Every parent dreads hearing that there is a lice infestation at school or some sporting event/venue. Having these little ‘critters’ feasting on your blood can be an unbearable experience. There are many chemically based shampoos available on the market but can head lice be controlled with essential oils? Below you will find some blends and information regarding these unwanted little feeders and how you can use essential oils to prevent and eliminate them from your life. But take note, it doesn’t matter what you are trying to treat them with, the beginning and end of their whereabouts needs to be found or you will continuously experience re-infestations over and over and over … 

Pediculus humanus capitis is a tiny, six legged insect that lives in hair. They take up residence in the hair and lay eggs. Contrary to many beliefs, they don’t have wings so they don’t fly and they don’t hop either. It is the eggs that are known as nits. The nits are white and fairly easy to see on dark hair. The lice are easier to see in blonde hair. They scurry away at lightning speed and are very hard to catch and even find. From personal experience, I can testify that lice don’t necessarily go for dirty hair. They will go for any hair … literally.

The first sign is continuous scratching. Checking for nits close to the scalp is where to look. The closer they are to the scalp, the younger/fresher the eggs are. The incubation period is only 8 days. The little nymph (as they are called) will add to the itchy tickly discomfort. Nits can be spotted fairly easily by the nape of the neck and above the ears along the hairline.

head lice

Can head lice be controlled with essential oils?

Simply brushing hair is not enough. If there is a lice infection, the best possible way to remove these irritating little critters is to get yourself a special fine comb. There are special combs you can quite easily obtain from a pharmacy that work very well. That being said, vigorous and regular brushing can help somewhat because lice are not armor plated so they won’t survive the constant onslaught – but neither can your child.

If you hear about an infestation you can immediately add tea tree to your regular shampoo to reduce the possibility of an infestation. You can also wash hair every day for 5 days if you need to catch it early and then intermittent washing with this tea tree blended shampoo can help keep them away. Below you will find more effective blends you can use to get rid of head lice faster while you use your tea tree shampoo at regular intervals. Don’t use strong essential oil products continuously for 10 days. Essential oils are powerful and need to be used with care. A few drops in your shampoo is fine but if you’re going to use a strong dilution, it’s best to keep it limited.

It can take a long time to get rid of lice. It is important to find the source or you’ll end up brushing hair till the cows come home. Here is a list of the most effective, child safe essential oils that are most suitable for keeping lice away. Add a few drops to a lotion or to the rinsing water when washing hair.

(THE FOLLOWING OILS are not uploaded to the site but are available. Please contact us should you wish to purchase these and we will endeavour to get them to you. Otherwise please subscribe to our blog so that you can be informed when these are uploaded and are available to online purchase. Our site is still under construction. Thank you for your patience.)

  • Neem (Azadirachta indica) Be careful of this one. The smell is pretty … let’s say strong 🙂
  • Eucalyptus lemon (Eucalyptus citriodora)
  • Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)

An excellent preventative blend: 30% rosemary, 30% lavender, 30% lemon, 10% tea tree. Add 2 drops of this blend to the final rinse after shampoo.

Don’t use these oils continuously for more than 10 days. In fact 10 days is already pushing the limit. You want to hit it hard and get it over with.

To make an effective comb through gel, add 10 drops Rosemary, 10 drops geranium, 10 drops lavender (Lavender can be replaced with neem oil if you can tolerate the smell) to 70 grams aloe vera gel. Comb this gel through the hair thoroughly and wash out.

Children can scratch their heads so much that they may cause damage to the scalp. To soothe and calm the scalp while ridding the hair of the lice, use the following antiseptic soothing, calming oils in aloe vera gel.

I particularly love chamomile to soothe and calm aggravated and broken skin.


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