Best product for head lice?

(49 Posts)
Paddlinglikehell Wed 11-Sep-13 17:52:58

I started this in Gen Health, but then thought may be better here.

Just found a head louse on the book dd was working on, she said it fell out her hair. Have nitty gritty and will do the conditioner and comb through, but what it the best, IYO, headlice shampoo.

Is is the first time we have had them, dd is 8, so have no idea which will be easiest/ nicest .


DrSeuss Wed 11-Sep-13 21:53:30

None. They are all rubbish! Sorry! Do the condition and comb, or take her swimming a lot!

pourmeanotherglass Wed 11-Sep-13 22:17:12

We've had them several times (girls now age 9 and 11)

I use the Full Marks solution (pink box) with a good nit comb. The first time we had them, I tried combing them out with just conditioner, but dd1 has really thick hair, and you only have to miss one for it not not work. After a couple of weeks of combing every other day, I got fed up, and resorted to the chemicals.

The full marks stuff can be squirted on, left for 10 mins, then combed out (in front of the telly). You then need to repeat after 7 days (because nothing gets rid of the eggs, you have to wait for them to hatch and comb again, and apparently 7 days is the optimum time for them to all have hatched but not laid new eggs). Its often safest to repeat again after another 7 days, just to make sure, but you normally won't find any this time.

MrsFruitcake Wed 11-Sep-13 22:22:43

Nitty Gritty comb and lots if conditioner. Do it every night for a week. Hard work but results are better and is much nicer than all those smelly chemicals IMO.

Wallison Wed 11-Sep-13 22:24:20

I've used both Full Marks and Hedrin and found they both worked as long as I followed the instructions (ie redid it if the packet said to).

I think I've seen something on telly about a Hedrin product that you can put onto hair and shampoo out in a timeframe that looks from the advert to be almost immediately, which sounds time-saving.

The products do work though and in my experience there is no need to be going down the combing with conditioner every day route, which is as sure a path to misery as I have ever heard.

OldRoan Wed 11-Sep-13 22:35:52

I nitty-gritty my hair every time I wash it since getting headlice on a teaching placement.

I don't do a thorough strand by strand comb, but put on conditioner, then wide-tooth, then fine-tooth, then finish with nitty gritty. It only adds a few minutes on now I good at it, and I feel happier when it is done. Every weekend I give it a proper comb through to check.

How good is your DD with having her hair washed/combed out? If you can train her to sit quietly whilst you do it, I think a wet-comb routine is the best option. Children with curly/knotty hair, or who hate having it washed... I used hedrin once (I think it's called) and it was good, but nitty gritty got more out which Hedrin seemed to miss.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 11-Sep-13 22:37:37

We use nitty gritty and conditioner.

We do it every night for a week. Our ds's have short hair though, so it's not too arduous.

Goldmandra Wed 11-Sep-13 23:58:40

All the treatments require thorough combing through so you might as well just get a decent comb and a big bottle of conditioner. If you want to add something to knock them out mix Vodka in with the conditioner - it's cheaper than the special potions.

TBH the only effective treatment is combing thoroughly with conditioner every two or three days for three weeks.

You can reduce the numbers more quickly with the potions but you only have to have missed one and you can have a headful again in no time so you have to make sure you're getting any rogue critters within a couple of days of hatching before they can lay eggs.

Wallison Thu 12-Sep-13 10:30:16

Actually, I would disagree that combing with conditioner is the only effective treatment - like I say, I've used the chemicals and they worked. A lot of the dead ones just fall out anyway, any left can be got with a quick going-over with the Nitty Gritty which you only need to once each time you treat, rather than every night or every other night forever.

Goldmandra Thu 12-Sep-13 16:59:14

Maybe you've been lucky in that you've not left any eggs behind Wallison. Even our school nurse told me that it doesn't matter what you use, to guarantee you've got everything you need to repeat the combing regularly until any eggs left behind would have hatched and the resulting lice cleared.

By the law of averages I imagine some people will clear them all on the first or second comb through, especially if the infestation is caught early and the hair is less thick and long. However I found out the hard way and so did quite a few of my friends (and a fair few on MN too) that you only need to miss on or two and you're back to square one a few weeks later.

I find it very hard to get the oil out of my DDs' thick long hair and prefer not to use unnecessary chemicals on my children and they seem pointless when the combing offers a much more reliable solution.

Also you still need to comb and condition once a week to pick up new inhabitants and prevent major infestations in the future so it still needs to be done 'forever'.

Each to their own I suppose.

DameDeepRedBetty Thu 12-Sep-13 17:01:57

Hedrin Once did the biz but is hideously expensive.

The Nitty Gritty and any old conditioner will keep the blighters under control.

Wiltshire nits are immune to Full Marks. <bitter>

Paddlinglikehell Fri 13-Sep-13 07:17:02

Well we did the comb through, got around five or six little 'bits', but no big ones like the one that dropped out! I am pretty sure I got them all. DD has long hair, but was very good, it went in a plait to school, rather than her two bunches!

Put some Headrin spray on in the morning and left it in yesterday, washed out last night, going to do another comb tonight with conditioner.

I changed the beds too, but wasn't sure if needed to do this. I am hoping we have caught them before too bad.

DP and I didn't have anything. I have no idea if there were any eggs, couldn't see them at all, maybe my eyes are going!

I haven't told school, DD is worried if a letter goes out, at she will be accused of bringing them! May need to have a quiet word.

blueberryupsidedown Fri 13-Sep-13 09:28:32

With any product (Hedrin, Full marks) you have to repeat the treatment after 7 days, three times.

Sorry but I will contradict people above. Combing with conditioner takes a long time, patience, the children keep on re-infecting each other as it can take weeks and weeks to be lice free.

Hedrin (the 12 hour treatment) works really well. You put it on in the morning, make sure it's rubbed in well, and wash it 12 hours later. Repeat 7 days later. Stick to the instructions to the letter. The product doesn't smell bad or strong.

The products work if you can read the instructions and follow them.

Wallison Fri 13-Sep-13 09:37:39

That has been my experience too, blueberryupsidedown. I've always used the treatments and they've always worked.

Paddlinglikehell, you really need to tell the school. Your daughter won't be the only one with nits and other parents need to know to check their kids.

Goldmandra Fri 13-Sep-13 10:02:36

blueberry combing with conditioner or a special lotion takes a long time. If you comb thoroughly you remove the live lice so the children can't re-infect each other.

Like you said, anything you use needs to be repeated and it's the repeated thorough combing which removes the new head lice. We tried lots of potions before coming to this conclusion as my DD was in a class for years with a child whose mother refused to treat her. Whatever we used we were still combing out some live lice. We even experimented by keeping some in a jar and they lived for several days.

It would be much better for all concerned if people could get their head round the fact that combing and conditioning should be done once a week anyway to check their children's heads. It then becomes part of the normal routine, reduces the level of infestation when it is discovered and prevents transmission to friends and family. Much better for all concerned and a great deal cheaper than buying special lotions which you still have to comb through several times anyway.

If your child gets head lice

Day 1 - comb the head thoroughly in sections removing all the live lice and as many eggs as you can see. The eggs you should be concerned about are the darker coloured oval shapes near the root. The white ones are empty shells.

Day 3 - repeat sectioning and thorough combing with conditioner and _a decent nit comb.

Day 6 - repeat and continue for at least another ten days.

By this time you should only be removing new hatchlings. If you get them all before they have chance to reproduce you will have solved the problem.

If you're combing thoroughly you'll be removing any that are large enough to move to another head so they won't infect other children.

The eggs take a week or more to hatch then another ten days or so to become mature enough to lay eggs of their own. If you catch them in that time you have broken the cycle.

After that comb and condition once a week, checking for new lice. If you catch them early they will be much easier to deal with.

If you stick lotion on and assume it has worked it may well not have killed the eggs which are pretty resilient and when they hatch a new infestation will start. It will take a few weeks for the infestation to become bad enough for you to notice again by which time you'll assume it was a new infestation and by the lotion again.

More information on the NHS Choices Website.

blueberryupsidedown Fri 13-Sep-13 11:58:07

If you have three children, all with long ish hair, and you do the combing technique on the kids and on yourself for ten days in a row, and possibly on your husband, it would take you about three hours a day. I don't have that time. I stick lotion on (no need for combing), wash hair as per instructions after 12 hours, REPEAT after 7 days, bob's your uncle. If you want to do it the long way it's up to you but I dissagree completely that the lotions don't work. They work if you follow the instructions, which includes to repeat three times, 7 days interval.

Goldmandra Fri 13-Sep-13 12:04:36

I stick lotion on (no need for combing)

Which lotion can you buy which doesn't include combing in the instructions?

BTW you don't need to do anything for ten days in a row. I should have worded that better. You need to comb and condition every two or three days to clear an infection and then comb and condition once a week.

If you're already combing conditioner through when washing your children's hair it's no hardship to use a nit comb too once a week. It only takes an extra five minutes.

Goldmandra Fri 13-Sep-13 19:35:21

I guess there isn't one that doesn't require combing then.

If you don't ever comb and condition, how do you know when your child has caught them?

Anyone who never combs but lobs a potion on every now and then and hopes for the best is quite likely to be never clearing their child's head, reducing the numbers with a potion then, when they have built up again, blaming another child for reinfecting theirs.

Also, if you don't comb and condition, when your child has lice they have to have so many for you to notice that they are probably sharing them with half their class every time.

Wallison Fri 13-Sep-13 19:51:13

Err, you don't just lob a potion on every now and then - you treat them when they have lice. Of course you check regularly by combing, but once a fortnight is fine. Which is not nearly as time-consuming as once every two days (which I just do not have time to do). Also, there is no-one here to check my hair (am the only adult in this household) so if my son gets nits I treat him and also treat myself. I certainly wouldn't be up for combing my own hair every day, plus I'm sure I'd miss loads if I actually had them. And the lotion does kill them, so it is grossly inaccurate to say that you are only 'reducing the numbers' - if you do it properly, they are gone (I always do a sweep through a week later to check). This is a far more thorough approach than hoping to see them when you comb/condition, especially if there are several of you all hoaching with lice and with no means of getting rid of them other than combing. Incidentally, the most lice-y kids I know (as in I get texts off their mums to say to watch out for them on a pretty regular basis) are the ones whose parents don't use chemicals - sure, you might get all of the little blighters out of one kid's head if you do it every day. But with several children, and adults as well, all contaminating each other at every turn? No chance.

Goldmandra Fri 13-Sep-13 20:20:24

Lots of long thick hair in our house and no repeated infections for years since I started the combing and conditioning once a week for prevention and every three days if we find recent arrival.

Nobody in our house is ever hoaching with lice because we catch them early every time and they don't get the chance to reproduce or infect anyone else in the family or at school.

Even the NHS Website says " However, no medicated treatment is 100% effective." Our school nurse advised me not to bother with them for similar reasons.

I'm still intrigued to know which lotion says no need for combing.

Wallison Fri 13-Sep-13 20:35:58

Well, we don't get repeated infestations either, and I'm doing everything wrong according to you. So I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. But it does wind me up when you get people saying the lotions don't work - of course they do. If you don't use them properly, they don't work. But if you follow the instructions you will be lice-free.

Goldmandra Fri 13-Sep-13 21:23:42

Fair enough smile

It winds me up when people are advised to shell out money on unnecessary products which IME and the view of the NHS don't work reliably. If you've got to comb through with a nit comb to remove rogue survivors and new hatchlings you might as well just use conditioner in the first place. It's cheaper, easier to wash out than the oil based treatments and better than soaking children's heads in pesticides.

I hope you continue to be the family the lotions always work on.

Wallison Fri 13-Sep-13 21:39:33

You don't comb to remove rogue survivors - you comb to get rid of the corpses and the dead eggs, although most of them fall out anyway.

Goldmandra Fri 13-Sep-13 22:06:21

How do you know what's left if you don't comb the lotion through?

You have clearly been lucky. Plenty of others, including me, have had different experiences. You assume that it's because we are too thick to read the instructions properly.

I can't understand why you don't believe that I have used the lotions in the past correctly according to the instructions, including combing, and I have removed live lice which have survived for several days. If everything was guaranteed to have died they wouldn't recommend that you use a nit comb too would they? That would be unnecessary.

Do you work for one of these pharmaceutical companies?

Idespair Fri 13-Sep-13 22:12:42

I put "Hedrin Once" on.
Then every day for a week comb through with nitty gritty comb using either the nitty gritty oil stuff or conditioner.
Them at the end of the week, do another dose of Hedrin once.

The only thing with Hedrin is that it is an utter greasy bastard to shampoo out of the hair after you've done it. I used an entire bottle of shampoo to get the Hedrin out of my own hair! My hair looked quite nice afterwards grin

VerySmallSqueak Fri 13-Sep-13 22:14:41

I didn't want to use harsh chemicals and found the nitty gritty and conditioner approach effective.

Goldmandra Fri 13-Sep-13 22:14:52

I used an entire bottle of shampoo to get the Hedrin out of my own hair!

Apparently the shampoo works better on the oil if you apply it and work it into dry hair and then wash it off.

PestoSwimissimos Fri 13-Sep-13 22:16:12

Nitty gritty comb & conditioner every time you wash hair - simple

Wallison Fri 13-Sep-13 22:39:09

Yes, I work for Hedrin. They pay me to post on Mumsnet at 10.30 pm on a Friday.



Paddlinglikehell Sat 14-Sep-13 01:14:37

Well did another condition and comb. Found three tiny see through things, so looks like they are on the way out.

Put Hedrin on my hair tonight, very greasy!!!! My hair could do with a good soaking in grease it is very dry!

Will condition and comb again Sunday night <sigh>. DD has been brilliant.

Hopefully doing all the right things. confused

NaiceAm Sat 14-Sep-13 01:59:46

One tip my hairdresser had was to plait your child's hair if it is long and then spray with hairspray - she reckoned the nits can't get hold of the hair as well and so your child is less likely to end up infected. No idea if it works

DameDeepRedBetty Sat 14-Sep-13 02:24:27

I must admit Hedrin acts as a fantastic conditioner from the purely cosmetic viewpoint grin! However at £17.50 for four treatments it really is a bit much...

DVD, something both me and children can stand. Simpsons is not too bad.

Comfy low chair for dcs.

Comfy higher chair for long-suffering comber (ie me).

Towels, nitty gritty, cheap conditioner and kitchen roll to wipe nitty gritty on.

Tea (midweek) or v. large glass plonk (fridays and saturdays).

VerySmallSqueak Sat 14-Sep-13 11:01:35

I got head lice off my DC's (thanks kids)and I wondered if hairspray would actually kill them - surely it must gum up their working parts.

Goldmandra Sat 14-Sep-13 11:28:39

I got head lice off my DC's (thanks kids)and I wondered if hairspray would actually kill them - surely it must gum up their working parts.

It worked on a wasp once for me so probably.

The problem is you'd have to spray every single hair down to the root which I imagine would take several cans, make an awful mess in your hair and probably put you on a solvent high.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 14-Sep-13 11:34:42

Made me laugh Goldmandra grin

Goldmandra Sat 14-Sep-13 12:41:40

Not that I even know you could get a solvent high from hairspray you understand grin

Bearine Wed 22-Jan-14 23:29:48

I've been suffering from the beasties for FOUR months now. Everything I have used (Lyclear, Nitty Gritty combing through with conditioner, rinsing with vinegar or Listerine - Orginal flavour!, leaving coconut oil overnight, blow-drying/straigtening hair) has been effective to a greater or lesser extent. IMO, Lyclear treatment (x3 with combing) has been LEAST effective, whilst the combing with conditioner daily and rinsing with Listerine seemed to dramatically reduce their numbers. The problem with lice is that the nymphs are sooooooo tiny that they can easily hide on clothing, bedding etc. and re-infect you. Contrary to what most internet sources say, the lice (even the baby nymphs) can live far longer than a few days off a human head. (I have deliberately kept a few on my dressing table mirror - they obviously fell off after a hair wash as I was blow-drying - and they have been running around in circles aimlessly for about a week at least! YUCK...but true! I could have mistaken them for specks of dust had it not been for them moving around quite quickly...

After experiencing indescribable frustration and upset, and doing extensive reading, research and conducting my own home experiments (involving essential oils and my microscope!), I have finally found a remedy which: a) works very effectively; b) is not expensive; and c) relatively kind to hair and scalp.

Head lice (especially the nymphs - young lice) are averse to particular essential oils. Those which I have found kill them on contact are Tea Tree Oil, Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) and Eucalyptus. Appying 1 or 2 or ALL of these oils (about 6-8 drops) in a dilution of vegetable, olive or coconut oil (about 3-6 tablespoons or enough to soak through your hair) and leaving overnight (hair wrapped in shower cap with towel turban over top), seems to stop any scurrying lice in their tracks. Comb out the next morning then wash and rinse with shampoo with some more essential oil added. If possible blow-dry hair (lice hate intense heat too and are likely to fall off your head!).

Because of the lifecycle of the nits/lice, this treatment has to be repeated every 2 days for a week or two, though this is dependent on whether any viable nits (eggs) are still stuck in your hair and likely to hatch within the next week! The fact that you go to bed with your hair wrapped up also means you don't have to go crazy with washing bedding every day!

This is still a bit time intensive but had I found this remedy 4 months ago, I could have cleared the invasion of 6-legged visitors much more efficiently and effectively.

Good luck! Don't let the critters get you down!

BeCool Thu 23-Jan-14 13:37:24

You don't have to comb every day - this (free) combing program is based on the life cycle of lice. You need to comb on certain days over a period of 21 days to eliminate all lice/eggs etc - scroll down for schedule:


Bearine Thu 23-Jan-14 13:45:29

Yes, this is a good program. Agreed that daily combing is not essential, but best not to leave it more than 2 days between combing. Another thing...female lice only have to mate ONCE in order to lay several batches of eggs throughout their life as they can store sperm long term, apparently...shock

quickmum Wed 29-Jan-14 22:31:29

This new treatment for head lice claims to be 100% effective against head lice and nits in one treatment, and is based on natural oils.
It's not available currently but is to be stocked in Walmart from April 2014.
It claims it's the first real innovation in head lice treatment in years, and doesn't suffer the resistance issues of other lice products.
I'd be very interested to hear comments if anyone manages to try it.

BeCool Thu 30-Jan-14 14:11:04

Wow that Vamoose makes some massive and impressive claims - the active ingredient is salt/sodium chloride. Looks like they have put salt in a mousse.

BeCool Thu 30-Jan-14 14:20:58

there has already been a successful Sodium Chloride based product available for a while now - HERE. I wonder if the patent is about to expire on it?

MeMySonAndI Thu 30-Jan-14 14:27:06

I have tried one of those "one application solves it all" liquids, yeah it worked but after washing the hair with fairy at least 4 times a bath for 3 days before the product cleared, I don't plan to use it again.

Nitty gritty comb and conditioner every 3 days. Straighteners before starting each time.

quickmum Thu 30-Jan-14 18:07:32

I had a look, but couldn't find any mention of Sodium Chloride being the active ingredient in Vamousse.

Their website says "Primary Sources for Active Ingredients: The principal source of the natural materials that are used in TyraTech products are plant essential oils. These oils are naturally occurring chemicals which have evolved for plant defense against invertebrate attackers, and which can act as insecticides or repellents. Essential oils comprise the volatile compounds contained in the odorous parts of plants and are normally prepared by steam distillation. Examples of these oils include geranium, citrus and thyme oil. They are contained in flowers, roots, bark, stems, leaves, fruits and seeds."

BeCool Thu 30-Jan-14 21:14:32

Can't link now as on my phone but I googled it and the active ingredient is simply listed as sodium chloride with a few other ingredients inc some essential oils. The salt kills both lice and eggs quickly by dehydration.

BeCool Thu 30-Jan-14 21:44:15
peregrinefalcon Wed 14-May-14 08:44:08

A chemical free solution, made from plant extracts & oils, 100% effective against both the lice and their eggs. Independently tested and proven to be more effective than any other product on the market.

There's also a preventative shampoo to protect family members who don't have the infestation.

Available at Walmart & coming to pharmacies across the country.

Loverofcheese Thu 15-May-14 22:20:42

Just comb twice a week with the nitty gritty

Ludditerebellion Sun 18-May-14 20:53:10

Soak hair in vinegar for as long as possible then nitty gritty comb through in bright daylight using fingernails to very carefully to remove all eggs. The eggs have a glue that sticks to hair shaft but vinegar dissolves it. Genius discovery that saved me from madness after close to a year of fighting 3 children's nits. You have to get every single egg. There is no other way. Then check again daily for at least a week.

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