June 24, 2023

Does Hair Dye Kill Lice (3 Useful Tips)

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Having head lice is a nightmare for all adults, kids, and parents alike. These small parasites live in hair and dwell by sucking the blood from the skin. It is quite difficult to get rid of head lice, especially if they have laid eggs or nits. People resort to many home remedies, OTC products, chemicals, and tricks to remove lice from hair. One such trick or theory is that hair dye kills lice. But does hair dye kill lice? Let’s know about it.

What are lice, Does hair dye kill lice eggs?

Lice are small parasites, just about the size of a sesame seed, that require human blood to survive. They are found in head hair where they live and hatch eggs. They can live up to thirty days on human hair and lay nearly four to five eggs daily. Generally, they are either brown or transparent, making camouflage and hide in their hair more manageable.

Other than sucking blood, lice irritate the head, causing severe itching. They are primarily found in school-going kids who get the lice from other kids. Once they infest, it becomes difficult to remove them as they grow in numbers pretty fast and are quite tiny to remove.


The infested people look desperately for effective measures to remove head lice entirely. One such trick is to remove head lice with hair dye. The proponents of this trick recommend applying dyes to suffocate adult lice with chemicals.

Hair dye against hair lice

According to experts, hair dyes contain certain chemicals, such as ammonia and hydrogen peroxide, potent enough to remove lice. Ammonia, in particular, is an alkaline substance that releases a toxic gas that easily irritates the lice.

Does hair dye with ammonia kill lice? Leaving ammonia in hair for a long could cause damage to the hair. Evidence suggests that these chemicals may work against head lice to some limit.

On the contrary, hair dye has little efficacy against nits. The lice eggs and nits, have a tough exterior that protects the lice inside. So, if you are using hair dye to remove lice and wondering will hair dye kill lice? It may work against lice, but don’t expect any action against nits.

How to use Hair dye to kill lice?

Does hair dye kill head lice? If the purpose of your dye application is to eliminate lice, then you need to step up. Follow the directions to see the effects of hair dye against lice infestation.


Use a thin comb on wet hair to remove lice and nits. Make the dye mixture in a bowl following the directions given in the product box. Apply the mixture to dry hair and wait 30-40 minutes or according to the directions.

To maximize the effect, you can wear a shower cap. Wash the hair dye after waiting time. Use a thin comb again to remove lice and nits. Blow dry hair at high heat to remove the remaining lice.

Hair Bleach to kill lice

Does bleach hair dye kill lice? Bleach is a stronger and more potent head lice treatment than hair dye. It has strong chemicals, including hydrogen, ammonium persulfate, and stearyl alcohol.

Ammonium persulfate, in particular, removes color, turning it lighter in the shade. Hair bleach may also work against eliminating head lice, but it’s not a permanent solution to treat lice.

Anecdotal evidence suggests it takes no action against hidden nits in the hair shaft. These nits develop into lice pretty soon; just before you know it, an infestation is about to happen.

Hair Dye and Vinegar solution

Using hair dye with vinegar is likely to increase its efficacy. However, it is advised to run a skin test to avoid the possibility of allergic reactions.


Make a vinegar solution by adding equal amounts of water. Spray the solution in hair shafts with densely populated nits located close to the scalp. Wear the shower cap and leave the solution for 15 minutes. Rinse it with hot water.

Use the lice comb to remove dead lice and nits. Apply hair dye on the same areas where the vinegar solution is applied. Rinse out the dye washing with warm water.

Killing head lice with Hair Dye – Risk factors

It is a myth if the use of bleach or hair dye affects lice or not. Before experimenting with hair dyes, here are some cautions to consider before using dyes for killing lice.

Effects on Hair Color

Using permanent hair dye to treat head lice and nits can cause damage to naturally colored hair.

If you are using a hair dye solely to eliminate head lice, you may get an unwanted color that could potentially damage your otherwise well-intact natural hair color. So, does dying your hair kill lice? It may, but the treatment ruins hair color for sure.

Dry & Damaged Hair

A permanent dye contains harmful chemicals which may release irritating gas around hair strands. This gas may be good for removing parasitic insects or lice but is unhealthy for hair health.

Moreover, the suggested use of very hot water to remove vinegar or dye residue may cause more damage to your hair and the scalp.

Possible Skin reactions

If you use a chemically infused permanent hair dye, be prepared for possible chemical reactions on the skin. It is true for people with sensitive skin who are prone to quick reactions. We always recommend running a skin patch test to avoid reactions on the scalp.

Children’s hair

Compared to adult hair, children’s hair and skin are more sensitive to dye use. Look for other safe head lice treatments for safe lice removal, such as going to a professional lice treatment centre to tackle human lice.

Home Remedies for lice treatment

If you want to make extra effort or maximize the effects of hair dye to eliminate lice, here are some at-home lice treatments to follow.

Lice Comb

Lice comb works well to lice eggs and removes lice. It is effective, but it takes a lot of time to get rid of lice permanently. To improve the results of hair dye to end lice, use a lice comb before and after dye application.

Make sure to start combing the hair closer to the scalp and ensure no lice are left.

Oil Treatment

Applying a thick layer of oil, such as coconut oil, is also effective in suffocating and loosening all the lice. Oiled hair also makes it easy to kill lice eggs, called nits. You can use coconut oil or other natural oils to kill nits and head lice.

The use of tea tree oil is good for removing lice and improving hair health.

Hair Routine

No matter whichever lice removal treatment you are using, it can only work if you have a healthy haircare routine to follow. If you are suffering from lice infestation, adopt a healthcare routine that includes

  • Daily combing to kill nits
  • Oiling head hair to protect hair from abrasive treatment
  • Daily bath to ensure protection from dirt build-up, which provides a breeding space for lice
  • Following the directions if you are adopting a particular lice treatment

Alternative Treatments to kill head lice

There are many other alternative treatments to kill head lice. These treatments include insecticides, silicone-based treatments, and plant-based treatments. You can find these treatments in the form of lotions, sprays, or medicated shampoos. They are focused on killing lice on the scalp and contain certain anti-lice chemicals.

The insecticides usually hit adult lice and may not kill nits as effectively. Moreover, some of them are not recommended for use on skin with conditions, pregnant women, and children’s hair.

Conclusion: Does hair dye kill nits?

The presence of live lice is neither healthy nor hygienic. If you cannot treat super lice, you must resort to effective yet healthy anti-lice treatments.

Chemicals such as ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, or hair dyes can cause certain effects on hair, skin, and the scalp. They are also known to have little to no effect on removing nits. It is better to use safe and harmless options initially and use harsh treatments only on the expert’s lice advice.

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