Lice Hacks :: How to Kick Those Nasty Nits

I have a new four letter word in my vocabulary: L-I-C-E. Until recently, I hadn’t experienced this horrific rite-of-passage as a parent and let me tell you, it was plain “lousey.” 

If your child has lice, it doesn’t mean they are dirty or that your home is unkempt. Anyone can get lice. And lice actually prefer clean hair. It’s easier for them to feast on your scalp that way. Ew gross, I know.

Know the Signs

Initially, I had no idea how to identify lice simply because we had never dealt with it before. I guess I imagined they looked like dandruff…no. The “nits” aka the eggs that adult lice lay are actually a blackish brown color and when you look closely, they’re a bit of a teardrop shape. They’ll be on the shaft of the hair strand. Adult lice, the ones crawling around, look like gnats to the naked eye. If you Google a picture (don’t do it!), they look more like a centipede. If they’re pretty prevalent, you won’t have to look too hard. I would often discover a louse or nit on the crown of her head. They were fairly easy to spot on the natural part in her hair.

Your child may itch, but they may not. If they do, it will typically be around the nape of their neck or their ears.

Try This Shampoo Alternative

We did over-the-counter shampoos initially when we learned our daughter had lice. After several rounds of lice, though, I didn’t want to keep using the harsh shampoos. 

So instead, I generously coated my daughter’s hair in olive oil and covered it with a shower cap before bed every night. The oil suffocates adult lice from any hatching nits. It’s ideal that oil stays on the head for 12 hours. In the morning, I would pull the nits out of her hair and then wash it. As a nice side effect, this treatment actually made her hair really silky!

Ask for Sklice and Use the Coupon!

When you just can’t kick lice the conventional ways, it’s time to call the doctor and get a prescription. Nowadays, there’s actually such a thing as “super lice” that do not respond to over-the-counter shampoos. Sklice is more of a lotion and kinda smells like Elmer’s school glue. It has good reviews and did work for us, but only after two seperate applications. It’s pricey stuff, though! Be sure to use the coupon on their site to get the $300 lotion for around $10.

Ditch the Comb

Use your bare hands. This is a personal preference, but I felt like I had so much more control this way and could clearly see that I got the little suckers. I would pinch the nit with my pointer finger and thumb nails and then pull it off the strand and wash down the sink.

Use a Flashlight

Nits are tough to see, especially if your child has dark hair. Use the flash light on your phone to scan the strands! This helped me catch nits that I would have missed otherwise. I also tried a “black light” flashlight. This is good if you need the extra visibility; the downside is that it highlights dandruff too.

Let it Out!

In all my reading online, no one really talked about the emotional toll of lice. You spend an hour a night pulling nits out of your wiggly child’s head, wash the sheets who knows how many times and nearly have a mental break down when you discover “THEY’RE BACK.” Dealing with lice is tedious and can be stressful when they keep on lingering. I certainly shed tears over lice and it’s okay if you do, too! They’re just downright ‘lousey’ after all.


Ryan and her husband Ryley have two daughters, a nine-year-old and a newborn baby. She's a native Wichitan and calls the east side home. Ryan works part-time as a copywriter at a marketing agency in downtown Wichita. In her sacred free time, she's probably catching up on a reality show or doodling on her iPad. Follow Ryan at @ListenMyDear on Instagram and her blog Listen My Dear.