It is frightening and panic inducing, but do not lose your head, or hair. Lice season is here.

 

I have two boys, which in itself is panic inducing, but a few times, my youngest son and myself, got lice. As I understand it, lice only like certain kinds of hair. Bugs just do not seem to like my oldest son’s hair. The first time we got lice, I used one of those shampoos from a druggist. Not only did it not work, it was disgusting and toxic and I could not bring myself to put it on my little guy’s head ever again. The only problem was, I hate bugs. I fucking hate bugs. No matter how many times I think of the existence of bugs on another living organism proving alternate simultaneous dimensions, I cannot stand any bugs, particularly those living off of my family.

I am a person who still uses bleach and still gets an occasional Lysol spray (god forgive me). Sure I sometimes put temporary color in my hair, but generally, try to keep chemicals away from family, and try to stay from them myself. To my utter shock and horror, I have watched mothers shave their heads in frustration after dealing with lice that they were able to remove from the hair of their children, but had to turn to such extreme measures for themselves.

In my extensive online research I came up with a completely safe, chemical free, and often less expensive way to remove lice and their eggs from hair.

  1. Olive oil. You will need to douse your hair and the hair of your loved ones in olive oil until it is slick. Other oils, like coconut oil, can work as well. I like olive oil because of the pouring ease in this circumstance. Make sure to get it up to the scalp and out onto the edges, including around your neck and especially behind your ears. (For some reason lice love to live in the spot just behind ears, I love earlobes, but I would never want to live behind one, so I do not entirely understand.) This makes it difficult for the bugs to attach to the hair. I’m completely serious. It makes the hair too slippery for the bugs and loosens the lice eggs, which are called nits.
  2. Get a comb, some paper towels, and a bowl of water.
  3. Comb the hair. If long, start from the bottom until you can comb out from the scalp. Some bugs will start coming off onto the comb. As you comb through pieces of hair, continuously check the comb for the bugs, and even if you see none, continuously dip the comb in water and then wipe it with a paper towel. Keep changing the water and paper towel as needed. (You don’t want to put the bugs back in the hair)
  4. With hair still oily, but thoroughly combed, tie it up. I have a scarf collection personally, not everyone does, so you could use strips of old fabric, like an old pillowcase. Hair should be as high up on the head and as covered as possible.
  5. At this point, I do the laundry (particularly hats and coats), wipe down (or Lysol spray, heaven help me) the beds, and let the oil sit up in everyone’s hair for as long as possible. I’m talking hours. I’m saying take a Saturday. I’m saying finish all the laundry, clean the house, and make it a movie night. Maybe take a moment to contemplate the whole ‘alternate simultaneous dimensions’ thing. I’m talking oil in your hair all day, and the longer the hair the longer it stays. It will not hurt your hair; it will make your hair beautiful and luxurious.
  6. Have the paper towels, a comb, and a trashcan handy. Take out anything holding up your hair. Wash it and comb it and repeat, as many times as it takes to get the oil out of the hair.
  7. Blow dry the bejebus out of the hair. The highest heat you can manage. If you are blow drying a child’s hair for the first time, a good test is to have your hand just over the scalp to make sure it is not too hot. You may find long hair will still be oily. If so, comb wash and blow dry again as needed. Take any clothes you wore during the process and wash them thoroughly.
  8. If you have not already, put clean sheets on your bed. Rest your head. Have sweet dreams of your beautiful luxurious hair. Sleep well until your next adventure.
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