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Homemade Beauty Solutions...Head Lice Remedies and Treatments

Updated on May 25, 2012


Dealing with head lice is unfortunately one of those things that parents have to deal with from time to time. Being a mother of four boys, I have found these very unwelcome guests in my children’s hair more times than I can count. At one time going so far as to shave my boy’s heads almost completely bald in frustration at having to deal with head lice that seem to be resistant to everything I brought from the chemist.

So when my youngest boys recently walked in from day-care with a severe case of head lice I was determined to find a natural chemical free solution that I could both make at home and would actually work.

What are head lice?

Simply put head lice are very small bugs that live in the hair feeding on the blood of the scalp. They lay their eggs on the hair strands which take up to a week to hatch. It takes a week for them to than mature into adults where they can live up to thirty days but only the larger females lay the eggs.

Head lice or nits as it’s commonly referred to, do not have any preference for clean or dirty hair, they are highly contagious and are most commonly passed along from head to head contact.

They can also be caught from contact with hats, brush’s, pillows, sheets and clothing of someone who already has them. The same items can also cause reinfestation of your or your children’s hair as head lice can live up to 48 hours without feeding. So it’s a Must to clean these items completely before reuse

head lice life cycle
head lice life cycle



Spotting head lice

It can be easy or hard to spot head lice, with the first and most obvious symptom being constant scratching at the itchy scalp.

Adult lice are about the size of a small seed, with small little legs they can move through the hair fairly easily. They are usually white to a light tan colour.

The smaller lice that you may see are generally referred to as nymph much smaller than the adult; it also feeds on the blood of the scalp until it’s considered an adult and joins the mating cycle.

One of the harder things to spot can be the eggs themselves, these are attached to the single hair strands close to the scalp, they are an oval shape and usually white or yellow and very easy to confuse with dandruff

Natural solutions for head lice

Tea tree oil

This essential oil is fantastic for the use of removing head lice (among other things) from the scalp

It has been proven to kill lice and is often now found in many of the over counter treatments that you can secure from the chemist.

By using a mixture of aromatherapy oils you can naturally and safely remove head lice from hair.

tea tree
tea tree



A quick easy recipe

5 drops of pure tea tree oil

5 drops of pure lavender oil

20 drops of olive oil or coconut

Step one

Mix these oils together in a glass container, the darker the glass the better for preserving your oil

Step two

Rub this oil onto a dry scalp and through the hair leaving for no longer than 6 hour, before rinsing out and combing with lice comb repeat in 7 days


Tea tree oil like all pure oils should be diluted with carrier oil before applying to the skin; it’s also advisable to do a small skin test to check for any allergic reactions before using this recipe (or any other aromatherapy recipe) on your or your children’s skin


For more uses of tea tree oil in removing head lice from not just your hair but linens and clothes check out the following article …

Head lice is passed easily among children
Head lice is passed easily among children



Virgin coconut oil

One of the advantages of using coconut oil on your hair is that it will suffocate the head lice, coating the hair strands in fine oil that will both moisturize your hair as well as make it more difficult for the eggs to stay on the hair strands making removing the nits much easier.


Coconut head lice removal

Virgin coconut oil

Step one

 Melt a portion of the virgin coconut oil in a small bowl and let cool so as not to burn the scalp

Step two

 Apply to the hair and the scalp using generous amounts of the oil

Step three

Massage into the scalp to the ends of your hair thoroughly paying special attention to the crown, behind the ears and the nape where head lice like to hide the most.

Step four

Place a shower cap over your hair, or wrap in cling wrap to keep secure and tight.

Step five

leave on for at least 12 hours, so it’s best to do this at night before bed, if using on young children it’s always a good idea to remove the plastic shower cap or cling wrap to avoid suffocation while sleeping, placing a towel over their pillow instead

Step Six

Wash your hair using your normal shampoo and comb out the dead head lice and eggs, after 12 hours they should all be dead


Repeat in 7 days to prevent reinfestation

Olive oil

Another great household item that can help battle the war against head lice in your home, although it doesn’t kill the parasites it is known to suffocate them and knock them out, making it easy to comb them out.

Step one

Section the hair and apply the oil liberally to each section thoroughly drenching the scalp

Step two

Leave on the scalp for at least 30 minutes

Step three

First comb the hair normally helping to distribute the oil evenly, before using a nit comb or fine tooth comb, its best to comb out small sections at a time. Rinse comb it hot water to help prevent oil build up.

Step four

Once you have removed all that you can, wash your hair in either vinegar or Dawn dishwashing liquid to help remove the oil in your hair

Repeat every 3 days for best results

removing head lice on young children
removing head lice on young children



White conditioner

One of the most inexpensive ways to deal with head lice is by using a white conditioner and a fine tooth comb. The white conditioner will stun the bugs making their removal with a nit comb or the like much easier.

Step one

Simply apply a generous amount to dry hair and leave it to sit for 20 minutes

Step two

Section the hair and comb thoroughly using a nit comb or fine tooth comb to remove the stunned bugs and their eggs.

Repeat in 7 days


This actually works well especially with young children, keeping any products that might irritate skin or eyes away from them. I do find however that it might need to be down a couple of times in the week depending on the infestation levels.



Vinegar is another versatile product that comes in great use when dealing with head lice, although it doesn’t kill the lice it can be used its two ways, as a preventive and as a combing solution.

Vinegar preventive for head lice

Vinegar is a natural acid and it can create a barrier that lice are very unwilling to cross

1 cup of Vinegar

1 cup of Water

Step one

Mix the two ingredients together thoroughly

Step two

Shampoo hair normally, using the vinegar solution instead of conditioner and leave in hair and dry normally. The smell generally takes about 30 minutes to die down


For stronger dose use only vinegar, massage into the scalp and cover for at least 30 minutes before washing out. It may also eliminate eggs that have already lain in the hair.



 Vinegar combing solution

Being natural acid, vinegar contains properties that are great at dissolving the glue head lice use to hold their eggs to the hair strands. Making vinegar a great simple home based rinse that can be used along with the other solutions to rid you and your family of head lice

1 cup of distilled white vinegar

Step one

After washing out your head lice solution, rinse the hair in vinegar and allow drying, leaving for at least an hour before combing.


A vinegar rinse can also be used before your chosen head lice solution, for max effectiveness, rinse with vinegar and allow hair to dry before following up with your head lice treatment and leave overnight.



  Tips for combing hair

1. Always use a fine tooth comb or a nit comb that you can buy from chemists and some supermarkets, these are the best way to be sure that you are getting the ones that your eyes may not be able to see

2.  Head lice hate heat, so dip the comb into a bowl of boiling water before running through the hair this can help loosen the glue that lice use to hold the eggs to the hair strand

3. As previously stated head lice hate vinegar so by dipping your comb into a bowl of vinegar as you remove the nits, will help loosen up the glue used by the eggs as well as creating a preventive

4. For long thick hair its best to section the hair, working from the scalp the to the very ends of the hair strands

5. Dry hair with hair dryer as head lice hate hot temperatures

6.  Nits feed on our blood so are generally found very near to the scalp, on the crown, behind the ears and the nape of the neck so concentrate on these areas to begin with.

7. Wipe the comb onto a tissue or dip into water to wash or wipe away the head lice you are finding, containment is the idea here

Be sure to wash all brushes and linens
Be sure to wash all brushes and linens


Preventing reinfection

It’s important that you clean everything that may have had contact with the head lice, from pillows, blankets brushes and the like.

The sun and hot temperatures are a great aid in this, so wash your linens and clothes on the hot cycle, 30 minutes in the dyer or a full day or two, in open sunlight will also kill any lice that may be left.

One last thing to remember, is that Head lice are not a sign of dirty living or dirty hair, and there is nothing to panic about if you or your child come into contact with these small parasites, simply know that you have at least a week long challenge in front of you and let others know who may have had contact with you or your children as this can stop the infestation from spreading and returning to your home at a later date.


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    • nighthag profile image

      K.A.E Grove 3 years ago from Australia

      I'm so glad that this article has been useful for you, nothing like school to introduce these "guests" to most homes

      I hope your battle was won!

    • profile image

      MaizeRageMammaB 4 years ago

      Thank you so much. We have four girls ages 3, 5, 11, and 18, and have never had a problem. The youngest just started school last week and has already brought it home. I got a lotion from the doc, but the lice has already come back. I can't wait to try these chemical-free remedies, plus it helps that I have quite a bit already in the cupboard.

    • profile image

      Alexandr 4 years ago

    • nighthag profile image

      K.A.E Grove 4 years ago from Australia

      Lice is indeed the dreaded school bug! but all knowledge is power!

      and maybe your luck will remain solid :)

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Luckily I never had lice growing up, but I dread the day that my own come home with it. Oye.

    • nighthag profile image

      K.A.E Grove 6 years ago from Australia

      It can be so frustating having to deal with lice on a constant basis, I have struggled at one time with what I thought was the curse of headlice, no matter what I did I could never get rid of them... it took me a while to realise that my children where contracting it from their cousins that they seen everyday, whose mother did nothing aboput the problem. once the source was identified it didn't take long to nip the problem in the bud.

      I really wish you luck and have to agree that vinegar is by far one of my most favorate household items :)

    • Ddraigcoch profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from UK

      Great hub. I have 3 girls and a boy. Out of all them it is the middle daughter that I just never seem to keep clear longer than a week with. I think vinegar is great.

    • nighthag profile image

      K.A.E Grove 6 years ago from Australia

      all little boys want to be just like daddy :) I am so thrilled that this was of use to you and your family thanks so much for letting me know and for the glowing recommendation ....

    • Goyakla profile image

      Goyakla 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      This hub is very informative and actually contains some very practical advice that works. My wife and I have one boy and three girls and we have been through this frustrating phase. Our son liked having his head shaved, I think to look like me because I'm bald but that was not an option for my girls. We have used your natural remedies with great success and I highly recommend any parent to read this hub.

    • nighthag profile image

      K.A.E Grove 6 years ago from Australia

      Always exploring,

      Gald to hear that this may be of help to you family, the white conditioner is by far my most favorite here, even if its the most time consuming, thanks for taking the time to read :)


      I cannot abide the the little critters, they can be so hard to remove, so I was thrilled that there was a cheaper safer alternative

    • DaisyChain profile image

      DaisyChain 6 years ago from France

      Head lice are horrible, aren't they. Great to hear that there are alternatives to the chemical cures.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I haven't had to deal with this but my Granddaughter contracted lice in school. I think they bought expensive products to get rid of them. They will be glad to know about this remedy. Thank you.

    • nighthag profile image

      K.A.E Grove 6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks so much, I really do hope that others find useful.

      thanks heaps for the read and the vote up!

    • Youngcurves19 profile image

      Youngcurves19 6 years ago from Hawaii

      Absolutely clever idea for a hub. Something im sure every parent has to go through. Voted useful

    • nighthag profile image

      K.A.E Grove 6 years ago from Australia


      I was so frustrated with wasting my money at the chemist on chemical head lice solutions, that it was a huge relief to finally find some things that worked and for a smidgen of the price!

      Thanks for the tip of the plastic over the mattress, will certainly use it in the future as I am always looking for better ways to deal with this annoying problem.

      I am so glad you liked this hub, thank you for the great comment :)


      I am glad that you found this informative, dealing with head lice can be very confusing and frustrating at times and I can only hope that others find these remedies as useful as I have.

      thanks so much for stopping in.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 6 years ago from UK

      Very useful natural remedies for head lice - surely a lot of parents will value this. Thanks for a comprehensive and detailed hub... brilliant!

    • profile image

      Nan 6 years ago

      Good hub, and most of the solutions work. I had foster kids and they came to me with lice. I had a hard time getting them out of the hair. I finally did get rid of them. I also put plastic over the bed mattress for prevention of them getting infected with lice. The store bought kits didn't work. I had to use them over and over again!