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What are head lice?

Small blood-sucking insects known as Pediculus humanus capatis. They live on people’s scalps. A single insect is called a louse.

Who is at greatest risk for getting head lice?

Anyone in close contact with the hair of someone with head lice. Preschool and elementary-age children, 3-11 years, and their families are infested most often (6 million to 12 million infestations a year in the U.S., says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC). Girls get head lice more often than boys.

How did my child get head lice? How is it spread?

Through head-to-head contact. This typically occurs during play at school, playgrounds, home, friends’ houses and camp. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice. (They love clean kids!)

Less common ways lice can spread include:

  • Wearing clothing, such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, or hair ribbons recently worn by an infested person.
  • By using infested combs, brushes or towels.
  • By using a bed, pillow or sleeping bag recently used by someone with lice or touching a carpet or a stuffed animal where that person has been

Is this lice in my child’s hair? I can’t tell for sure.

Send us a photo! Try to get a well-lit, focused close-up — and we’ll analyze it for you and let you know what we think. A free service from Hair Fairies to you.

What do head lice look like?

Lice come in three forms: the egg (called a nit), the nymph, and the adult. Often hard to see, nits resemble tiny oval shaped seeds, yellow to white in color. They are about the size of a knot in thread, and often confused with dandruff or hair spray droplets. Nits hatch into nymphs, the size of a pinhead. Within a week, nymphs mature into adults, about the size of a sesame seed. For more, see Facts-Lice 101.

Where are head lice commonly found?

On the scalp, behind the ears and near the neckline at the back of the neck. They are rarely found on the body, eyelashes, or eyebrows. Females lay eggs at the base of the hair shaft. Once hatched, head lice firmly attach themselves
to the hair.

My kid is itching and scratching. Is that a head lice symptom?

Once scratching starts, most likely you’ve had head lice for one or two weeks. That itchy feeling is caused by an allergic reaction to the bites. The first signs of head lice include a tickling sensation, like something moving in the hair; also, sores on the head from scratching.

How do you diagnose a lice infestation?

By looking closely through the hair and scalp. Finding a nymph or adult may be difficult. Unless the infestation is severe, there are usually few bugs and they can move quickly from searching fingers. The quickest diagnosis comes from a trained individual, such as a Hair Fairies technician, who knows the parasite’s telltale signs: eggs cemented onto the hair shaft. Our trained screeners look for lice where they like to hang out and lay eggs: nape of the neck, behind ears, at the crown and front hairline.

What about over-the-counter remedies or home remedies — are they effective?

Not really, and some can be harmful. The Harvard School of Public Health has stated that head lice are “resistant to permethrin and lindane” (toxic lice-fighting products now banned in California). The National Pediculosis Association (NPA) advises parents to discontinue use of head lice pesticides, which have been associated anecdotally with seizures, behavioral changes, learning issues, cancer and skin diseases.

Can animals spread head lice to people?

No. Your dogs, cats, and other pets can’t spread lice to you or you to them.

If one of my children has head lice, will another get them, too?

Sorry to say — probably. About 80% of the time, one child passes head lice on to any siblings or to their mother. About 20% of the time, dads get them from their kids, while nannies get them 35% of the time. That’s how easily lice spread. The good news is, Hair Fairies’ proven head lice removal products and techniques work.

I’m embarrassed (or feel guilty) that my child has head lice. Should I be?

Not at all. Head lice do not discriminate, and they cross all demographics. They’re also very common and they love clean hair. Head lice can be disturbing, but they’re not a health hazard and don’t spread any disease. Rest assured, Hair Fairies is here for you with guilt-free salons, DIY tips and videos, and great all-natural products.

My child doesn’t have head lice — yet. Can I do something to prevent it?

Yes, you can. Regular screenings at home and school will help. So will Hair Fairies all-natural prevention products.

Other questions? Send email. Or call our free hotline at 877.285.0069

This fact sheet is for information only and is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you have any questions about the disease described above or think that you may have a parasitic infection, consult a healthcare provider.


Hair Fairies technicians manually (and thoroughly) screen hair for head lice and their eggs.


We know how to hunt down head lice and their eggs and zap them gone.


Our process — and great prevention products — keep head lice from coming back.

Primary source of “lice science” — U.S. Centers for Control and Prevention (CDC.gov)


We’re expert lice detectives! If you’re unsure that what you’re seeing is head lice, take a close-up pic and
send it to us. We’ll analyze it and let you know what we think.

Or stop in at one of our Hair Fairies salons, and we’ll get you started on a new lice-free existence.


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