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The Hairy Truth: 5 Myths About the Hair Drug Test

hair drug test

Depending on the industry you work in, drug screening may be a condition of employment. Some companies also use random drug testing to screen employees for insurance and employment purposes. 

The most common method of screening is a urine test. However, the hair drug test is gaining popularity among employers for its accuracy and the wider time frame it can test. 

Have you been directed to take a hair drug test? Here are some key facts to know about the test, including what it can test for and how far back it goes. 

What is a Hair Drug Test?

A hair drug test uses a small amount of hair from your head (or your body) to screen for illicit drug use. The hair is collected and sent to a lab, where it will be analyzed.

A hair follicle test can show the presence of a wide range of drugs in your system, including methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and opiates. The test accurately screens for drug use within 90 days of being performed. 

Hair Drug Test vs. Urine Drug Test

There are some pros and cons of the hair test versus testing a person’s urine.

One big difference is the window of detection between the two tests. A urine test can show drug use up to a month before the test, and up to one or two days prior. A hair follicle test can go back three months, but will not accurately show use up to seven days before the test is administered.

A hair test is slightly more accurate than a urine test, since it is more difficult to switch a sample. 

One con to the hair test is that it costs between $100 and $125 for a laboratory test, whereas urinalysis starts at about $25.

Five Myths About the Hair Drug Test

Maybe you’ve heard some things about the hair follicle test. There are plenty of myths swirling around this process. Here are five myths about the hair drug test, debunked:

1. You Can Game The Test By Shaving

Don’t shave your head! They’ll just use your body hair instead – only two inches of hair is needed for an accurate result. Unless you’re going to shave your entire body, shaving your head will not help you pass the test.

2. A Product Will Cleanse the Hair of Drug Traces

No proven way of stripping the hair exists at this time. Unlike urine tests, which can sometimes be gamed or cleansed more quickly, no shampoo, dye, or other product can remove the trace amounts. 

3. Hair From a Brush Will Work

If it’s not fresh hair, the test will be inconclusive. For one thing, the sample could be contaminated from another source, or it might actually be someone else’s hair. Using a sample from a brush is not an acceptable alternative.

4. Test Proves Conclusive Up to Present Day

Trace amounts of drugs stay in your system for up to seven days, so the hair test actually proves drug use a week or more before the test. It will not prove whether someone is currently under the influence of an illegal substance. A urine test can provide information about current intoxication.

5. You Can Fail from Secondhand Smoke

If you’re nearby someone who is smoking an illicit substance, and accidentally inhale some—don’t worry! The trace amount that you inhale will not be enough to register on the hair test.

Be Prepared With the Facts

There’s a lot to know about drug screening, whether it’s pre-employment, random drug testing, or a court ordered test. We provide information and resources for individuals who are facing a hair drug test. Learn more today!

Order a Test

Whether you are an individual looking to get a drug test done today or an employer looking to get a pre-employment drug test done today, ordering a test online is easier than ever! Just submit your order online, receive your test authorization by email, go to your local clinic to be tested, and receive your test results in 24 to 48 hours.

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