handle, because it is extremely difficult to cheat, and outright impossible to fake (unlike, for example, a urine test which might be duped by using synthetic urine). Unlike the more common urinalysis, a hair drug test can paint a picture of your entire history of substance use (or abuse), and it takes a mere three days to get the results back.
These are the two chief reasons for its rise in popularity, and it may even become the go-to test type on the market soon. While you might experience it as a part of a job interview, the hair follicle test is still most often encountered in the criminal justice system. Well, whether or not you have ever had a record, we are here to help you stay on the right side of the grate. Read on to learn exactly how this test works and how you can get around it, and if you are interested in other people’s experiences, you can check them out at this link.
How is this kind of test performed?
Short answer: they make a bald patch on your head and detain or delay you till you gets your results. The long answer is more or less like this: first you get an official summons for a hair drug test. You will need to go to a law enforcement building or a specialized clinic for it (often it will be specified in your summons).
Once there, a professional will take a sample of your hair, usually about an inch and a half in length. Be prepared for them taking several strands and know they will cut close to your skull base, and close to the scalp. The length of the hair sample is based on the average rate of hair growth – half an inch per month, so they will test you for the period of the previous three months, at a minimum.
They then send this hair sample to a laboratory to be tested, and the average turnaround time is within the next three days. Sometimes, you can ask the technician who is handling your hair sample to throw away anything that exceeds the standard inch and a half strand length. It may not always work, but it can save you from detecting any drug use from before the three months period.
What does it show and how does it show that?
We already mentioned that this type of drug test shows drug use over the previous three months. More importantly, however, it can detect multiple uses over time. This happens because, when you introduce a drug into your system, it travels through the bloodstream and into the hair follicle. These follicles then grow out to become shafts of hair, and then they grow in length, taking the drug residue with them. On a practical note, this means that each trace of any drug will be contained within only a specific portion of your hair.
These drug traces (more properly known as substance metabolites) tend to stick around in your hair for approximately a year, and in the case of marijuana (specifically, its THC and the metabolites of that compound) they will stay in your hair shaft until you cut it off. Luckily for you, though, past a period of ninety days, the test is no longer considered reliable. It does detect a wide variety of substances, however, aside from weed. These include LSD, heroin, PCP, cocaine, barbiturates, nicotine and alcohol, among others.
What is the best way to beat it?
Hands down, your best strategy is to simply not ingest any drugs for ninety days, minimum, though many people recommend staying clean for a minimum of a hundred and ten days, just to make sure you are safe. Some say that freshly ingested drugs are still in the hair follicle and therefore not a problem, but hair tests are often paired with on-the-spot blood test or urinalysis, so best not risk it at all.
Instead, washing out the toxins with a detox shampoo is the next best strategy. You can Google something like Drug Testing Reviews – Best Detox Shampoo For a Hair Follicle Drug Test to get many awesome recommendations. Hair detoxification is a tricky business compared to detoxifying the body because hair is dead as soon as it grows past the follicle. Since the cells are no longer cleaning a renewing themselves, but just piling up, anything you ingest (like a detox drink for example) will have no effect on your hair.
Therefore, a detox shampoo is basically your most feasible choice. You can amplify its effects by dyeing your hair or styling it with heat: this damages the hair to an extent, so the shampoo can penetrate it more easily. This is essential, because many detox washes will only treat the cuticle (the outer layer of the hair), but not the shaft (the core of the strand) which is the actual target of the drug test. Surface treatment will simply not cut it. To get the best results, use the detox shampoo several times before your test date, and follow the instructions (typically meaning, leave it in for a few minutes before rinsing).
Why are hair detox shampoos the best way to go?
Because they are strong enough to remove the metabolites, thanks to their acidic compounds that can get deep into the hair structure. Initially, they were conceived as medical aides of a sort, to help people cleanse their hair at a deeper level. They were made to remove medical contaminants and various other toxins from the hair and hair follicles, so they pack quite a punch.
While dyeing, perming, and similar treatments can help, they do not go deep enough into the hair cortex, making shampoos an essential primary detox method.