What to Know about a Hair Follicle Test

Q: My husband just came home from work and told me that he has to take a hair follicle test tomorrow. Neither of us are familiar with these tests. What can you tell us about these tests, as far as the collection procedure, and when will the results be ready?

R. Miller

Tallahassee, FL

A: A hair follicle drug test is different than a urine drug test, because it utilizes strands of hair. When a person takes a urine test, there are various drugs that may not be detected. With a hair follicle test, drugs can be detected for a much longer period of time – sometimes, as much as 90 days. The collection process is simple. The tech will collect about 100 or so strands of hair from your husband’s head. This is not a painful procedure and it will not leave a bald spot.

Results are usually ready in about 3-5 business days. Sometimes, it may take a little longer to get the results, but the average wait time is just a few days. Overall, the hair follicle test just provides a longer window of detection for drug use.