Does Hair Spray Kill Lice? The Truth Revealed

Few things are as annoying as lice infestation. These parasites can make you itch and scratch like never before. One of the remedies that most people might consider is using hair spray. But, the question is, does hair spray kill lice? Well, let’s explore the efficacy of hair sprays in getting rid of these pesky creatures.

While there are no guarantees that hair spray can kill lice, it’s worth considering as an option. One of the most common types of hair spray is alcohol-based, which can be effective when used on lice. However, it’s worth noting that not all hair sprays are made the same. There are certain brands or types of hair sprays that are specifically designed to kill lice, while others may not be as effective.

Getting rid of lice can be a daunting task, and many people are willing to try anything to get rid of them. Although hair spray may not be a guaranteed solution, it’s definitely worth considering if you’re struggling with these pesky parasites. The right hair spray can potentially help kill lice, but it’s important to read the label and ensure that it contains the right ingredients.

What is hair spray?

Hair spray is a cosmetic product that is used to keep hair in place. It is a popular hair styling product that is used everyday by millions of people around the world. Hair spray typically contains polymers that create a binding effect to hold the hair into place. It also contains solvents that make the product liquid and easy to apply, as well as other ingredients that can add shine, reduce frizz, and increase hold. There are many different types of hair sprays available, including those that provide a firm hold, those that offer a soft hold, and those that are designed specifically for different hair types or styling techniques.

What are lice?

Lice are tiny, wingless parasites that feed on human blood and live in the hair and on the scalp. They are common among school-aged children and are easily spread through head-to-head contact or by sharing personal items such as combs, brushes, hats, and headphones.

  • There are three types of lice that infest humans: head lice, body lice, and pubic lice.
  • Head lice are the most common type and are found on the scalp and hair.
  • Body lice are found in clothing and bedding and only move to the skin to feed.
  • Pubic lice are found in the pubic hair and can also be found in armpit and facial hair.

Female lice lay eggs, called nits, on the hair shaft near the scalp. These nits hatch in about 7-10 days and mature into adult lice in about two weeks.

Head lice can cause intense itching and can lead to secondary bacterial infections if they are scratched open. They are not known to transmit any diseases, but they can be a source of embarrassment and social stigma.

Lice type Appearance Typical location
Head lice Small, wingless, gray or reddish-brown insects; nits are oval and yellowish-white On the scalp and hair
Body lice Similar to head lice in appearance, but larger; nits are laid in clothing and bedding In clothing and bedding; only move to the skin to feed
Pubic lice Tiny, wingless insects; crab-like appearance; nits are yellowish-white and oval In the pubic hair and sometimes in armpit and facial hair

Can hair spray kill lice?

If your child comes home from school with a case of head lice, it can be a nightmare for parents. However, there are many treatments available to rid your child of these pesky parasites, and hair spray is one of them. Many people believe that hair spray can effectively kill lice, but is this true? Let’s take a closer look.

  • Hair spray is not a recommended treatment for lice. While it may seem like a quick and easy solution, it actually does very little to kill lice or their eggs, also known as nits.
  • Some types of hair sprays may contain ingredients that are toxic to lice, such as alcohol or essential oils, but these ingredients are not typically present in high enough concentrations to be effective.
  • Using hair spray as a treatment for lice can also have negative side effects, such as irritating the scalp or causing an allergic reaction. It is important to use treatments that are specifically designed for lice removal.

In conclusion, while hair spray may seem like an easy solution for getting rid of lice, it is not an effective method. It is important to use treatments that are specifically designed for lice removal to ensure that your child’s infestation is fully eradicated.

How does hair spray affect lice?

Although hair spray was not developed to kill lice, it has been found to be an effective method for eradicating them. When hair spray is applied to the hair, it can act as a sticky glue-like substance that suffocates and immobilizes lice, making it easier to remove them from the hair. Here are some of the ways how hair spray affects lice:

  • Sticky Substance: Hair spray contains polymers that make the hair sticky, which can immobilize lice and prevent them from moving around the hair. This makes it much easier to remove them from the hair shafts.
  • Suffocation: The sticky substance of hair spray can also block the breathing holes (spiracles) on the lice’s body, which can cause them to suffocate and die. This method can be effective if the hair spray is left on for a prolonged period of time.
  • Dehydration: Hair spray can also absorb moisture from the lice’s body, causing them to dehydrate and eventually perish.

It is important to note that hair spray alone should not be relied upon as the sole method for lice removal. Hair spray is most effective when used in conjunction with other lice treatments such as lice shampoos, fine-tooth combs, and chemical treatments. It is also important to follow the instructions on the hair spray label, as overuse or misuse of hair spray can be damaging to the hair and scalp.

Pros Cons
Can immobilize lice, making it easier to remove them from the hair shafts Should not be relied upon as the sole method for lice removal
Can suffocate and dehydrate lice, causing them to perish Overuse or misuse of hair spray can be damaging to the hair and scalp
Effective when used in conjunction with other lice treatments

In conclusion, hair spray can be a useful tool in the fight against lice. Its sticky substance can immobilize lice, suffocate them, and cause them to dehydrate and perish. However, it should not be relied upon as the sole method for lice removal and should be used in conjunction with other lice treatments. Always follow the instructions on the hair spray label and do not overuse or misuse it.

Types of Hair Spray:

There are several types of hair spray available in the market, and not all of them are created equal. While some may be effective in killing lice, others may be completely useless. Below are the most common types of hair sprays:

  • Aerosol hair spray: This is the most common type of hair spray and comes in a can that releases the product in a fine mist. It is easy to apply and provides a long-lasting hold. However, aerosol hair sprays contain harmful chemicals like propellants and solvents that can be harmful to your health.
  • Pump hair spray: This type of hair spray comes in a pump bottle and is more environmentally friendly than aerosol hair sprays. It is also free from harmful chemicals and provides a natural-looking hold. However, pump hair sprays may not be as strong as aerosol hair sprays, making it less effective in killing lice.
  • Mousse hair spray: This type of hair spray comes in a foam form and is designed to add volume and thickness to your hair. It can be used to style your hair and hold it in place. However, like pump hair sprays, mousse hair sprays may not be strong enough to kill lice.
  • Hairspray gel: This type of hair spray contains a high concentration of polymers and provides a strong hold. It is ideal for creating more intricate hairstyles and may be effective in killing lice. However, it can be difficult to remove from your hair and may leave residue behind.
  • Dry shampoo hair spray: This type of hair spray is designed to absorb excess oil and refresh your hair in between washes. It can also be used to add texture and volume to your hair. However, dry shampoo hair sprays may not be effective in killing lice as they do not contain insecticides.

How to Use Hair Spray to Kill Lice

Using hair spray to kill lice is a popular method, but it’s important to use it correctly to ensure maximum effectiveness. Below are some steps to follow when using hair spray to eliminate lice:

  • Start by spraying your hair with a liberal amount of hair spray, paying close attention to the roots and scalp. Make sure to cover the entire head, making it harder for lice to move around.
  • Put a shower cap or plastic wrap over your hair and leave it on for 30 minutes to an hour. This helps suffocate the lice by trapping them in the hair spray and cutting off their oxygen supply.
  • Take off the shower cap and wash your hair thoroughly with warm water and shampoo. Repeat this process every 3-4 days until all the lice are gone, usually takes about 1-2 weeks.

It’s important to note that hair spray alone may not completely eradicate lice. It’s recommended that you use other methods such as nit combing, washing all bedding & clothing, and sanitizing brushes and hair accessories to ensure that the lice are completely eliminated. Also, excessive use of hair spray can lead to hair damage such as dryness, breakage, and thinning.

The table below shows some advantages and disadvantages of using hair spray as a lice treatment:

Advantages Disadvantages
Easy to Use Possible Overuse of Chemicals
Effective in Killing Adult Lice Limited Effectiveness Against Nits (Lice Eggs)
Reasonably Priced Possible Hair Damage

Overall, using hair spray to kill lice can be an effective method when used in combination with other treatments. Always follow the instructions carefully and consult a medical professional if you have any concerns.

Alternatives to hair spray for lice treatment

While hair spray can be effective in killing lice, there are other alternatives that may work just as well, if not better. Here are some natural remedies and over-the-counter options:

  • Tea tree oil: A potent antiseptic, tea tree oil can be mixed with shampoo to clean hair and help eliminate lice. Its strong scent and powerful properties can also deter future infestations.
  • Neem oil: Another natural solution, neem oil is a safe and effective way to fight lice. Its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties make it a popular choice for those looking for a non-toxic treatment.
  • Petroleum jelly: This thick, sticky substance can smother lice and their eggs. Apply it to the scalp and hair, cover with a shower cap overnight, and then wash out thoroughly in the morning.

Over-the-counter options include:

  • Lice combs: These specially-designed combs have teeth that are close together, allowing for easy removal of lice and their eggs. Use the comb daily for best results.
  • Lice shampoo: There are several medicated shampoos available that are specifically formulated to kill lice. Follow the instructions carefully and repeat treatment as needed.
  • Lice sprays: Similar to hair spray, lice sprays contain chemicals that can kill lice and their eggs. Follow the instructions on the label and be sure to use in a well-ventilated area.
Remedy Effectiveness Cost
Tea tree oil Highly effective Inexpensive
Neem oil Highly effective Inexpensive
Petroleum jelly Effective Inexpensive
Lice combs Effective for removing lice and eggs Inexpensive
Lice shampoo Highly effective Somewhat expensive
Lice sprays Effective Inexpensive

Ultimately, the best alternative to hair spray for lice treatment is prevention. Teach your children to avoid sharing hats, combs, and other personal items with others, and regularly check their hair for signs of lice. By taking steps to prevent infestations, you can avoid the need for treatment altogether.

Safety concerns with hair spray use for lice treatment

While hair spray may be one of the many home remedies people use to get rid of lice, there are important safety concerns to keep in mind before using it on yourself or your child. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Hair spray contains chemicals that can be toxic if inhaled in large amounts. This is especially concerning for children who may not have fully developed respiratory systems.
  • Some hair sprays are flammable, which can be dangerous if you use a hair dryer or other heating tools while the treatment is still in your hair.
  • The chemicals in hair spray can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some people. If you’ve never used hair spray before, it’s a good idea to do a patch test before applying it to your whole head.

If you do decide to use hair spray as a lice treatment, be sure to follow these safety precautions:

  • Only use hair spray in a well-ventilated area to minimize the risk of inhaling harmful chemicals.
  • Avoid using any heating tools while the hair spray is still in your hair.
  • If you or your child experience any itching, burning, or redness after applying hair spray, wash it out immediately and discontinue use.

It’s also important to note that hair spray is not an effective treatment for everyone. In fact, some studies suggest that lice may be developing a resistance to some of the chemicals found in hair spray. If you’re not seeing any improvement after using hair spray, it’s best to try a different method to get rid of lice.

Pros Cons
Can be a relatively inexpensive option for lice treatment May cause skin irritation or allergic reactions
Can be done at home without a prescription Can be difficult to apply evenly to all of the hair
Can be effective for some people Possible risk of inhaling toxic chemicals

Overall, hair spray can be a risky option for lice treatment due to the potential for side effects and the possibility of lice developing resistance to the chemicals. If you do choose to use hair spray, make sure to take all necessary safety precautions and discontinue use if you or your child experience any negative reactions.

How to Prevent Lice Infestations

Lice infestations are a common problem, especially among children. To prevent lice infestations, it is important to take measures that will make it harder for lice to spread. Here are some tips on how to prevent lice infestations.

  • Avoid sharing personal items such as combs, brushes, hats, scarfs, and hair accessories. Lice can easily spread through contact with these items.
  • Encourage your child to avoid head-to-head contact with other children while playing or cuddling. Lice can easily spread from one person to another through head contact.
  • Regularly check your child’s hair for signs of lice, especially after they have been in contact with other children or have used communal items. Early detection is key to preventing a lice infestation from spreading.

Another way to prevent lice infestations is to use repellent products. There are several natural and chemical-based lice repellent products available in the market. While some people swear by natural remedies like tea tree oil, neem oil, and lavender oil, it is important to do your research before using these products. Chemical-based lice repellents containing permethrin or pyrethrin are also available over the counter.

If you want to avoid using harsh chemicals on your child’s head, other preventive measures can also work. Some parents swear by using regular hair spray as a preventive measure against lice. While there is no scientific evidence to prove that hair spray can kill or prevent lice infestations, some people believe that it creates a sticky film on the hair that makes it harder for lice to attach themselves and lay eggs. However, this should not be relied on as a primary preventive measure, and regular checks and avoiding personal contact is essential.

Preventive measure Effectiveness
Avoid sharing personal items Highly effective
Encourage avoiding head-to-head contact with others Highly effective
Regularly checking hair for lice Highly effective
Using repellent products May help but not guaranteed
Using regular hair spray Unproven

In conclusion, preventing lice infestations involves taking active measures to reduce the chances of lice spreading in the first place. Avoiding personal contact and sharing items, regularly checking hair, and using repellent products can all help reduce lice infestations. While using regular hair spray may not be a reliable method of preventing lice, it can work alongside other preventive methods as an added layer of protection.

Myths and Facts about Hair Spray and Lice Treatment

When it comes to treating lice, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding hair spray. It is important to separate fact from fiction in order to effectively treat and prevent lice infestations. Here are some common myths and facts about hair spray and lice treatment:

  • Myth: Hair spray can kill lice.
  • Fact: While hair spray can immobilize lice, it does not kill them. Lice are able to hold their breath for up to 8 hours, so they can survive being trapped in hair spray. Using hair spray as a sole treatment for lice is ineffective.

  • Myth: Hair spray prevents lice infestations.
  • Fact: Hair spray does not prevent lice infestations. Lice do not like the taste of hair spray, but it does not repel them or prevent them from crawling onto the hair. Regular use of hair spray is not an effective preventative measure.

  • Myth: Hair spray can be used as a substitute for lice medication.
  • Fact: Hair spray should not be used as a substitute for lice medication. Lice medication is specifically formulated to kill lice and their eggs, while hair spray only provides temporary immobilization. Using hair spray instead of lice medication can prolong an infestation and put others at risk of exposure.

Effective Lice Treatment Options

If you or your child has been diagnosed with lice, it is important to seek effective treatment options. Some common options include:

  • Over-the-counter lice medication
  • Prescription lice medication
  • Natural remedies (such as tea tree oil or mayonnaise)
  • Manual removal with a lice comb

It is important to carefully follow the instructions for any lice treatment option to ensure effectiveness. Additionally, proper cleaning and disinfecting of personal items and surroundings can help prevent re-infestation.


While hair spray may provide temporary relief for lice infestations, it is not an effective replacement for proper treatment options. Separating myths from facts about hair spray and lice treatment can help individuals make informed decisions about how to approach lice infestations and prevent future outbreaks.

Treatment Option Pros Cons
Over-the-counter lice medication Readily available and effective May contain harsh chemicals, may not work for all strains of lice
Prescription lice medication Effective for resistant strains of lice May be expensive, may require multiple treatments
Natural remedies May be effective, less harsh on the scalp May be messy, may not work for all strains of lice
Manual removal with a lice comb No chemicals involved, effective in removing eggs Requires time and patience, may not remove all lice or eggs

Regardless of the chosen treatment option, it is important to regularly check for lice infestations and take preventative measures to reduce the risk of re-infestation.

Does hair spray kill lice? FAQs

Q: Can hair spray alone kill lice?

A: While hair spray may suffocate live lice and make them easier to comb out, it does not kill lice or their eggs.

Q: What if I use a lice treatment spray combined with hair spray?

A: While using a lice treatment spray can kill live lice and their eggs, using hair spray with it is unnecessary and may cause irritation to the scalp.

Q: Is it safe to use hairspray on my child’s hair?

A: Using hair spray on a child’s hair is generally safe, but it should be avoided near the face and eyes.

Q: Can hair spray prevent lice infestations?

A: No, hair spray has no proven preventive properties against lice infestations.

Q: Can lice still survive on hair that has hair spray on it?

A: Yes, lice can still survive on hair that has hair spray on it as hair spray is not an effective method of killing lice.

Q: Can hair spray damage my hair?

A: Overuse of hair spray can potentially damage hair, but occasional use should not cause significant harm.

Q: How can I effectively get rid of lice?

A: The most effective way to get rid of lice is to use a lice treatment spray specifically designed to kill lice and their eggs, and to thoroughly comb through the hair with a nit comb.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for taking the time to read our FAQs about whether hair spray can kill lice. While hair spray alone cannot completely eradicate lice, it can help make them easier to remove. It’s important to use a proper lice treatment spray and comb through the hair thoroughly with a nit comb to effectively get rid of lice. Take care of your hair and stay lice-free!