Deciding Whether Or Not A Hair Drug Test Is Right For You

Hair drug testing is one of the latest techniques that are being used to test for the presence of drugs in the system. The technology has been used by parents, corporations, and courts to determine if someone is or has been on drugs. While there are other samples that can be used to detect drugs in the system such as blood, urine, saliva and sweat, using a hair follicle for testing drug presence has specific advantages.

But let’s change things up a bit and first look at the criticism!

The Main Criticism For Hair Drug Testing

The one specific criticism for a hair drug test is that it is relatively more expensive as compared to any of the other methods. And this applies to the home drug testing kits as well as laboratory tests that are done.

Pros and cons of a hair drug test

A hair drug test should also not be performed if you are looking to catch drug use in the last few hours or days. The drug takes about a week to grow out to where the hair can be cut and used by the lab and therefore use can only be detected after that gestation period.

In addition to that, acquiring a hair sample as close to the scalp as possible is not something that you can do without the knowledge of the drug using person. 100-120 strands of hair are required. You can collect from different parts of the scalp (so don’t worry that you are going to look like you’re missing a huge chunk of hair) but you do need a sufficient sample. Collecting hair from a hairbrush may seem like a viable option but it has its own disadvantages and is not recommended. The hair could be from an indeterminable time frame, could not be from the person you are trying to test, and it could be impossible to gather all the hair so the root ends are gathered together, which is how the sample must be submitted. Again, it’s not recommended by Home Health Testing, and tests utilizing such samples often cannot be analyzed and refunds and replacements in this situation are not provided. However, with the exception of a substance test, you cannot administer any other type of drug test (urine, saliva) “in secret” either so it’s not really a criticism of the hair drug test per se.

Advantages Of Using Hair Drug Testing

A hair drug test is far more foolproof than any of the other tests. Some advantages of hair drug testing are mentioned below.

– Cheat proof – Hair follicles are less susceptible to tampering as compared to urine samples. Urine samples can be diluted or switched out. However, when the drugs enter the hair follicles, it is near impossible to wash them off with shampoo or chemicals, despite what some fly-by-night operators claim.

– Sample collection – Sample collection of a hair follicle is relatively easy and can be done by anyone. There is no expertise required in acquiring a sample. A hair drug test can usually be performed on any hair sample that is taken from the head or the body. So you can’t get away with drug use by shaving your head (the only test we sell that does not accept body hair is the PDT-90).

– Large range of drugs – Hair drug testing can ensure that a large variety of drug classes can be detected using the same test. Cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, amphetamine, opiates like codeine, and prescription drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin can be tested using a hair follicle sample.

– Detection period – Hair drug testing can detect drugs up to 90 days after abuse. Urine and saliva simply do not come close to that.

So while hair drug testing is relatively more expensive, it is the best option if you need to detect the presence of drugs more accurately, comprehensively and especially if you are not sure of the time of drug abuse.  As you weigh your options, consider the pros and cons of hair drug testing and decide which is right for you.

Article by Anne Hamilton


  1. mary black says:

    My question about the hair test is,does it show the specific type drug that been taken. For instance if a person test positive for opiates,does it show what type of opiate(codeine,oxycodone,hydrocodone,etc.) that was taken or does it show just show a positive result for opiates.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Mary,

    Hair tests do break down what kind of opiate was found if positive. You can check out our full answer on our blog post 5 Quick Facts About The Hair Follicle Drug Test. Thanks!

  3. Nancy says:

    Son in rehab x4 months. The ‘spice’ came in the picture. Doing it last few weeks and now says the Rehab has threatened a urine drug screen test for it? True?

  4. admin says:

    Hi Nancy,

    Labs can now test for the compounds in most varieties of Spice. Please see our article here: for more information.