Hair Detox FAQ

Anything that gets into your bloodstream shows up in your hair.

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Detoxing is big business these days, with kits and pills and drinks on the market to clean out body parts you didn't know you had. Some even claim to help you detox your hair! Detoxing your hair isn't necessary, either medically or cosmetically. Hair is not alive. It can get coated with things like cigarette smoke, and it can reflect what you're putting into your body. But, no hair detox method is going to make you any healthier.

What Is Detox?

"Detox" used to mean breaking an addiction to drugs or alcohol, and in many cases it was medically supervised. The alternative health community believes that toxins can build up in your body -- and your hair -- and that they need to be forcibly removed. This can involve fasting, massage, eating only juiced fruits and vegetables, dry brushing the skin and herbal baths. There's no evidence that it's necessary, but according to Katherine Zeratsky at MayoClinic.com, some people do report feeling better afterward. Hair detox is usually included in a full-body program, rather than a weekend fast.

Detoxing for Health

Your liver and kidneys are your body's cleaning crew. They process toxins fabulously with no help from you, though they do appreciate a lean diet, some exercise and plenty of water. The best way to detox your body is to avoid putting too many poisons into it, though an occasional weekend of juice fasting or eating only raw foods won't hurt if you take in enough calories. Any toxins that get into your bloodstream will end up in your hair. Eating well, exercising and drinking water may not detox your hair, but the healthier you are, the better your hair -- and skin and nails -- will look.

Detoxing from Products

Most hair products like conditioners, gels, mousses, waxes and hair spray sit on the surface of your hair. If you don't shampoo often, or if you're using a really mild shampoo, that stuff can build up. This can make your hair look limp, lifeless and dull. Using a good clarifying shampoo can strip out the build-up, restoring your hair to its former shine and bounce.

Detoxing for Drug Tests

Because your hair does reflect what you take into your body, many drug tests involve a chemical examination of your hair. The science peeps at Omega Laboratories, who do these tests, say there's no way to detox illegal substances from your hair to fool a drug test. It takes about four to five days for drug use to show up in your hair, and the hair on your head will show positive for about 90 days. Body hair can be tested up to a year after drug use and show a positive.

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