Word has come down from upper management: your workplace is undergoing a drug test. Even worse, it’s not just a urinalysis; it’s a hair test! Hair follicle drug tests are a pain because they’re almost impossible to fraud. Thankfully, you can still cheat a hair test if you’re willing to put in the work.
This guide is what you need to learn everything about how to pass a hair follicle drug tests, and how to get past them.
How Does a Hair Follicle Drug Test Work?
To understand how to pass a hair follicle drug test, we first have to understand how they find drug traces. Let’s start with a quick little biology lesson.
Remember that old saying, ‘you are what you eat’? It’s true. No matter how they get in, everything you consume ends up in your blood in one form or another. All hairs grow from a follicle in your skin, and that follicle is fed by a blood vessel. Your hairs thus carry traces of whatever you’ve been consuming, and it’s those traces that drug tests target.
Now, because of the nature of hair growth, hair tests don’t give the same results as urine or saliva tests. It takes anywhere between five to seven days for hair to grow past the skin, so they can’t detect immediate use. However, they can detect habitual use. To put it another way: the lab can’t see the joint you smoked last night at the party. But they can see that you have a habit of smoking a joint every so often.
Furthermore, hair tests can see back further than other tests. A urine test can show results to around one week prior to the sample, or maybe longer, depending on the drug. A hair test has a detection window of ninety days. Did you spend a whole week lighting up four joints a day? That’ll show up on your hair test.
Your workplace will set the time and date of your appointment with the lab techs, and they’ll collect the sample directly. Usually, this is from the back of your head, to not affect your hairstyle. Once they’ve got your hair sample, they’ll send that to the lab, and all you have to do is wait for your results.
Now, why do some workplaces use hair tests? You’ve probably figured out some reasons by now. They may be more expensive, but the different results they get means they fulfill a different niche. Since they detect habitual use, they can see who has a regular drug habit. While it can’t tell them exactly what days you were using drugs on, they definitely paint quite a vivid picture of your lifestyle
Also relevant to our purposes is that a hair test is a lot harder to get around. Since the lab techs collect the samples themselves, you can’t switch them out like you can with a urine test. You can’t detox for a hair test either, the detection window is just too large. Basically, there’s no way to substitute or fake them out. You’ll have to intervene before they can get their hands on your hair.
Fortunately, that’s why we’ve written this guide.
What Doesn’t Work
Of course, in any drug test situation, there are inevitably going to be some solutions that sound like a good idea, but don’t work in practice. Let’s get them out of the way right now before we move on to the useful solutions.
Shaving Your Head
It makes sense in theory: they can’t test your hair if you don’t have hair! But unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. The labs prefer head hair because you’ve got a lot of it, but they can and will use hair from elsewhere on your body if you’re short on head hair. As long as it’s the right length, it’s testable. So apologies to our bald and shaven-headed readers, but you’re not out of the woods just yet.
Also, shaving your head right before a test day will attract suspicion, even if you have a really good excuse. As a matter of fact, if you show up the test with every hair on your body completely shaved off, then the lab will actually fail you on grounds of avoidance.
The usual ‘stay off the substances’ detox works for a urine test with sufficient warning. But, it doesn’t work on a hair test, thanks to that ninety-day detection window we’ve mentioned. A plain detox alone is not going to get you through a hair test.
Most Detox Products
Detox drinks and pills exist and can be helpful…if you’re facing a urine test. They are not so helpful when you’re up against a hair test, because they can’t go in and strip the toxins from your hair. Let’s put it like this: If it doesn’t touch your hair, it doesn’t work. So if you know you’ve got a hair test, put the other products away and go for the shampoos. Or any of the other methods we recommend below.
What Does Work
This is what you should focus on. Remember that before starting on any of these, you should cease all substance use. There’s no reason to make your detox any harder than it has to be.
These are the products you should look at first. There are a few ones out on the market, and we’ve chosen a few here that work best.
#1. Nexxus Aloe Toxin Rid Old Formula
Quick Tip: Nexxus has a new formulation out, but it doesn’t work nearly as well as the old stuff, so if you’re looking to buy some Toxin Rid, make sure it’s the old formula!
Toxin Rid is a goddamn miracle; whenever you mention the words ‘hair test’ on the internet, the name of Toxin Rid always follows. It was originally formulated made to scrub out unwanted impurities and toxins in your hair strands, things like atmospheric pollutants, hard water minerals, pool chlorine, and other stuff. But as a lucky side effect, it works just as well to remove drug traces.
It’s pretty much just another kind of shampoo, so you can use just like normal in the shower. After you rinse out your usual shampoo, just apply the Nexxus Aloe Toxin Rid Old Formula, work it into the strands like usual, and let the magic work. Rinse it out, then apply conditioner to keep your hair healthy. That’s pretty much it as far as Toxin Rid is concerned, but remember that one application is rarely enough. You’ll want to start at least five days before the date of your test; ideally even longer.
#2. Clear Choice
Unlike the other two products on this list, Clear Choice isn’t quite a detox shampoo. It doesn’t strip the toxins out of your hair. What it does instead, is mask the presence of the toxins, thus making your hair appear clear on a drug test for up to eight hours after application.
Unlike Toxin Rid, it comes in two parts. The first part is a shampoo, and the second is a purifier, which handles the work of coating up the toxins and masking them within your hair. Usage is also different, considering what it does. Instead of running a detox routine in the week leading up to the test, it’s intended to supplement that hair detox. So use your Toxin Rid as normal, or one of the home remedies below, then on the day of the test, apply Clear Choice to give yourself an extra boost.
Application is fairly simple. On the day, apply the entire contents of the shampoo bottle into your hair, and massage it in thoroughly; five minutes should do. Once that’s done, rinse it off, then apply the entire purifier bottle. As normal, make sure you work it into your hair and the roots, then let it work for fifteen minutes. Rinse off with warm water. From that point, you have an eight-hour ‘clean window’; for best results, try to time this hair wash one hour before the hair is collected.
#3. Zydot Ultra Clean
While most hair detox routines will call for Toxin Rid, it’s not the only shampoo of its type on the market. Some other shampoos are formulated to do the same thing: get right into your hair strands and give them a deep cleaning, stripping all the unwanted toxins and pollutants out.
Zydot Ultra Clean is well-known as a solution for hair detox, mainly as a component in the Jerry G method of hair detox. But it also works well on its own, proven by this study. To sum it up for the less science-inclined of us, they found that Ultra Clean can reduce the amounts of drug traces in your hair, but not enough that a hair test would miss them. So one application won’t do; you’ll have to apply it multiple times.
Similar to Clear Choice, it’s a multi-part solution, with shampoo, purifier, and conditioner. The conditioner isn’t anything special, just included to keep your hair healthy; you can switch it out with your preferred brand. For application, put in half the shampoo first and work it in thoroughly, then rinse. Then put in all of the purifier, make sure to massage it into your hair and scalp, and let it work. Once that’s done, apply the remaining shampoo. Conditioner comes last, to keep your hair healthy.
Home Treatment Methods
Detox shampoos do have a problem: they often aren’t enough for heavier users. Light smokers can get by with just detox shampoo, but to be sure, they’re better combined with other methods to be sure you’ve got all the toxins out of your hair. We’re going to show you two classic, well-tried methods.
Method 1: The Macujo Method
You may have heard of a similar method called the ‘Growman’ method, but at the end of the day, the Macujo and the Growman are pretty much exactly the same. Whatever you call it, it’s usually the first method that comes to mind for most hair detox routines. It will thoroughly cleanse your hair, no doubt about that, but it’s also very hard on your hair, and it can irritate your scalp. Use caution when you apply it.
The ingredients list is fairly simple.
- Neutrogena T-Sal salicylic shampoo
- Tide Liquid laundry detergent
- Aloe Toxin Rid Shampoo
The process is fairly simple. First, get some water into your hair, but don’t soak it through, just get it a bit damp. Then bring out the vinegar and work it into your hair like it’s shampoo, as thoroughly as you can. Be generous with the vinegar, you’ll need to get that acid working on your hair. Then, without rinsing, apply the Neutrogena T-Sal. In both cases, be very careful that you don’t get any of the vinegar or shampoo into your eyes or ears, as they sting quite a bit.
Once your hair is thoroughly coated by both acids, let them work for about half an hour. Best to grab a towel or shower cap to wrap your hair in and protect it from anything untoward, and go find something to do for that half-hour.
When the thirty minutes are done, rinse out the acids from your hair. Then apply Aloe Toxin Rid shampoo, as detailed above, twice. Then after rinsing out the Toxin Rid, apply liquid detergent to your hair, very carefully and very sparingly. Apply it until your hair starts squeaking when rubbed between your fingers.
Like we said, a fairly simple process, but once won’t be enough. The recommended number of applications is five, over the three days before your test. If you have more warning of the test, even better.
The Macujo Method is rather hard on your hair and scalp, so it’s best to give them some time to rest in between applications. A bit of conditioner one hour after the process should do you fine.
Method 2: The Jerry G Method
This is another hair detox method, usually mentioned in close company to the Macujo method. While you won’t need to repeat it as much as the Macujo, the Jerry G is much harsher on your hair, to the point that most people will need a haircut after finishing with it.
So, ingredients. You will need:
- Peroxide bleach
- Hair dye of your natural color, permanent and with ammonia
- Aloe Toxin Rid shampoo
- Zydot Ultra Clean shampoo
- Baking soda
- Optional: A friend who is a hairdresser or a peroxide blonde.
As some of you may already have guessed, the Jerry G method is basically bleaching and re-dying your hair. Hence why we want the hairdresser friend, to keep you out of trouble.
The day that you stop using substances is the same day you start on the first step of the Jerry G method. Bleach out your hair thoroughly, then once it’s done, dye your hair back to your natural color. Once the dye holds, cleanse your hair with Toxin Rid.
Ten days after the first application, do it again. If the test comes up before ten days, do it the day before the test. Again, peroxide bleach your hair, re-dye, then Toxin Rid to cleanse.
On the day of the test, bring out the baking soda. Combine baking soda with water to make a thick paste, then massage that paste into your hair. Cover your scalp and the entire length of every strand, and massage it in as deep as it can go. Give it a moment to stand, then rinse it out, and apply Aloe Rid. Then apply the Ultra Clean to get rid of the last traces.
As we’ve noted, this is very hard on your hair, so keep your hair and scalp well nourished and healthy in between applications with conditioner. Or like many others, just get a haircut after the test is done and start over with new growth. At no point in this process should you blow-dry your hair, because you’re already putting it through a great deal of stress. Blow-drying can well push it to breaking point, literally.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m a light user, is my use going to show up in my hair?
Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed something either in reading this article or your own research. A hair test requires that you’ve taken enough of a substance that it enters your bloodstream in sufficient quantity to affect your hair. Light users may not have consumed enough to meet the detection threshold, and hair tests have trouble finding only occasional drug use.
While this is possible if you’re certain that you’ve only smoked just the one bowl two weeks ago, we can’t guarantee that your body may agree with you. If you want to be absolutely sure, it’s best to perform a hair detox anyway.
Will secondhand smoke affect my results?
Nope. The concentration of THC in secondhand smoke isn’t enough to affect your hair, so while you may get a contact high, your hair isn’t in any danger of contamination. You’d have to be really trying to inhale enough secondhand smoke that it shows up on a hair test; there’s no way to do it accidentally.
I’m African-American; will these solutions still work?
You’re quite right to be concerned, as African-American hair is quite a bit different. Generally, African-American hair grows slower, and thus holds more drug compounds. But no matter how it grows, all hairs respond the same to the treatments outlined above. If you’re a black woman who uses hair relaxer, good news: a study has found that hair relaxer decreases detectable drug concentrations in hair. Thorough applications of Aloe Rid should help strip more compounds out, so combine that with your usual relaxer on the day of the test.
Any tips for the test itself?
First off, play it cool. Just be your typical self, and don’t draw attention. This isn’t anything to worry about since you’ve taken all the measures you need to. Most lab techs aren’t really paid enough to care that much, but they still have professional pride, so don’t make yourself stick out. Just be one more identical case in a lot of other cases they have to deal with that day. Plus, if you’re on any medications or prescription drugs, have a list of them ready, since most companies will ask about what you’ve been using for the past thirty days.
If you know anyone who’s also been through a hair test, a chat with them to get their point of view is useful, not just for the experience but also to steady your nerves. They can also share tips of their own to keep you steady throughout the test.
Any further care tips?
Stay off any heat or chemicals applied to your hair until it’s recovered. The easiest possible care solution is just to get a haircut and start over with the new growth, but for obvious reasons, it’s best to save that for after the hair test.
Conditioner is your friend. Man or woman, if you want to keep that hair nice and healthy, conditioner will help! Ask your friends about what conditioner they use and find out what works for you.
Hair tests may be a lot harder to dodge than urine tests, but there are still ways around them. No obstacle ever comes up without some way to circumvent it, and it’s the same with drug tests. As long as you’re willing to put in the effort, you can get past a drug test and keep your job.
If you’re a high-functioning drug user, you always have to watch your back! Everyone from the police to your boss to your very own neighbor is going to try to jail you for your drug use. If you plan on striving for your goals, then you’re going to need a couple tricks up your sleeve to prevent you from ending up just another statistic in the penal system.
Stay safe out there!
- What to know about hair follicle drug tests
- Hair Drug Testing Results and Self-reported Drug Use among Primary Care Patients with Moderate-risk Illicit Drug Use
- Influence of the cosmetic treatment of hair on drug testing.