How to take the perfect hair sample
Updated: May 18
Show us your macrame skills. Download, print out and assemble the Hair Collection Envelope:
Here are the key points on how to get a hair sample
Wash your hair with regular shampoo only, rinse thoroughly with water, do not use anti-dandruff shampoo or conditioner. Once hair is cleaned and dry for at least four hours, you may cut the sample. Avoid any activity which will cause you to sweat excessively before cutting your sample, as this may affect the hair analysis results.
With bleached or permed hair, it is best to wait six to eight weeks and take a sample from the freshly grown untreated hair. The sample may include a little bleached or dyed hair, since hair tends to rebalance over time and with washes. We will take this into account when reviewing your report. Hair colour and tints do not affect the test because they contain chemicals, not minerals, but it’s still best to wash the hair several times over a few weeks after applying a tint or colour rinse, then cut a hair sample. Since highlights are on the surface of the hair, you can sample a piece of hair that has not been highlighted on the underside of your hair. The back of the neck is usually okay. Another approach is to have your hairdresser leave a small patch of hair alone, usually near the nape of the neck. Harvest this hair once it has grown sufficiently.
Cut the hair with clean stainless steel scissors. Thinning scissors or clippers can be used on short hair while ensuring they are clean from oil or rust. DO NOT use an electric razor to cut the hair sample, because pieces of metal from the blades and mineral oil may become mixed with the hair sample.
Cut small amounts of hair from the nape of the neck and/or several other locations on the back of the scalp. Cut hair as close to the scalp as possible.
If the sampled hair is less than 4cm long, keep all of it for testing. If the hair is longer than this, cut off and keep the 4cm of hair that was growing closest to the scalp (discard the excess). It is the weight of hair and not the length, that is of most importance, so very short hair is fine. Just make sure there is always a little more than is required.
Place the hair sample in the envelope provided/downloaded, or in a clearly labelled paper envelope or sachet. Include your name, age, gender and where the hair was sampled (scalp, pubic, etc).
DO NOT PUT HAIR SAMPLES IN PLASTIC WRAP, ZIP LOCK BAGS, ALUMINUM FOIL OR TISSUE PAPER AS THIS MAY CONTAMINATE THE SAMPLE
How much hair is enough?
You will have enough hair when the 1 inch (2.5-4 cm) hair sample fills a FULL DESSERTSPOON about 125 milligrams (0.125 Gram).
If you are unsure if you have enough hair, send a little more to be safe. For repeat hair analyses, it’s best to keep the samples no longer than one inch (2.5 cm).
Do not send too little. We may have to come back to you for more hair, with lengthy delays, and we don't want that.
Handy tip: take your hair sample to your local chemist and ask them to weigh it on their special clinical scales.