Best head lice treatments and products for all the family

best-head-lice-treatment

by Samantha Ball |
Updated on

We know that head lice are an absolute nightmare, even the thought of them makes us feel itchy, and that is why ensuring you have the best head lice treatments and products is important for all the family.

Of all the pleasures involved in parenting, combing through your child's hair for signs of head lice or nits is definitely not on the list. Head lice are very common among toddlers and children and even though they are entirely harmless, they are quite frankly, pretty irritating.

Unfortunately, lice are very contagious and they spread easily, so if your little one's infected, then it's best to keep them away from other people until they've been treated. Also, ensure your little one's hairstyle for school keeps the hair tied up or plaited. "They spread by head-to-head human contact, climbing from the hair of an infected person to the hair of someone else" says Dr Lida Kourita, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Best head lice treatments and products at a glance 2024:

Best overall head lice treatments and products: Vamousse Treatment Mousse Head Lice, £13.59
Best shampoo head lice treatments and products: Hedrin All In-One Shampoo, £17.99
Best combs head lice treatments and products: Nitty Gritty Nit Comb, £12.45
Best spray head lice treatment: NitWits All-In-One Head Lice Treatment Spray, £11

Luckily, there are many ways you can eradicate them quickly and efficiently. We have put together a list of the best-rated head lice treatments, hair shampoos and combs so you can get rid of your little one's head lice pronto.

Best head lice treatments and products 2024

The best overall head lice treatments and products

Killing lice and eggs within 15 minutes, this non-toxic mousse is pesticide-free. The Vanmousse Treatment Mousse Head Lice comes with a comb inside the box and is easy to use, which we like. Apply the mousse to your child's hair and work the formula into the scalp. Then comb the hair to remove the dead lice and nits.One trusted reviewer said: "My daughter has intensely thick and curly hair and no amount of wet combing or normal nit treatment did anything to get rid of the nits. I spent hours every couple of days for months trying in vain to rid her of them. Nothing worked! I finally tried this after my friend recommended it and after one treatment she was completely clear! I've just given her a comb through 4 days post-treatment to check and didn't find a single nit. I could cry! I should also add that it leaves no oily residue like other treatments I've tried. It washed out in one wash and actually left her hair feeling soft and conditioned. Absolutely recommend."

Pros

  • Proven to kill 100 per cent of lice and eggs in 15 minutes
  • Doesn't leave hair greasy

Cons

  • Has to be left on for quite a while compared to other treatments
Volume:160ml
  • Steel comb included
  • 15 minutes to treat

The best value head lice treatments and products

Containing both treatment and the nit comb, this five minutes Full Marks Solution comes with four treatments in the box and is effective against killing headlice and eggs. It's also free from odour, so it doesn't leave a nasty smell behind.One reviewer commented: "My little one had some lice eggs. I did the treatment and no sign at all. The whole bottle will be enough for like 5 people. Easy to use even on long hair. Just make sure you have a good shampoo to rinse the treatment after (took me like 2 times to rinse that grease off). Doesn't smell bad. Special comb include!"

Pros

  • Comb included
  • Three simple steps to remove head lice

Cons

  • Some mentioned hair needs a thorough rinse after use
Volume:200ml
Number of treatments: 4
  • Four treatments
  • Comb included

The best head lice treatments and products exfoliator

best-head-lice-treatments-and-products-tangle-teezer
Price: $10.99
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This is not quite a nit comb, but the Tangle Teezer The Scalp Exfoliator and Massager works its multi-tasking magic by detoxing the scalp, which will help clear the product build-up from all the nit treatments in your child's hair. Nits can be traumatic for children and parents, so this Tangle Teezer will give your child some massage TLC and calm them down. A verified reviewer said: "This doesn’t scratch or hurt the scalp at all (which in turn makes it ideal for use on the kids, as well). The way this is shaped makes it easy to grip and hold throughout. This is an absolute joy to use regularly. I can’t recommend this enough."

Pros

  • Easy to grip
  • Dual-purpose teeth

Cons

  • More effective on wet hair
Dimensions:6.5 x 4.5 x 8.5cm
  • Helps clear the scalp
  • Easy to use design
  • Dual purpose comb teeth

The best liquid gel head lice treatments and products

best-head-lice-treatments-and-products-hedrin-liquid-gelAmazon
Price: $20.95

This Hedrin Once Liquid Gel should be spread thoroughly throughout the hair from root to tip in order to kill head lice, nits and unhatched eggs. The gel needs to be left on the hair for 15 minutes, and then washed out. The thicker gel formula is odourless and fast-acting. A user commented: "Use this product on dry hair applied all over on thick long hair and (brought a nit comb separately) combed and combed and combed again till the hair was nit and egg free, the product makes it easy to do because it has oils in it, Then applied shampoo straight on emulsify the oils out then apply water had to repeat the shampoo process a few times, then applied conditioner and combed through again just to make sure no lice were still in the hair. I find this the best product as it’s quicker, it doesn’t need to be left on for more than 15 minutes."

Pros

  • Fast acting
  • Odourless

Cons

  • Need to apply more of the product onto thicker hair
Volume:100ml
Number of treatments: 10
  • Suitable for up to 10 treatments
  • Tested on real heads
  • Suitable for ages 6 months+

The best shampoo head lice treatments and products

The Hedrin All-in-One shampoo kills head lice and eggs in just five minutes. You can apply during bath time too, so you don't have to try and encourage your little one to sit still. It even comes with a comb to check for lice.

One reviewer said: "I’ve tried many products and they all do basically the same thing. This differs slightly as it’s only a 5 min leave on which is much easier than 15mins. You apply to dry hair, leave then lather out with shampoo. It’s easy to do in the bath with kids without them complaining it’s too long (15mins to a child is ages apparently). As with many other treatments, you need to comb the eggs out. The comb supplied is good so it’s not difficult, just time consuming."

Pros

  • Quick treatment
  • Suitable for adults and children

Cons

  • Only four applications
Volume:200ml
Number of treatments: 4
  • All in one solution
  • Comb included

The best spray head lice treatments and products

best-head-lice-treatments-and-products-nitwits-spray-treatmentAmazon

Rrp: $17.99

Price: $17.02

NitWits All-In-One Spray claims to effectively kill both lice and eggs in one easy to use spray. The formula contains an active ingredient called dimethicone, which has shown great results in quickly killing head lice and eggs. To use just spray the solution onto your child's head, ensuring the whole head is covered and leave it to rest for 20 minutes, then rinse the hair, and your child should be lice free.

One review said: "I don't do many reviews but this I have to! My daughter has suffered with nits for about 5 months she has afro hair. God knows how much I spent on solutions. But I found this and in just 1 treatment they were gone! They fell out in the shower and overnight on her pillow! Strongly recommend"

Pros

  • Comes with a comb
  • Child friendly scent

Cons

  • Has to be left on for 20 minutes
Volume:120ml
  • Comes with a comb
  • Safety lock to unlock spray

The best overall nit comb for children

best-head-lice-treatments-and-products-nitty-gritty-nit-combAmazon
Price: $23.01

This Nitty Gritty Nit Comb has micro-spiral grooves to remove any head lice and eggs on your child’s scalp. This can be used alongside your child’s normal shampoo and conditioner, so it's a good option if you’re worried about harsh chemicals on your baby’s scalp.

One review said: "We have tried four other combs (in conjunction with shampoos), none of which came close. We spent weeks going over and over the same hairs and I was resorting to using my fingernails! Then I decided to do some homework and saw this comb had great reviews. Desperation led me to the purchase and I would now recommend it to anyone. Hallelujah!"

Pros

  • Micro-spiral grooves
  • Effectively removes head lice, nits and eggs

Cons

  • Some found it less effective on dry hair
Material:Metal
  • Micro-spiral grooves
  • Easy grip handle

The best head lice treatments and products short pin comb

best-head-lice-treatments-and-products-short-pin-comb
Price: $8.39

The Acu-Life Short Pin Comb works on all hair types, and glides through your child's wet hair to remove all head lice, nits and unhatched eggs. The short pin design makes it easier to run through hair effectively.

One review said: "Great value for money! Works like magic! After hair wash just leave the hair conditioner on and keep brushing the hair with this comb. I got rid of my son's nits in the first try. I highly recommend this product. Much better than expensive head lice solutions."

Pros

  • Effectively removes head lice, nits and unhatched eggs
  • Easy to grip handle

Cons

  • Some found the comb teeth a little short
Dimensions:4.32 x 4.83 x 14.61cm
  • Rounded comb teeth
  • Easy to hold handle

Best eco friendly head lice treatment

This head lice treatment avoids harsh chemicals and is hypoallergenic. It has been formulated to be tough on head lice without damaging the scalp. It works on all life cycle stages of the nits, even preventing the eggs from developing.

One reviewer, Charlotte, said: "After 1 use we have removed all nits and lice, the comb design is so much easier and smoother at collecting them from the hair than the usual designs. The consistency of the liquid also makes it super easy to brush through after a wash. You may need to wash the hair again the next morning to ensure all the liquid is out as it is quite greasy. Completely clean hair this morning though."

Pros

  • Eco-friendly
  • Easy to brush through

Cons

  • Leaves hair a bit greasy
Volume: 200ml
  • Eco - friendly
  • Easy to brush through
  • Gentle on the scalp

Best natural head lice treatment

If you don't like the idea of putting chemicals on your little one's hair, then this head lice treatment is completely natural. We like that it is a unique blend of active organic plant oils including Coconut & Jojoba and or­ganic essential oils - lavender, clove, tea tree, geranium - which are effective at killing head lice, larvae and nits.

Chloe, a reviewer, says: "This is such good value. All natural ingredients and lovely smell in my opinion compared to other lice products. Working so far. Dries nicely on hair and leaves no residue or product built up. Arrived well protected and undamaged."

Pros

  • No chemicals
  • Nice smell

Cons

  • Some reviewers said the comb is not great
Volume: 100ml
Suitable from: 3 years
  • Natural ingredients
  • Nice smell
  • Includes comb
  • Kills all head lice

Best lice repellant 3-in1 shampoo

Vosene kidsAmazon
Price: $14.54

This shampoo might help repel head lice with oils such as tea tree, lemon and eucalyptus, all natural repellants. Plus, it will leave your little one with lovely squeaky clean hair.

One reviewer, Lauren, says: "Bought for my 3 sons to use age 2,5 & 7. Nice shampoo, foams nicely, no irritation, their hair feels soft afterwards and so far no head lice. We’ve had the dreaded head lice in school letters before but they’ve never caught it, can’t say if that’s definitely down to the shampoo or just luck!"

Pros

  • Includes natural repellants
  • Leaves hair soft and clean

Cons

  • Not scientifically proven as a prevention
Volume: 250ml
  • Cleans, conditions and detangles
  • Includes citronella oil which is a natural repellant
  • Leaves hair soft

The best head lice treatment: All you need to know

Can you prevent head lice?

Unfortunately, head lice are something that cannot be avoided. You can use preventative head lice shampoo to try to keep head lice away, but that isn't always effective. Alternatively, keep your child's hair tied up or plaited as lice usually stick themselves to loose hair.

Be sure to wash all the pillows in the family regularly and clean the headrests and head towels frequently to avoid lice spreading - especially if you suspect a lice infestation.

You can be on guard for head lice by regularly combing every family member’s hair with a detection comb – this way you’ll be able to treat an infestation fast before it becomes quite the task.

How can you treat head lice?

Head lice shampoo: Normal shampoo will not remove head lice. In fact, when in water, head lice will stop moving and lock themselves onto the hair. A shampoo specifically made for treating head lice will help to treat the infestation.

Head lice comb: This is a very time-consuming but effective method to get rid of lice. Start by separating your little one's hair into sections. Use a specially designed fine-toothed comb to remove all head lice and nits. You'll need to wash the hair first, comb through it when it is still wet, repeat the action through the same strand several times, and clean the comb after each stroke.

Head lice treatments: There are plenty of head lice treatments on the market that will eradicate your child's head lice. They come in sprays or mousse form and are highly effective.

Head lice home remedies: According to NHS advice on head lice and nits, herbal remedies and the use of tree and plant oils such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil and lavender oil aren't recommended to treat head lice and nits as they are not thought to be thoroughly effective. There are some natural remedies on the market that you can buy that have been reviewed and are effective and some home remedies include smothering the lice and suffocating them using something like olive oil or almond oil.

Do I need to wash bedding if my child has lice?

As lice only live on the human head, there is no benefit to washing bedding, as lice can quickly dehydrate when they're not on the head. However, it is recommended to wash your little ones bedding set at least once every one to two weeks.

What is the difference between head lice and nits?

Head lice are tiny grey-brown insects that live in human hair. They are human parasites and need human blood to survive. On the other hand, nits are the white empty eggshells from which the head lice hatch.

If you see nits in your child's hair, you will likely need to treat them for headlice. Nits are usually found behind the ears and at the back of the neck.

You may have heard that head louse like dirty hair; however, this is a total myth. 'In fact, a head lice infestation can affect all types of hair irrespective of its condition and length,' says Dr Lida Kourita.

About the expert

Dr Lida Kourita is a practitioner of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, who completed special training, contributing to paediatrics and child health.

Samantha Ball is a Commercial Content Writer and freelanced for the Mother&Baby website for two years before joining the team full-time. She's a mum of two and loves browsing for the best products and cute outfits.

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