How to Pass a Hair Drug Test
Nearly 8 in 10 US employers require some type of drug screening before hiring, with some continuing to use drug tests over the course of employment. About 7% of these employers use hair follicle testing, one of the hardest types to beat. Hair testing is often used for jobs in airports, casinos, and other higher-security positions. It’s also used by an estimated 10-15% of Fortune 500 companies—hair testing’s prevalence is growing, as it reliably detects regular drug use over a long period of time.
Since the hair follicle test shows use over a period of at least three months (and potentially much longer), it’s notoriously difficult to beat and, as with any drug testing method, abstinence is the best way to pass. That said, if you’re facing an impending hair follicle test, don’t panic! There are ways to beat the test and cleanse your hair of THC in time, without waiting months for it to clear naturally. Here, we’ll discuss the science of hair testing, then break down what works and how to cleanse properly.
How Does THC End Up In My Hair?
Your body processes THC and other cannabinoids in complex ways, causing cannabinoids and their various metabolic byproducts to end up scattered throughout the body’s different systems. THC initially finds its way to your hair, or more accurately your hair follicle, through your bloodstream in the blood vessels that supply those follicles.
Here’s where it gets a little bit interesting: THC doesn’t actually stay in your bloodstream that long. It typically only stays there for as long as you’re high (a few hours in most cases, though it can remain detectable in small amounts for up to two or three days in the heaviest consumers). So how does such a short-lived phenomenon yield such a durable record of your THC consumption?
The body breaks down cannabinoids in the blood quickly, but not quite quickly enough—some of the THC molecules find their way into the soft tissue surrounding the root of your hair (keep in mind, all the action is taking place beneath your scalp so far). Some of those THC molecules attach themselves to the cortex, or outer layer, of the hair strand itself, emerging from the scalp as a cannabis-infused hair about 5-10 days later.
The Science of Hair Follicle Testing
Consuming cannabis in any kind of real quantity (beyond a single puff at a party once in a blue moon) will be detected in a hair test. A hair test is estimated to be 6-10 times more accurate than body fluid testing for drugs, meaning it’s much more difficult to beat than a urine screen or cheek swab.
If you consume cannabis with any kind of regularity, your hair will reveal “bands” of THC indicating periods of usage, resulting in a positive reading. It takes just the tiniest amount of THC to trigger a positive result, too: one picogram per milligram. For those at home who don’t routinely measure on that side of the metric system, a picogram is 0.000000000001 grams.
The only way to beat a hair test is to remove the THC from the cuticle, or outer part of the hair shaft, a process which is definitely going to rough up the condition of your hair. You should realistically expect some damage before all this is over, though this can be remedied with a few deep-conditioning treatments and a keratin treatment if necessary. Save the restorative processes until your hair is fully cleansed, though, as waiting will allow you to strip out as much of the THC as possible with the cleansing shampoo.
We know it’s possible to cleanse your hair of THC, but how can you do this most effectively and, perhaps more pressingly, quickly? You’ll need a cleansing shampoo for certain; while we’ll discuss some home remedies, these are not backed by science and should not be used exclusively (also, they’re crazy damaging to your hair!). If you’re going to try them out, use them in conjunction with a cleansing shampoo.
How to Cleanse the Hair Shaft of THC
So, since THC is stored in the outer cortex of the hair shaft, it is possible to cleanse it of THC. This process involves opening up the cuticle, allowing it to release THC molecules, which can then be washed away. This is the basic action performed by cleansing shampoos, which work by chemically forcing open the cuticle, allowing the product to penetrate deep into the hair shaft and cleanse it of THC. These products are designed to penetrate the hair in a way that is minimally damaging, making them much gentler on your hair than DIY options like washing with detergent (yikes!).
The first thing you need to do is stop consuming THC immediately. Don’t add any more THC to your bloodstream to be carried to your hair follicles and into your hair shaft. Second, purchase a cleansing shampoo like Old Style Aloe Toxin Rid Shampoo and, if you like, a secondary product like Zydot Ultra Clean Shampoo, and begin a cleansing regimen immediately.
What should your cleansing regimen look like? We recommend washing with the Old Style Aloe Toxin Rid Shampoo 10-15 times before your test (this may mean multiple washes per day, but that dream job is worth it!), and then using the Zydot Ultra Clean Shampoo immediately before the test for a final deep cleanse. You can also supplement your washing routine with the Zydot shampoo—not only will it provide an additional deep cleaning in support of the Toxin Rid, its three-part system helps recondition hair after the cleanse, returning some of its shine and improve manageability. This can be a lifesaver, especially if you have chemically- or color-treated hair.
If you want to boost your cleansing routine with home remedies, start by saturating your hair with white vinegar and allowing it to soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, use a salicylic acid acne treatment to further cleanse the hair. Finally, lather your hair with one cup of liquid detergent. Then rinse your hair completely, without conditioning (it will be DRY!). You can also color your hair using a box dye or bleach that uses peroxide developer (most do, but avoid direct dyes that don’t use developer and therefore lack the chemical cleansing effect of other colors) to help clear out some of the THC. You can repeat these steps as needed until your hair is cleansed.
It’s critically important to avoid contact between your hair and things like hats, pillowcases, and hairbrushes that could still be contaminated with THC. Be sure to change your pillowcase and linens, as well as use a fresh towel when cleansing so you don’t take the risk of re-contamination. Wash all hats, and perhaps purchase a new hairbrush to use on your cleansed hair.
Passing a Hair Drug Test: Think Before You Shave
It’s common advice: just shave your head! This is misguided for several reasons: for starters, if they can’t get a sample from your head, they’ll just take it from somewhere else on your body, like your armpit or chest. Furthermore, assuming you went all in and shaved your entire body, rendering yourself unable to provide a hair sample, you’d most likely be failed on the spot (testing authorities aren’t stupid, after all). Even if you weren’t failed automatically, you’d still be subjected to a different type of drug testing, so you wouldn’t be off the hook anyway. Shaving is just not a good solution, and can create a new set of problems. It’s much better to stick to cleansing.
While it’s an intense process, cleansing your hair of THC to pass a hair test is possible! You’ll need to get a cleansing shampoo for best results, and use it frequently before the day of your test. The more washes you can get in beforehand, the better! TestClear offers rush delivery on all their products, so you can start your cleansing regimen as soon as possible.
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