Best head lice treatment: Natural remedies, product reviews and prevention

(38 ratings)
How to get rid of head lice
It's a problem that all mums face.


Apparently 8% of children in the UK have head lice at any one time. Just thinking about it makes our heads itch!

So to help mums struggling to get rid of head lice and nits in their children, we've asked our GoodtoKnow mums to test some of the products that claim to work.

We've also got top tips on preventing head lice in the future and the homemade treatments that really do the job.

What are head lice?

  • Head lice are tiny insects without wings. They live near the scalp and feed off blood.
  • Head lice lay eggs which attach to the hair about 5mm away from the scalp. These eggs are called nits.
  • All children (and adults) can get head lice - it doesn't matter how clean the hair is, head lice just like to live somewhere warm.
  • Itching isn't an early sign of the lice - if your child has an itchy head they may have had head lice for up to 3 months.
  • Head lice spread by head-to-head contact (which children get a lot of when they're playing together). They rarely spread from something like a hat, because they die very quickly when they're away from the scalp.
  • Research suggests that head lice are becoming resistant to traditional treatments that contain pesticides, so more treatments that smother the head lice are appearing.

Natural remedies for headlice

If you're not too keen on the head lice products that are available
in the shops, there are some natural home remedies you can try too.

  • Mayonnaise: Cover the hair in mayonnaise and put a shower cap over the top. Leave on overnight and wash it out in the morning. The mayonnaise will smother the lice, but you'll still need to comb out the remaining nits (eggs).
  • Olive oil: Use the same method as with the mayonnaise - olive oil is also said to smother the lice.
  • Comb it out: You could forget all the products and just use a comb. It will take you a while as you'll have to comb through the hair in very small sections - but if you're thorough then it's likely to be effective. Dip the comb in water in between each brush so you're not just moving the lice around - and repeat a few times over the next few days to make sure you've got rid of all the eggs.


    Best head lice treatments

    1. Lyclear

    Lyclear is applied to dry hair, massaged in and left for 15 minutes. It doesn't contain insecticides - it kills the head lice by blocking their breathing holes.

    GoodtoKnow tester Julie's verdict:

How effective was Lyclear Spray Away?

'It was very effective and got rid of the lice.'


Was it easy to use?

'It was really easy to use - a lot easier than liquids and a lot less messy.'


Was it pleasant to use?

'The smell was actually really nice, like liquorice. Even my 9-year-old son said: "Who's been eating liquorice? I want some!"'


Would you use it again?

'I'd more than likely use it again if I saw it in the pharmacy.'


Marks out of 10?

'I'd rate it 10/10'

Buy it from


2. Hedrin

Hedrin Once is applied to dry hair and left for 15 minutes then washed out. It's recommended that you then comb through the hair with a nit comb to remove any eggs that are still attached to the hair. Hedrin claim head lice can't build up a resistance to it because it doesn't contain any insecticides.


GoodtoKnow tester Lindsey's verdict:


How effective was Hedrin Once?

'It seemed to do the trick - all of the lice were dead when I combed through Charlie's hair afterwards and I haven't seen any signs of life since.'


Was it easy to use?

'It was a little messy to use as it was really runny. Ones I've used in the past have had a thicker consistency.'


Was it pleasant to use?

'There was hardly any smell and it only needed to be left on for 15 minutes which is great when you've got an impatient child.'


Would you use it again?

'I would definitely use it again. Knowing that lice can't build up a resistance to it is even better.'


Marks out of 10?

'I'd give it 9/10 and would recommend it to my friends too.'

Buy it from

3. Not Nice to Lice

Not Nice to Lice works by lathering onto wet hair, leaving on for 10 minutes and rinsing out, applying a conditioner and brushing through with a fine-toothed comb. Not Nice to Lice claims to have a pleasant peppermint smell, is insecticide free and says head lice can't build up resistance to it.


GoodtoKnow tester Nicola's verdict:

How effective was Not Nice to Lice?

'The treatment was very good, it eradicated the lice.'


Was it easy to use?

'Yes but it's better to do the treatment while in the bath and then wash it off. A previous one we'd used had to be left on.'


Was it pleasant to use?

'It had a much nicer smell than the other products on the market. The bottle contains plenty of solution to do a few treatments, even if treating long hair.'


Would you use it again?

'Yes, I would use it again.'


Marks out of 10?

'9/10 - a very good treatment.'

Continued below...

But it from from


How to prevent head lice


Our Facebook mums gave us their best head-lice preventing advice

  • Herbal treatments: Julie-Liz said: 'I use a herbal product called Nice N Clear once a week and that keeps them away. Tea tree oil based products are also a good deterrent. I find prevention is better than cure - but if my lil'un does catch them I'm straight down the chemist for Full Marks!'
  • Tea tree conditioner: Tracey said: 'I use tea tree conditioner
to get rid. Once I had a re-infestation for 2 months and I dread to think what the chemicals would have done.'
  • Weekly combing: Gail said: 'Getting them to comb their hair 2 times a week while in the bath or shower is good. I've used a tea tree shampoo on my kids for 3 years and found it very good.'
  • Nit-repelling hair-styles: Charlotte said: 'French plaits, hairspray and no fringes for prevention. I use Lyclear and twice daily brushing plus hand-picking for up to 3 weeks to prevent re-infestation. It's gross and expensive!'


    Have you got a tip for preventing or getting rid of head lice? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below or tell us on Facebook

Your rating

Average rating

  • 4
(38 ratings)

Your comments

comments powered by Disqus

FREE Newsletter

Subscribe to Essentials

Subscribe from only 21.99