Hair Follicle Drug Test — Everything You Should Know

Hair Follicle Drug Testing

What is a Hair Drug Test and How it Works

A hair test is administered to detect parent drugs as well as their metabolites in the hair specimen collected from a donor’s body or head and can offer an extended, 90-day lookback. The collected specimens are sent to a sophisticated laboratory that screens the hair for any illicit substances and the results are usually available within 1 to 5 business days.

It takes almost 5 to 10 days after the last intake for the drugs to grow above the scalp and into your hair and stay there for up to 90 days. So, any specimens that are collected outside this detection window might not appear in the hair test. To cleanse the hair of any external contamination for example powders or smoke, all specimens are first washed with special shampoos before testing. Then the laboratory uses enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay methodology to detect the presence of any illicit parent drugs or their metabolites. Most Laboratories confirm by doing a second screening of the samples that test positive in the screening by subjecting them to Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry or Liquid Chromatography/Tandem Mass spectrometry confirmation testing.

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Hair drug tests can be divided into two categories, home hair drug tests which involve self-collection and laboratory hair drug tests which involve laboratory collection.

How long do drugs stay in hair?

Drugs can stay in your hair for up to 90 days, and it takes between 5-10 days after the last intake for the substance to be detectable in hair. Laboraties can use a series of screening methods to detect and confirm the presence of illicit drugs in the hair.

Which drugs are detectable in hair?

  • Amphetamines
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cocaine
  • Methadone
  • Meperidine
  • Opiates
  • PCP
  • Oxycodone
  • Propoxyphene
  • Cannabinoids
  • Tramadol
  • Fentanyl
  • Sufentanil

Are there reliable at-home hair drug testing kits?

Yes, there are reliable hair drug testing kits that you can use at home. The top 3 most trusted brand are HairConfirm Hair Test, Test Country’s 365-Day Hair Drug Testing Package for Parents, and International Hair Drug Test by Test Country.

Top 3 Laboratory Hair Drug Test:

#1:   14-Panel Premium Hair Laboratory Drug Test (E-Form)


Available in more than 8,000 locations around the United States, the 14-panel premium drug test by Test Country is the leading lab-based hair drug test that can detect the use of up to fourteen different drug groups. The test is ideal for pre-employment purposes, and sample collection is arranged at a local testing center close to you.

The test costs $390.00 per unit, and offers a look-back for up to 90 days plus the results are available in 3-14 business days. It can detect:

Amphetamines, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Cocaine, Methadone, Meperidine, Opiates, PCP, Oxycodone, Propoxyphene, Cannabinoids, Tramadol, Fentanyl, and Sufentanil.

The test not only gives a positive/negative result but also offers an insight into quantities and user type.

#2:   12-Panel Laboratory Hair Drug Test



Just as the names suggest, it can detect 12 different drug groups and can offer a detailed report on drug use, quantities, and user type for the past 90 days. The drug kit is ideal for pre-employment purposes, and sample collection can be done at any of the 8000+ locations across the country.

The 12-panel hair drug test costs $315 per unit and substances that can be detected include:

Amphetamines, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Cocaine, Methadone, Meperidine, Opiates, PCP, Oxycodone, Propoxyphene, Cannabinoids (Marijuana), and Tramadol. 

Arranging the test is extremely easy, all you have to do is to find the nearest testing center through the website, choose the type and number of units, and pay the bill. Sample collection will be scheduled by Test Country and you can expect to see the detailed results in 3-14 business days.

#3:   5-Panel Laboratory Hair Drug Test


The 5 panel + OPI lab hair drug test is a more affordable option costing $169 per unit and can detect five drug groups including Amphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates, and Phencyclidine. The test is as easy as selecting a location and filling a short online form. The test report includes any illicit drug use during the last 90 days of sample collection, and the amount of drug used. This test is also customized for pre-employment testing or randomly testing your workers to ensure a drug-free environment.

Top 3 Home Hair Drug Tests:

#1:  HairConfirm Hair Test


Starting at $64.99

HairConfirm multidrug hair test is one of the most popular and trusted home hair drug test available in a variety of packages to suit people/agencies with different needs. Parents, law enforcement agencies, employers, schools, colleges and any other body that needs to detect the use of illicit drugs can benefit from different types of tests such as regular, express, and business. Available as either 7 panels or 12 panels, the HairConfirm test can detect seven illicit drugs or seven illicit plus five prescription drugs. Depending on the type of test you choose, it can set you back between $64.99 and $85.99, with a discount available for testing multiple donors.

The test has a long 90-day detection window and the 7-panel test can detect the use of seven illicit drugs including Marijuana, Amphetamines, Ecstasy, Methamphetamines, Cocaine, Opiates, and Phencyclidine. In addition to these drugs, the 12-panel test can also detect the use of Vicodin, Lorcet/Lortab, Oxycontin, Percocet, and Dilaudid. HairConfirm has an extremely quick, 2-day turnaround time and their price is very reasonable considering there are no additional lab fees and the price includes the cost of overnight sample return shipping.

#2:  Test Country’s 365-Day Hair Drug Testing Package for Parents


This highly accurate hair drug test by Test Country is specially designed for parents who worry their kids are taking illicit drugs. The package costs $229 and contains four drug testing kits so that you can test your child every 90 days. While the investment might seem like a big one, but it boils down to $19 per month.

The good thing about this test is once you buy it, you will be able to test your kids for a whole year. However, if you have more than one kid, this test can get expensive. While Test Country claims that external contaminants such as shampoos, bleaches, and other chemical contaminants sold commercially can’t alter the results, scientific researches prove otherwise. And in case your child knows that you will be testing them for drugs, and they suddenly start using bleach or any other chemical on their hair this could be a red flag. Also, the test can be performed on body hair in case your child doesn’t have hair on their head or has very short hair.

#3:  International Hair Drug Test by Test Country



Starting at $83.95 and discount available for multiple tests, Test Country offers a viable hair test solution for international clients who want to do hair test at home or office. The client is given a collection kit, and has to collect hair sample directly from the donor’s body (not from a hairbrush they used), and mail it to the U.S. lab. The test will obviously take longer because of the international shipping, but offers a drug use history for up to 90 days.

Questions about the hair follicle testing

Q: What’s the Detection Window for Hair Drug Test?

A: On average, a human head, hair grows approximately half an inch every month and the typical length of a head hair test it is 1/2 inches from the root to the tip. Hair test detects drug use between 5-90 days’ time frame from the specimen collection. However, since every individual has unique hair growth rate, the time frame is only an approximate value and can vary greatly.

Q: What Drugs can a Hair Test Detect?

A: A hair test usually detects these five illicit drugs including marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine. However, some more advanced hair drug tests can also detect abuse of prescription drugs.

Q: Body Hair Vs Head Hair

A: Since body hair’s growth is comparatively slower, they offer a more distant time frame than head hair. Body hair can be used when a person shaves his head or is completely bald. However, since body hair grows at an even more diverse rate than head hair, the approximate time period for body hair is extremely hard to identify.

Q: Is Beating Hair Test Possible?

A: The hair test is growing popular because it is the hardest drug test to beat. Although chemical adulterants, such as shampoos dyes bleaches, are commercially available, the effects of these products are not certain.

Common Issues with Hair Drug Test

One of the major issues with hair drug test is the high possibility of external contaminants that can get stuck in the donor’s hair and can result in a false positive result. However, when washed properly, the specimen can be cleansed of any external contaminants. On top of that, the hair test not only tries to detect the parent drug itself but also metabolites. This is very handy because in some cases, for example in marijuana analysis, the test only checks for metabolites which can be produced by the body and can’t occur as an environmental contaminant.

Another probably even bigger issue with hair is racial bias. Apparently, light colored hair is less susceptible yielding a positive result while dark hair is not only more prone to attracting contaminants but also have a higher chance of false positive. Although many big laboratories try to dismiss this claim for personal gains, however, a popular lawsuit in Boston shows us the irony of a hair test.

The police department used hair follicle testing to detect any illicit drug use in officers, but a lawsuit was filed stating that the black officers, being more prone to false positive testing, were being unfairly singled out by these tests. The laboratory that tested the officers found that 55 black and 40 white officers were tested positive for cocaine between 1999 and 2006. Interestingly, the number of white officers tested was 2.5 times greater than that of the black officer tested. At the end of the lawsuit, the court threw out the test results, and 6 out of 10 fired officers were rehired. That means the hair testing industry has to come up with something special to make sure that African-Americans, Asians, and other minorities get a level playing field with their light-haired counterparts.

Common Tricks to Beat Hair Drug Test

There are several things that people can do to beat the drug test.

  • Shaving off your head as well as the rest of your body
  • There are several detox shampoos available that claim to help people pass a hair drug test, however, their authenticity is questionable
  • Since the drugs can be tested for as long as 90 days after the use, many people stop using drugs when they’re expecting a test

A lot of people claim to have passed a hair drug test by using commercial products. Most of these products are expensive, and may or may not produce the desired results.


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Hair Follicle Drug Test — Everything You Should Know

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Comments 33

  • I have abstained from drug use for over a month. If I shaved my body clean, would the drugs still appear in the new growth of my hair? Do metabolites stay in the follicle for 90 days or just in the hair?

  • If i used cocaine 60 days ago and shaved off sll the hair on my body and head and let it grow out, will the new hair that grows in ne negative for cocaine

  • I had a hair follicle test which showed positive for use in all months for meth, but I did not use! Help!

    • did you figure out what the problem was for this

    • Same thing just happened to me I had to pay for one for my probation and I know as well as everyone that knows me and has been around me everyday that I hadn’t touched or done it but got a call bout 2 days ago telling me that I failed for meth I was devastated I need help to

    • Common otc pain killers can give a false positive for Methamphetamines. I had a false positive for Meth after being on a acetaminophen pain killer for a while. Make sure you tell your drug test administrator of any medications you have been taking.

    • I just went threw same thing. I take rX adderall which is positive for amphetamine. Turns out a small percentage of long term adderall users actually begin to metabolize the amphetamine as methamphetine… all my levels were low or right around cut off. Sich a nightmare

    • Same!!!!!!! I showed positive for meth and they told me it was recent use. And I’ve been sober for over a year and a half. The took my lower head hair on and on my neck. Wtf. I need help.

    • I just last week did a hair folicle test and was positive for meth, though I havebt used ANY drug since March 2nd, 2018. I have also been required ex to submithrine sample twice a week for the last 4 months and every one was negative for all drugs.

  • I’m am concerned took a hair drug fopicale test 2 days ago and I’ve need clean for 6 yes but I had a slip 60 days ago on sum one time use of cocaine will I pass

    • I took a hair test today, I messed up last night and did meth for the first time” by way I hated it “ will show up in my hair that quick thanks

  • Has anybody used something to pass a hair folecule and it worked for sure cause you used within 3 weeks ago and took a hair follicle and passed??? What did you use

    • I would like to know also cause I’ve been straight but still failed one for probation I was devastated feel like the more I try the more everything seems to screw me some how some way I know I’ve not done or touch meth but still failed is there any thing that I can use to make sure my follicle passes

  • I just had the hair drug test done by a placed was trying to get hired at. I have never done drugs and I don’t drink. I do smoke cigarettes and have recently taken generic cold medicine for a cold but my drug results came back positive for cocaine. As stated I don’t do drugs and I don’t even drink so I am completely baffled by this.

  • I had a test in Jan hair test for defacs and hadn’t touched nothing should my levels be lower bc she said if none is present then kids come home bc my levels were very very low in Jan but cutting hair again and it’s only march but ain’t used nothing and mine was due to a compound med will I be clean

  • Does Tramadol show up in a 5 panel hair folicle test?

  • Need help with a for sure way to make sure my hair follicle comes back clean cause I’ve done meth in my passed yes I admit that but I know as well as loved one’s and everyone around me day to day I’ve done no illegal drugs for by far 6 half months but test still comes back positive for meth 1220gm my hair barely grows at all I think and feel I’m just been set up for failure Im so devastated by this I really think they tested longer amount of my strands to go back further than should of I need help with advice on something to use to assure I pass it next time so I’m not done the same way

  • The CPS said my 18 month old was on meth. No one has do e meth around her. Now I tho k it was a lie so they had a respond to place her in CPS. They are leaches waiting for an excuse. The government should stop them. I know how they can lie and cheat people but dont know how to fight them.

    • My daughter had a hair strand test while she was in a residential unit with her baby and she had to go to court for a review. The test came back positive for cocaine the unit terminated the assesment and the baby was put back in foster care. My daughter swears she hasn’t taken cocaine and the judge agreed for another hair strand test which will be revealed on Friday. The judge will decide for another assesment depending on the results from the hair strand test if it’s posative then she’s facing adoption. My daughters other weekly drug tests have showed negative on all dates. The courts and all have really run my daughter into the ground.

      • I am a former addict. I was being prescribed subutex, adderall, & klonopin. My ex went to jail, his family wanted my 1 year old daughter, his aunt just happens to be a retired investigator for DCFS & at that time her husband was the sheriff of the parish (county in other states) I live in. They came in my home while I was napping on the sofa because my screen door was closed but my wooden door was open about a foot & they could see me inside so they never knocked & cane in uninvited. Counted each of my prescriptions. I left with them to go to courthouse take drug screen. I tested positive for all of the above but they claimed I tested positive for THC but wouldn’t let me see the panel & refused a second test. On way home I mention how my dad told me that I had the right to refuse them entry into my home & they took that right away by illegally entering my home. My soon to be case worker was driving & the DCFS investigator who I later proved worked with my ex’s aunt for years & was also who she called to “report” me, was in the passenger seat. I was in the middle of the back seat. This atrocious woman literally unbuckled her seatbelts, climbed up on her knees & turned in her seat facing ke with her face 6 inches from mine & started yelling at me. Idk what this crazy mf’r was even saying, I was so angry. I’m not one to be pushed around so I calmly stated that if she did not immediately get the F out of my personal space then I would be forced to remove her. She sat back down but let me know that unless my mother took custody of my daughter, she would be taken since I just proved how unstable & unpredictable my anger was. For 6 months I had to live with my mom bc I couldn’t be unsupervised with my daughter, while taking random urine & hair drug screens, parenting classes, drug classes that I wasn’t qualified for since all my medications were prescribed & this was a 0 tolerance program but they did me a favor & allowed me to attend classes even though my drug screens were positive for any substance which is against the rules & I completed. All the while I had full custody of my then 5 year old son (has a different father), did not need supervision around him & his name was not stated once in all my paperwork explaining why DCFS was investigating me. Just showed they were trying to take my daughter for a family member since her father was in prison for felony assault against myself & our 14 month old daughter (time of assault). But I did every BS thing they asked me to & they couldn’t trip me up although they tried hard.

        Bc I have a file with DCFS when a bitter, malicious b**ch that called DCFS w false allegations to try to hurt me, my then 6 year old daughter & 10 year old son & myself were involved with them again for a full year going to court bc this time I denied them entry to inspect my home so they got a warrant & came with 8 police officers who would’ve kicked down my door had it not been unlocked. All with my daughter sitting on the floor home from school with a fever looked on terrified. But what I found the most screwed besides the judge turning our court dates into custody hearings between me & daughters father but again not with son’s while the prosecutor argued with him saying I was qualified to have my kids & he was addressing issues we needed to attend family court for not these hearings, was when they recieved the call from this random female, instead of coming interview me first, see if what she claimed was even plausible they instead went to my kids school, pulled the 6 & 10 year old out of class, separated them & asked them questions about me doing drugs, cut up straws, powdered lines on dinner plates. My 6 yr old didn’t know 90% of the s**t they were asking about. So I had a 6 year old asking questions about all I mentioned & a 10 year old whose grades started to fall bc he was scared of being taken away from me. They were both put in counseling & both counselors saw them each 5x before recommending ending sessions bc my kids were well mannered, well rounded, well adjusted kids who were fine.

        I’m not acting like I’m perfect bc I did have a few month issue with meth 2 years ago, a year before they came. And I do take unprescribed xanax bc the klonopin I’m prescribed doesn’t help as well & I’m still on subutex. But they see subutex as bad. They actually tried to force me to stop taking it but my dr put them in their place with a long lecture about the importance to my sobriety depending on the medication they wanted me to stop. They’d be ensuring a relapse. So they relented.

        Point is I feel your pain w DCFS & their BS. I’ve learned the hard way that i have to live my life in a way that ensures that if anyone calls them for any reason, they cant touch me. I dot my i’s, crisp my t’s & pray like hell when I have a slight relapse. Luckily they’re few & far between & I come to my senses within a week but it takes a month repairing what I messed up in my life for the damage I caused in that week.

        Know this is irrelevant to this comment section but I just wanted to share the greatness of my experiences with DCFS since I’ve seen them mentioned in more than a few comments.

        Be safe. You can’t change what you did only what you did from this moment forward so let it go & keep on keeping on. The struggle is REAL.

  • CPS of Grady county Ga came in and took my newborn daughter because she was supposedly born with the drug in her system. Funny thing is I never gave consent for her to be tested for any reason. They took her stating that because I would not comply with the demands of CPS they were removing her from my custody. I have no preexisting case of meth use or with CPS at all. Yet I had my daughter taken without even 12 hours notice. I’m still without her she is a month old now. I have no doubt that even if I pass the hair test I won’t because they will not be proven wrong.

    • Yes, I am wondering the same thing also. Does tramadol show up on a 5 panel drug screen for a urine drug screen? Will it show up on a hair follicle?

      • Tramadol does NOT show up on a DOT 5 panel urinalysis, well at least it does not create a fail, I’ve never seen the complete drug test analysis. I’ve taken several DOT randoms with no problem. Hair follicle tests are a different story. Tramadol does show up on them, so you better have a prescription (which will disqualify you from CDL driving jobs)

  • I stopped smoking about 2 and a half months ago cut my hair 3 times. Will I pass my hair test next week?

  • Is 10,000 high for a hair follicle test for methamphetamine?

  • From everything I’ve been reading about drug hair test, Any drug, if if was your first time using meth, they say it takes up to 7 days to show up
    In your hair for testing
    So you should be fine. I see you posted in March,
    So I hope you passed & Good luck!!

  • Will the hair follicle test differentiate between Xanax versus Klonopin, or does it all show up as the same?

    • The test will not differentiate, only after flagging or failing ( for the classification those belong to as opiates or barbiturate) then its sent to a medical review Officer and or put through another sort of chemical test a gas chromatography. This is where it can read more specifically on a smaller cellular scale what specific chemical or Prescription is causing the result that is showing on test as fail. However there are some false positives with all your test in control when taken and also with third-party OTC AND/Or diabetic drugs, antibiotics and heart medications They can result in a false positive for illegal substances.

  • I feel like sumone needs to hear my story anyways ive been clean for about 14 months its been rough.hard whatever been doin uas for over a year two three times a week all clean anyways about four weeks ago i asked to do hair follicle so i could stop doin the uas and this is for the health and welfare so i did one a week later it comes out positive for large amounts of meth and cocaine i was shocked i was like f no ive been clean so the same day i told them yer wrong so they said ok do anther one ok did it waited a week it came back saying ok u havent used in a while but there are traces of meth and cocaine. I was devastated i was like hell no.. . so some shit happennd that devastated turned my world upside down that ill explain later…so i took it upon myself to come up with money and go to a different testing lab and do my own hair follicle and i give alll the glory to god it came back negative negative negative negative negative all negative so as i sit here at mcdonalds with my daughter im thinking how many familys has this happwnd too or how many addicts have gotten clean and given up cause of sumthin like this all i know is that thiss clinic does welfare and probation so i just had to share GOD IS GREAT GOD IS POWER

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