Over-the-Counter Head Lice Treatment for Long & Thick Hair That Work

Head lice, also known as pediculus humanus capitis, affects up to 12 million people each year. This is according to the National Pediculosis Association. We typically tend to think of lice affecting children. While it’s true that children do account for quite a few cases, adult head lice can be just as prominent.

Unfortunately, many stigmas go along with lice. Many people associate it with being unclean. However, in most cases, lice are just passed from person to person. It doesn’t matter how often you wash your hair or how good your hygiene habits may be.

Lice aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they can be annoying and embarrassing. That’s why most people want to get rid of lice fast. If you’re in an enclosed space with a lot of other people, it becomes far too easy for these little pests to get around quickly. That’s why they are so prominent in schools or close work environments.

These little infestations may be a common problem. But, there are numerous over-the-counter head lice treatments. From removing lice to getting rid of head lice eggs from hair, you don’t have to deal with these little creatures for very long. They can easily be removed with the Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb.

Table of Contents:

How to Get Rid of Head Lice with Long Hair

This article will focus on getting rid of hair lice and how to kill head lice eggs. We’ll cover the symptoms of head lice, so you know what to look for, and how to deal with them. Once you know more about how to handle these parasites, the faster you can remove them. It doesn’t matter the type of hair you may have. Treatment of these tiny bugs remains the same, no matter what.

Let’s take a closer look at head lice removal. There are OTC options to consider, as well as some natural solutions that have seen success. But first, it’s important to know what symptoms are commonly associated with these parasites.

How to Correctly Identify Head Lice

A fully-grown head louse is still really small. Even as adults, they will become no bigger than a sesame seed. However, three forms of head lice could appear in your hair, so it’s important to know these stages:

  • Nits
  • Nymphs
  • Mature adults

Nits are the eggs of a louse. They attach to the shaft of a hair and are practically microscopic. Because they are so small, many people confuse them for dandruff or some residue.

When the egg hatches, it becomes a nymph. Nymphs are usually tan or gray, and it takes them a little over a week to grow into the size of a full, mature adult. It is at this adult stage that most people recognize the parasite for what it is, and start to notice it on their scalp.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of head lice are fairly easy to identify. In many cases, you may notice the discomfort that comes from lice before you see them in your hair. One of the most common symptoms is itching, and it’s what most people associate with the parasite. The itching is caused by the bugs ‘feeding’ on the blood of your scalp. Their saliva can be irritating to the skin.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Sores on the scalp
  • Red bumps
  • Ticklish feeling on the head

If you’re worried you may have lice, pay close attention to these possible symptoms at night. These parasites are nocturnal and are more active at night than during the day.

If you start feeling any of these symptoms, the next step is to get visual confirmation. Unfortunately, these tiny creatures can be difficult to see with just the naked eye. So, a few extra steps may need to be taken in order to find them on the scalp.

The easiest way to discover them is to part your hair into small sections and go through each section with a fine-toothed comb, such as the Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb. You may even need the assistance of a light, or a magnifying glass to see them clearly. It can be an annoying and slow process, but it’s the best way to discover them visually.

You may not always notice an infestation right away. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it may take up to six weeks after contracting lice to notice any of these symptoms.

What’s the Best Way to Get Rid of Hair Lice?

One of the best head lice treatments is simply going through with a specialized comb and picking away the lice. You’ll need to do this several times over the course of a few weeks in order to not only get rid of the lice but their eggs. There are specialized combs designed specifically for this process, like the Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb.

There are also several over-the-counter shampoos that contain certain chemicals designed to kill the common louse. However, many people prefer to turn toward natural remedies. Tea tree oil mixes the best of both worlds. Some shampoos contain this powerful ingredient, but it is also completely natural. It has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. One of the most popular tea tree oil shampoos that can help with a lice infestation is by Maple Holistics Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo.

There are now electric head lice combs available to get rid of infestations quickly. People turn toward these combs because they are generally safe. They don’t require any messy ointments or shampoos, and they can be reused again and again. Because children are often the most common victims of head lice infestations, using a product that won’t cause any negative side effects gives most parents peace of mind.

One of the most popular electric combs is the LiceGuard RobiComb. This comb is a non-toxic way to kill lice instantly – even an adult louse. When it detects a louse, it sends out an electrical charge to ‘zap’ them, killing them right away. However, it is completely safe on human skin and your hair. You can continue to use the comb until all the lice have been killed and combed away.

If the pests come back, or another member of the family gets them, the comb can be used again at any time without the risk of spreading the bugs or making the infestation even worse.

Are Home Remedies Effective?

If you don’t want to use over-the-counter products to get rid of lice, you might consider a natural home remedy. We already briefly touched on tea tree oil, an effective essential oil. You can also use 100% pure tea tree oil on its own (with a carrier oil) instead of in a shampoo. Simply apply the oil to your scalp and rub it in. It should help you find relief from itching and redness almost instantly.

Let’s take a look at a few other natural ways of removing head lice.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties. However, its biggest advantage in dealing with lice is that it creates a hostile environment for the little creatures. It may create enough grease to smother the lice, but it’s best when it is used along with a comb to get rid of nits, nymphs, etc.

Because this oil will add a greasiness to your hair before it’s rinsed away, the lice will have a hard time holding onto the scalp. Simply put, they don’t like living that way, and it may make it easier to see them and comb them out.

This is also a great way to remove dead head lice eggs from the hair and scalp. It will temporarily immobilize adult lice enough to get rid of as many as possible at once. With enough coconut oil treatments, you may be able to comb the adults, eggs, and nymphs away in just a few weeks.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular DIY solutions for getting rid of a lice infestation. One thing to note is that vinegar itself will not kill head lice that have already matured. However, it will help to get rid of dead head lice eggs. It’s also effective on nymphs.

Vinegar is so effective on eggs and nymphs because it is considered an acid. Its acidic properties also serve as an antiseptic, making it great for killing germs. It’s strong enough to work on lice but safe enough to use on your scalp.

While it isn’t strong enough to destroy the exoskeleton of adult lice, it helps to loosen nymphs and eggs from the shaft of the hair. When you combine a treatment with apple cider vinegar with a specialized fine tooth comb, it can be much easier to remove these pests from your hair.

For best results, choose apple cider vinegar that has not been pasteurized, and has a 5% acidity level.

Essential Oils

We already touched on tea tree oil as an effective way to deal with lice. Other essential oils can help with the problem as well. Some of the most common include:

  • Lavender oil
  • Clove oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Cinnamon leaf oil
  • Red thyme oil
  • Peppermint oil

To use these oils properly and effectively, follow the steps below.

  1. Use a carrier oil such as olive oil or jojoba oil.
  2. Mix 15-20 drops of any one of the essential oils above into the carrier oil.
  3. Apply the solution directly to your scalp with cotton balls, being sure to coat as much of your skin as possible.
  4. Leave the mixture on your scalp overnight.
  5. Comb, shampoo, and rinse out in the morning.
  6. Repeat as needed.

One of the most important steps in this process is to comb out the hair. It’s essential to get rid of mature lice and in eliminating head lice eggs and nymphs. Even if you’re able to kill the lice, it’s imperative to get them off your scalp and out of your hair with a comb.

Alternatively, you can follow the same steps by mixing 15-20 drops of an essential oil with rubbing alcohol. Combine the components in a spray bottle, and spray your scalp/hair thoroughly. Leave on for twelve hours and comb/wash as stated above. You can use this method as a preventative measure to keep lice away, too.


Salt can be used with a vinegar solution to get rid of lice effectively. It works by drying out the adult louse and nits. To use salt as a proper solution, mix ¼ cup salt with ¼ cup vinegar. Spray the solution all over your head. Secure with a shower cap and let sit for several hours (at least two).

Finish by washing your hair thoroughly with shampoo and conditioner. For best results, repeat this process every two or three days. There is less scientific research on this particular home remedy than some of the others, but there are many anecdotal success stories to back it up. Plus, it’s likely you have both ingredients already on hand so that you can try it immediately at the first sign of symptoms.


Garlic can be effective in getting rid of lice. However, it’s important to follow up this type of treatment with a strong shampoo so that you can get rid of the smell! It’s the strong fragrance of garlic that suffocates adult lice, killing them while they’re in your hair or on your scalp. You can then comb the exoskeletons away.

To use garlic as a treatment, grind about ten cloves of fresh garlic into a paste. Mix in two teaspoons of lemon juice, and massage directly onto the scalp. Leave the solution on your scalp for about 30 minutes, and then wash away thoroughly.

Most effective ways to remove head lice

Getting Rid of Nits

It can sometimes be trickier to get rid of nits than adult lice. This is because they stick tightly to the hair shaft for protection. It can be hard to comb them out without a little ‘extra’ help. However, getting rid of nits is essential in getting rid of a lice infestation for good. If you can’t eliminate the nits, they’ll keep growing into adults, and the cycle will move forward again and again.

We mentioned vinegar as a treatment option above. However, you may also want to consider using it in a step-by-step process to help get rid of nits. Follow the steps below to effectively clear your scalp (or someone else’s) of this type of infestation before they grow into adult lice.

  1. Select high-quality lice comb, like LiceGuard RobiComb. A steel comb will work better than a plastic comb for nymphs and eggs.
  2. Cover your shoulders or the individual’s shoulders with a towel to protect them from any solution or lice/nits that may fall.
  3. Mix up a solution of six parts warm water with three parts vinegar (you can use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar). Vinegar will help to dissolve the ‘adhesive’ substance that adheres nits to the hair shaft.
  4. Wet your entire head with the solution, making sure to saturate your hair.
  5. Sit in a well-lit area and begin dividing your hair into sections. This will make it easier to comb out the nits, especially if you have thicker hair. After combing through a section, dip the comb into a bowl of warm water to remove any dead eggs.
  6. Repeat this process on the whole head. If you have a full, thick head of hair, it may take several hours. However, the combing process is necessary for getting rid of eggs.
  7. Shampoo and rinse your hair with a tea tree oil shampoo, and be sure to wash the towel/clothes you or the person whose hair you were combing was wearing.
  8. Repeat this process every few days, until there are no more eggs or visible lice on the head.

What Else Should I Do?

It takes more than just an over-the-counter treatment or natural solution to fight against a lice infestation. The minute you notice someone in your household has these irritating pests, it’s important to take additional measures. You’ll want to keep the mature bugs and their eggs out of everything else in your house and your belongings.

With that in mind, take the following steps along with treatment of the scalp and hair when dealing with lice.

  • Wash all clothing, bedding, towels, etc., in hot water. This will help to control the infestation by killing any lice who have migrated to these fabrics. If they are allowed to live and thrive there, you may risk re-exposing yourself to an infestation each time you come in contact with your pillow or an article of clothing.
  • Vacuum your carpets and furniture regularly when someone has lice. This will keep the pests from burying themselves in the crevices of these areas. It’s best to do it every day, if possible.
  • Check everyone in the house for lice if one person has it. The bugs are extremely contagious and can be contracted from one person to another easily. If everyone isn’t treated, you could continue to ‘pass’ the infestation back and forth to other members of your household.
  • One thing you don’t have to worry about is your family pet. If someone in your household brings home an infestation, you don’t have to worry about your dog or cat catching it. Lice are not common in household pets. However, if they do get them, it is a different type of lice than the ones that affect humans. So, you cannot ‘catch’ lice from your dog or cat, either.
  • A head lice shampoo can cause itchiness. If you’re head it itchy and dry, it’s likely to be due to the ingredients. Try a natural alternative.

What are the best ways to remove head lice at home?

Is It Possible to Prevent Head Lice?

As long as we interact with others on a daily basis, it’s unlikely head lice will ever be completely preventable. However, there are some precautionary measures you can take. Make sure everyone in your family is aware of these tips – especially children. The more everyone in your household knows about preventing lice, and the less likely an infestation into the home will become.

  • Avoid sharing any items that come in contact with the head. Lice can easily crawl from inanimate objects to the hair. This includes things like hats, scarves, towels, earbuds, combs, brushes, etc.
  • Additionally, minimize any direct contact you may have with someone else’s head. This is a helpful tip for kids, especially. Children may play with each other with their heads close together. If one of their friends has an infestation, they can easily catch it.
  • Keep your belongings separate. This is another great tip for kids, but it pertains to adults, too. Places like closets, lockers, and drawers can easily become a breeding ground for lice if one person has it and shares the space. Keep things like coats, hats, and scarves out of public storage spaces as much as possible.

Again, it may not be completely possible to prevent lice. As you can see, being cautious of others and their belongings is the best way to protect yourself and the members of your household. By following these tips, and making sure your children understand what lice are, you have a better chance of keeping them out of your home.

What Is the Most Effective Way of Killing Head Lice?

Using an over-the-counter treatment, like Maple Holistics Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo is a great way to get rid of lice fairly quickly. With any treatment, though, it’s best to include a combing process to get rid of eggs. Using LiceGuard RobiComb can also make a big difference.

Be sure to choose a solution that leaves you with fewer opportunities for harmful side effects. If you have sensitive skin or dry hair, a natural shampoo or treatment is best. Or, you may want to consider a home remedy using natural ingredients to keep your hair and scalp healthy.

The stigma behind head lice isn’t what it used to be. Because these head lice are so contagious, more people experience them than you may think. Unfortunately, they aren’t always easy to get rid of fast. It usually takes repeated treatment and time to make sure they are completely gone.

Using some of the treatment suggestions, you can make sure head lice never remain a problem in your home for too long.

Copyright 2018 by DryScalpGone.