Does Hair Dye Kill Lice or Nits? Will Dyeing Your Hair Prevent Lice?
Discover the truth about using hair dye to get rid of lice. Can hair dye treat or prevent a head lice infestation?
If you have head lice, chances are you want to get rid of it and fast!
Is Lice Back Again?
Lice have become immune to everything that used to work in the past. Perhaps you remember your mom using a typical lice treatment and that doing the trick. But the new strain of head lice is no longer killed by those treatments, that’s why lice today are termed by people, “super lice,” because they can’t be eliminated with treatments that used to work.
Many people with lice are stuck in a “never-ending lice cycle” that looks like this…
- You discover lice, you spend hours treating, nit-picking, house cleaning etc.
- You think it’s gone for a few weeks…
- But, then it’s back again!
Sound familiar? This cycle will repeat over and over again until you change what you’re doing.
You may have heard that hair dye might kill lice. Is it true?
This article answers the following questions:
Before reading this article you should WATCH THE VIDEO above so that you can learn these 5 things and be successful.
Here are a few of the key points covered in the video:
- Some home remedies help with lice and some make lice way WORSE (find out which ones in the video).
- Lice can play dead (learn what I mean in the video)
- What's DANGEROUS?
- Lice eggs/nits and home remedies
- Home remedy treatment plan
Here are the links to the two articles I talk about in the video...
First, you should know that if you are struggling with head lice, it is not your fault! The current strain of head lice are immune to pesticides found in over-the-counter treatments and prescriptions. The result is most treatments won’t kill lice, no matter how long you leave them on or how many times you use them.
Lice today are called “super lice” because they have genetic mutations that make them immune to most treatments. They are VERY difficult to kill.
Multiple studies have proven that lice are immune to treatments that worked in the past, but the companies that make most lice products don’t want you to know that. Many parents will buy a brand named product five or six times before finally giving up and trying something else.
Are you better off using hair dye?
Before talking about whether or not Hair Dye kills lice, you should ask yourself a critical question...
Do you want to KILL LICE or GET RID OF LICE???
Because there’s a big difference! Killing lice today, does NOT get rid of lice. If you focus all of your energy on killing lice bugs, you will NEVER get rid of lice!
When you have lice you have 2 problems, lice bugs, and lice eggs. Often people focus all of their attention on lice bugs, but neglect the much bigger problem- LICE EGGS! Those eggs are full of little lice bugs, just waiting to hatch and start this whole lice cycle all over again! That’s why you keep getting lice back!
If you want to GET RID of lice then you have to deal with both problems: Lice bugs and Lice Eggs (nits).
Does Hair Dye Kill Lice?
There are multiple kinds of hair dye out there, but the only type that has the “potential” to be a lice killer is permanent hair dye (as opposed to temporary or semi-permanent)...
Depending on the brand of hair dye you get, the dye usually has one of two ingredients: ammonium persulfate or hydrogen peroxide. Both of these ingredients have the potential to kill lice, but in reality, they don’t.
Lice are now totally immune to hydrogen peroxide. I have personally tested it on lice in this article here, it doesn’t kill lice.
Ammonia, on the other hand, can kill many lice. If you’re set on using hair dye as a lice treatment, make sure you are using one with ammonia in it, not just hydrogen peroxide.
However, you should know that even though hair dye can kill some lice, hair dye won’t get rid of lice.
I have helped hundreds of families with lice. All these families have tried multiple over-the-counter treatments and home remedies without success, including dyeing and bleaching their hair multiple times.
One memorable experience from is a little girl who had struggled with lice for a year. Her parents had attempted to get rid of it by dyeing her hair multiple times.
By the time I got involved, this little brunette had white hair with loads of lice. Most of the lice were this white translucent color. Imagine trying to find these clear bugs in white hair!
The new super lice today are strong and resistant to almost all treatments and home remedies, including hair dye.
Because being a “lice expert” is my full-time job, I’ve tested just about every home remedy out there, including hair dye. Hair dye can kill many head lice, but it won’t get rid of lice permanently.
If you attempt to get rid of head lice by dyeing your hair multiple times, you’ll end up stuck in a cycle like this:
I do not recommend hair dye as a lice treatment for the following reasons:
- There are better treatments and home remedies than hair dye.
- Strong lice can mutate and survive.
- Multiple rounds of hair dye can actually harm your child.
- Hair dye does not kill lice eggs.
- Hair dye will not save you money.
- Hair dye can wind up making lice harder to get rid of.
What's the FASTEST Way To Get Rid of Lice?
The purpose of My Lice Advice is to help parents get rid of lice as fast as possible. And the fastest way to get rid of lice is to get rid of lice in one day, no re-treatments. This is how lice professionals like myself get rid of lice in lice centers. Most people assume that lice professionals use some kind of crazy strong lice product or something. But the truth is that's not how lice professionals get rid of lice so fast....
When I treat lice in my lice center I don't use any toxic chemicals or special treatments. In fact, you can do a professional lice treatment at home without buying any lice products. I teach parents how to do this professional technique on their children at home, on my page Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro!
In Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro! you learn how to get rid of lice in less than a day by doing what the pro's do. And it's gone permanently- there are no re-treatments, and no messing around with lice kits. You do the professional technique on your child at home, you kill all of the lice and the lice eggs in one session and then you're done with lice.
That's the FASTEST and MOST EFFECTIVE way to get rid of lice. You can learn how to do it by clicking here.
Why Hair Dye for Lice Is A Bad Idea
#1: Hair Dye Can Make Getting Rid of Lice Harder
Hair dye will not get rid of head lice. In fact, hair dye will make it significantly harder to get rid of lice because it will dye all of the nits and lice the same color as your hair, making them significantly harder to spot and remove.
I have seen a wide variety of “colored” lice eggs from people’s hair. I’ve seen blue, black, pink, and red nits. Whatever color you dye your hair, that’s what color your lice eggs will be, which of course makes it pretty tough to see them.
#2: The Strongest Lice Mutate and Breed
Depending on the brand of hair dye you get, it typically has either ammonium persulfate or hydrogen peroxide.
Both of these ingredients have the potential to kill lice, but neither really succeeds at doing so.
Lice are now immune to hydrogen peroxide. Ammonia, on the other hand, can kill many lice. If you’re set on using hair dye as a lice treatment, make sure you are using ammonia, not hydrogen peroxide.
Ammonia can kill many lice. Just like pesticide treatments, however, lice can grow immune to it. In this situation, the weakest lice die, but the strongest live and breed with each other to make even stronger lice in the future, making them harder and harder to get rid of.
This is already well documented when it comes to pesticides, so it’s likely to happen for other toxins.
#3: Hair Dye Can Harm Your Child
Children’s hair is different than adult hair. It is usually very fine and fragile. Dyeing a child’s hair (especially frequently) is likely to damage it. The hair can break off or even fall out. Honestly, though, that’s the “milder” potential side effect of using hair dye (containing ammonia and peroxides) on your child multiple times to try to get rid of lice.
Dangers of Hair Dye and Bleach on Young Children
Because children’s scalps are extremely absorbent, using permanent hair dye or bleach repeatedly on young children is more likely to result in some of the more severe reactions associated with ammonia and peroxides. These include:
- Severe eye irritation and injury
- Asthma and breathing difficulties
- Allergic skin reactions
- Respiratory irritation
Since hair dye doesn’t even truly get rid of head lice, I definitely do not recommend you “give it a try.”
#4: Hair Dye Does Not Kill Nits
If you’re new to head lice: Lice eggs and nits are the same thing. I use the words interchangeably.
Nits have a strong impenetrable shell on them. This shell protects them from all chemicals and toxins. So hair dye has absolutely zero effect on lice eggs. Hair dye does not kill them or prevent them from hatching.
Even if the hair dye you used did kill any adult lice on the head, the nits would soon hatch and you would go around and around in the cycle of never-ending head lice.
Below is a 3 week plan to get rid of lice with a home remedy. Note: It may take longer than 3 weeks.
#5- Hair Dye Won't Save You Money
Don’t go the hair dye route thinking you’re going to save some money because you won’t! If your theory is to use hair dye a bunch of times in an attempt to kill lice, you’re going to be at this game for a very, very long time.
A box of hair dye usually costs around $10-$20, but you have to repeat this process frequently (potentially endlessly). Some websites encourage people to dye their hair three times in a row, so there is at least $30.
#6- There Are Better Home Remedies Than Hair Dye
If you are looking for an all-natural way to get rid of lice then the very best and FASTEST way to do that is by learning how to do a professional lice treatment on your child at home. You don't need to buy any lice kits or lice products, and you can be done with lice in less than a day. That's what I teach on my page Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro!
If you're set on doing it on your own and you want to hunt around for a home remedy then you can find a list of much better home remedies in my article 37 Home Remedies for Lice. In that article I evaluate every home remedy for lice and let you know how many lice and lice eggs they kill.
You should know that even the best home remedies only kill 80% of lice bugs and no home remedies kill lice eggs. If you decide to go that route then plan on retreating and nit-picking for about 3 weeks.
You can find the Home Remedies article here.
3 Week Plan To Get Rid of Lice
If you're set on using hair dye then you should plan on doing it for at least 3 weeks.
If you're going to get rid of lice use a home remedy, then plan on being extremely disciplined and focused on retreating, combing, and nit-picking for at least 3 weeks.
Even the best home remedies and lice treatments do not kill all lice. They only kill the weakest lice, leaving the strongest lice live on, breed with one another, and create even stronger lice! (Gross I know). Also, although many lice eggs hatch in 1-2 weeks, different studies have shown that lice eggs can hatch anywhere between 4 days and 21 days, depending on the temperature and other factors. So, you'll need to keep retreating every 5 days to ensure that you kill lice bugs as they hatch, before they can start laying eggs of their own.
To give yourself the best chances of getting rid of lice you need to be obsessive for 3 weeks.
Here's what you'd do:
Today: Treat with a home remedy that kills some of the lice like the ones in this article (Hair Dye is NOT one of them!). Comb with a lice comb or nit-pick, and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.
Day 5: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.
Day 10: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.
Day 15: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.
Day 20: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.
These are the biggest reasons why I'm not a fan of doing a treatment that requires re-treatments and why I encourage people to get rid of lice in one day in Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro.
Reason #1- You’ll have lice for AT LEAST 3 weeks. I’m not a fan of any idea of living with lice for weeks on end, and that’s what you’ll be doing. Lice eggs will be hatching on your child’s head every day, which means she will have head lice crawling on her head until you do another treatment.
Reason #2- Eggs hatch at variable times. Eggs will not hatch all at once. Many lice eggs hatch in about 7-10 days, but many hatch sooner (4 days) and others hatch much later (15 days). So, you’ll need to do these treatments for AT LEAST 3 weeks to ensure they’re effective.
Reason #3- Lice eggs are your first sign of lice. Early in an infestation, you don’t usually see lice bugs; you see lice eggs. If you do not remove lice eggs from previous outbreaks you won’t figure out your child has lice until she’s had it for a very long time because you’ll assume the eggs in the hair are “old eggs.”
Reason #4- Having lice for weeks can spread it. The longer your child has lice, the more likely she is to spread it to others in the home. Let’s say a few lice hatch the day after the treatment. What’s to keep lice from spreading to her siblings and friends?
If you choose the “repeat treatments” method, your child will have lice for several weeks, because every day new baby lice will hatch from the eggs left in the hair.
If you want to get rid of lice fast, skip the re-treatments, and move on with your life then learn how to do the professional technique I teach on the Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro page.
Does Dyeing Your Hair Prevent Head Lice?
The truth is that lice like all types of hair: dirty or clean, dyed or undyed. What they really care about is having a place to lay their eggs and frequently feed on blood (that’s right, just like mosquitos or leeches, they feed on your blood!). Lice are not prejudiced. They are just as happy in damaged, dyed hair as they are in clean, never-been-dyed hair.
Lice are attracted to the smell of your blood. If they smell desirable blood, it doesn’t matter what state you’re hair is in; they’ll hustle over to your head to start feasting.
How Do You Prevent Lice?
Instead of dyeing your hair for lice prevention, I’d recommend using a lice prevention shampoo or spray infused with one or more of the essential oils lice hate.
Many people use tea tree shampoo for this purpose, but in my experience, it requires a bit more than that. If you're looking for lice prevention strategies then check out my article 21 Ways to Prevent Lice.
Summing It Up
The ingredients in hair dye some folks claim kill lice, ammonium persulfate and hydrogen peroxide, just won’t get rid of head lice. If you use hair dye as a lice treatment, you’re likely to go around and around in the cycle of neverending lice.
Hair dye doesn’t kill lice eggs either, so even if you kill most of the adult bugs, you will be right back where you started within a few days.
Using repeated rounds of hair dye to get rid of head lice will not only be unsuccessful, but it also poses several risks to your child, including damaged hair and more serious dangers like seizures or poisoning.
If you plan to use a home remedy for lice then I DO NOT recommend you use Hair Dye. Instead I’d recommend you use a more effective home remedy like the ones I cover in this article. But, understand that there is no home remedy or treatment out there that kills all lice bugs or lice eggs, so it’s going to take you several weeks to get rid of lice using a method like that. If you want to get rid of lice quickly, you should check out the How to Get Rid of Lice Like a Pro! Online Course and get rid of it in ONE DAY.
All the best,
Theresa, My Lice Advice
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Theresa is a lice expert with years of experience curing children of lice. She currently works with government agencies and non-profit organizations to help children with the most severe head lice infestations in the US.
Originally trained as a Registered Nurse, she changed specialties to study lice. Later, she opened a lice treatment center where she perfected the PRO technique she teaches in the Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro online course. She now works helping those struggling with lice around the world.
She is the creator of MyLiceAdvice.com, one of the top lice informational websites in the world and she teaches parents around the world how to get rid of lice in less than a day in the Get Rid of Lice Like a Pro online course.
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