Hair Follicle Drug Test: Myths and Facts

Hair Follicle Drug Test: Myths and Facts


We think that the dead cannot point to the crime, but that's not the case with your Hair. Hair, which we consider as a dead cell, can expose ones drug abuse. Interesting, right?

We have studied that hair and nail cells are dead cells; it is true. The hair cells above the skin surface are dead, enveloped by hard keratin but the hair root is connected to the nerves. That is the reason we experience a sudden streak of pain when we pluck our hair.

Usually, a drug travels to all parts of the body, but based on the organ, the retention power varies. Drugs remain in the hair for a longer period than in other organs. This makes the hair drug test more effective. While Urine Drug Tests can detect drug abuse for up to a few days, a Hair Follicle Drug Tests can detect drug abuse for up to 3 months.

Table Of Contents

What is a Hair Drug Test?

Hair Follicle Drug Test exposes the intake of illegitimate drugs or misuse of prescribed medications. This test exposes the usage of most commonly used illicit drugs of 17 different kinds. Common drugs include weed, opiates, COC, OXY, MDMA, AMP, PCP and other opioid drugs.

Hair follicle drug test is specifically chosen because the drug metabolites are stored in the hair for a maximum of 90 days. Also, the tester can tell about the drug usage frequency (recreational or addictive).

How Does The Drug Travel Into The Hair?

  • The drug traces get into the hair through simple passive transfer.
  • Firstly, the drug absorption takes place in the bloodstream.
  • The bloodstream extends to the hair root in a bound form.
  • When the keratogenesis occurs, the bound cells get passively diffused. They get transferred to the hair shaft.
  • The amount of metabolites present in the hair depends on the range of drug substances in the bloodstream.

There is another method in which the hair gets access to drugs. This is a complex multi-compartment method. Drugs can enter into the hair through various methods. They can peep into the hair through blood circulation. In other ways, they may get through sebaceous glands after the formation of hair. They may also enter through contact of external ambiance with the hair. The external factor has a greater impact on hair. This has led to the degradation of trust on hair drug tests.

Hair Follicle Drug Tests Are Not Quite As Foolproof As We Thought

Hair follicle drug tests are the finest tests to find out illegal drug intake. Even though they are a next-level update to the urinary testing, there are certain implications about its effectiveness. The main reason for relying on the hair drug testing over the urine sample is that it cannot be swapped.

But according to research and certain current happenings, the hair drug test may lead to false accusations of illicit drug intake. Several external and internal factors claim the above fact, but the two most important issues on the foolproof of the tests are Contamination and Reliability.

  1. Contamination can happen due to accumulation or association. A non-smoker hangs out with a chain smoker which in turn gets tangled with the chemicals that the former smokes. This can be proven by the incident in 2013, where the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission took action against six African-American officers for using Cocaine during duty. This was seen with a discriminatory tinct. Later, it was found that their contact with Cocaine users would have stuck to their hair; because Cocaine binds with dark and dense hair more than the white and hollow hairs.
  1. According to Forensic Medicine, reliability is one of the missing factors that make hair drug tests less effective. Hair tests cannot trace the exact amount of consumption of minor drug usage. If a person intakes weed in a minimal amount and gets in contact with other essential drugs, then during testing, it will show a meager amount of consumption levels.

Misconception of Hair Follicle Drug Tests

Testers stick to the belief that there is a relationship between the drug and the chemical residues in the hair follicles. The fact is that if a person consumes any drugs, then it would be dispersed to all parts of the body through the bloodstream. But due to the above discussed major factors like contamination and lack of reliability, the hair drug tests may lead to misconception.

Certain external factors may also make the hair drug test more challenging;

  • Leal Factors:  Some countries have made the consumption of Weed and Cannabis legal. So workplaces relying on hair drug tests for those drugs will never need them.
  • Detoxification:  People detoxify their hair using certain shampoo and laundry detergents. They also use some harmless acids like acetic and salicylic acids. They help to remove the drug residues in their hair.

With these kinds of shortcomings, the hair drug test is becoming less foolproof.

How To Pass A Hair Follicle Drug Test?

Be a clean person or an addict, everyone gets anxious when it comes to drug testing and if the test is to identify your guilt, then it becomes tenser. So, passing the hair drug test becomes inevitable. Nowadays, corporate companies prefer hair drug tests to form a healthy workforce.

During the hair drug test, some hair is taken from your head and tested for drug usage. If you do not have enough hair in the head, then the tester would take some hair from other parts of your body. One cannot cheat on hair drug tests because the samples are collected upfront from the candidate and stored for testing.

If you are clean and so your ambiance, then there is nothing to worry about passing the hair follicle drug test. If not, you can follow certain steps to pass the hair follicle drug test.

Wipe It Off Completely

If you are not clean inside, then you must clean your outside. Yes, shave off all your hair completely to escape drug detection. Normally, it would take nearly 5 to 7 days for the drug to reach the hair follicle. So, it is best to shave your body completely after consuming any drug. That will provide you drug-free hair for a temporary period. However, after 5 to 7 days, the drug would showcase your drug consumption. So, you have to plan according to your hair drug test and shave it off completely.

Macujo Method For A Clean Track

Macujo method is one of the renowned methods used to wipe out the drug usage tracks from your hair. It has a wider success rate and it is recommended for everyone who is about to undergo a hair follicle drug test.

It is a 7-step procedure. It is recommendable to use at least five times before the test. The more number of times you follow this method, the greater the results would be. The steps you need to follow are discussed below:

  1. Stop using the drug before starting the method.
  2. Wet your hair until it is damp and moist. Make sure that the hair should not be soaking wet.
  3. Use your preferable vinegar and rinse through the scalp gently all around your head.
  4. Add a moisturizer to your mixture that is already present in your head.
  5. Leave the entire mixture for half an hour.
  6. Wash your hair with shampoo. Your head should be completely clean.
  7. Apply laundry detergent to your wet hair, rinse it thoroughly and wash it off completely.

Use Detoxification Shampoos

The third major step that can help you to pass the hair test is using quality detoxification shampoos. There are a variety of detoxification shampoos available in the market, but you should be cognizant while choosing the best detoxification shampoo.

How To Pass A Hair Follicle Drug Test For CPS?

Child Protective Services (CPS) is a government agency in the United States of America that provides necessary protection to the children who are abused and mistreated by their guardians or parents. Their core ideology is that a normal human being will never mistreat or abuse their children unless he or she is using drugs. They had been administering urine analysis for a certain amount of time until the introduction of the hair follicle drug test.

CPS conducts the hair drug test only when it finds something suspicious of your parenting activities like abusing or misleading your child to any addictive activities. Your child will be abducted and taken away from you if you fail their hair drug test. So, it is up to you to take the necessary steps to retain your child.

The court-ordered drug tests are usually done in the least intrusive method, which is the urine analysis. In case, you have been ordered to take up hair follicle drug test, then you may need to work towards eliminating the drug residues from your hair.

Jerry G Method

Jerry G Method is specifically to eliminate the THC and other drug traces from your hair for up to 10 days. Also, you should avoid this method if you have allergies or immune responses to the substances. It is a 6-step process.

  • First of all, you need to stop smoking weed or any kind of drug for at least 10 days.
  • First day, bleach your hair and then dye your hair that has ammonia content. It should be noted that the hair cuticles will only open if you stop smoking 10 days prior, which will allow ammonia to wipe out the metabolites present in your hair.
  • Wash your hair with a detoxification shampoo. Towel or air dry your hair, don’t blow dry.
  • After 10 days, you need to repeat the above process.
  • On the test day, wash your hair with baking soda paste. Baking soda is a reactive base. It will compensate for the acids and neutralize them. So applying baking soda and leaving it in your hair for 15 minutes will be the best way to completely wipe out the drug reflexes from your hair. Wash your hair with detoxification shampoo. You can use Aloe vera detox shampoos to get better results.
  • Give a final touch by washing your hair with an ultra cleaning shampoo, towel or air dry your hair and you are ready to go.

There are reviews stating Jerry G method is the safest method to detox your hair from all kinds of drug residues. It is because the ingredients get into your hair and flush out the drug metabolites and make your hair clean inside and out, but beware of the allergies to the ingredients added before using it.

Hair Follicle Drug Test For Infrequent or Occasional Users

Hair follicle drug test is a very precise and effective method compared to traditional methods like urine analysis. Also, it has a longer detection period for all illicit drugs which help companies to trace those people who consume drugs. However, there is always a question of whether it can trace infrequent smokers?

Occasional smokers believe that they can deceive the system. It is due to the misconception that the hair follicle test is used to detect vast amounts of drug traces and minor amounts will not get traced. The truth is hair follicle tests can showcase the contact of various substances based on the amount and concentration of usage. Even if you use a pinch or large amount in the three months, you will get traced with the hair test. So, minor users cannot gradually escape from the test.

However, there are chances that you may escape detection if you are a passive smoker, meaning if you are a secondhand smoker, then there are fewer chances that the drug enters your bloodstream. So, there is a very little chance that it would enter your hair. This is generally based upon the frequency of contact with the smoker. There are several cases that had led to misconception and false accusations too.

Believing one such myth that shaving the head can help will be frivolous. If you shave off your head, the testers would take the body hair as a sample. Normally, the body hair has a longer detection period of 90+ days compared to the hair from the head.

Lice Treatment To Pass Hair Test

Lice treatments are done by using shampoos and other chemicals to our hair to get rid of head lice, but whether it helps to pass a hair follicle test is interrogative.

Regarding lice treatment for hair health, the most prominent one is the use of Permethrin shampoos. Permethrin contains accurate levels of chemicals like lanolin alcohols, butylated hydroxytoluene, glycerin, coconut oil and acids like polyoxyethylene cetyl esters, sodium hydroxide, lanolin alcohols, isopropyl myristate, etc.

These chemicals, if used excessively, have greater chances of side effects like swelling, damage to the scalp and hair damage. Also, due to the presence of minor levels of drugs like alcohol and esters, there are greater chances that it would impact the hair drug test results.

Esters are one of the most prominent toxins present in the hair. Most of the detox shampoos are targeted to eliminate the FAEE (Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters) from the hair. So, it is best to follow some traditional medications or remedies for lice treatment rather than using harsh chemicals which would have a greater impact on your hair follicle drug test.

Can A Relaxer Or Shampoo Help You Pass A Hair Drug Test?

Hair straightening and hair coloring have become the prime stylistic trends all over the world. Being a professional or a casual look, hair fashion is the prime thing everyone considers. However, considering the drug test, the hair fashion has adverse effects on hair abuse. Since the hair fashion kits are imbibed with multiple chemicals, it will have a negative impact on the hair drug test.

It doesn’t mean if you are in hair fashion, you will fail the hair drug test and not get into reputed companies. There are certain remedies to remove the toxins from the hair and clean up to pass your hair drug test. After several experiments and research, there has been a positivity sprouting up for those hair designers. Using relaxers and specific shampoos, one can pass the hair test since they have the capability of breaking the bond effectively.

According to some studies, relaxers have a positive effect when it comes to removing the toxins from the hair. This is an in-vitro chemical straightening treatment in which the drug abused hair can get toxin-free to a minimal percentage. It should be noted that through this treatment, you cannot completely get toxin-free hair, but you can drastically reduce the number of toxins to a very minimal percentage.

According to the study, the influence of relaxers over the drug fortified hairs is large, which means certain drug chemicals like COC, benzoylecgonine, cocaethylene, etc., are easily isolated during extraction and diffused after the relaxer treatment. It has been proven that only a minimal amount of 5% to 30% remained in the hairs of the individuals who were tested positive for illicit drugs.

There are two types of treatment available for removing the toxins from hair - Lye and No-Lye. Both the types are the same except the ingredient used - Lye version uses Sodium Hydroxide whereas the No-Lye version uses Calcium Hydroxide, but there are no specific differences in the extraction of toxins. This shows that the extraction of toxins from hair is not dependent on the alkaline substance we use.

Apart from relaxers, shampoos can also be used for relieving the toxins from the hair. Specifically, detox shampoos will be the best choice if you are facing a hair drug test. As previously discussed, various detoxification shampoos are available in the market and you should choose the best ones that work.

Detox shampoos should be applied to the wet hair and rinsed thoroughly through the scalp for 7 minutes. This will allow the shampoo to enter into the cuticle and remove the toxins that are present in the hair. Then, wash it gently until the entire shampoo goes off. Using detox shampoos at regular intervals will have a positive effect during the hair drug test.

Hair Drug Test Shampoos

The most recommended hair drug test shampoos are detox shampoos. Detox shampoos help relieve the drug toxins from your hair. If you are a heavy user, the hair drug test shampoos may not thrive to help you, but based on the usage frequency, the results may vary.

How does the detox help you in eliminating the drug metabolites?

Actually, the detox shampoos are used to eradicate the dirt and impurities from your hair. If you look into it deeply, it also helps in detoxifying the toxins that are already present in your hair.

  1. The detox shampoos penetrate your scalp and contact with the cuticle of your hair.
  2. It breaks the bonds of drug residues that are present in the hair cells and clears off all the dead cells encircling the skin surface.
  3. Thus the dead cells, impurities and the toxins will be wiped off from your hair through detox shampoos.

Best Hair Follicle Test Detox Shampoos

Detox shampoos generally work fine for removing the drug metabolites from the hair. Among many of them, the Old Style Aloe Toxin Rid shampoo is said to have a greater chance of working on any type of hair for detoxification. Anyone with sensitive skin should be cognizant while choosing detox products. Most importantly, you should avoid smoking if you are planning to use detox shampoo to clear out the toxins from your hair.

Bleaching Your Hair For Hair Drug Test

Bleaching the hair is found to be one of the best remedies that can wipe away the traces of drug metabolites in hair. According to a study, bleaching the hair can reduce 40-80% of the drug traces in the hair. Bleaching breaks the hair strands and removes some of the toxins and drug traces from the hair. This mechanism is called “Leaching.” Bleaching may be needed multiple times based upon the strength and frequency of the drug used. Some drugs will show up on the hair drug test while others may not.

The more number of times a person bleaches the hair, the less likelihood of the drugs to be detected.

Does Dying Your Hair Help Pass A Drug Test?

There is an unforeseen myth that revolves around passing the hair drug test. Dying your black hair to blond hair or vice-versa will never change the drug metabolites in your hair. Hair metabolites will never get plagued by dying your hair.

Technically speaking, the color of the hair depends on the melatonin pigment present in the hair and skin. So changing the color of your hair will be a coating to the hair. Other than that, the chemicals in the dye cannot alter the pigmentation or the drug metabolites in your hair. So, it is invalidated that the dye can help you to pass the hair drug test.

Final Thoughts

Be it joining college or getting into work or even starting your career in sports, drug testing is the vital part. Due to the evolution of microbiology, the urinalysis got updated to hair analysis for drug testing. Evolution and up-gradation happen in every system to eliminate fraudulent practices. So, if you want to pass the hair drug test, you can simply neglect taking any drugs and stay away from your drug friends. If unavoidable circumstances are the case, then the above facts may help you to get through the hair drug test.

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