Lice: Do Head & Shoulders, Denorex, Selsun Blue or T-Gel Kill Lice?

dandruff shampoo

Discover the truth about lice and dandruff shampoos like Head & Shoulders, Denorex, Selsun Blue, and T-gel. Can they kill lice? 

If you have head lice, you want to get rid of it, and fast! 

You may have already tried several rounds of over the counter treatments that have failed. Or, you’re just looking for an easier and less expensive way to treat lice. 

Parents around the world are all asking me the same question….

Why Is It So Hard to Get Rid of Lice? 

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. The new strain of head lice is no longer killed by those treatments, that’s why lice today are termed by people, “super lice.” They aren’t SUPER because they can fly, they’re called SUPER LICE, because they can’t be eliminated with treatments that used to work. 

That’s why lice experts like myself DO NOT use lice treatments. I’ve cured thousands of people of lice without lice treatments and instead of retreating a million times, they get rid of lice permanently in ONE DAY! You can learn more about the technique I use here.

Most people with lice are stuck in what I term the “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’ve heard that dandruff shampoo can kill lice. Is it true?

This article answers the following questions (feel free to hyperlink to any topic):

Do These Shampoos Kill Lice? (Experiments)

Do Dandruff Shampoos Kill Lice Eggs?

Do Dandruff Shampoos Prevent Lice?

Super Lice

lice face

First, you should know that if you are struggling with head lice, it is not your fault. The current strain of head lice is immune to pesticides found in over the counter treatments and prescriptions. So most treatments won’t kill lice, no matter how long you leave them on.

Lice today are called “super lice” because they have genetic mutations that make them immune to most treatments. They are challenging to kill.

Multiple studies have proven that lice are immune to treatments that worked in the past. But, many parents will buy a big named product 5 or 6 times before finally giving up and trying something else. 

Are you better off using a home remedy like Head & Shoulders or Denorex?

Before talking about whether or not dandruff shampoos 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! 

Here’s why...

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!

There’s no lice treatment or home remedy out there that kills lice eggs, except the technique I use.

It’s the only thing guaranteed to get rid of lice in ONE DAY, without any retreatments, because it kills all of the lice bugs and lice eggs. If you plan on using a home remedy and store-bought lice treatment you can get rid of lice, but you should plan on it taking about 3 weeks and multiple treatments.

Dandruff Shampoos vs. Lice: The Experiments

lice near the jar

Because being a “lice expert” is my full-time job I’ve tested just about every home remedy out there. After reading a few claiming “miracle cures” involving dandruff shampoos, I decided to test each of these shampoos on head lice.

Because I help people with lice every day, testing home remedies is easy for me to do.

jar of lice

I collected several live lice from a client of mine.
Then I applied products to the lice, waited 30 minutes, and then checked for signs of life.

T-gel

I tested the following products:

Head and Shoulders Shampoo

Coal Tar Shampoo (Denorex and T-gel)

Selsun Blue 

The Results

Not a single one of these dandruff shampoos killed lice. All lice were active within 15 minutes of rinsing and were still actively alive 8 hours later.

To go straight to the experiment section of this article, click here.

Why Do Some People Think Dandruff Shampoos Kill Lice?

#1 - Many people have dandruff, but believe they have head lice.

Side-by-side of lice and dandruff in the hair. Top image is lice, bottom image is dandruff

It’s not uncommon for dandruff and lice eggs to be confused with one another. If you are finding lots of white “lice eggs” that magically go away when you start using a dandruff shampoo, I can bet that you had dandruff all along, not lice.

But, to be honest, if you’re not a lice expert like myself, it can be very tricky to differentiate between the two.

Check out the article Lice vs. Dandruff to learn the 7 key differences between nits and dandruff so that you can spot nits like a pro.

#2- Lice temporarily go immobile in dandruff shampoo.

A lice quickly crawling through a woman's blond hair.

When you submerge lice in a liquid-like a dandruff shampoo, they close up their “breathing holes” so that nothing can penetrate them.

Lice submerged for long periods go into a “hibernation-state” to conserve energy. One study terms this as “playing dead.” 

When people use Denorex, Head and Shoulders, or Selsun Blue on the head for prolonged periods, they may see lice “playing dead” and assume that they are, in fact, dead.

But lice “resurrect” back to life after being rinsed. 

The studies show that lice can remain in this hibernation state for a very long time after being rinsed. But in the cases of Coal Tar (Denorex & T-gel), Selsun Blue and Head and Shoulders, it lasted no more than 15 minutes.

Lice were quickly back at full strength and capable of breeding just as they did before the treatment.

How to Get Rid of Lice Fast! 

Many people struggle with lice for a very long time before finally getting rid of it, if you want to speed up the process then take some advice from others who have been in your situation. Here’s what Sarah did that finally helped her get rid of lice for good.

The How to Get Rid of Lice Like a Pro! Online Course promises 3 things:

  1. You’ll get rid of lice fast! (In ONE DAY)
  2. You’ll get rid of lice permanently (meaning it’s not going to come back a few weeks later)
  3. And, you’ll gain all of the knowledge and skills you need to prevent a lice infestation like this from happening ever again!

Do Head and Shoulders, Denorex, Selsun Blue, or T-gel Kill Nits?

A woman with brown hair. Multiple lice eggs cover the back of her head. The white eggs appear white. The words LICE EGGS in black lettering are in the bottom right corner of the image.

If you’re new to head lice: Lice eggs and nits are the same things. I use the words interchangeably.

Nits have a durable, impenetrable shell on them. This shell protects them from any chemicals or toxins. So, dandruff shampoo has zero effect on lice eggs. It does not kill them or prevent them from hatching.

Dandruff shampoos have no chance of penetrating these eggs.

Don’t Use Vinegar

apple cider vinegar

If you’re looking to get lice eggs out of your hair, don’t use vinegar to try to “loosen” them. It doesn’t work, and it can make head lice worse! I tested soaking lice eggs in vinegar for 12 hours, and the nits were no easier to remove than before. If you want to see the vinegar experiment on lice and lice eggs, click here.

Additionally, studies show that lice eggs immersed in vinegar are more likely to hatch than your average lice eggs, which means more lice, not less.

3 Week Plan To Get Rid of Lice

Obviously this is not the regime I use, because I get rid of lice in one day, but it is possible to get rid of lice without my technique, but  prepare for it taking you a VERY LONG TIME. But, many people struggle with lice for weeks, months, or years, trying one lice treatment and home remedy after another and I don’t want that to be your story, so let me get you on the right track...

If you're going to get rid of lice using 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 (dandruff shampoo 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.

This is what my treatment plan looks like:

Today: Kill all lice and lice eggs

No retreatments.

Never get lice again for the rest of your life.

Learn how my treatment plan works in this article.

Do Dandruff Shampoos Prevent Lice?

crazy hair

The truth is that lice like all types of hair, dirty or clean, dandruff, or no dandruff. What they 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, nasty hair as they are in clean hair.

Lice are attracted to the smell of your blood. If they smell desirable blood, they don’t crawl; they hustle to that head.

How Do You Prevent Lice?

Instead of using a dandruff shampoo 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 use tea tree shampoo for this purpose, but in my experience, it requires a bit more than that. Some of the most effective lines of lice repellent shampoos and sprays can be found in this article.

Does Head and Shoulders Kill Lice? The Experiment

head and shoulders

The first product tested was Head and Shoulders shampoo. A few have touted the ingredient zinc pyrithione in Head and Shoulders as being a lice killer, is it true?

I collected several hairs with multiple lice and placed them in a jar.

Head and Shoulders was poured into the jar and completely saturated the hair and all lice.

Lice were covered with Head and Shoulders shampoo for 30 minutes and then rinsed.

The results…

Within 15 minutes of being rinsed, all lice were alive. I checked again at 8 hours, and all of the lice were still alive.

No. Head and Shoulders does not kill head lice.

Does Denorex Kill Lice? Does T-gel Kill Lice? The Experiment

T-gel

Next tested was coal tar against head lice. Coal tar is an ingredient found in both Denorex Extra Strength and T-gel. Some have claimed it is a lice killer, is it true?

I collected several hairs with multiple lice and placed them in a jar.

Coal tar shampoo was poured into the jar and completely saturated the hair and all lice.

Lice were covered with coal tar shampoo for 30 minutes and then rinsed.

The results…

Within 5 minutes of being rinsed, all lice were alive. The lice were rechecked 8 hours later and were still alive.

No, coal tar shampoos like Denorex Extra Strength and T-gel do not kill head lice.

Does Selsun Blue Kill Lice? The Experiment

selsun blue

The next test was Selsun blue. The active ingredient in Selsun Blue is selenium sulfide. Some have claimed it can kill lice, is it true?

I collected several hairs with multiple lice and placed them in a jar.

Selsun Blue was poured into the jar and completely saturated the hair and all lice.

Lice were covered with Selsun Blue for 30 minutes and then rinsed.

The results…

Within 15 minutes of being rinsed, all lice were alive. Lice were rechecked 8 hours later and were still alive.

No, Selsun Blue does not kill head lice.

Summing It Up…

Head and Shoulders, Denorex, Selsun Blue, and T-gel, do not kill head lice. If you use one of these shampoos for lice treatment and it “cures” your head lice, it is much more likely that you had dandruff all along, not lice.

If you plan to use a home remedy for lice then I DO NOT recommend you use a Dandruff Shampoo. 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.

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