5 Quick Facts about the Hair Follicle Drug Test

Think fast! What do you want to know about hair drug testing?

1. It goes back 90 days. The standard detection period for hair drug testing is set by the lab. This goes for businesses sending in employees to be tested, and consumers sending in samples from their home hair drug test kits. Both labs used by Home Health Testing go back 90 days.

The subject to be tested

The subject to be tested

2. Yes, it works. Studies have shown that compared to urine drug testing, hair drug testing finds between 4 to 8 times the amount of users, in part because the detection period is so much longer.

3. It won’t make you bald.. While 100-120 strands of hair are required, that really only amounts to the diameter of a pencil.

4. But you can’t just supply one hair. A hair drug testing lab needs a sufficient sample in order to wash, liquidate, and analyze the hair effectively.

5. You can’t cheat them. Shampoos aren’t going to help you – the inside of the hair is analyzed, not the outside. This means external contamination is near impossible too.

See anything on this list something you want to know but do not (yet)? Just send us an email (cs at homehealthtesting.com). We will be glad to answer your questions! And you can check out our hair follicle drug test page here.


  1. alan says:

    My question:

    The company i interviewed with has a required hair follicle drug test. It has been over 90 days, most likely over 150 days since i smoked weed… BUT i have only smoked it once. I keep reading that a body hair sample will last and go back longer and now i’m scared shitless because i want this job and i am not a user, it was a one time deal. So, with this information, my question is, do you think the results will be positive or negative? Thanks, alan.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Alan –

    Based on what you wrote, I think you are probably fine. In terms of head hair, you are fine, in terms of body hair, there may be a slight risk of detection. But if you only smoked once 5 months ago it’s unlikely that the test will pick up such a minimal level of abuse. Body hair is measured as a sort of undefined period anywhere from 6 months to a year (since body hair doesn’t grow at the same easy to measure rate as head hair, you sort of have to estimate). Since it’s more difficult to collect I doubt your company will try to collect it if head hair is available.

    Hope this helps and let us know if you have any other questions. Thanks and take care,


  3. Will says:

    Will oxicontin show up on a standard hair follicle test, and, if so, when will it stop showing up?

  4. Chad says:

    I took one adderall in mid November and am going to get hair tested in mid December for a job. I wasn’t even thinking about the hair test when I took the adderall. I don’t have a prescription. My hair is usually kept finger length when cut and I get it cut around once a month. I am very worried thinking I won’t pass this test and am going to not get the job. What are your opinions and is there anything I can do?

  5. admin says:

    Hi Will,

    Oxycontin can be tested for in hair. However, most of our tests do not test for prescription drugs in hair. Whether or not someone tests for Oxycontin in hair is up to them and is most likely done at an added cost. Oxycontin shows up in the hair like the other drugs tested for – it takes 5 to 7 days to be detected in hair, and can stay in hair for a very long time if it is not cut. Our tests only go back 90 days (an inch and a half of hair length) but the drug stays in the hair for longer than that.

    Thanks for your questions!

  6. admin says:

    Hi Chad,

    While hair drug tests and drug tests are designed to capture abuse (in other words, not “2 puffs” or 1 pill) it’s possible that your use would show on a hair drug screen. Each half inch of hair (in length) represents 30 days of drug use. So your use would be reflected in the hair that would be about a half inch from your scalp. The only suggestion I can really make is to purchase a hair drug test and find out if you show up as positive or not.

    I hope this helps. Thanks for your question,

  7. Darren says:

    Does mushshrooms show up on a hair follicle test, and if so ,how long will it stay in there? thanks, Darren

  8. Darren says:

    does all opiates show up as the same on a hair follicle test, or are they individualized? Thanks,Darren

  9. admin says:

    Hi Darren,

    Mushrooms do not show up on basic or advanced hair drug tests or any home drug tests we sell (hair, saliva, urine). To my knowledge they are not commonly drug tested for, period. Someone would have to be pointedly looking for mushroom/psilocybin use and willing to bear the added expense.

    Thanks for your question!


  10. admin says:

    Hi Darren,

    Thanks for your question. Opiates, if positive, are reported as which particular opiate they are – Codeine, Morphine, or Heroin Metabolite. You can see a simple report here: https://www.homehealthtesting.com/drugtestinstructions/images/hairconfirm_hair_drug_test_sample_report.gif.

    You can also test for synthetic opiates, like oxycodone and hydrocodone, with our Illegal & Prescription Hair Follicle Drug Test. If the sample was positive for one of these synthetic opiates (reported on the test as “Extended Opiates”) the results would distinguish between oxycodone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone.

    Great question and I hope you found this answer helpful. Thanks again,


  11. Joe says:

    Hi, I recently found out I would have to take a hair follicle test on February 10, 2011. I am not a drug user but back on November 9 I used a small amount of cocaine (a line about a cm long) and I also did a line back in August. About a month later I used a hairconfirm test kit using body hair and it came back negative. Do you think the test is right and will I be safe for the test.

  12. Joe says:

    Hi, I am scheduled for a hair follicle test on Dec.18, 2010. I am not a frequent drug user but back on Sept.17 I used a small amount of cocaine ( a line about a cm long) and once before that in July). This month, I used a hair confirm test kit using my body hair and the results came back negative. Can I trust the test and will I pass the real one.


  13. admin says:

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for your question. The hair analysis our laboratory (Omega Laboratories – http://www.omegalabs.net/) does is industry standard so your test is accurate. While hair analysis is very sensitive, it does not surprise me that very small, incidental doses of a drug can go undetected. Drug testing is designed to catch drug abuse, not just one-time or incidental use. Having the presence of any drug in your system is a risk you run – I would think for example that a urine drug test administered the day after cocaine use would reflect that cocaine was in your system. There are many, many physical factors that can affect whether you test positive or not. But in general, drug testing is not designed to catch minimal, one-time use – although it can. The only way to be sure is to test.

    Hope this helps and thanks for your question.


  14. admin says:

    As I said above, our lab that does the hair analysis is industry standard. If you passed our hair drug test then you should pass other hair drug tests. In fact, employers use our hair drug testing (the Legal Workplace Hair Drug Test Kit) to screen their employees, and that screening is exactly like the test you took.

    Hope this helps!



  15. Kat says:


    Last week I took a small dose of ketamine and right now I have been taking precribed furicet almost daily. What are my odds of showing positive on a hair follicle test? I may need to take one for work in the next month or two.

  16. Zach says:

    So, I was wondering how often are hair analysis drug tests used? Are they very popular or relatively uncommon. Also, I occasionally pop a few oxycodone pills (minimal dosing once ever week or 2 weeks). Would low concentrations like this still probably show on a hair test (assuming the more expensive test that also looks for prescription drug use is used).

    Ps – I only popped pills 4 or 5 times.

  17. Kyle says:

    I took an adderrall on September 30, 2010 to see if I was ADD. I shaved completely on October 15th, and have to take a hair follicle test in 4 days. I am nervous about passing this since i do not have a script for it nor the 60$ for an at home test. My hair is not 1.5 inches yet it is just over an inch. Will that be sufficient length or will they not be able to conduct the test at all?

  18. admin says:


    Thanks for your question. Furicet is a barbiturate (as it contains Butalbital). However, barbiturates are not part of general employment hair drug test screens. Plus, if it’s prescribed, it won’t be a problem anyway. Ketamine is not commonly tested for by hair drug test laboratories, esp. not when it comes to an employment or preemployment related situation. So, you should not test positive for either drug.

    Thanks again for your question!


  19. admin says:

    Hi Zach,

    Hair drug tests are somewhat common, but not always used, in part because they are generally more expensive than a urine drug test for example. Prescription drug hair testing is becoming more popular but still is not used as widely as standard, non-Rx hair drug testing. I don’t know whether the oxycodone use would show or not – it’s quite possible. It depends on a number of factors, including metabolism, height, weight, etc. For better or worse the only way you’ll know if you are clean is to test.

    Thanks for your question! I hope this helps and let us know if you need anything else.


  20. tim says:

    hello, i was wounderng if u could tell me if perkiset or vicodin use on a limited basis (1 or 2 times a week), on a person that has a high metabolism would show up in a hair folicial test that was taken 5 days from last use.

  21. KAT says:

    Thanks for the quick response.

    I read online that sometimes Ketamine shows up as a false positive for PCP. Is that only with a large use? This was only a small dose. The reason I am concerned is, it’s not a home test, I am going to have to go to a lab to get my follicle hair test. I just want to make sure I am completely safe before I “take the plunge”.


  22. Ben says:


    I recently was given a hair test by the job I am working at. I have not smoked weed or used any drugs in in at least 6 months. However, I was around an individual smoking marijuana. What is the likelihood of this creating a false positive? I have read up on the topic and there is some data out there showing you can do additional tests to distinguish between systemic ‘use’ and external environmental exposure but I highly doubt that a $65 test will do those additional tests.

    What do you think?


  23. Adam says:

    Hi! I smoked one blunt with a friend about six days ago and have random hair test at work. Might not have one but will one time use of marijuana show up in your hair. It is the only time i have smoked in over a year. Thanks

  24. John says:


    I’m supposed to have a hair drug test in a few days and I haven’t done drugs in 2 months. I was never a frequent user but two months ago I did some coke and one E pill, not at the same time. I am wonder if there is a chance I still might pass the test, or I will fail it for sure.

  25. Joey says:

    I smoked marijuana once( a couple of hits thats it) a week ago. Will that small amount show up on a hair test?

  26. Stefan says:

    What kind of dosage of cocaine would you consider “incidental” versus “abuse”. I understand that there are many factors in testing, but am wondering since I have sparingly used once in the past week. I have heard that for the average person, nasally ingesting <2 grams wouldn't produce enough biproduct in the bloodstream to generate a positive result in a hair follicle test. When I saw that figure, I thought that 2 grams was an amount that I would personally consider "abuse". In other words, what is your thumb in the air estimate on how sensitive the test is based on dosage. What is the best test to check myself?

  27. scott says:

    is there any way to cheat on a hair test. heard there is a shampoo you can purchase a head shops that might help.

  28. admin says:

    Hi Scott – There are many products that claim they can help you pass a hair test but the testing is designed to be extremely difficult to beat. The analysis is done on the inside of the hair, not the outside. You can be our guest and try any method of beating the test that you’d like though 😉 Robyn

  29. admin says:

    Hi Adam,

    It takes drugs about 5-7 days to appear in your hair. So if it’s going to show up, it will be able to show up. The issue with marijuana is that it does not bind as consistently to the hair as other drugs. And at that level of usage, it is a bit of a toss up as to whether it would show or not. Patterns of abuse are readily detected by drug tests, but they were not designed to detect one time or incidental use (although they can). As we always say, the only way to really know is to test.


  30. admin says:

    Hi Ben,

    First of all, sorry for the delay in getting to all these questions…it’s due to the holiday break. External contamination, such as second-hand smoke, should NOT affect a hair drug test. So you should be fine. Going back 6 months is unusual too (although body hair is an exception as it provides a broader snapshot of drug history, because it grows slower). So unless you submitted body hair (which shows about a 6 month to 1 year window of use) your test should be clean, period. Let us know if you have any other questions and how it turned out. Our products are designed to catch drug users…not friends or acquaintances of drug users.


  31. admin says:

    Hi Kyle,

    Thanks for your question. Your hair is long enough for the test. I think (since it takes about 7 days for hair with drug contamination to grow out long enough to be tested) that based on your shaving timetable that you shaved off the growth with Adderall in it. That kind of thing depends on a lot of factors such as metabolism, etc. so you can’t be sure but I think it is likely.
    Also, one dose is incidental. A hair test might be able to pick it up, but it might not. In general drug testing is better at catching patterns of abuse than one-time use, but drug tests certainly can pick up one-time use (just not quite as well) and that’s a risk that most people are obviously not willing to take.


  32. Helen says:

    Does hair follicle testing detect alcohol use? Would it detect small amounts like from communium? Would it detect alcohol consumed in the form of Nyquil or Dayquil?

  33. admin says:

    Hi Tim,

    You would have to be taking a hair drug test that specifically tested for extended opiates like hydrocodone and oxycodone. That type of testing is not yet an industry wide standard. If you were choosing from our tests, for example, you would have to buy this one (Illegal & Prescription Hair Drug Test) to catch the abuse. The others would not detect hydrocodone or oxycodone.

    I’d say that level of use would show up if you were taking an extended opiates test.



  34. admin says:

    Hi John,

    It’s hard to answer questions like that. It would fall into the detection period of a standard hair drug test (90 days) as long as your hair is at least an inch and a half long. You might pass the test if you used very sparingly, you might not. It’s difficult to say.



  35. Tyron says:

    Hi, I have a hair test coming up(1/17) now about two months ago I took a puff and half of weed,prior to that I have never smoked pott before will I pass the test????….I’m 5’6 150 lb and very active now I also shave my head every wk due to hair loss will my body hair be okay for the test???

  36. Tyron says:

    I also took a urine test from the pharmacy today and it came out negative, will that be any signs that I will pass the hair test?

  37. Charles G says:

    Here my situation: I have taken up smoking marijuana for the past year. I have only done it a handful of times over the year (ex. First smoked Feb 2010, then not until May 2010, then Oct 2010, then more recently Dec 20th 2010). I don’t have a history of drug abuse it was just one of those group things you get involved in. Every time I smoked it was one or two hits that were enough to get me high but not wasted. Anyway, I am a big guy 6’5″ and hitting 300 lbs. I shave my head every two to three days and have done so for about 7 yrs. I also have a lot of body hair (which is subject to manscaping aka trimming). I took a home urine test that came back negative because I couldn’t find a hair test. With that said I have two questions:

    1. Where do I find a hair test locally? Or vendor that can overnight me a test?

    2. What are the chances of me passing a hair test with the above information?


  38. rach says:

    Im freaking out. I have not smoked weed in 90 days but when i did i smoked very often. I would say i stopped in mid september, early October. I had a hair folical drug test going back 90 days done on 1/10/2011. I also used toxic wash incase before i took the test. Do you think i passed?

  39. rach says:

    My hair is also past my sholders and i take prenatal vitamens because im pregnant. idk if that will make any diffrence.

  40. stanley says:

    I done some meth the third week in oct and Monday I have to take a hair test I’ve had two hair cuts since and my hair now is about an in long should I be worried

  41. Nathan says:

    How good are hair tests for detecting marijuana use for an occasional (user 4 or 5 times per year and about 1/2 a joint each time)? I have a hair test coming up and I am concerned even though I haven’t used in about 3 months.

  42. Allen says:

    I took a couple of hits off a joint on oct 31, 2010, I have to take a piss and hair test feb 1, 2011. I was never a frequent user the last time I smoked pot was about a year ago. I am wondering if I will be okay or will I fail the tests.

  43. Eddie says:

    I am currently involved in a custody battle for my 3 children with my ex-wife. After a hair follicle test her results came back postitve for cocaine to be excact the results were Cocaine: 1,154 pg/mg. What do those results mean. we r still awaiting confirmation on those positive results. What will confirmation say and is it possible that confirmation may say the results were negative or wrong. She claims the test was wrong and that the lab did not seal it in front of her so she had them perform it again 4 days later. The lab claims she was so upset she had to have the test done that she rushed out of the room as soon as they cut here hair but the lab agreed to do it again because as per policy sample had to be sealed in front of the customer. What is the possibility that test will come back positive as well.

  44. admin says:

    Hi Joey,

    Thanks for your question. It could show up on a hair test but it might not. That is a very small level of abuse and could be considered “incidental.” Especially marijuana is detected in hair less consistently than other drugs are.

    Thanks again for your question,


  45. John says:


    I have to take a hair drug test for work and I smoked incense (a few puffs) with jwh-018 in it a week ago. Will this show up in a hair drug test?


  46. Stephon says:

    Hi – I was doing some cocaine during new years, and took the hairconfirm express test 18 days later for peace of mind in my current interview process. The results came back negative across the board. How reliable is this test? How can I ensure that the sample provide was adequate enough etc?

  47. Jake says:

    I am going to have a urinalysis and a hair follicle test as required for a job I am seeking: probably sometime between the end of January 2011 to the first part of February 2011. On December 27th 2010, I took .75 mg of unprescribed Xanax because I couldn’t sleep. What is the likelihood they will test for this on a hair test, and will it show up if they do? Also, does your company offer a test for this drug? Thanks in advance.

  48. victor says:

    I havent smoked weed since august and used to smoke on a regular basis before then and have to take a hair follicle test sumtime this week, will i pass? I weight 165 and get haircuts 2 times a month and drink water and gatorade no soda for about 3 months during that time period.

  49. admin says:

    Hi Helen,

    Our tests do not test for alcohol. I know that you can – see this website for details: http://www.consumergenetics.com/hair-alcohol/hair-alcohol-abuse.php. They would probably be able to help with questions about Nyquil, Dayquil, etc.

    Thank you,


  50. Jason says:

    Hey I smoked weed back at the end of November and i play sports for school and heard randoms would happen in a week or two, will i pass? They also said randoms at school go back 6 months, is that true?