How Do Hair Drug Tests Work?: The Facts You Need to Know

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hair drug test

You’ve blown your job interview out of the water. The employer shakes your hand and congratulates you for becoming part of the team. All that you have to do before you get started is pass a drug test.

Instead of a typical urine test, this employer requires their workers to take hair drug tests. What even is that, and how does it work?

Do you go in and get a single hair plucked from your head for testing? What if you don’t have any hair to give?

We have the answer to these burning questions and more. Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about taking a hair follicle drug test.

What Is a Hair Drug Test?

So, how do hair follicle drug tests work? To answer this question, it’s time to talk about science. You see, when you take drugs, it breaks down in your bloodstream.

Each one of your individual hair follicles has its own blood vessel to feed nutrients to your hair and help it grow. The chemicals from the drug you take to travel up these blood vessels and distribute themselves throughout your hair.

The hair test can detect the trace amounts of these drugs. It’s more accurate and reliable than other types of drug tests, which is why many employers have switched to it.

What Does It Test For?

So, what does the test scan for? It can detect the basics such as cocaine, opiates, meth, marijuana, PCP, and ecstasy. Kratom is more likely to show up on a urine test than anything else.

Still, it’s not unheard of for the hair test to spot it. Check out these facts on kratom and drug tests to learn more.

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How Far Back Does It Test?

The last time you had any kind of marijuana or other substance was a month ago. Can the hair test find it? The answer is yes.

Out of all the drug tests, the hair one has the longest detection period. They can spot something that you took as far back as 90 days or more ago. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be out of the job yet.

The test can determine when you took a drug and tell the administrator whether or not you’ve discontinued the usage.

What Happens During the Test?

What happens during the test? Does someone take a strand of your air and take it back for testing? They’re going to need a little bit more than that.

You’ll head over to a lab or hospital setting. You can also get an at-home test, but most employers require you to have supervision. The test administrator will take anywhere between 100 and 120 hairs from the crown of your head.

Don’t worry, they don’t take them all from the same area. This means you won’t have to worry about rocking a bald spot until your hair grows back.

What Are the Benefits?

There are many reasons why employers prefer their potential workers to take a hair test over anything else. Again, there’s a long detection period. If you’ve used a type of drug within the past 90 days, it will show up.

Since the administrator is only cutting hair from your head, it’s simple and non-invasive. The person taking the test is pretty much in and out in a few minutes.

Lastly, the test is more accurate because the lab can test the same sample as much as they want, and it’s not easy for someone to cheat it.

Are There Any Cons?

For everyone switching to hair tests, there are just as many who aren’t. This is because they are a lot more expensive to administer than the other tests available.

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It takes a long time to get the results back. So, if your potential employer is in a hurry to fill their staff, there’s a good chance that they’ll avoid waiting for a hair test to come back.

Hair tests are great for detecting long-term drug use, but they don’t work quite as well when it comes to spotting recent substance use.

What if You Don’t Have Any Hair?

If you’re bald, that won’t stop administrators from grabbing a sample. They can pull it from your body hair. All they need is 1.5 inches of hair to test for drug use.

There aren’t that many differences between body hair and head hair. The main one is that it might be possible for the test to spot drug use as far back as a year when body hair is involved.

Is It Possible For Someone to Cheat It?

It’s almost impossible to cheat a hair test. This doesn’t mean that it can’t be done, however. Certain shampoos can cleanse your scalp from any drug toxins.

Keep in mind that this method isn’t foolproof. There’s still a good chance that something will show up on the test. Many are under the misconception that they can dye their hair and pass a follicle test.

This can’t be further from the truth. You can dye and bleach your hair all you want. It won’t save you.

Everything You Need to Know About Hair Drug Tests

Getting through the interview process is only one hurdle that you have to get through before landing a job. The second is passing the drug test.

While many employers are sticking by the tried and true urine testing, some choose hair drug tests instead. It’s a lot more accurate, and it’s hard for someone to cheat it. Not to mention it can screen back to 90 days.

Are you looking for more ways to get through the hiring process successfully? We can help. Check out our blog daily for all the latest advice.

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