Shaving your head to pass a hair follicle drug test is probably the biggest myth about the hair follicle drug test going around on the internet. I’ve seen it offered, seriously, as advice hundreds, if not thousands, of times. On message boards, on Yahoo Answers, and blogs all have people recommending that the ONLY way to pass a hair follicle drug test is to shave your head.
But they’re all wrong!
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Don’t shave your head. You’re not doing yourself any favors.
The thinking is that “Aha, but if I have no hair, they can’t test anything. I win!”
Except the real world doesn’t work that way.
All drug tests are either mandatory or voluntary.
Mandatory means that you must submit a sample. Period. No exceptions. If you have no hair on your head, they will collect a hair sample from another part of your body.
Oh, did the people who recommended shaving your head to pass a hair follicle drug test forget that you have other hair?
Yes, you have hair on your eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair, nose hair, ear hair, underarm hair, forearm hair, chest hair (for men), pubic hair, leg hair, etc. On top of that, you finger and toe nails are similar to hair in holding onto drug metabolites so if push really came to shove, they might go for nail clippings (although this is very rare and I have not personally heard of it happening).
Shaving your head to pass a hair follicle drug test would make you look ridiculous walking into the drug testing collection lab. Especially if you went so far as to shave your eyebrows and remove your eyelashes. Sure, a lot of swimmers shave their legs but outside of Buddhist monks no group of people regularly shave their eyebrows.
And let’s just say for the sake of argument that you removes every stubble of hair off your body and somehow had no finger or toe nails. You win, right?
Uhm, no. You lose.
If the drug test is mandatory, that usually means that it’s court ordered. Refusal to submit a sample is likely to construed by the court to be contempt of court and you could end up in jail.
What about voluntary drug tests?
As the name implies, you are taking the test under voluntary conditions. Sure, the alternative to not taking the test might be losing your job but you do have a choice. You could refuse to submit a sample and let them fire you. That is your choice which is why it is considered voluntary.
Same goes for pre-employment drug testing. The employer is telling you that as a condition of their job offer, you must submit to a hair follicle drug test. If you choose not to submit a sample, they don’t hire you. You’re not being forced to take the test.
So, if you are asked to take a voluntary hair drug test and you have no hair to submit a sample, it’s considered the same as have not shown up for the test. You have failed to provide a sample and whatever consequences follow from that, such as loss of job or retraction of an employment offer, are considered to be the result of you not volunteering a sample.
So, as you can see, shaving your head to pass a hair follicle drug test is not a very effective method. First off, they will take a sample from somewhere else. Second, if you remove all your hair, they will consider it a refusal to submit a sample for testing which is the same as failing (in the case of mandatory drug tests ordered by a court, the consequences may even be worse).
Is shaving your head to pass a hair follicle drug test ever a valid option?
I can only think of one instance where shaving your head to pass a hair follicle drug test makes any sense. That would be if you are planning on going clean, have enough time to grow you hair out for the drug test, and were possibly concerned about previous drug use contaminating the results.
So, let’s say that you plan on applying for a job that you know will involve hair follicle drug testing six months from now. If you wanted to make absolutely, positively sure that there were zero drug metabolites in your hair, you could wait 7 – 10 days after your last drug use (drugs deposited into the hair below the scalp take that long to grow above the scalp line) and then shave your head completely.
Everything that grew out after that would be 100% clean as long as you abstained from drug usage. And since the drug test would only require 3 months worth of hair growth for testing, you would have ample time to grow back enough hair to submit an acceptable sample.
For some, the peace of mind might be worth it. These days a shaved head trendy for men so there’s no real downside to it as long as you’re comfortable with the bald look for awhile.
But that is the one and only case I can think of. In all other cases, you’re wasting your time.