An in vitro hair perforation test is used to differentiate isolates of Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Trichophyton rubrum complexes because morphological criteria are insufficient. Here, we performed in vitro hair perforation tests using blond prepubertal hair and albino adult hair to determine whether they differentiate between fungal species. We tested 43 well-characterized dermatophyte strains, Arthroderma spp. [n = 4], Epidermophyton floccosum [n = 1], Microsporum spp. [n = 8], and Trichophyton spp. [n = 30], and examined hair perforation at 3-30 days postinoculation (p.i.). The perforation times were not significantly different between the two hair types (P > 0.05). The T. mentagrophytes complex strains perforated hair 4-5 days p.i., whereas T. rubrum complex strains perforated hair 13-30 days p.i., except for Trichophyton violaceum, which perforated hair after 6-7 days. Thus, the hair perforation test is highly sensitive (100 %) and specific (100 %) for differentiating T. mentagrophytes from T. rubrum complexes 5 days p.i. At 14 and 30 days, the sensitivity and negative predictive value of the test remained unchanged (100 %), but the specificity was reduced (64.3 and 14.3 %, respectively). Consistent with previous reports, we observed "perforating organs" of zoophilic Microsporum canis and geophilic Microsporum gypseum at 4 and 3 days, respectively. This paper offers a "low-cost" and "low-tech" alternative to differentiating dermatophyte species where standard morphological techniques fail and/or where molecular techniques are not a viable option.