The requirements for getting an accurate representation of the present trace mineral levels from hair include taking a proper sample. Here is the correct procedure:
Washing your hair: Make sure your hair has been washed before sampling it, preferably with a mild soap or with shampoo, within 24 to 48 hours. Using a conditioner or rinse is okay, but it would be best to use only a mild shampoo for the best results. Do not place other products on the hair just before cutting the hair sample such as hair cream, hair spray or others.
Tints, dyes, color rinses (such as henna) and highlighting: These can be on your hair when you cut a sample for analysis. Most shampoos, rinses, conditioners, tints, sprays and other hair products don’t affect the test for three reasons: First, most of these products do not contain minerals, which is all the hair test measures. Second, the hair is only 10-15% porous. This means that not very much is absorbed by the hair. (The scalp, however, is porous and can absorb many chemicals). Finally, most shampoos are only applied for 15-30 seconds, not long enough for much absorption. The more natural the hair, however, the better.
Grecian Formula contains lead and should be avoided. Head & Shoulders Shampoo contains zinc and could elevate zinc readings. Selsun Blue Shampoo contains selenium and could elevate this reading.
Bleaches and Permanents: After a bleach or permanent, especially a beauty parlor permanent, wash your hair four or five times before sending in a sample. The chemicals used can affect the hair structure. However, the hair will recover after several washings, as a general rule.
If you have a water softener in your home, and you use softened water for bathing, it might influence the test: In this case, please wash and rinse your hair TWICE with either distilled or reverse osmosis water before you sample your hair. This should remove residues of salt or potassium from your hair. Distilled or reverse osmosis water can be purchased in jugs at the supermarket.
Hair vs other body hair
The best tissue for sampling is one that is clean, fast growing and that grows evenly. Head hair fulfills these requirements better than any other type of hair. The normal values used in the hair mineral analysis test have been established based on head hair samples.
If head hair is not available the preferred order would be as follows:
- Take hair sample from all over the head if enough hair can be collected
- Beard hair
- Underarm hair
- Chest hair
- Pubic hair
In the event that head hair is not available, pubic hair or other body hair may be used. Accutrace Laboratories has performed comparison testing to determine the difference in mineral readings between head and pubic hair samples. The study found that:
The major ratios are the same in the pubic and head hair samples.
However, all of the levels tend to be higher in pubic hair.
The difference may be due to the slower growth rate of pubic hair and that it is more protected from the elements than head hair. We ask that you do not mix sources, such as half head hair and half pubic hair. This will cause inaccurate readings.
Other Body Hair
Hair from a beard, other body hair or finger nails could be analyzed, but the laboratory has not performed extensive testing on these.
sampling the hair
Scissors should be clean and sharp. Steel scissors are better than aluminum scissors. If plated scissors are used, be sure the plating is not peeling off, which could contaminate the sample.
Be sure to sample enough hair. If you have received one from us, the paper scale should tip to the other side. We recommend cutting several snips of hair as close as possible to the scalp. You may cut the samples from along the sides, top or back of the head. Place the samples on a clean table with the cut end facing you. Now cut off any long ends of hair that are over 1 inch (or about 2 centimeters) long. Shorter hair is fine. However, the long ends of hair are older and are not as good for sampling. The new hair, near the scalp, is much better.
You will have enough hair when the 1-inch (or less) cut samples will fill an ordinary tablespoon. Combine these and place in a clean, paper envelope. Write your name, age and date of sampling on the envelope.
Short hair can be a challenge. A thinning shears is often helpful. Thinning will allow a more even sampling without leaving any “holes” or uneven areas. Thinning shears are best when the hair is less than 1 1/2 inches long. One method is to make a cut with the thinning shears, then pull the scissors away from the head, holding them parallel to the head. The cut hair will come away in the scissors and can be scraped into the envelope.
Retest samples should be taken from the same area as the original sample, if at all possible. This assures continuity from sample to sample. However, it is not necessary to find the precise strands of hair for the next retest. Simply take the sample from the same general area.
Also, head hair cannot be compared to other types of hair so be sure that the second hair sample is from the same origin as the first.