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Can you keep your hair extensions and still get rid of the head lice infestation?

woman finger combing long reddish brown hair over her face.

Updated on July 24, 2020

By Lice Technician Nikki Palmer

Hair extensions are an extremely common practice among women today and a booming business within the beauty industry. It has contributed to the rise of self-esteem of women all around the world and has claimed the title of being top priority even to those who struggle to afford it, but also can’t seem to live without it. Unfortunately, when it comes to head lice, even the most expensive of hair weaves are not exempt from becoming a dwelling place for these pesky little fellas.

The only way to be sure that you properly treat a head that has hair extensions is to remove the extensions. We have helped clients do that or the client goes to a salon to have the extensions removed and then we come in and treat for head lice. We recently treated a mom in Richmond who had extensions. She had been trying in vain for 3 months to eradicate her case of head lice and did not know that she needed to remove the extensions. Every time, she thought she had gotten her case under control, the lice were back. It wasn’t until we explained to her that we need to thoroughly comb through the hair, that she understood that she needed to remove the extensions. She called us the other day to let us know that she is still clear of lice and is now preparing to have the hair extensions reapplied.

Types of Weave

Hair weaves vary in style, texture and installment. While some are easily put in place in consideration of the owner’s time and convenience, other installations can take several hours and are strenuous to remove.

Signs of Head Lice, Now What?

I ran into a client once who was beside herself because she had found that she had been exposed to lice. The funny thing is, it wasn’t the lice that upset her, but the anticipation of my answer to her question about what she would have to do with her costly extensions in order to get treated. Sadly, my answer was not what she wanted to hear.

In order to effectively treat a client for head lice, all extensions must be removed prior to treatment. This is because, while using LiceDoctors’ Terminator Nit-Free Comb, which is a high end professional lice comb, it is impossible to comb through the subject’s hair without tearing out any false hair that is attached. The same applies for any lice comb; you can not properly comb out nits if there are extensions. In the case that this is attempted, it could cause serious damage to the hair and major discomfort to the host.

The Procedure

LiceDoctors does not specialize in the removal of hair weaves. So, if a client thinks she has been exposed to head lice, it is suggested that an appointment with a professional hair stylist be administered prior to consulting with a LiceDoctors technician. If the client is comfortable with removing the hair extensions herself (which she was in the aforementioned case), that is also fine. Once all extensions are removed, LiceDoctors can continue with usual procedures to clear the client of all nits and live bugs.

Visit LiceDoctors Education Center to learn more about what LiceDoctors can offer to those who suffer from head lice, or call us for a free consultation at 310-923-9787 .