Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ on The Sampling Procedure

No. This is a concern for many women especially. The size of the hair sample is so small (about 1 tbsp), and taken in very small portions from the underneath layers at the back of the head, that visibly it makes absolutely no difference to anyone’s hairstyle. Even on a man with short hair, an adequate sample can be taken without anything being noticeable. For those with short hair, as long as you have 1 cm of growth that is enough to work with.

In total you need about 125mg of hair, or roughly 1 full tbsp.  The amount is not taking in one ‘chunk’, but rather is snipped in small portions from various locations around the back of the head so as not to make the cuts visible. If the hairstyle is very short, that is still fine, you will simply need to cut more ‘strands’ of hair than if the hair is longer.  If the hair is long, to ensure the most accurate results, please do not include hair any longer than 1.5″ away from the root as that data becomes too old to use.  If scalp hair is simply not available, then the secondary location for sampling is pubic.

The full sampling procedure is provided to you upon ordering, or you can also view the general details of sample collection at the following link: 

Certain hair dyes can affect specific levels, but are unlikely to affect your overall mineral profile  – rather, the effect will usually be specific to one mineral or, more so, one specific metal.  As long as we know which product you’ve used, we can proceed. However, it is suggested that you try to let your hair grow out at least 1/4″ or so if possible and work mainly with the untreated portion. The longer your natural roots, the easier it will be to cut the sample, and the less strands (pieces) of hair you will need to cut in order to reach the required sample weight needed by the lab.  If your untreated roots are fairly short, you will simply need to be a bit more careful in cutting the sample, and more strands will be needed.  The bulk of your hair sample should be natural hair (a tiny amount of dyed portion is not a major concern to your overall mineral profile, especially if we know which product/color you’ve used).  That being said, if your sample contains dye-treated hair, please ensure you’ve washed your hair at least 8 times since the treatment before sampling.  


Bleached hair is more problematic, and it is advised that enough virgin hair be allowed to grow out to use for the sample. 

When you order with us, you’ll receive a detailed instruction page with specific guidance on preparing and cutting your hair sample.  Simply though, your hair should be clean (freshly washed within 4 to 24 hours of collecting the sample) and free of any product (no hair spray, gel, etc).  Most shampoos are fine to use, however certain shampoos are not recommended prior to sampling as they can affect specific mineral levels. Many anti-dandruff shampoos (such as Head and Shoulders) contain zinc pyrithione, which can throw off the zinc level. The selenium in Selsun Blue can throw off the selenium level. It’s a good idea to avoid these shampoos for at least one week prior to sampling.  If your hair has recently been exposed to ocean salt water, or Epsom salt bath water, it’s also a good idea to do several hair washings before sampling.  


As our service is personalized and never assumes your levels at face value (a mistake that automated reports often make), as long as we know which products you’ve used prior to sampling we can adjust for those factors if we see anomalies in your results. 

No!  Many HTMA services chemically wash the hair sample at the lab.  While this won’t affect the toxic metal levels, it does run the risk of throwing off some of the nutrient levels.  If your purpose of testing is ONLY to understand toxic metals like mercury, arsenic, etc, then it is fine for the lab to wash the hair.  However, if you are interested in best understanding your mineral balances and how they may be affecting health, it’s best to work with a lab that does not wash the hair sample.

We work with Trace Elements Inc (TEI), one of the top two pioneering labs worldwide that follow all proper testing protocol, including NOT chemically washing the sample. 

FAQ on Ordering

Your HTMA test examines 36 minerals and toxic metals.  These include:

Nutritional Elements:

Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Copper, Zinc, Phosphorus, Iron, Manganese, Chromium, Selenium, Boron, Cobalt, Molybdenum, Sulfur

Additional Elements:

Germanium, Barium, Bismuth, Rubidium, Lithium, Nickel, Platinum, Thallium, Vanadium, Strontium, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, Zirconium

Toxic Elements:

Uranium, Arsenic, Beryllium, Mercury, Cadmium, Lead, Aluminum

Absolutely not! We’ve eliminated the hassle of waiting for an unnecessary kit to arrive by mail.  A big misconception is that a “kit” is needed for hair analysis, and some services use a “Kit” as a marketing approach.  However, “kits” are not unnecessary for this test!  While we’re happy to ship out a kit upon request, less than 0.2% of the thousands of clients we’ve worked with felt they needed a “kit”.  Besides, why wait for days (or in some cases weeks) for some kit to arrive by mail when it’s not even needed!  Upon your order, we have an efficient system that allows you to get started immediately – you could even have your hair sample on its way to the lab as early as tomorrow!

No problem. We work with clients as far away as Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America.  Some countries have restrictions which require you to order the lab test through a local provider, however regardless of where in the world you live, Rick can still work you on a consultation basis after you’ve received your lab charts.  For most countries, our full service menu is available.  We provide you all the instructions needed for mailing in your hair sample to the lab, regardless of where you live.   

There are certain countries that do have restrictions.  If you live in any of the following countries, feel free to contact us and we can support you in finding a local provider:


When we order HTMA testing for our clients, we run our tests through Trace Elements Inc (TEI), one of the 2 original pioneering labs in this field and which follows all proper testing protocol. 


However, we’re experienced in ALL HTMA lab interpretation.  If you already have HTMA results from a different lab, that’s no problem!  Rick has worked with literally dozens of HTMA providers around the world (even those presented in different languages), and he can assist you with interpretation of those results, regardless of which lab your results are from (as long as your results include numerical values for your levels). 


(Some labs only give ranges for your elements (for example, “high, normal, low”), and such data is insufficient for optimal application of HTMA.  We do not recommend labs that only provide ranges without numerical values.)