I’m not sure why it should be, but recently I have had a lot of queries about how to deal with head lice naturally. This is great news – not that there is an outbreak of lice going around, but that people are seeking out natural remedies.

women hair care

I can tell you a totally natural and family-safe, tried and tested method for getting rid of head lice

Don’t be tempted by the promise of a kill-all, one hit treatment.  It doesn’t exist. And potent chemical treatments can contain a number of toxic ingredients that might be linked to a whole host of nasty conditions such as asthma, cancer, immune dysfunction, DNA disruption, organ damage and brain tumors – to name a few of the scariest, sorry…

If that doesn’t put you off, you should know that naturally resistant bugs (they can be suffocated for an hour and show no signs of life, only to revive again fully) have become highly resistant to the insecticides used in common treatments  – I read somewhere that we could be exposing our family to harmful toxic insecticides for only about a 20% chance of killing the lice. Which for children who are especially vulnerable to toxins is simply unacceptable.

The happy truth is that natural methods of killing head lice are actually the most efficient and safest

There are a few good ‘official’ information pages that dismiss natural methods (based on the lack of pharmaceutical testing) and yet promote chemical treatments with little information on toxicity concerns. This information turns up more in independent research and the truth is that you can be rid of a lice infestation without using any chemicals. And in the end, a clear head is all the proof you’ll ever need.

One seasoned mother I know told me: “It took me years to work it out. I put tons of effort into trying to get rid of the critters. Occasionally getting desperate and going for some horrible chemical concoction which absolutely never worked for me anyway. In the end I learned:  you have to be very persistent with that little comb and use essential oils in a carrier oil to help you along. If you really stick at it for a week or so, you can save yourself months and months of trouble and money.’’

But who wants to be grooming and popping at lice like a monkey, day in day out… who has time?

Over the years it has become clear that most people would rather not be attending to their entire family every day with a fine-toothed comb or using questionable chemical cocktails, and so on request, I began to develop an essential oil formula that would work with a minimum of fuss and a few simple applications.

Using the same logic as the old chemical remedies, I headed towards the naturally insecticide essential oils with the important difference being of course that I could choose plants that have been used in herbal medicine and cooking for thousands of years, that are known to be non-toxic and safe.

As with many essential oil blends, it is the synergy of the chosen oils that provides the ultimate power (with an effect that is greater than the sum of the individual parts)…  and so with a careful aromatic balancing act, I included Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Peppermint and Citronella and May Chang – all known for their powerful insecticide and repellent properties, but also bringing in therapeutic and tonic properties to produce an overall beneficial and pleasant effect for the human consumer.

If you want to create your own essential oil blend, the above oils would be my recommended ingredients, based on years of natural healthcare practice and personal family use. Perhaps you’ve already heard of a good natural recipe? It’s always useful to share tried and tested formulas so please post any variations in the comments below.

For getting rid of head lice without incessant combing or chemicals

We do need to be aware of the breeding cycle and be very clear about repeating the treatment at the right time. This in fact is the issue for any method you choose because it only takes one lice to lay hundreds of eggs and start the whole thing over again, ad infinitum.

It is also vital to wash pillowslips and sheets, all clothing of the upper body and any towels used in the process and be sure to air jumpers and jackets for several days. Yes, it is a lot of work for a week and best co-ordinated in the community, with the school or kinder garden.

If you do make your own blend, you can follow the basic directions for our Absolute Essential blends below. That way you can be sure that your efforts won’t be thwarted by bad timing. Of course, use only pure and where possible certified organic essential oils to keep it absolutely wholesome and chemical-free.

Lice X is a pure blend of concentrated essential oils. It is designed to either use as a repellant and brush through hair prior to school, or add 10-25 drops to your shampoo, wrap and leave for 15 minutes and wash out and comb through with conditioner. Repeat every second day for three applications.

Lice X Intensive Wash is a shampoo-based application. Massage into hair and scalp, wrap and leave for 15 minutes, wash out and comb through with conditioner. Repeat every second day for three applications.

While the recommendation with chemical treatments is to not treat other family members unless they are definitely infected, you can do either of these treatments on the whole family to include protection for those not infected – without any worries of harmful side effects.  Equally you can do a wash once a week for prevention purposes when you know there is an infestation at school or among groups of friends.

A large range of Therapeutic Plant Oils are available at and at select retail outlets. Absolute Essential is an eco-ethical company with over 20 year’s expertise in Holistic Healthcare.