Head lice are a right nuisance & can cost an arm and a leg to get rid of, but you don’t need to be using expensive treatments to be done with nits for good *itch, itch*
My head is itching! Even the thought of head lice makes my skin crawl and pretend itches start on my head. I want to scratch, and I’m sorry if you now do as well *itch, itch, itch*
My youngest daughter came home from school with head lice the other day and my eyes rolled. Her older sister seemed to be prone to them and caught them at least once a month when she was younger. We got very used to getting rid of these little bug(gers), and sadly have tried and paid for every single type of head lice removal creams and shampoos on the market.
There are even head lice salons in some places around the country. Here you pay them an arm and a leg and they will treat you themselves! What a waste of money!
Head lice cost a lot of money!
In fact, we are spending over £30 million on nit and head lice treatment in the UK! That is a lot of money to be throwing away on bugs that don’t harm anyone, but are just annoying – and itchy!
After wasting I don’t know how much money, there are a few things we’ve learnt that keep head lice at bay, so we won’t need to be treating the household as often.
In fact, there have even been scientific studies that show these products are a waste of money. This one that says that the products are equally as effective as conditioner. Then this one two years later tells us that nits have developed a strong resistance to over-the-counter treatments. Scary stuff!
While it’s seems like an easy option to run to the chemist to buy a pesticide to remove the head lice, they are not that effective. The first application won’t get rid of all the nits, so you’ll need to reapply it a week later to get rid of the newly hatched lice. Then you may need to do it a few days after that to make sure they’ve all gone!
Myths about head lice
While nits aren’t nice, there are some slightly less nice things going around the rumour mill. Some of these things are old school and are hopefully known as myths. Just in case, here are some little white lies about head lice.
- They don’t continue to grow in dog or cat hair, or even in the carpet. They just like humans, so you don’t need to treat “every” member of the household.
- Head lice only affect poor people – nope everyone has hair so it doesn’t matter how much money you have.
- Head lice live in dirty hair. Wrong again, they actually prefer clean hair so if you have them, it’s a compliment!
Head lice comb
Probably the best way to get rid of the little critters is with a nit comb. It’s just a tiny comb that you need to go through stands of hair until they are all out.
The most important thing is to find some entertainment. Put your child in front of their favourite TV programme or film so they don’t get bored and try to wriggle away! Then on with the treatment.
Brush their hair first to get rid of any knots then wash the hair like normal.
Add a good amount of normal conditioner to the hair. Don’t rinse the conditioner out, but partition the hair off and start combing through.
After each brush, wipe the conditioner (and any bugs) off the comb with kitchen roll. (Kitchen roll is a lot more absorbent than toilet roll so you’ll use a lot less).
Just in case any eggs are missed, it’s also worth going back through the hair and wet combing a few days later.
This is the easiest and cheapest way to get rid of head lice. You then don’t have to dose expensive chemicals onto your kid’s head (that may not work anyway).
By a clear majority, members of the Reduce Your Supermarket Spend community swear by the Nitty Gritty Comb.
However, there are some cheaper options. There are plastic combs and basic ones with metal prongs. To be honest they are both cheap and you can pick them up for less than £3 online. I find the metal ones better and they don’t bend, if you have a head of hair that’s quite thick. There are even electronic nit combs that zap the head lice, but I’m not altogether sure about them!
Other natural remedies
While there is little scientific proof that anything else will work, some people (including us) will swear by a particular product.
For some, they think leaving mayonnaise or oil olive in overnight will suffocate the lice. Not sure of this works, but your hair will look great after.
I believe that head lice don’t like smellier things. We’ve found that shampoo with tea tree oil works well as a deterrent. When we use it, we don’t have issues with bugs.
Others think that a bit of Detol in the bath or lavender oil work just as well.
If nothing else, our kids will look good and smell nice after using these natural deterrents.
Clean (some) of the house
While you may think your whole house is infected, it’s not even that bad! Head lice need a nice warm head to survive in and will die without human contact, so a deep, deep clean won’t be needed and you won’t need to hire an exterminator!
Make sure you wash bedding and towels to stop any stray nits from heading back to the head, but you won’t need to worry about the curtains or carpets!
If you need to buy
While wet combing is my preferred option, my older daughter has the thickest hair imaginable. Trying to pass a normal brush through her hair can be a chore, so using a nit comb will take us anywhere over an hour to get through. Then when we have to do that a few times…. it’s painful!
Although she doesn’t suffer anymore there are options if you find you really need to try a different head lice treatment. The NHS Minor Ailments service offer head lice treatment for free to those who can get free prescriptions (like kids under 16).
While these schemes doesn’t run everywhere, it’s not one that should be abused (the NHS are suffering enough). But if you are short of cash and are running out of options, using the ailments service may be an option.
If you’ve currently got a head lice issue then good luck, and try not to itch!
Ricky Willis is the original Skint Dad. A money-making enthusiast, father, and husband to Naomi. He is always looking for unique ways to earn a little extra.