How to Pass a Nail Drug Test? (The Most Effective Methods)

a doctor checking a person's fingernails for a drug test

Passing a nail drug test is traditionally tricky, but it can be done with the right knowledge and preparation. I’ve spent months researching which methods are most effective for passing these screenings.

In this article, I will tell you all about nail drug testing and provide all the details needed to pass your next fingernail or nail bed drug test.

Quick Summary

  • Unlike hair testing, there is no length requirement for collecting nail samples; weight is the only factor that matters.
  • Unlike the hair test, the nail test delivers more accurate results – of up to eight months – that consequently paint a clearer picture of an applicant’s drug usage.
  • The nail bed drug test is comparable to the hair drug test, with a 3-6 months detection window.

What Is Fingernail Drug Testing?

A person showing his fingernailsFingernail drug testing is a relatively new form of screening that involves collecting nail samples from the finger or toe to detect drug metabolites. 

The fingernail is an ideal sample for this type of nail testing because it serves as a storage unit for traces of various toxins and drugs, making detection much easier.

Gathering a nail sample for fingernail testing is a straightforward process that takes place under the direct watch of an overseer.

Additionally, results are reliable as it preserves drug traces for much longer than hair because the metabolites remain longer in dead cells.

Fingernail testing was not a common drug test specimen. However, following the successful evaluation and accurate hair testing results, researchers proposed incorporating fingernail drug testing since nails are also composed of dead nail cells.

This would provide a similar accuracy level as obtained from hair testing.

Fingernail and toenail specimens contain a unique keratin that collects and preserves chemical components circulated in the blood from the dermis root.

This same type of keratin sends drug metabolites to nail fibers, enabling them to remain stored for extended periods.

What Is Fingernail Keratin?

Close up shot of fingernails full of keratinFingernail keratin is a specialized form of keratin that is found in the nail bed. This keratin is very effective in trapping and storing drug metabolites for extended periods [1].

Fingernails feature a type of keratin four times thicker than the kind found in hair. One primary explanation is due to their growth direction; while hair’s keratin expands from root to tip, nails grow both upwards and downwards. 

A new layer of nails forms on either side as they elongate away from the germinal matrix, continuously repeating this process until a thickened, extended length is visible.

Many believe that the germinal matrix is responsible for transferring drugs from blood to nails; however, this is a common misconception. The truth is that substances gain access directly via blood vessels and are then stored in the keratin-based nail matrix as it grows outwards. 

Furthermore, frequent drug users will tend to have larger amounts of traces recorded within their nails than those who use sporadically due to increased intensity over time.

It is important to note that toenails provide a longer detection window than fingernails, so if the donor cannot offer ample fingernail samples, their toenails will be assessed instead. 

How Does Nail Drug Testing Work?

A doctor checking a person's fingernailsNail drug testing works by collecting nail clippings from a person’s fingernail or toenail and testing it for drug metabolites. The test is simple: placing a small piece of nail clippings into a particular vial and sending it off for laboratory analysis.

To collect a sample, your finger and toenails must have an ordinary look and length; they cannot be dirtied with oil, nail polish, or false nails. If you have diabetes or peripheral artery disease, extra care is necessary when selecting the sample.

Fingernails and hair are both composed of the same material, keratin. As your nails grow, materials from blood vessels beneath them can become trapped in their fibers at a more concentrated rate than regular strands of hair due to its four-times greater thickness.

Consequently, fingernails are better indicators for certain substances present within your body as they capture far more information than hairs alone ever could.

Drugs That Can Be Detected in a Nail Drug Test

Nail tissue can be gathered and tested for drug use with either immunoassay screening accompanied by a confirmation examination or through liquid chromatography as well as mass spectrometry in the laboratory.

It is analyzed for different types of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, opiates and amphetamines, etcetera. This reliable method ensures that results are accurate and trustworthy.

Not only are fingernail tests adept at uncovering EtG (ethyl glucuronide) alcohol markers, but they can detect a wide range of drugs such as opiates, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines with remarkable accuracy. 

Factors such as age, health condition, chronic diseases, regular drug usage, weather, and atmosphere all affect how long drug metabolites remain inside the nail bed.

Typically traces of drugs stay present within three to six months; however, people living in wet climates may experience faster deterioration, with some remnants potentially extinguished after only three months.

“Like your hair, fingernails and toenails are built from keratinized proteins. They tend to be a little porous and soft, making them the perfect nesting ground for drug byproducts.”
Mark Shandrow, Expert in Behavioral Health

How To Pass a Fingernail Drug Test?

A person trying to pass the fingernail drug testTo pass a fingernail drug test, one can start using detox products. These products work by removing any traces of drugs from underneath your fingernails, so you’ll need to use them a few days before the nail testing procedure.

In addition, depending on the type of drug used and frequency of drug use, it is possible to pass these tests by avoiding any further substance use for up to six months before a nail testing procedure.

If you’re looking for ways to pass the fingernail drug test, here are a few potential solutions that might do the trick alongside consuming a detox drink:

  • By keeping nail growth low and allowing enough time to pass between potential illicit drug use, the chances of success on this type of test increase dramatically.
  • Don’t be tempted to disguise them with nail polish or fake nails, as this could compromise the accuracy of the results.

Despite the loopholes to help you beat a nail test, ultimately, the clearest path is not taking drugs and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Fingernail Drug Test vs Hair Follicle Testing

Fingernail and hair follicle drug testing are similar in many ways but have some key differences:

Detection Window

  • Hair Follicle Testing: Typically has a detection window of up to 90 days.
  • Fingernail Testing: Also offers a long detection window, similar to hair, often up to 3-6 months, as drugs remain detectable in keratin fibers.

Sample Collection

  • Hair Follicle Testing: Requires a small sample of hair, usually from the head, but body hair can also be used.
  • Fingernail Testing: Involves clipping a small sample of fingernails.

Substances Detected

Both tests can detect a wide range of substances, including but not limited to cannabis, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and PCP.

Effect of Cosmetic Treatments

  • Hair Follicle Testing: The accuracy can be affected by hair treatments like dyeing, bleaching, or perming.
  • Fingernail Testing: Less likely to be affected by cosmetic treatments, but nail polish or acrylic nails might need to be removed before testing.


Both are used in situations requiring detection of drug use over an extended period, such as legal cases, employment screening, or substance abuse monitoring programs.

Related Articles:


How Do You Clean Your Nails For A Drug Test?

To clean your nails for a drug test, you can wash them with short alcohol, water, nail polish remover, or dichloromethane rinses at room temperature.

How Long Can Drugs Be Detected In Nails?

Drugs can be detected in nails for as long as six months—however, this can vary depending on the type of drug used and the length of its usage. However, single doses do not cause a positive result.

Can You Use Fake Nails For A Nail Drug Test?

No, you can’t use fake nails for a nail drug test. Using fake nails for a nail drug test is not recommended, as they could interfere with the results.

Are You Facing a Nail Drug Test?

If you want to pass a fingernail testing process, decreasing your drug exposure and drinking an effective detox drink are key. After trying various products in the market, I’ve concluded that Clear Choice Rescue Cleanse was by far the best option. 

Its potent combination of vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts efficiently stimulates your body’s natural processes to filter out toxins. As a result, it delivers powerful effects that help you pass your drug test. This will surely instill a sense of peace as you approach the testing day.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *