Does Hair Dye Kill Lice?


Having head lice will not allow you to enjoy any moments in peace. They’ll expose you to constant irritation and interfere with the health of your hair. Head lice mostly affect children, and they feed on their blood, but adults can also have them.

You can get head lice if your hair gets into contact with a person already infested with these insects. It’s so frustrating living with these pests on your hair. Hence, you need to act fast to look for the best method to eradicate them.

Eliminating head lice was easy earlier before they became resistant to their treatments. So, people have to come up with new techniques to try and get rid of the nuisance. One of the techniques involves the use of hair dye to kill the lice.

But does hair dye really kill lice? This article does all the research on whether hair dye can kill dye on your head or not. It also answers all the questions you might have about hair dye and head lice. Read through to find out if you can get a solution to your lice problem.

Using Hair Dye as a Home Remedy

Lice have become resistant to most of the chemical treatments. But a home remedy approach might work. If you decide to use hair dye to kill the lice, you should prepare yourself for any outcome. Because they might dye or change colors after you dye your hair, making it hard to spot them.

For you to settle on home remedies there’s a probability the chemicals treatments did not work. The lice might have become resistant to chemical treatment. So, you don’t need to continue wasting your money with no positive results.

Is Your Interest in Killing or Eliminating the Lice?

You should understand that if you succeed in killing the lice, it doesn’t mean you will manage to eliminate them. Do you know why? It’s because lice presence on your hair means they also have their eggs with them.

So, if you intend to kill the lice and not eradicate their eggs, you will not bring in any change. Rather, you’ll give room for the eggs to hatch and bring in more infestation. If you have an interest in permanently eliminating the head lice focus on both their eggs and the living lice bugs.

Will Hair Dye Kill the Head Lice?


Although there’s no scientific proof on the ability of hair dyes killing lice, people use it. The dyes come in various brands with each having a different composition. But the most used type is the permanent dye which has two main chemical components. The permanent Hair dye consists of chemical components that can kill lice.

The main chemical in the dye that makes it possible to color your hair is Hydrogen Peroxide. It’s also responsible for making your hair dry and rough. Hydrogen peroxide also can make your hair lose Sulphur. When your hair is rough and loose, it becomes harder for the lice and their eggs to hold on to the hair or scalp.

Ammonia in the hair dye will make your hair produce a choking smell and gas which will suffocate the head lice. Ammonia also makes the hair-thin so it will be hard for the lice to hide with the choking air on thin hair. Also, the ammonia content in the dye makes your scalp acidic which lice can’t contain so they’ll look for a way out.

Remember hair dye can only act on lice but not their eggs. The eggs have a strong shell that prevents chemicals from damaging them. So, if the lice die, their eggs will remain to hatch and bring in a re-infestation.

Is It Possible for Hair Dye to Kill Lice Eggs?

Even though hair dye can kill lice, eradicating their eggs (nits) is never easy. The nits hide at the baseline of your hair around the scalp with a protective shell over them. Killing lice eggs is not easy because they have a protective lining. It protects them from extreme conditions like exposure to harsh chemicals. If you succeed in killing the lice with the hair dye their eggs will hatch. You should then expect a re-emergence of a new breed.

Usually, the female louse can lay about five eggs per day for a month. So, killing the layers will not affect the continuation of their generation. You should use more stringent treatments that are better than hair dyes or shampoo.

Does Hair Dye Have Any Effect on Your Hair or Your Child’s Hair?

Your child’s scalp and hair are weak and vulnerable. If you consider dyeing their hair, you’ll worsen this condition. In case you dye their hair on a regular basis to kill the lice then the hair will start breaking off. Also, the dye will affect their health, given that your child’s scalp has a high absorption rate. And as a result, the chemical components in the dye will get into their bodies.

For example, Ammonia peroxide will make them have difficulties in breathing. It can cause seizures and skin irritations. Dyeing your hair will also change your natural hair texture. And will take a long before you restore the initial sheen and color. You can also develop allergies. Or have irritations that might force you to scratch your scalp. You don’t want to do anything that can damage your skin and open ways for more skin infections.

Is Using Hair Dye to Eliminate Lice Cost-Effective or Time-Saving

There is a likelihood that you’ll be applying the dye by yourself. Most people fear they might get infected if they help you. Doing it yourself means spending a lot of time. Remember, for the best results; you need to apply it for three respective weeks. It will not only consume your time but also damage your hair.

If you don’t want to damage your hair, you’ll opt for more high-quality hair dyes. This means you’ll spend a lot of money not on buying dyes but getting a home remedy for head lice.

Why Using Hair Dye Makes It Difficult to Eliminate the Lice?

If you color your hair, all the things on it also change color. In this case, you are dyeing your hair to get rid of the nuisance insects. But in the process, you’ll give the stubborn pests the best strategy to hibernate with your new color. If you were using hair dye as a strategy to make it easy to spot the lice then you are wrong.

When you dye your hair red the lice will not maintain their original color. They’ll take up your new hair color and so will their nits too. So, using hair dye is not a strategy that can make you spot the lice.

What you should do to Eradicate Lice Using Hair Dye

To eradicate head lice on your hair, you should consider dyeing your hair thrice. Preferably you can do this weekly. Use a combination of hair dye and vinegar. Or other effective treatments that are not harmful to your hair. It works best if you apply the hair dye for three consecutive weeks. Consider repeating the procedure to eradicate them because lice hatch after seven days.

So, you’ll be dealing with the eggs and the nymphs that might have developed after the first dye application.

How to Apply Hair Dye to Remove Lice

How to Apply Hair Dye to Remove Lice?

  • Begin with a solvent containing vinegar and water by spreading it all over your scalp and hair. Ensure the solution is not weak or too concentrated.
  • Mix both water and vinegar in equal measures. Remember to cover the hair with enough vinegar solution. Don’t forget to spread it on your neck and back of your head.
  • Leave it to stay on your head for up to fifteen minutes. In case you feel burning pain, rinse it off immediately.
  • Use warm water while washing off the solution from your scalp.
  • After rinsing off the solution, use lice comb to remove both the eggs and lice bugs on your hair.
  • Ensure you clean the comb and submerge it in hot water to destroy any lice that might have remained on it. Cleaning the lice comb will save you from returning any egg or lice when you want to re-use it.
  • Mix the hair dye following the directions given on the leaflet in a well-aerated room. Don’t skip any of the directions because you are handling chemicals that can cause harm to the body.
  • After proper mixing, apply the hair dye on your hair and scalp. Spread it in the same manner, you did with the vinegar-water solution.
  • After some time, wash it off and comb your hair again with a lice comb.
  • When done use a hairdryer with enough heat to make your hair dry. Using the dryer can kill lice that survived the whole process.

Understand that dyeing your hair is not a guarantee of any future lice infestation. And also, if you didn’t eradicate all the nits at the base of your scalp be ready for a re-infestation. Most likely they will reappear on your hair in about seven days after the process.

Hair Dye Brands That Kill Lice

Not all hair dyes are capable of killing lice. Since not all the brands contain the two chemical components that can kill the lice. If you want to kill lice using hair dye, go for the specific brands that will give you the best results.

To know these brands, you can ask a professional who has in-depth knowledge of these products. The professional can tell you which brand to use according to your skin type or the effects of the hair dye. Avoid using self-prescribed hair dyes as they can damage your hair and skin.

What you should do to Avoid Getting Body Harms When Applying Hair Dye

If you want to dye your hair because of lice infestation, you must know that it contains harmful components that can harm your health. For this reason, it recommended that you observe safety precautions all the time, especially if you are doing it by yourself. Ensure you have disposable gloves that you will use while spreading the hair dye. The gloves will prevent your hands from chipping or getting cracks.

Once you start spreading the hair dye, please don’t touch any openings in your body. Don’t touch your mouth, eye, or nose because it will cause irritations. Do the whole procedure in a well-aerated place to be safe from the choking smell. This will also ensure you avoid inhaling the dangerous chemicals components in the hair dye. If you are in a room ensure it has enough air supply. Throw away the containers and the gloves you used after finishing the procedure.

Avoid using hair dyes on your kids as it will harm their precious body that has not yet developed well. If you have skin conditions, contact a specialist before dyeing your hair.

Are There Other Home Remedies Apart from Hair Dye?

Sometimes you might find that hair dye doesn’t work well in eradicating the lice. But you don’t want to use pesticides either because they’ve failed you before. Or you don’t prefer spraying chemicals around your home. You can use Jamaican castor oil or coconut oil on your hair to kill the lice.

Tree tea oil can also act as a good pesticide when used in its natural form. This is because it has a high concentration of toxins that will kill the lice. You can also opt for picking the lice from your hair and killing them by yourself.    

Bottom Line

Just because hair dye worked on your friend on killing lice doesn’t mean it will work on you. People have different hair types and skin and what worked on another person may harm you instead. So, whether hair dye kills lice is a question that has both positive and negative answers depending on individual situations. But if you’re completely sure of what you’re doing then you won’t die if you give it a try.

You must also understand that dyes have chemicals that might affect your hair if wrongly used. So, even if this home remedy works for you, you must be very careful about how you use it. It can have advanced effects on your hair and skin if used frequently. You should also be very careful when using hair dye on children because they have a sensitive scalp that shouldn’t be exposed to dye chemicals.

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Having retired after teaching Field Biology for many years, I have a wide range of topics to write on. My interests are photographing animals and plants, vacationing with my family, enjoying my grandchildren, dancing, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, gardening, winter activities, leading nature walks, writing notes on nature, and home improvements (we are renovating our retirement home). With all that I am doing now, you may wonder how I ever found the time to work - of course, most of the other things were put on hold all those years.


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