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Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Lice Shampoos

Last spring, when we had a certain critter crawling around the hair of one of my children (who shall remain nameless), we avoided the medicated shampoos that many others run out to buy. We did the olive oil suffocation method. Which worked well. Followed by hours of nit picking and many more shampooings to get the oil out of the hair.

On round 2, a month later, we were out of town. Nothing like showing up at Grandma's house with lice! She was thrilled. So thrilled that she insisted we call a professional (though I'm an excellent nitpicker, my mother just doesn't trust me in that regard). The lice people came with TLC, Total Lice Control shampoo, which is supposed to kill not only the bugs, but the nits. I can vouch for it killing the bugs. I can't speak for the nits, because the only way to guarantee you get your kid back into school is to be nit free. And I want my kids in school, not at home with dead eggs in their hair.

The shampoo (which I paid $20/bottle) is natural, chemical-free and doesn't smell too great. Especially when you leave it on for 30 minutes, as you're instructed to do (imagine stuffing an entire rosemary plant up your nose for half an hour). So when I mention to my kids that we're doing a prophylactic lice shampooing, they usually respond by screaming and running away from me.

The other prevention method I use is straight tea tree oil, purchased at Trader Joe's, and rubbed on the hairline with a Q-tip. This method isn't too popular in the house either, with one child claiming it itches and smells, and the other child just saying it stinks. And they're right.

The nice people at Fairy Tales Hair Care offered to send me a bottle of their shampoo and conditioner to review. Given that everyone else I know in the world uses Fairy Tales, I jumped at the chance. Fairy Tales shampoo does not kill lice. It's supposed to repel them, using natural oils to repel them. Given how good the shampoo and conditioner smell, I can't understand why the lice wouldn't flock to the hair too.

Does it work? I don't know yet. There hasn't been an outbreak of lice in camp. But I do know that my child who complains the most about getting shampooed, doesn't mind using this shampoo or conditioner at all. And that's huge.

If we do get another outbreak, I will dip back into the TLC. But for prevention, I'm going to continue to try the Fairy Tales stuff.

(Post script: Shampooed recently with the TLC and still had a live bug after. The shampooing was thorough, so that was a concern. Also, I'm not convinced that Fairy Tales is keeping the lice at bay, since one kid has gotten it several times since and that's the main shampoo she uses).

What products do you use and like for lice control???

(The Fairy Tales people came out with a new lice app - which can track outbreaks in your area. It's free and called the Facts of Lice on itunes).

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