How Do they Work?
Let’s go through a basic rundown of a hair test first, so we can see what we’re up against. A hair follicle drug test is becoming more and more common as the go-to drug test for employers, as urine tests can only detect drug use over the past week. Hair tests, on the other hand, can track drug use over the past 90 days or so. Also, unlike the other tests like the urine drug test where you can use some of the best synthetic pee we covered here to fool workplace drug tests, they’re a lot harder to beat.
From a biological perspective, the substances you use eventually get absorbed into the bloodstream. Every hair follicle on your body is fed by a blood vessel, thus fueling hair growth. From the blood used, drug compounds are then carried into the follicle, and into the hair itself. That’s what they check for.
Now, the test itself. Your workplace will set a date and time for you to be present so that the people running the test can collect a hair sample from you directly. So if you were thinking to try and fake them out with prepared hair sample, that’s a no-go. Generally, they’ll take the hair from a few places off the back of your head, so as not to affect your hairstyle. Then they’ll send that over to the labs so they can run it past the tests.
So, why have hair tests become more common? That’s because of how far back they can recognize you’ve been doing drugs. Urine or saliva tests are cheap, but they detect only the immediate presence of drugs in your system. Blood tests give solid, conclusive results, but they’re expensive as hell. Hair tests occupy that happy medium: good results without breaking the bank.
Now, what a hair test does fall short at is in detecting immediate use. That bit about checking for traces of drugs in your hair? Thanks to the nature of hair growth, it takes about five days to a week for your hair to show that you’ve used anything. So if, for instance, you were to take a hit off your bong the day before, it wouldn’t be reflected in a hair test.
The downside is that they can definitely see that you hit your bong from last week all the way to a month and a half before, so really, this tiny window is situational at best.
While a hair test can identify that you have used drugs in the past 90 days, what they can’t do is identify when you did drugs then. It’s the nature of hair growth. A hair test shows if you regularly make use of drugs because if, for example, THC shows up in your hair, that means you’re taking enough weed for it to actually affect your bloodstream.
For our sharp-eyed readers, yes, this may be a way to “pass” the test. If you’ve only smoked maybe a joint or two in the past three months, then it’s possible you didn’t take in enough weed to be detected. However, this is a hell of a gamble; do not rely on this.
The next step is, what can we do to make sure you pass your hair follicle drug test?
What Won’t Work
Of course, with the subject of faking out drug tests being a common one, there’s good and bad information out there. Let’s get all the hogwash out of the way first, and then go to what we know does work. Note that all this is from the perspective of passing a hair test, again.
Okay, here’s the thing about detox drinks for cannabis. They can play about all their claims, but their real mechanism is basically diluting your bodily fluids so that the THC has more volume to hide in. You can, of course, see the problem: This does absolutely nothing for your hair. Detox drinks may help with saliva or urine tests, but they’re about as useful as an umbrella in a hurricane in the matter of hair tests.
Along with herbs and pills, a lot of manufacturers claim that they sell something consumable that, if regularly and correctly used, can cleanse the traces of THC from your system and are 100% organic. Trouble is, practically every report of someone beating a hair test also used methods beyond just supplements. Nobody has ever managed to beat a hair test using supplements alone.
Proven Methods to Pass a Hair Follicle Drug Test.
So, if those were what didn’t work, what does work? Well here we’ve
1. The Natural Option
One way to pass a drug test is to, well, you know… pass it the natural way, because you really don’t have any trace of drugs in your system. THC leaves your body at a variable rate, generally depending on body fat percentage and frequency of use.
A one-joint-per-month guy with literally no body fat can expect to be clean of THC faster than your average man with a dad bod who tokes twice a day. Realistically speaking, it can be anywhere from seven days (for our infrequent once or twice a week people) to about a month (for those who worship at the altar of #420blazeit).
If you’re willing to go without for a month (to be on the safe side), then you may want to stay off the weed while you’re job-hunting. Of course, this is no help at all against any surprise hair tests that may come up at work, so if you want to keep your job and burn one down, keep reading.
2. Complete Depilation
Or, as scientists put it, shaving it all off. This is theoretically the easiest, and definitely the cheapest solution. After all, they can’t test your hair if you don’t have hair in the first place.
The problem with this solution is that the labs are already ahead of you. They can and will use hair from the rest of your body, generally from the armpits or chest. It’s less a matter of shaving as it is a matter of shaving literally every possible hair off your entire body.
This, therefore, requires a really, really good excuse as to why you’ve needed to get rid of all your hair. And it’s likely your employer’s going to harbor some suspicions as to why it happened. So, potentially workable, but very situational. Like, one-in-a-million situational.
3. Detox Shampoo
Technically, once your hair grows out from your skin, it’s dead already, and its cells don’t actively maintain themselves. Hence why the hair test works; nothing’s cleaning out the drugs from your hair. However, hair can still be affected by outside factors, and there are shampoo formulas specifically designed to remove drug compounds from your hair.
The problem is that some of these, as advertised, don’t actually work, and just have a label to scam you out of your money. There are a few proven shampoos, and chief among them is Nexxus Aloe Toxin Rid. It’s formulated to get rid of pretty much all the annoying stuff that gets into your hair: hard water minerals, atmospheric pollutants, chlorine, that kind of thing. It’ll also work for THC.
Zydot Ultra Clean shampoo is also a proven product, and at least one study has shown that an application can reduce the concentration of drug traces found in hair, but not nearly enough to pass a test with. This also applies to Aloe Rid; one application will not be enough, as you have to regularly use it, and you have to stay off the weed to really make sure your hair is clean.
3. Off-the-shelf Solutions
Or if you’d rather not spend a great deal of money on shampoo, there’s always some other solutions. All hair care is, after all, simply applied chemistry. There are a few ways to pull it off, some of which you may see again later. Again, note that these solutions work best for light users, and heavier smokers are better off with the remedies below.
First off is an application of lemon juice. Yes, lemon juice. No, you’re not going to drink it. Draw up a bucket of warm water and let it sit overnight, and in the morning, add a significant amount of lemon juice. More than you’d use to make lemonade out of the equivalent volume, to be sure. Once it’s mixed thoroughly, wash your hair with the lemon juice.
Continuing our theme of acids, our next solution doubles down, in the form of vinegar and salicyclic acid. The latter is applied via shampoo; look for Clean & Clear or Neutrogena T-Sal. Wash your hair and massage your scalp with vinegar, then do the same for salicyclic acid. Don’t wash in between, but introduce both into your hair and let it sit for about half an hour. Be careful not to get any of it into sensitive spots.
Another potential use of vinegar pairs it with baking soda. Largely the same procedure, really. Make a paste using baking soda and water, then massage thoroughly into your hair and scalp. Let it sit for about ten minutes, then rinse out with warm water. Then do the same but with vinegar, and then rinse.
5. Home Remedy Treatments
The fact of the matter is single-item solutions that say “use me and you’ll pass a hair test!” almost never manage to give a pass on their own. Not unless you’re a really occasional user. For our more habitual tokers, something stronger is needed, but fortunately, we’re not the first to consider this situation.
The Macujo Method
This one’s got some age to it, having first popped up on marijuana.com after the turn of the millennium, but don’t knock it just because it’s got some city miles on it. You may also see it called the Growman method, named after a user on grasscity.com who spoke of it in 2007 and further popularized the method.
Macujo method is the most frequently discussed method you’ll see online. It’s a thorough cleansing of your hair, but it’s really hard on the strands, and it may well irritate your scalp. Attempt with care. Also important: cease all substance use before starting this course.
- Acetic acid (vinegar),
- Salicylic acid (shampoo, as previously named; best bets are clean & Clear or Neutrogena T-Sal),
- Laundry detergent (the classic Macujo uses Tide Liquid) and most importantly,
- Aloe Rid Shampoo. Use the old formula only. Don’t trust or use the new stuff.
This has to be performed at least five times, over three days prior to your test. If you’re really unsure, you can keep redoing it over that period, just make sure it’s done at least five times.
First, using warm water, wet your hair thoroughly. With that done, apply the vinegar. Massage it into your hair, all the way down into the scalp. Make sure you get it all. Then apply your salicylic shampoo, again thoroughly. Be very careful that none of it gets into your eyes and ears, as that stuff is strong.
Once the acids are worked into your hair, leave them there for half an hour or so. Wrap up with a towel or shower cap, so your hair doesn’t get in the way while the acids do their job.
After those thirty minutes, rinse out the acids, then apply the Aloe Rid. Do that twice. Once that’s done with, use the detergent, very sparingly. Again, be careful with that stuff, because if it ends up in your eyes, you’ll regret it quickly. Keep going with the detergent until your hair squeaks.
Then do it again some hours later, and again the next day, and so on. Remember, five times over three days at the minimum. Now, the whole process is very, very hard on your hair, and you may want to apply conditioner to remedy it a little. If you do, give it an hour to shake down. You’ll be fine.
Notes: Your scalp may be protesting at the abuse it’s taken, in the form of reddening and skin irritation, and a feeling of burning. That’s normal, but you may wish to space out applications to let it recover. However, if it’s bad, it may be actual chemical burns, so exercise caution.
The Jerry G Method
As an alternative to the Macujo, there’s also the Jerry G method, which is another hair cleansing routine. It’s got just as much provenance as the Macujo, having come around in 2008 on cannabis.com, advocated by a user named Jerry_G, hence the name.
The Jerry G isn’t as repetitive as the Macujo, but it’s a hell of a lot harder on your hair. With the Macujo, your scalp might protest; with the Jerry G, your hair is guaranteed to get damaged. Most users get a haircut after finishing with this method. Again, cease all substance use before undertaking this method.
- Peroxide bleach,
- Aloe Rid shampoo, old style for the Aloe Rid, don’t you forget,
- Ultra Clean shampoo,
- Hair dye of your natural color, and it has to be permanent and incorporate ammonia; and baking soda.
If you know anyone who’s a hairdresser or a peroxide blonde, you might want to ask their assistance if you’re unfamiliar with the hair products.
The Jerry G is basically bleaching and re-dying your hair. Those who have hair care experience, you can wince now. Here’s how it goes.
The first step takes place on the day that you quit using. This is where your hairdresser or peroxide blonde friend comes in, for those inexperienced in bleaching their hair. Once you’ve bleached, re-dye your hair. Once that’s finished, apply the Aloe Rid.
Care note: Do not blow dry your hair. It’s already weakened enough as it is, and your hair might not be capable of standing up to the heat.
The next instance of bleach and re-dye comes ten days after the day you quit. Or, if the test comes up before then, as close to the date of the test as possible. Same steps: apply peroxide, re-dye back to your natural color, then apply Aloe Rid.
The baking soda comes in on the day of the test. On the day, make a thick paste of baking soda and water, then massage it into your hair. Make sure you get your scalp, cover it entirely, and massage it in deep. Once everything’s covered, rinse it out with another application of Aloe Rid, and finish up with an application of Ultra Clean.
The Relaxer Option
Okay, for this one you’re going to need either a black female friend or a trip down to the store because we need some hair relaxer. Unlike the Macujo or the Jerry G, no method incorporating relaxer has yet surfaced, but its effectiveness is backed by a scientific study.
The study only applied relaxer and a bit of shampoo to avoid hair damage. Even with just those two implements, the authors noted a decrease in the drug concentrations they could detect, though admittedly, the effect was much stronger for other drugs than THC. A chat with a hairdresser is advisable to see what else can be done, but an application of Aloe Rid suggests itself, after applying the relaxer, to further flush drugs from the hair.
Similar to the Macujo and Jerry G methods, another application a few days after the initial one should serve to get rid of the remaining THC in your hair, but be careful not to overdo it; you don’t want to damage your hair. Apply conditioner as needed to take the worst of the damage off.
Additional Notes On How To Beat The Follicle Test
African-American readers may be concerned, given how different their hair is, and there’s cause for that concern. African-American hair tends to grow slower and hold more drug compounds. Good news is, our methods above still work, though erring to the side of caution and using stronger measures may be a good idea. For those using hair relaxer, regular use of Aloe Rid should get you through fine.
For our readers with dreadlocks, it’s a lot more difficult to extract the drug compounds from the hair, given how thick dreads are. The best option is to either shave your dreads off, or if you’d rather keep them, make use of the Jerry G method.
Remember that your hair, after some of these treatments, is very fragile, so stay off any application of chemicals or heat until it’s recovered. You can either cut your hair and let it regrow normally, or try an easy rescue solution. Go buy yourself some olive oil. (It’s a lovely substance with a lot of uses beyond just cooking. Don’t underestimate olive oil.)
So, with your olive oil, fill a mug with it, then heat it up in your microwave until it’s good and warm. Then apply it to your hair, making sure to get it in all the way to the bottom, right into your scalp and every inch. Once it’s in there, let it sit for about half an hour, maybe a little longer to be sure. Then wash with a gentle shampoo and apply conditioner.
This may have to be done several times before you notice a change, but patience will see you through. Your hair will recover in time.
There are many and varied ways to clean out your hair in preparation for a hair test, and there’s even a good few that work if you’re willing to put in the effort. It’s annoying to have to go through all this effort for something as minor as weed, but that’s society for you. Hopefully, the view of harmless drugs will improve, but in the meantime, we have ways of staying ahead. And don’t forget: When it comes to Aloe Rid, old formula only.