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9 June 2022 / Caitlin Devlin

Tea tree and lavender essential oil headlice treatment

Defeat these unpleasant pests with an all-natural homemade treatment using essential oils.

Woman brushing her hair

A headlice infestation, whether on our own heads or those of our loved ones, can have us feeling incredibly uncomfortable and often quite anxious.

The most effective way to get rid of lice quickly is the tried and tested method of combing through with a nit comb after washing and picking them out. This essential oil treatment can support this process, effectively killing lice and deterring reinfection.

Two of the most effective oils for getting rid of lice are lavender and tea tree.

Lavender essential oil acts as a deterrent to lice, helping to prevent infection as shown in a 2011 study. It also has cleansing, nourishing benefits for our hair and scalp. You can learn more about lavender essential oil here.

Tea tree essential oil has been shown to be incredibly effective in getting rid of headlice. One study in 2012 found that the oil was able to kill one hundred percent of lice and also a great many of their eggs. You can learn more about tea tree essential oil here.

When applying essential oils topically, you should always dilute with a carrier oil. This recipe uses neem oil, a carrier oil that is thought to disrupt the life cycle of a louse and naturally repel them.

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  1. Combine all of the oils in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Wash hair with shampoo as normal but do not use a conditioning treatment.
  3. Squeeze any excess water from the hair, then apply the oil mixture whilst hair is still damp. Massage the oil mixture into the scalp and through to the ends of hair for several minutes. Patch test the mixture first. If you feel any irritation or burning, wash the oil mixture out immediately with shampoo.
  4. Leave the oil mixture in and comb through hair with a nit comb, regularly washing the comb as you go. Be thorough and keep combing through until you can no longer see any sign of lice.
  5. Wash the oil mixture out and dry hair as normal.
  6. Repeat throughout the week as needed or until there are no longer any symptoms of infection.

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Remember that essential oils are potent natural products and different people may have different levels of sensitivity to them. You may want to adjust the quantity of each oil in the recipe in order to better suit you.

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