Does Hair dye kill lice?

Does Hair Dye Kill Lice? – A Simple Answer

So, you are just about to color your hair, and you find lice. What do you do now? Well, you’re probably wondering, does hair dye kill lice? Well, before we get into the answer to that question, you should understand how to identify them.

Of course, the first thing that you are going to notice is that your head is extremely itchy and irritating. However, having an itchy head does not always mean you have head lice or nits. The American Academy of Pediatrics has set out guidelines on a diagnosis that you can follow.

Diagnosis Of Lice

Visually identifying eggs, nymphs (juvenile nits), or adult lice is enough to confirm the diagnosis. However, seeing them can be a difficult task sometimes. Lice are pretty quick at moving around the hair, and they will try to avoid light as much as possible. That means that you may struggle to find them if you are looking at dry hair using your hands to part it.

Does Hair dye kill lice?

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They also say that using a comb with a lubricant in the hair to try and find them is the easiest method of diagnosis. Some experts suggest an oil or conditioner will slow the nits down enough for you to use the comb to catch at least one of them for identification. However, if you are thinking “does hair dye kill lice”, it means you want to dye your hair. Therefore, you will not want to use oils or conditioners as it will stop the color from working as well.

That leaves you with the option of using water to check for the lice. If you are not coloring your hair, then it will not matter what you use, and oil or conditioner may work better. However, as we are talking about hair dye killing lice, water is the best option. Typically, most lice will stay at the base of the hair near the neck or behind your ears. They can appear white, tan, or even grayish. Obviously, you can distinguish lice from another substance such as dandruff by looking for movement.

If you have already identified the lice, let’s get into answering the question that you came here for.

Does Hair Dye Kill Lice

The simple answer to this question is yes, sometimes. The strong chemicals in hair dye and bleach can often kill both lice and nymphs by drying them out. However, it will not kill any lice eggs that are in your hair, and some people report dye only being able to kill some of the adult lice in their hair. Therefore, as with regular hair lice treatments, you will have to get rid of those eggs once they hatch too.

Eggs take anywhere between 7 and 10 days to hatch, so it is advised that you repeat the treatment after that time. It is not recommended that you dye your hair again after that short a period, so you will have to do something different. Alternatively, if you know that you are planning on dying your hair in a week or so, but you have found lice, you could use an over the counter, or prescribed treatment first. Then, after 7-10 days incubation period, dye your hair.

In short, although many people have success with hair dye killing some of the lice on their head, you’ll need to resort to additional treatments to fully eradicate these creatures.


Does hair dye kill lice? Yes, it can. However, it is not the best option for treatment as you’ll have to treat lice multiple times. Once when you find them, and again in 7-10 days to kill off all of the remaining eggs that will have hatched. Furthermore, as it is only some of the chemicals that you may find in a dye that will kill them, you may use a color or bleach that doesn’t have them in. Your overall best option is to treat lice before dying your hair.

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