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How to Properly Comb for Lice and Nits

Last modified: June 26, 2020. Information verified by President/CEO Maria Botham.

Head lice may be small, but they can spread quickly and cause a lot of discomfort for both kids and adults. The problem with lice is that it only takes a few of them to start an outbreak and, once they get going, they can be difficult to contain. Luckily, there are lots of options out there for lice treatment; however, some are more effective than others, some simply do not work at all, and some can be downright dangerous.

In this post, we explore a fast and effective lice treatment we like to call the Hair Fairies “nit zapping” method. You will learn how to spot a lice outbreak, what products to use when an outbreak occurs, and how to use the wet combing method to get rid of head lice.

The Hair Fairies “Nit Zapping” Method

The first step in controlling lice effectively is to confirm that you are, in fact, dealing with a lice outbreak. Lice are very small, and their eggs look similar to dandruff, making it is easy to make a mistake. Skin conditions and even allergies to commonly used hair products can cause dryness and flaking on the scalp that may look like lice.

The truth is, the only way to be sure of an active outbreak is to put on some gloves and find live lice on a person’s scalp.

Children are an easy target for lice, because they gather at school and are in close contact for most of the week. To find lice on your child, thoroughly wet their hair (this will slow down lice activity and make them easier to spot). Then, use a fine-toothed comb to part the hair and shine a bright light on the scalp. A camping headlamp can be helpful here. Check the entire scalp, focusing particularly behind the ears and the back of the neck. If you see small brown insects roughly the size of sesame seeds moving around, your child has an active lice infestation.

After you have identified a lice outbreak, the next step is to treat it.

Treating a Lice Infestation

Treating head lice is not as daunting as you might think. The first step? Don’t panic! Cleanse your child’s head with a high-quality lice control shampoo, such as Nit-Zapping Clenz Shampoo. Apply a dime-sized amount of shampoo, working it into a lather that covers the entire head. Let the shampoo sit for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. After you are finished, be sure to wash your hands with our Foaming Eucalyptus Hand Soap to prevent the accidental spread of lice.

When using any lice removal product, follow the instructions carefully; if you do not let the shampoo sit for long enough or fail to repeat the treatment as recommended, you may not get rid of all the lice and the problem will keep coming back.

Once you have treated your child’s head using a shampoo for nits, the next step is to manually remove the eggs, lice, and nits. One of the most effective strategies for doing so is a process called wet combing. To use wet combing for lice, you will need a hair conditioner, a wide-toothed comb, a fine-toothed lice comb, a flashlight, and paper towels.

How to Comb for Lice

Here is a step-by-step guide for wet combing to remove lice (or check our instructional videos here):

  1. Apply a generous layer of Nit-Zapping Clenz Cream to your child’s hair, covering the scalp and working it along the full length of the hair
  2. Use a wide-toothed comb to gently untangle the hair
  3. Divide the hair into sections and comb for lice along each individual section
  4. Place the flat of the fine-toothed comb against the scalp and draw it gently through each section of hair from root to tip
  5. After each stroke, wipe the comb on a paper towel, checking for lice and nits each time
  6. Comb each section of hair at least five times, using the flashlight to check for any remaining lice, eggs, or nits
  7. Wash your child’s hair as usual and either discard the combs or wash them thoroughly before reuse

The wet combing method is highly effective for removing lice, but it relies on consistency to work. You should repeat this treatment every 1 to 2 days until no lice have been found on your child’s head for at least 10 days.

After you have gotten rid of the lice, your goal turns to prevention. Try using tea tree oil or Hair Fairies’ Nit-Zapping Clenz Prevention Oil 2 to 3 times a week along the hairline to keep lice away. You may also want to wash your child’s clothes and bedding with Hair Fairies’ Heavy Duty Laundry Detergent to kill any remaining lice, eggs, or nits. (It only takes a few to start the infestation all over again!)

If All Else Fails, Find an Expert

If you find yourself in the middle of a lice outbreak and are not sure what to do, trust the professionals at Hair Fairies to handle the situation for you. Go online to book your appointment in a Hair Fairies salon or schedule a home visit.