Does Hair Dye Kill Lice?


We’ve been asked does hair dye kill lice by a number of people. Many people want a simple and easy way to get rid of lice and many want to avoid having to see their doctor for a prescription medication. In most cases, you won’t need a prescription to treat lice and there are easy-to-use treatments available. We’ll tell you how to kill lice most effectively.

So, Does Hair Dye Kill Lice?

Hair dye and bleach might kill adult lice and juvenile lice (nymphs) in some cases. The chemicals in at least some brands of hair dye can be toxic to lice. They generally do not kill lice eggs (nits), though, because the chemicals don’t penetrate the shells of the eggs. It takes seven to 10 days for lice eggs to hatch, so if you dye your hair, even if the chemicals in the hair dye kill all the live bugs on your head, in a week or so all the eggs will hatch and you’ll have a full infestation in your hair again. Using hair dye is not a good way to treat lice.

Does Hair Dye Kill Lice

Note that having dyed hair does not prevent you from getting lice. People with dyed or bleached hair are just as likely to get lice as those with natural hair color.

Note also that you should not go to a hair salon to have your hair dyed when you have lice, due to the risk of spreading them to others.

What Else Doesn’t Work?

People try a lot of things to kill lice, including:

  • Butter (applied liberally to the head, then left on overnight in an attempt to smother the lice and thus kill them)
  • Mayonnaise (used like butter in an attempt to kill lice by smothering them)
  • Olive oil (used like butter and mayonnaise)
  • Petroleum jelly or Vaseline (used in the same way as butter, mayonnaise and olive oil)
  • Baby oil
  • Vinegar
  • Coconut oil
  • Mouthwash
  • Kerosene
  • Gasoline

According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no evidence whatsoever that these things work to kill lice. Things like butter and mayonnaise, while ineffective and mostly likely very messy, are at least harmless. Applying kerosene or gasoline to your head can be dangerous, though. These substances are highly flammable and in addition the fumes can cause serious health problems.

Head LiceAdult Head Lice

How to Kill Lice

So if hair dye is not an effective way to kill lice, what is?

There are a variety of over-the-counter products, mostly medicated shampoos, which you can purchase and use to kill lice. These are effective in most cases, much more effective than something like hair dye. Most over-the-counter products for killing lice contain some sort of chemical pesticide which, while relatively safe for most people, can cause side effects like itching or irritation of the scalp. In addition, some people are allergic to those ingredients and should not use them.

There are also prescription products for killing lice. Doctors usually only prescribe these if over-the-counter products have been tried but did not work or if patients can’t use them due to allergies or for other reasons. While they usually work quite well, they carry a much greater risk of side effects, including seizures.

Our Favorite Product

Our favorite product for killing lice is the Fairy Tales Lice Good-bye Lice Removal Kit. We like it because it’s easy to use and because it is completely non-toxic and contains no chemical pesticides. Of course, we also like it because it really works! It kills lice and dissolves the glue that holds the eggs to your hair, so they can easily be removed. To learn more about the Fairy Tales Lice Good-bye Lice Removal Kit, just follow the link.




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