The Head Lice Prevention Tips That Every Parent Should Know


This is my 7-year-old’s hair. It’s been like that since she was 4; super thick, super long with a slight natural wave, and the envy of many adults (myself included). So naturally I freaked out when the first lice email arrived from the school nurse a week into her kindergarten year. I did not want to deal with an outbreak of lice in that head of hair, especially with the rise of super lice. I followed the advice of our school nurse’s email and reached out to some friends with school-age kids who had lived this fear-inducing bug, then started taking preventative measures to hopefully steer the lice away from my daughter’s hair. While it’s a nasty topic and my head is itching just even writing this post, there are several things you can do now to prevent those disgusting little parasites from wreaking havoc on your home laterWith the help of my fellow SMB Contributors, I compiled a list of prevention tips that every parent needs to know in order to keep these uninvited guests from crashing your party…

preventing lice

  1. Braids and buns. Keep the hair pulled back. We’re talking away from the back of the neck and ears, where lice like to start their visit.  As soon as the lice email is sent, you’ll see all the girls in my daughter’s class with slicked back braids and buns because…
  2. Coconut oil, gel, and hairspray make it harder for lice to stay on the hair.  They won’t be able to climb up slick or sticky hair to attach to the scalp and cause days of annoyance to your family. I add coconut oil to my daughter’s leave-in conditioner and/or coat the ends of her braid with it before she leaves for school. Many of our contributors add extra layers of styling products. So go ahead and pile it on! Sure it will make your kid’s hair greasy, but that’s OK. Skip the shampoo because lice don’t care if your hair is clean or dirty and there is no evidence that suggests they prefer dirty hair. They just want a home. Don’t give them one!
  3. Use a preventative shampoo or spray daily. There are several scents and essential oils that lice detest. The ones I’ve heard the most are tea tree, lavender, and rosemary. You can make your own lice preventative shampoo and conditioner by adding several drops of tea tree oil to your regular products. I also made my own preventative spray of tea tree oil and water and sprayed it on my daughter’s scalp, behind her ears, and on the back of her neck every morning before school. Or you can use a premade lice preventive product. Our contributors have several product lines that they love, like Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel which offers a shampoo, conditioner, spray and styling products. Another favorite is So Cozy. Contributor Kelli found two preventative shampoos in product lines that she was already using, and has been washing her daughter’s hair with California Baby Tea Tree Oil & Lavender Shampoo & Body Wash and her own hair with OGX Tree Tree Mint Shampoo
  4. And while you’re at, keep the hair bows, headbands, etc. to a minimum to prevent our icky little friends from using them as an entry point. Since lice is spread from head-to-head contact and can live up to 24 hours without a host (a scalp), you can never be too careful. Remind your kids that sharing is not caring with things like helmets, pillows, hooded sweatshirts, headphones, backpacks, brushes, and towels during a lice outbreak. And no hugging either since lice can crawl from one head to another. (Did anyone just get the chills like I did?) As much as your kids love their friends, fist bumps will have to do once lice intrude. 
  5. As tedious as it is, do regular comb-throughs and scalp checks. It takes me over an hour to thoroughly check my daughter’s grown-up head of hair, but she enjoys a movie while I painstakingly search for some peace of mind. If unfortunately these microscopic nuisances get through your preventative measures, you can catch them right away during a scalp check and begin treatment. And use these prevention tips yourself to help keep your head lice-free. 

What are your go-to lice prevention tips? Tell us in the comments!


  1. Yikes! The topic no one likes to think about but is so important to be aware of. Definitely better to think of beforehand rather than when it’s too late. Great tips.

  2. I use a homemade spray of essential oils, tea tree, lavender, water, & pinch of Salt. Lice stands no chance with essential oils.

  3. Braids and buns is the BEST cheapest way to avoid lice. Lice LOVE loose hair! Great tips in the article! I’m a lice pro and have treated thousands of happy customers since 2012. I wrote a little free ebook with all my BEST tips, tactics, & strategies to DIY a lice outbreak at home. Here’s a link: www/ click on ‘free ebook tab’. Hope that helps!

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