How Hair Drug Screening works

Since our bloodstream carries nourishment to produce new hair, laboratory scientists can determine the ingestion of illicit drugs by simply analysing head or body hair samples. Basically, scientists measure the drug molecules embedded inside the hair shaft through the use of Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) methodology and various mass spectrometry techniques, a method which eliminates any chance of external contamination and is approved by multiple accrediting agencies.

Why choose this Home Drug Test?


  • Hair samples are difficult to adulterate and cannot be substituted or diluted.
  • Hair analysis eliminates any chances of external contamination. Results cannot be altered through the use of shampoos or other external contaminants or chemicals.
  • Hair testing detects a much longer period of drug use than other drug testing methods. The test’s standard window of detection is 90 days for head hair and approximately 12 months for body hair. Urine testing can only detect most drugs within 2 to 3 days of use and after this period the tested person would result negative and slip through the screening process. This is not ideal in pre-employment testing since candidates might try to delay testing on purpose.
  • Testing is carried out at an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory with more than sixteen years of experience in testing for drugs of abuse.
  • The Hair Strand Drug test offers an industry-leading turnaround time of 3 to 5 working days only (turnaround time starts from the moment samples reach the laboratory).

Which Illicit Drugs are tested for?

Hair Drug testing tests for a variety of illegal drugs. Different drug testing panels are available for those clients who may wish to test for different or additional substances. Why don’t you take a look at the full list of drugs tested for and different testing panels available?

Collecting the Hair Sample

In the hair drug test kit, you will find a hair specimen pouch, collection foil and a clear plastic transport bag. The sample collection process is relatively simple and easy. However, we suggest that you read the below instructions for a successful collection.

• More than 60 milligrams or 90-120 strands of hair is required
• Take hair from several places around the crown
Do not use head hair if it is shorter than ½ inch long, in such a case use body hair only
• If you take body hair, you must mark on the sample collection form that body hair was collected
• Make sure that you do not mix head hair and body hair

For more information, please read the sample collection instructions which are also provided in the drug testing kit.

Legal Hair Drug test

Do you need legally defensible results for reasons such as pre-employment screening or a court case? For just an additional £40, you can upgrade to a legal Hair Follicle Drug test! Kindly note that legal testing requires a doctor or professional sampler to collect the hair sample and verify the identity of the donor. The sample collection kit will be sent directly to your nominated sampler. Should you be interested in legal drug testing, make sure to select the respective option when ordering the test.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between anonymous and legal testing?

Anonymous hair drug testing does not require a registered sampler to confirm the identity of the tested person and limited documentation is involved. It is also important to note that non-legal results do not mention the donor’s name. This type of testing is recommended for personal use such as a parent testing a sample of their teenager’s hair. On the other hand, legal hair drug testing needs a doctor or professional sampler to collect the hair sample and confirm the tested person’s identity. The sampler is requested to clearly and completely fill out the chain of custody form provided. Legal testing is ideal for clients who need legally defensible results for reasons such as pre-employment or a court case.

Is the name of the donor included in the test results?

The result for the non-legal version of hair drug testing does not mention the donor’s name and is reported as an “anonymous” donor. This is because there is no third party verification of the identity of the client. Clients should opt for a legal version of the test if they want the donor’s name to be included.

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

It takes around 5 to 10 days from the time of drug use for the hair follicle containing the drug to grow above the scalp where it can be collected.

Does body hair give the same type of results as head hair?

Body hair is accepted for Hair Drug testing. However, it represents a more distant time frame than head hair and the approximate time period cannot be identified due to the high variability of growth rates.

Does hair colour affect the results?

Hair colour is determined by the amount of melanin in the hair. It has been shown experimentally and determined in court that it has no significant impact on results.

Can hair collected from a brush be used?

Yes, it can be used but the test will be reported as having an “anonymous” donor. The laboratory cannot attribute the sample to a specific person and cannot determine the time frame of the test i.e. the test result will not be legally defensible.

Can external exposure to drugs affect the results?

Scientists at the laboratory wash all hair specimens prior to confirmation testing to remove any possible extermination. To rule out the possibility of external contamination, they also look for both the parent drug and metabolite (bi-product) of drug usage. This metabolite is only produced by the body and cannot be an environmental contaminant.


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