Collecting Your Hair Sample Instructions & FAQs

Step 1: Wash Your Hair

Before cutting the hair sample, wash your hair with regular shampoo. Please do not use dandruff shampoos!  They often contain zinc and selenium which can significantly alter your test results. 

Please also refrain from using conditioner or hair products before cutting your hair sample. 

Dyes and Bleach.

Some  hair dyes can contaminate the hair with manganese, iron, copper, cadmium and lead artificially raising the level of these elements in the hair.  To eliminate this, it is suggested that the hair is washed 5 times before cutting a hair sample.

Bleach and highlights can artificially affect the level of calcium in the hair.  So either take your sample the hair before bleaching or highlighting, or after you have washed the hair five or more times 

Water Softeners

If your water is softened via a salt-softener, wash your hair 3 times with bottled water.  For the first wash use 1 tsp of baking soda and rinse with vinegar.  For the second and third washes shampoo as normal and rinse with bottled water.  Do not use dandruff shampoo.  Do not condition.   

Step 2: Make sure the hair is completely dry.

After washing your hair, wait at least a few hours to cut the sample.  It is strongly suggested to take the sample on the day of washing.

Please be sure to avoid any activity that causes you to sweat before cutting your sample.  We loose minerals in our sweat, so sweaty hair can affect your result.

Step 3: Cut the hair sample.

The hair should but cut as close to the scalp as possible from a few areas of the scalp on the back portion of the head.  Please be sure to use clean scissors.  ***Scalp hair is the most accurate, however, if scalp hair is not available, the next best is hair to take would be from the beard, arm, or pubic.  Finger nails may also be used.  Please do not mix hair sample types.  The entire sample of hair should come from a single area.  

It is very important to keep track of which end of the hair is nearest to the scalp.   You only want to keep approximately one and a half inches from the scalp down.  Average hair growth is one half inch per month, so the first one and a half inches will allow us to look at approximately 3 months of your most recent biochemistry.  Cut and discard the unwanted length of hair leaving you with the one and a half inches closest to the scalp.  A ruler is helpful to make sure you have the correct length.  

The amount of hair is sufficient when the 1-1.5 inches of hair tips the scale included in your kit.  If you don't have the scale, the hair should fill a teaspoon.  If you are unsure if your sample is sufficient, it is always better to have a little extra than to not have enough.  If you sample is insufficient the lab will not be able to process your results.  

***If your hair is long enough (it doesn't have to be very long) you can easily hide the sample spot by pinning part of your hair up and cutting the sample from below the pinned section. I like to find the top, center point of the ear and from there measure 4 inches inches towards the back of my head.  This assures sample spot will be hidden whether you wear your hair up or down.  This also makes it easy to find the same spot when you do a retest after 90 days.  You simply cut the new growth from the same spot.


Can I cut my own sample?

You can either cut your own sample or have a spouse, friend or hairdresser cut it for you.  If you are in Anchorage, you can I can cut the sample for you. If you are cutting your own sample,  see the *** section in Step 3 above.  This will make it easy to find the spot using a hand mirror.

I color my hair. Will this affect the analysis results?

Please refer to the  Dyes and Bleach section under Step 1 above. 

Does the hair have to be from your head? Can it be body hair?

Please refer to the  *** section of Step 3 above.

Can I use hair from anywhere on my head?

The hair should come from the middle-back portion of the head, closest to the scalp. When cutting a sample for a retest please try to take the hair from the same spot as previous test.  For the easiest way to do this, please refer to the  *** section of Step 3 above.

How long do the sample hairs have to be? And how much do I need?

Please refer to Step 3 above.

How do I know I have enough hair for the sample?

Please refer to Step 3 above.

Is there anything I should do to prepare before cutting my hair sample?

Please refer to Steps 1 and 2 above.

Will a water softener affect my hair test results?

Some water softeners use sodium or potassium which can artificially alter the level of these minerals in you hair.  Please do not send in a hair sample that was washed with softened water. Instead, wash your hair twice with spring water or un-softened tap water before cutting your sample. Be sure that your hair does not come in contact with the softened water between washings.

If you are not sure if you have a water softener,  wash you hands and notice if you feel slippery residue.  If you do, this is softened water.  If you still aren't sure, just play it safe and use spring water as recommended above. 

How do I cut my hair for a retest?

 Please  refer to the *** section in Step 3 above.