Dead Nits vs Live Lice Eggs
Video Tutorial

Learn how to tell the difference between dead nits and live nits or live lice eggs in 3 steps.

Let me introduce myself...

Lice nurse helping others

Hi there! I'm a lice expert, lice coach, Registered Nurse, and the creator of My Lice Advice. I help people with lice every day in my lice treatment center, in school districts, and in government work. But the thing I love the most is empowering parents to get rid of head lice in ONE DAY at home! 

You can eliminate lice in one day using the same proven professional technique I use in my lice center on your child. Follow along with the Step-by-Step Video System, and when you're done with the videos you're done with lice. PERMANENTLY!

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Transcript of the video:


Hey, it's Theresa with My Lice Advice, and today we're talking about nits, dead nits versus live nits or lice eggs. And how can you tell the difference? Let's get to it.

So before getting started, so that you know who I am, my name is Theresa with I'm a Registered Nurse, and I specialize in head lice. And I own, where I teach parents how to do a professional lice treatment on their child at home so that they can get rid of lice in one treatment.

All right, enough about me. Let's talk about nits and lice eggs. This is the telltale sign of having head lice that you're going to find these little lice eggs in the hair, and you're going to know that they're lice eggs because they're pretty much glued in the hair like glued to each individual hair strand and they're really hard to get out.

Most of the time, people end up pinching one of these lice eggs in between their fingers and pulling it all the way down the hair strand. This kind of thing is called nitpicking, which is not the best way to get rid of these lice eggs, but I'll get into that later.

Now, a question I get a lot is, "How do I know whether or not these nits are lice eggs in the hair are alive or dead?" And there are three ways to know one way or the other.



Number one is the color, and it's not what you think. Probably the biggest misconception about lice eggs is their color of them. When they're very first laid, they're usually a lighter golden color like this. But as they get closer to hatching, they get darker and darker.

So they're going to turn into this kind of two-toned color where they have just part of it is a dark brown, and then the rest is golden. And then eventually, right before they're going to hatch, they turn into this very dark brown and almost black looking color.

Now, after they get to be this really dark color, they hatch, which means they come out of the egg. And what you're left with is an eggshell. This is what you're going to see that looks white in dark hair. This is just a leftover shell. This is after the bug has already left.

And these that are left in the hair that are white like this. This is what people typically call nits as these white shells in the hair.



Number two, think hatched or not hatched. So the mistake I see people make often is that they'll see these darker lice eggs in the hair, and they will assume that the darker lice eggs mean that it's dead. Like, "Oh, this is black. That must mean it's dead."

And that's not true. Instead of thinking of lice, eggs and nits as whether or not they're dead versus not dead, the thing that you can actually tell is whether or not they've hatched or they have not hatched.

So you think if something has not hatched yet, then it's going to be darker. It's either going to be like a darker golden color or two-toned or really dark brown or black like this. And the darker it is, the closer it is to hatching, so the bigger the threat. As opposed to these white-looking lice eggs, those are just the shells left over. Those have already hatched, so there's no longer a bug in them, so they're not a threat anymore.



And number three is the location in which you find them. Lice eggs are always laid within a quarter-inch of the scalp because they have to have the heat of the head to grow and hatch. Let me show you what I'm talking about.

This girl has had head lice for three years, and you can see all of these white lice eggs called nits. Further down the hair strand, you look up close, right up next to the scalp. Do you see these darker lice eggs? See how they're brown. That's because there's still a bug in them. They have not hatched yet.

So a mistake I see people make a lot is that they'll focus on these white nits further down the hair strand when those don't have a bug inside them anymore—the real threat or all of these lice eggs that are right up next to the scalp.


Will the nits ever come out of the hair on their own?


No, when lice lay their eggs, they glue them to the hair strand. So somebody like this, that's head lice for a long time, this girl's had lice for like three years. And these lice eggs that are way down here were actually laid next to the scalp. In her case, her hair has grown that far out, so lice eggs will stay on there pretty much forever.

And for most people leaving even those hatched lice eggs in the hair, it's just gross. So I always take every single lice egg out.

Now I know that sounds like a really daunting task because, in your mind, you're thinking, "I'm going to have to pick all these eggs out or try and use one of those crappy combs that come in a kit." But, if you want to know how to get rid of all of the lice and all the lice eggs quickly in one treatment, go to my website, There's a step-by-step video system. I'll walk you through how to get all of these lice eggs out of the hair without doing any nitpicking at all.




Okay, so that sums it up. "How do you tell the difference between dead nits and live lice eggs?"

Remember these three principles: the color and whether or not something has hatched or not hatched. You really can't say, Oh, this is a dead nit and this is a live lice egg, but you can tell whether or not they have hatched.

Remember, if they haven't hatched yet, they're going to be darker. Those are the ones that still have a bug inside. Those are the ones that are the threat. And then remember the location, the live lice, eggs, the ones that will hatch. Those are the ones that are still close to the scalp. As opposed to lice eggs that are further down the hair strand. Those ones are already hatched.

Either way, you're going to want to get all of the lice eggs out of the hair. That's the best way to get rid of lice. You kill every single bug, and you get out every single lice egg.

And if you do have lice and you'd like some help, then head over to There are loads of free resources there, including a free house cleaning checklist specific to head lice.

So that's it for today. Be sure to like and subscribe below, and if you have a comment feel free to leave a comment. And if you want to learn more about how to do a professional lice treatment at home, you can also find that on I'll see you there.

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