Someone left a comment on the last post I did on head lice. It was chilling to read it and while I am grateful that it did not end tragically, I am also shocked that people still consider insecticides an option when trying to kill head lice. Yes, I used the word Tragic. There have been some deaths reported as a result of using sniper on the head to kill lice. Please never use SNIPER or any other insecticide to kill head lice. It can literally kill you or cause respiratory issues.
Here’s the comment she left.
I’ve been using Rambo powdered insecticide for two days now (as suggested by my grandma) the first day I saw about two small but live lice after combing and about two dozen dead bigger ones and today, the second day, I only saw many just hatched lice (dead too). I’ll use the Rambo again tomorrow and by next tomorrow I’ll relax my hair so I’m sure there isn’t a reoccurence. I’m very much so traumatized by the head lice because I stay with two of my girlfriends and while I understand their need to not catch the lice, the isolation is getting to me and I can’t even complain. I can’t wait to be declared lice free asap.
I’m grateful Nobody recommended the mortein treatment because I was desperate enough to do anything besides cut my hair and I would have done it. The Rambo isn’t causing any respiratory problems I know about and my hair looks healthy to me after every wash.
Yes, pretty scary. In her case, since she was open to relaxing her hair, I would have advised her to go straight for it. That definitely gets rid of lice. However if that is not an option for you, read on!!
Head lice are hardy creatures that adapt to most situations. When they are in, it takes concerted effort to get them out as their bodies are made to latch on and stay on. And how do they spread? Very easily. From head to head, typically. It is less common for it to spread from comb to comb because they do not live for many hours outside of the warm comfort the human head gives them. This is not to say that it cannot be transmitted that way.
I found this really nice video that shares how they spread and a little about what sort of creatures they are.
In some countries like the US, India e.t.c, there are businesses that specialize in getting rid of lice. Where you do not have such a service available, you will need to Do It Yourself (DIY). Let’s get you ready for that.
What tools do I need to get rid of lice?
The most important thing you will need is patience. If you have a friend that can help you, even better! This is a process that will take some time so if you work/go to school, plan your time carefully.
The second most important thing you will need is a nit comb. Because of how pesky head lice are, I have not found any other reliable tool that will help. I mean, these are insects whose eggs glue themselves on to hair, so prepare yourself. This is war and the enemy means to occupy your territory and not leave.
Here is an example of a nit comb.
You will notice that the “teeth’ of the comb are very close together. The distance between the teeth of a proper nit comb is a maximum of 0.08 inch/0.2mm.
If you have natural hair, you are probably wondering how you will pass that through your hair. That is where a hair dryer comes in. You are going to want your hair as straight and easy to comb through as possible as you need to work in really small section and comb through thoroughly.
Do you really need to blow dry your hair to get rid of lice?
If your hair does not tangle easily, that is, you have what Nigerians call “soft hair”, you may not need to blow-dry.
My hair tangles every single second it is not in a twist or braid so for people with my type of hair texture (4zzzz, lol), a blow dryer is a necessity. I may even need a flat iron, I kid you not. Low heat and minimum manipulation, please. Take your time to dry your hair gently so that after dealing with lice, you don’t need to deal with heat damaged hair.
The full list of what you need to get rid of lice:
- Conditioner – you want your hair p[roperly conditioned soft as possible when you are blow-drying it so that it is not a hassle to get it straight.
- Carrier oil (any works, we are just using it as a vehicle for essential oils)
- Essential oils like Tea Tree, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Citronella and Peppermint. Using all 5 will be a powerful mix. Please use cutiously, Essential oils can actually cause hair breakage and scalp irritation if too much is used. If you don’t have all of them, use at least 2/3 of the 5.
- Neem oil if you can get it is quite helpful to add to the mix
- Shower cap. Or a plastic bag you can tie securely around your head. You want to keep the smell of all those essential oils in.
- Blow-dryer (paragraph above goes into some details as to whether you need it or not).
- Nit comb
- A clean towel to wipe your Nit comb off.
The combing technique when you are using your nit comb is super important as you have to be thorough. Don’t know how to do it? I’ve got you covered. This video explains everything in detail.
While you should use this combing technique, you may want to do even smaller sections if you have dense natural hair. Also, if your hair tangles a fair bit, keeping it dry and straight may be a better option than using lots of conditioner as seen above.
Step 1 – APPLY OIL TO HAIR
Coat hair with mix of carrier oils and essential oils. Wrap for at least an hour. Longer if you can manage it. If you can get under a dryer for at least 30 minutes, do so.
Step 2 – WASHING OUT OIL MIXTURE
Wash out your hair. Condition properly. Allow it to air dry a bit and then straighten it. Remember, we want the nit comb to pass through effortlessly. At the same time, respect the fact that heat and natural hair are not necessarily friends. Be gentle.
Step 3 – COMBING OUT LICE
Using the combing method described in the video, go through your hair in small sections. This is perhaps the most important step so I can’t stress this enough – take your time.
When you have gone over your hair at least 3 times without encountering any head lice or nits, then you can stop.
However, for best results, you will need to go over these steps at least every 2-3 days for a 2 week period.
Lice tend not to live long outside of the warmth the head gives it, so it is unlikely that they will be on combs and pillows. That notwithstanding, it is good practice to wash everything that may have been exposed to your hair.
How do I get rid of lice in relaxed hair?
If your hair is already relaxed or you do not mind relaxing it, then by all means, go for a touch-up and apply the relaxer not just to your new growth but to the entire hair strand. That should get rid of them.
Please share your Lice stories…