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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Hair?

What is a hair follicle drug test?

Since hair growth is nurtured by the bloodstream, it is possible to identify drugs that enter the blood via hair follicle analysis. Accurate GC/MS laboratory testing can detect drug metabolites embedded in the hair shaft.

How accurate is hair testing for drug use?

Hair testing for substance abuse is supremely accurate, as analysis is conducted in a CLIA Certified laboratory. Using a small sample of hair cut at the scalp, a hair follicle drug test evaluates the amount of drug metabolites embedded inside the hair shaft.

GC/MS testing technology reveals drug concentration levels consistent with substance abuse. All samples are tested using a radioimmunoassay screen. Before a positive result is reported, the sample is subjected to confirmation testing with highly-accurate Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) techniques.

What does “90 day detection window” mean?

Hair follicle drug testing with HairConfirm provides an extended window of detection into drug use. Human head hair grows approximately half an inch every 30 days. If a one and a half inch hair sample is provided, it will cover an approximate period of 90 day history.

Does it matter when the donor last used drugs?

HairConfirm is unable to detect drug use that occurred one week or less before hair specimen is obtained. If the donor’s first instance of drug abuse took place within a week of collecting a hair sample, drug metabolites may not have bound to the hair shaft, and will therefore yield a negative test result. We suggest waiting one more week before collecting.

What drugs does HairConfirm® screen for?

Our HairConfirm® hair drug test kits can test for 10 or 14 drugs.

What time period does the HairConfirm® hair drug test cover?

Each 0.5 inches of hair offers a 30-day window into drug abuse. An ideal length of 1.5 inches of hair sample is suggested (to reach a 90-day detection window) but a minimum hair sample of 0.5 inches is required. Cut hair sample as close to the scalp as possible so freshly-grown hair is screened.

How does hair drug testing compare to urine drug testing?

Compared to other drug test methods, hair samples can detect a longer period of drug use. With urine, most drugs are undetectable if urinalysis is performed more than 2-3 days after drug use. After the 2-3 day period, a urine donor will often test negative for drugs. With hair samples, the main limitation for drug abuse detection is the length of the provided hair specimen. Each ½ inch of head hair provides an approximately 30-day history of drug use. The standard for the industry is to test 1.5 inches, which provides a 90-day history of the donor’s drug use.

How effective is a home hair drug test kit for detecting drug use?

Hair follicle drug testing has delivered more positive drug test results than other drug testing methods. In two independent studies, hair drug testing uncovered 4 to 8 times as many positive drug users as urinalysis.

Can a hair test be adulterated?

No, it cannot be adulterated. GC/MS laboratory testing can detect drug metabolites embedded in the hair shaft. For this reason, it is impossible to adulterate hair specimens with bleach, shampoo, or other chemicals.

Can external exposure to drugs (i.e. secondhand marijuana smoke) affect results?

During the “wash” procedure, the laboratory will look for parent drug compounds as well as drug metabolites, or byproducts. If the donor has only been exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke, it is unlikely for the laboratory to find THC metabolites. THC can only be manufactured by the body in response to direct marijuana inhalation or ingestion.

Can hair drug testing tell the date and time of drug use?

At this time, hair drug tests are not able to pinpoint the exact date and time of a donor’s drug use. Results obtained through HairConfirm are quantitative reports of drug concentration levels only.

Can a hair drug test detect one time use?

If a large enough amount of a drug was consumed, it may be possible for it to trigger a positive for a test; however, it is unlikely if they have only used the drug once. Please note: if the first incident of drug abuse took place one week or less ahead of hair specimen collection, it is probable that the hair drug test will be returned as negative. Allow a minimum of one week after the donor’s suspected drug use before administering HairConfirm.

Can hair be affected by cross-reacting substances such as over-the-counter medications?

Enzyme-immunoassay antibodies (EIA), similar to those used in diagnostic urine tests, are also used for preliminary hair drug screening. During this process, it is possible for over-the-counter medications to cross-react with the test to produce false positive drug test results. To eliminate the possibility of misinterpretation due to preliminary cross-reaction, a trained laboratory technician will perform Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) for all specimens that screen positive.


How fast does head hair grow?

Human head hair grows approximately half an inch every 30 days, so if a one and a half inch hair sample is submitted, it will cover an approximate 90-day time period. This test establishes a 90-day history of substance abuse from the date hair specimen is obtained. NOTE: Head and body hair do not grow at the same rate; body hair grows at a slower rate and can actually extend the window of drug detection beyond 90 days.

How soon after use can a drug be detected in hair?

It takes approximately 4-5 days from the time of drug use for the affected hair to grow above the scalp. Body hair growth rates are generally slower and cannot be utilized to determine an imminent timeframe of substance abuse.

Can tests be run on people with little to no hair?

If head hair is thin or sparse, a specimen can be collected from several areas of the scalp in order to obtain the required amount for hair drug testing. If head hair is too short, body hair can be substituted. If submitting a body hair specimen, ensure the sample is approximately the size of a cotton ball. NOTE: DO NOT mix head and body hair. DO NOT collect hair from brushes or drains, as the specimen may be mixed with foreign samples.

What is the shortest detection time period that can be accurately evaluated?

The minimum drug detection period is approximately 30 days, equating to ½ inch of hair. Samples below the required minimum length of ½ inch will not be tested and instead will be marked as QNS (quantity not sufficient).

Can hair collected from a hairbrush be used?

No. Do not obtain a hair sample from a brush or any other indirect source (e.g. pillow, clothing, etc.). Doing so will likely lead to inconclusive results since the donor cannot be identified if the sample contains more than one hair type. The laboratory will reject a hair sample if it is not collected and prepared per the instructions in your HairConfirm test kit.

How does the hair drug test work?

Step 1: With your Specimen ID Card, log on to to activate your hair follicle drug test before collecting your hair sample.

Step 2: Collect the hair sample and mail it to our CLIA Certified lab with the pre-paid mailer provided in your kit.

Step 3: In generally 3-9 days, a certified technician will analyze the specimen for drug metabolites. You will receive an email notification from HairConfirm when your results are ready.

How do I collect the hair sample?

Step 1: With sanitized scissors, cut 90-120 strands of hair as close to the scalp as possible. The specimen should approximate the width/thickness of a pencil. If collecting body hair, ensure sample is the size of a cotton ball.

Step 2: Place root ends of sample onto foil area labelled PLACE ROOT END HERE. Crimp foil end over roots. Align hair with center line and fold foil in half. Fold again lengthwise. Be careful not to crumple foil. To see our hair collection instructions please click here.

How do I ship the sample to the lab?

Step 1: Place foil containing your hair sample into Specimen Envelope. Seal envelope with Security Label located on the bottom right corner of your Specimen ID Card. Have donor indicate on the Label, what type of hair was used.

Step 2: Place your sealed Specimen Envelope into the clear Hair Specimen Bag and securely seal the adhesive flap. Then place the sealed bag into the prepaid shipping envelope.

Step 3: Mail your specimen through the appropriate carrier. Receive results in generally 3-9 days.

If head hair is short, can I submit body hair?

Yes. Body hair can be used with HairConfirm hair follicle drug testing. If necessary, body hair can be collected from multiple regions of the body. If submitting body hair, ensure the sample is approximately the size of a cotton ball. Do not mix head hair with body hair. Do not collect hair from brushes or drains. NOTE: Due to the slower growth rate of body hair, using this method may render results reaching back further than 90 days.

My sample got lost in the mail and didn’t arrive at the lab. What do I do?

If you have not received an email about your results being ready and your HairConfirm portal does not display your results, please send an inquiry to

Lab Procedures

Has my sample arrived?

If selected during registration, you will be notified when the laboratory receives your hair sample. Depending on the type of test kit selected, it can take generally 3-9 days for the laboratory to process your sample and render results.

Is your laboratory CLIA accredited?

Our lab is accredited by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). All tests are supervised, reviewed and approved by Ph.D. staff scientists. We have performed over 1.5 million hair tests to date.

What are the drug test cut-off levels used by HairConfirm?

Although HairConfirm Drug Tests are designed to detect a very small amount of a drug in the hair, if the amount is below the established cut-off level, you may test negative for that drug even though you may have taken the drug.

HairConfirm Hair Follicle Drug Test follows the cut-off levels generally accepted industry-wide. These levels are based on the minimum detection levels for Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) confirmation. The cut-off concentration level varies for each of the following drugs of abuse tested:

Drug Class Screening Cut off level Confirmation Cut off level
AMP/mAMP 500 pg/mg hair 500 pg/mg hair
COC 500 pg/mg hair 500 pg/mg hair
OPI/MOR/6-MAM 200 pg/mg hair 200 pg/mg hair
PCP 300 pg/mg hair 300 pg/mg hair
THC 1 pg/mg hair>/td> 0.10 pg/mg hair
Pg/mg= picogram per milligram of hair

Pg/mg= picogram per milligram of hair

Does the lab provide Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) confirmation for all positive results?

Yes. GC/MS confirmation is performed on all preliminary positive results to confirm or resolve initial findings.

What methodology do you employ?

Hair drug testing is conducted in a CLIA Accredited laboratory with the ability to use highly accurate testing mechanisms and procedures.

Initial Screening:

After the hair sample is washed and stripped down to the shaft, it undergoes preliminary screening using Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) methodology. ELISA is a proven and reliable technique used for routine drug testing.

Confirmation Testing:

All samples yielding positive results in the initial screening process are subjected to Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS), Gas Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS/MS), or Liquid Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). These techniques are highly complex and have the ability to confirm or deny results found in a preliminary test.


How will I obtain the test results?

Before you collect your hair specimen for testing, you must register your test at You will need your Specimen ID number, passcode and your email address.

We will send you an email when your results are ready. Please allow generally 3-9 days after the specimen is mailed in order to receive results. Laboratory processing times may vary.

Will the test result remain confidential?

Yes. HairConfirm test results are 100% confidential. Names, numbers and other private information is NOT required for this test. Donors are classified strictly by their Specimen ID Number included with every test kit.

How will I read the test results?

The results will indicate a positive or negative result for each drug class. In addition, when a donor tests positive, the result will provide a quantitative analysis that includes the amount of each drug detected in the hair sample.

What does the test report look like?

Click here to download a sample results report.

What does “QNS” mean in my results?

If you obtained a QNS result (Quantity Not Sufficient), the laboratory determined your hair sample did not meet the minimum required quantity to conduct the preliminary test. It is imperative that you follow the Hair Collection Instructions carefully to avoid a QNS result.

Why did Marijuana (THC) show up negative?

In some cases, HairConfirm may be unable to detect THC despite the donor’s known marijuana use. A number of factors will determine whether or not THC will bind with the hair shaft (i.e. type/purity of marijuana used/person’s metabolism). If THC does not bind, and therefore does not appear in a hair follicle exam, a negative result for marijuana will be indicated.

Please note: THC is a unique metabolite; the above does not apply to other drugs of abuse screened in a hair follicle exam. In some adults, it may be required to smoke 5-6 full joints before sufficient THC binds to the hair to produce a positive result.

In addition, if the donor is a constant marijuana user, THC can be masked by naturally occurring chemicals in the body, producing a false negative test result.

Do you have any support services after the results?

HairConfirm is dedicated to supporting a drug free home. Find helpful How To’s and blogs to help guide you in the next steps. Provided below is a number to call if you’d like to talk to a counselor:

The Boys Town National Hotline 1-800-448-3000

The Boys Town National Hotline is a 24-hour crisis, resource and referral line, especially for kids and parents. Trained counselors can respond to your questions every day of the week, 365 days a year. The National Hotline can help teens and parents with deal with serious issues:

  • Suicide prevention
  • Depression
  • School issues
  • Parenting troubles
  • Runaways
  • Relationship problems
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Chemical dependency
  • Anger management

Where can I buy HairConfirm®?

If you want to try the HairConfirm Hair Drug Test within your home or professional organization, you can purchase a test kit at a CVS Pharmacy near you.

If you’d like to order HairConfirm test kits in bulk, please visit, or send an inquiry to A dedicated representative will respond within 1-2 business days.

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All testing products offered on are solely for preliminary screening purposes, and are provided for the purpose of initial screening of health and/or other diagnostics. Although we stand by our products and strive to offer products with the highest level of reliability, the testing products and services offered by are not meant to substitute professional testing. For personal use only; not intended to be admissible in court. shall have no duty to (a) provide any medical advice or warnings to the person who provides the sample or specimen, (b) maintain a chain of custody for the sample or test results, (c) retain samples, (d) testify in court, or (f) respond to questions from persons who have provided a sample or specimen. Lab report is given for positive results only. The 90-day time frame is an approximation of an individual's hair growth rate.



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