We've all been there.
Maybe it was twenty years or so ago yourself, or maybe it's right now in the form of your sibling or child. Either way, most of us have had a brush with head lice (pun completely intended). One myth that needs to be busted is that head lice thrive in unclean environments. This just simply isn't true. Head lice are hardy little parasites, and will make their home on whatever head of hair seems fit, no matter the cleanliness.
When I was a kid, I remember coming home from school with head lice and having my mum smother my hair in an obnoxious smelling concoction from the local chemist. Most head lice treatments you purchase at the chemist contain neurotoxins, many of which can be found in common garden pesticides. On top to of this, head lice are becoming increasingly resistant to the neurotoxins in these treatments, slowly rendering them as ineffective.
However, using an over-the-counter product isn't the only option available to rid your head of its new colony of lice. There are plenty of natural, and often cheaper, ways to eradicate head lice that don't involve any potentially harmful chemicals at all!
Good old-fashioned elbow grease
Using a high-quality nit comb (metal is best) to comb through a nit-infested head of hair is necessary with all treatments of head lice. Using the olive oil/tea tree oil treatment listed below is far easier than combing out lice and their eggs from a dry head of hair.
Olive Oil Treatment
Generously applying olive oil to your hair and leaving it in overnight will suffocate head lice.
Prior to going to bed, coat hair in the oil and pop a shower cap on. In the morning you can comb out the parasites with a nit comb. You'll need to repeat this over the next few days to ensure no nits remain.
Tea Tree Oil
Using this essential oil is a quick way to eradicate head lice, as it is a natural insecticide. For centuries, the Indigenous people of Australia have been using tea tree oil to treat infections.
To treat head lice, simply mix 60 mils of olive oil or natural shampoo with 15 to 20 drops of the essential oil and apply to the hair using contain balls. This method also works with lavender oil. You want to completely saturate the hair so the lice are immobilized and it's easy to comb through the hair.
With the tea tree oil mix still on the hair, separate the hair into small sections and use a nit comb to remove the lice. Once you've done the whole head, you can rinse the hair off. You'll probably to repeat this over the period of a few days, depending on if you find any nits still lurking amongst the hair.
Note: Whilst tea tree oil is considered a gentle treatment for lice, caution still needs to be employed whilst using it. If irritation occurs whilst using tea tree oil to treat head lice, cease use immediately.
Salt & Vinegar
Not just for chips, household salt and vinegar can be used the treat head lice. Dissolve ¼ cup of salt in to ¼ cup of warm vinegar and use a spray bottle to cover the hair until it's wet.
Leave on for a couple of hours under a shower cap, and then wash hair. Repeat once every three days.