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Can You Use A Hair Straightener To Kill Lice?

Lice are irritable and tiny insects that not only drastically damage your hair health but affect the way you style your hair every day.

Whether curling, straightening, or blow-drying, lice will make it impossible to make the task simple.

But, since styling tools change the nature of your hair, can they change the living conditions for lice as well? Or, more specifically, can lice survive a hair straightener?

To answer this question, our research team has gathered a few essential facts about lice and the effect of styling tools such as straighteners on hair health. So, without further rambling, let’s get into the info.


Can Lice Survive a Hair Straightener?

Theoretically, lice can not survive a hair straightener as they can not live in temperatures above 45-50 degrees in Celsius scale. But practically you can not use your hair straightener for anti-lice treatment as it’s not a safe method.

This tool is designed to alter the hair’s structure and smooth the hair cuticle, not to exterminate parasites. Due to its design, a straightener might not reach the lice or nits located very close to the scalp or at the base of the hair follicles.

Furthermore, the heat from a straightener is focused along the plates and not distributed broadly, so it’s very unlikely to impact all the lice and nits in a single pass or even multiple passes.

Also, straighteners operate at high temperatures that can burn the scalp if brought too close or used too frequently. They can also damage the hair, leading to dryness, breakage, and split ends.

Lice vs. Heated Styling Tools

There is an overflowing amount of information backed by lab research out there about how harmful heated styling tools can be to your hair’s health.

So, this might make you wonder if one of these tools can get rid of lice with their “damaging” properties.

But there can be a few setbacks. Here are some things you should know about using styling tools to kill lice.

Straighteners Deteriorate Hair Health

bad effects of straightening hair

Using hair straighteners regularly on your hair will take out all its natural moisture. It ruins the structure of each hair shaft from the inside out and damages the cuticles to make them highly vulnerable to breakage.

This eventually takes a toll on scalp health and causes flakiness, protein overload, and more.

Lice live in hair that is easy to hide and obtain blood from, so heat-damaged hair is their favorite. It is often debated that lice prefer living in people’s hair with irregular or improper hair cleaning methods.

That can suggest why lice live in this hair type, as damaged hair is harder to keep sufficiently clean.

Lice Know How to Hide

can straightener kill head lice

Even in the most critical conditions, lice can find their way around it. While you may be thinking that the heat from a straightener can kill off these little bugs, they can sense the temperature shift and flee to the coolest spot on your head in seconds.

By the time you’re done straightening your hair, you’ll most probably see no noticeable result except for straighter and more damaged hair.

Lice are smart enough to hide when provoked so that hair straighteners won’t do much harm to them. Besides, lice stay very close to the scalp, so your flat iron probably won’t reach anyway.

Blow Dryers Are Better

blow drying hair to get rid of lice

Instead of hair straighteners, blow dryers are a far more effective styling tool to eliminate lice.

A good blow dryer will kill about 97% of lice eggs if they are used every 1 to 7 days, according to the hatching cycle of lice. With continuous use over 4 weeks, there will be a very low chance of any lice remaining in the hair.

That is because blow dryers are quicker to maneuver in comparison to hair straighteners.

They consistently distribute heat around the scalp to eradicate lice eggs along with some live lice. Blow dryers also reach the scalp appropriately and kill a large amount of lice eggs in 3 minutes.

What Lice Actually Hate

using hair oil to get rid of lice

Lice despise the scent of specific sweet-smelling hair oils. These include coconut oil, tea tree oil, neem oil, peppermint oil, and lavender oil.

If you can’t do oil treatments regularly or it doesn’t suit your hair type, opt for shampoos and conditioners with any of these oils, and they’ll have the same effect.

Final Words

Can lice survive a hair straightener after all? To put it simply, yes, most of them hide quickly, and only a couple are affected by the heat.

If you made it this far in our article, you already know the best ways to get rid of lice effectively. So, go through our last point if you haven’t already to quickly kill lice without a straightener.

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James Hunter

James Hunter is a talented stylist from LA with a wealth of experience. After training at the nVisually Hair Salon & Academy, he's spent over a decade as a senior stylist, always ready to share his styling tips and tricks. James has a knack for trying out new things and often brings this adventurous spirit to his work at Hairdo Hairstyle.