Is It A Good Idea To Shave Your Head To Get Rid Of Lice?

Best practices to help get rid of the infestation and restore your scalp and hair health

Reviewed by Madison Dufour, Barber & Cosmetologist Madison Dufour Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA Experience: 5 years
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Lice infestation is a common problem. If you are planning to go bald or shave your head to get rid of lice, put down that blade for a minute and go through this article first. We understand that lice can affect your quality of life due to the constant itching. But, before taking any drastic measures, let us discuss whether shaving your head will help get rid of lice or not. Scroll down!

Can Shaving Your Head Rid Lice?

Woman shavig her head to get rid of head lice.
Image: Shutterstock

No, shaving your head will not rid lice. The lice live on the scalp, and active lice nits are closer to the scalp. The lice nits that you see in your hair strands are not active. This is one reason shaving your hair will not eliminate head lice. So, what is the best way to get rid of these blood-sucking parasites? Keep reading to find out. 

What Is The Best Way To Get Rid Of Head Lice?

Closeup of person using lice comb on lice infested hair
Image: Shutterstock

Getting rid of lice takes dedicated attention. The routine mentioned below can help you remove all traces of lice in a matter of weeks. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Use OTC Lice Treatment Oil: You will find many over-the-counter lice treatment oils on the market. Use one every other day. These are highly effective in paralyzing the lice that easily get trapped in the lice comb. Apply the oil to your scalp and hair strands. Wear a scarf or shower cap. You might feel the urge to itch; however, do not open the scarf for at least 30 minutes.
  • Use A Lice Comb: Comb your hair with a lice comb two to three times every day. The teeth of the lice comb have very little space in between and can trap lice easily. Start by brushing your hair with a wide-toothed comb to get rid of the knots. Then use the lice comb. Don’t rush; you don’t want to be in a hurry and leave any behind.
  • Use An Anti-Lice Shampoo: Lice treatment shampoos are medicated products made with rosemary oil, tea tree oil, or piperonyl butoxide that help paralyze the lice. Wait for 10 minutes after applying the shampoo. Wash off and apply a conditioner. Dry your hair and use a lice comb to get rid of the paralyzed lice.
  • Pick Out The Nits: Nits are lice eggs attached to the hair strands near the scalp. The hatched nits slip down and make space for new nits. Picking them out is the best way to get rid of them. Start from the back of the neck to the back of the ears, before working towards the middle and crown area. Do this every day and you will see a significant decrease in the number of new lice. This method works as the combs may not always be efficient against lice nits.
protip_icon Quick Tip
You may use calamine lotion to soothe scalp itching and irritation caused by head lice or use OTC anti-histamine after consulting the doctor.

Are There Any Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Lice?

Home remedy for lice
Image: Shutterstock

Yes, certain effective home remedies can help you get rid of lice. Here’s what you can apply:

  • Neem Oil: Mix 2 to 3 drops of neem oil with 10 drops of olive oil. Massage the mixture into your scalp, wear a scarf, and wait for 30 minutes before washing your hair with an anti-lice shampoo. You can also add 4 to 5 drops of neem oil to your shampoo and use it.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Mix 1 drop of tea tree oil with 20 drops of coconut oil. Massage it into your scalp and hair. Wear a scarf and wait for 30 minutes before washing. You can also add 2 to 3 drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo.
  • Eucalyptus Oil: Mix 15 to 20 drops of eucalyptus oil with 100 ml of coconut or olive oils. Apply it to your scalp and wear a scarf. Wait for 30 minutes before washing your hair.
  • CAY Spray: CAY spray (coconut, anise, and ylang-ylang oil spray) acts as a physical insecticide. Spray it onto your scalp and hair and wear a scarf. Wait for 30 minutes and use a lice comb to comb out the paralyzed lice. Use an anti-lice shampoo to wash your hair.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can also mix camphor with any of the oils and use it on the scalp to eliminate head lice. Camphor is said to smother them.

Apart from the home remedies, you may also seek professional help.

Will My Local Salon Help Get Rid Of Lice?

An expert performs anti-lice treatment on a girls head at her clinic
Image: Shutterstock

Your local salon may not be able to help in this regard. You may want to instead visit a lice treatment center for expert advice. You may complement the treatment with the home remedies mentioned above (after consulting the expert). Talk to a dedicated hair grooming specialist to schedule sessions to get rid of your head lice quickly and effectively.

But how do these lice treatments compare with shaving your head?

Shaving Vs. Lice Treatment – Which Is Safe?

A spread of lice treatment products for use at home
Image: Shutterstock

Shaving may not get rid of headlice. But it can make nitpicking easier if you have long, thick hair. However, shaving can cause scalp irritation and cuts. On the other hand, OTC lice treatment oils and shampoos can be highly effective, though they can make your hair very dry and rough.

Here is the trick – use the lice treatment oils or home remedies every other day for at least two weeks. Use anti-lice shampoo and a good conditioner. Use the lice comb regularly twice a day for two weeks. Remember to apply a leave-in mask once a week. If your hair still remains rough and dry, chop it to a certain length. Go for spa treatments and hot oil massages once you get rid of the head lice. 

Final Thoughts

Getting rid of head lice can be tough. But it is possible with a little patience and effort. Avoid sharing combs, pillows, hats, and towels with other family members. Soak your clothes, pillow covers, and bed sheets in hot water and detergent if you find that you have the parasite. Follow the remedies listed in this post and also consult an expert. Take these measures to keep head lice from recurring.

Infographic: Top 4 Ways To Eliminate Head Lice

Dealing with head lice can be a challenging and frustrating experience. Thankfully, there are effective techniques available to eliminate these pesky parasites. Take a look at the infographic below to explore the top 4 methods to eradicate head lice and keep your scalp lice-free.

top 4 ways to reduce head lice (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Shaving your head to get rid of lice is not the only option left if you notice an infestation. Though it is difficult to manage the situation, it is not impossible with a little extra effort and patience. Following the points mentioned above can help you get rid of lice from your head. Using your own combs, towels, and pillows and not sharing them with other family members will help you control the issue. The remedies listed above can help you prevent lice infestation too. Consult a doctor if the infestation persists.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do head lice live in beards?

Yes, head lice can live in beards and eyebrows.

How many lice are usually found on a head?

The number of head lice depends on the person’s hygiene and lice management. However, an infested person may have at least 20 mature lice on their head.

How long do you leave rubbing alcohol in your hair to kill lice?

You may leave it on for around an hour and wash it off. However, rubbing alcohol is not proven to kill lice and may dry the scalp and hair.

Does hydrogen peroxide get rid of lice?

It is not scientifically proven to kill lice. However, you can soak your lice comb in hydrogen peroxide while combing if you want to try it.

Key Takeaways

  • Head lice do not live on the strands but the scalp.
  • Using lice treatment oils and shampoos can help get rid of these tiny parasites.
  • Many home remedies, like neem, tea tree, eucalyptus oil, are effective, too.
  • You should avoid sharing combs, pillows, hats, and towels with others to avoid the spread.
Shave Your Head To Get Rid Of Lice

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Head lice can be a cause for constant distress and embarrassment, and shaving off your hair might seem like the best solution. Find out in this video if shaven and bald heads are the most effective way of dealing with the problem.

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Madison Dufour

Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist

Madison Dufour is a licensed and practicing barber and cosmetologist with 10 years of experience, as well as an entrepreneur running several hair businesses, including MadisonD Barbering and The Exquisite Find Hair Blog. After working behind the chair for several years, she felt the calling to start the non-profit Barber in a Bag that teaches basic hair cutting skills in...read full bio

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