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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

How to take the perfect hair sample

Updated: Mar 27

(Updated Sept, 2022)

Please note that there has been an unavoidable price rise, the first in many years. The good news is that boron is now back, whereas it had been left off the test to save around $30.

How to cut hair for the HTMA test

Show us your origami skills. Download, print out and assemble the Hair Collection Envelope:

Here are the key points on how to get a hair sample

  1. Wash your hair with regular shampoo, rinse thoroughly with water, and do not use anti-dandruff or conditioner. Once the hair is cleaned and dried 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.

  2. With bleached or permed hair, it is best to wait six to eight weeks and take a sample from 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 later on once it has grown sufficiently.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. If the sampled hair is less than 4cm long, keep all of it for testing. If the hair is longer, cut off and keep the 4cm of hair growing closest to the scalp (discard the excess). The weight of the hair, not the length, is of most importance, so very short hair is fine. Just make sure there is always a little more than is required.

  4. Place the hair sample in the provided/downloaded envelope or in a clearly labelled paper envelope or sachet. Include your name, age, gender and where the hair was sampled (scalp, pubic, etc.).




How much hair is enough?

  1. When the 1-inch (2.5-4 cm) hair sample fills a FULL DESSERTSPOON about 125 milligrams (0.125 Gram), you will have enough hair.

  2. 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).

  3. Do not send too little. We may have to return 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.

If there is not enough scalp hair

You may provide the following samples in order of preference

  1. Beard hair

  2. Pubic hair

  3. Body hair, including axillary (no deodorants!)

  4. Fingernails

Do not mix hair from different places

If you can not provide enough, such as from the scalp of a baby or because of chemotherapy, collect what you can and send it in with a brief note, and we will all do our best to accommodate you while ensuring an accurate test.

You can collect as much as you can, store it in a clean, dry envelope, wait for more hair to grow, and then add to the sample until you have sufficient. The age of the hair for the sampling is not a problem.


Where to send the hair sample

Download, print, and send the HTMA Request Form below with the hair sample to our office:

15 Heaton Terrace


Wellington 6021

New Zealand

Pricing & Purchase of HTMA and other Tests

Here is the link to the tests on offer, including cats, dogs, sheep, cattle, pet goldfish and humans (purchase online or put payment with the sample when sending it in).

Bear in mind that we have access to dozens of tests. While the HTMA is usually the most helpful of tests, you are welcome to email me to determine which test or tests are best for you.

E-mail for clarification about which is the best test for you or your clients or if you do not live in New Zealand.

Please note: It is essential to have the findings explained thoroughly and related carefully to your or your client's special circumstances. These tests are easily misinterpreted. For example, an element high in the hair may be deficient in the body's organs. It takes many years of study and hands-on experience for a health professional to develop a thorough understanding of the ins and outs of this test and be aware of its limitations and strengths.

The Consultation Process

Complete this form well before you meet with me to review your HTMA report and other tests:


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