The 8 Best Lice Treatments to Buy in 2018

Everything you need to banish the bugs

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Now that school is back in full swing, there’s plenty on your kid’s plate: going to class, sports, and time playing with friends. Despite all the good stuff that comes with the start of the new season, children ages 3 to 11 are at risk for a pesky problem once they trek back to the classroom: head lice. These little bugs are harmless and don’t spread disease, but they’re itchy, uncomfortable, and can be difficult to get rid of if several children in close quarters get them at once.

Lice have a life cycle that you must break if you want to get rid of them. Nits (or lice eggs) hatch 7 to 10 days after they’re laid, and there are specific treatments to kill them. Once the eggs have hatched, the young adult lice (or nymphs) spread through your child’s hair, then they become adults, lay eggs, and the cycle begins again.

Using the appropriate treatments at the right points in the lice life cycle can help you get rid of these irritating pests. With that in mind, here are the eight top lice treatments.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: RID Lice Treatment Complete Kit

RID Lice Treatment Complete Kit

Courtesy of Amazon

This kit has everything you need to attack nits, nymphs, and adult lice for a bug-free head of hair. The Lice-Killing Shampoo contains extracts from the chrysanthemum flower to eliminate adult lice. The kit also includes a spray to detangle hair after shampooing, making it easier to comb through damp hair and remove stubborn nits. For added protection, the Home Lice, Bedbug & Dust Mite Spray helps kill remaining lice and eggs on cloth items in your home that are difficult to wash, preventing a re-infestation.

RID users on Amazon said that this kit is a must-have for any parent with elementary school-age children, and said that it worked well on body lice as well as head lice.

Best Budget: Equate Maximum Strength Lice Killing Shampoo

Lice are already nasty on your hair and scalp; there’s no reason they should leave a mark on your wallet too. Equate’s Maximum Strength Shampoo uses tried-and-true ingredients to eliminate lice for a bargain.

This shampoo contains two chemicals that target both adult lice and nits to kill both. The bottle comes with two combs in case the lice spread to multiple family members, and it’s inexpensive enough to keep an extra bottle around in case another round of lice begins at your child’s school.

Walmart customers said that this treatment successfully eliminated lice outbreaks in multiple children at once, and appreciated both how quickly it worked and how easy it was to apply.

Best For Kids: Nix Ultra 2-in-1 Lice Treatment

Children are the most susceptible to a lice outbreak, and Nix is a first-line lice treatment that stops nits, lice, and super lice (lice that have mutated and become resistant to over-the-counter treatments) with ease. After applying this solution to hair, you leave it on for ten minutes and let the active ingredients (dimethicone and mineral oil) suffocate the nits and adult lice. The formula is pesticide-free and non-toxic, and it also conditions the hair so it’s easier to comb through and get rid of pesky eggs and adults.

People on Amazon noted that this formula eliminated infestations that hadn’t responded to other products, and said that the included metal comb worked much better than cheap plastic combs that came with other treatments.

Best for Babies: Ladibugs One and Done Lice Treatment Kit

Lice are most common in elementary school-aged children, but babies can also fall victim to these irritating insects. You’ll need to take extra special care to treat lice in babies and choose a soothing formula for sensitive skin, and Ladibugs One and Done Lice Treatment Kit eliminates nits and adults with a pesticide-free serum and mousse.

This kit’s first step is a mint serum, which suffocates any live bugs in just 15 minutes. Afterward, you’ll apply a mousse to damp hair—the consistency is perfect for keeping the active ingredients on a fussy baby’s head. A comb with staggered teeth pulls everything out without dragging on strands, leaving you with one happy and comfortable baby.

Moms on Amazon loved this product’s fresh scent and said it left sensitive hair soft and nit-free.

Best All-Natural: Head Hunters Pro-Lice Treatment

If you want to steer clear of chemicals and try a more natural approach when you’re treating a lice outbreak, this conditioner-based treatment from Head Hunters Naturals is right up your alley. This treatment eschews shampoos and foams in favor of a proprietary conditioner base that forces lice to leave their respiratory system open, drowning them by creating a physical response in the lice instead of poisoning them with a chemical response. The included Pro Lice Comb removes the dead lice and nits after the conditioner works its magic.

Natural-minded customers on Amazon appreciated this formula’s unique mechanism of action, saying that it worked where other options had failed. They also noted that the comb seemed superior to other lice combs on the market.

Best for Dogs: Adams Flea & Tick Cleansing Shampoo

If you thought that lice only affects people, think again: lice are some of the many insects that our four-legged friends have to deal with. Dogs don’t exactly love sitting and waiting while you comb and nit-pick their fur, so a powerful shampoo for your furry friend’s coat is in order. Adams Flea & Tick Cleansing Shampoo will leave your pooch’s coat soft and pest-free.

This shampoo can be used as a complement to your dog’s flea, lice, and tick medication regimen, or on its own during a single lice outbreak. It breaks the lice life cycle by killing adult lice and nits, and it also moisturizes and deodorizes your animal’s coat. This is one of the few dog shampoos on the market that kills lice in addition to fleas and ticks, and the results last for up to a month.

Pet owners on Amazon said that this is the best pest-control shampoo you can buy, and mentioned that it killed lice almost instantly.

Best for Body Lice: Nix Lice Killing Creme Rinse

Head lice are already uncomfortable enough, but unfortunately, they don’t always stay on your head, and that takes more than a simple comb and nit-picking to treat. Nix Lice Killing Creme Rinse takes care of body lice in a single application.

Nix Creme Rinse used to be only available with a prescription, so it’s a serious treatment for serious body lice. The creme formula attaches to your hair follicles more thoroughly than a shampoo, making it easier to trap and remove nits, nymphs, and adults anywhere on your body.

Amazon reviewers struggling with body lice loved how effective this treatment was after a single application, saying that it eliminated their body lice and helped prevent their head lice from spreading to other areas.

Best for Adults: LiceMD Lice & Egg Removal Treatment Gel

LiceMD Lice & Egg Removal Treatment Gel

Courtesy of Walmart

Just because you’ve outgrown your school days doesn’t mean you’re safe from lice: coming into contact with the critters as an adult can still leave you itchy and miserable, and busy adults don’t have time to go through multiple treatments to get rid of lice and nits. This gel can eliminate the bugs in as little as 10 minutes.

LiceMD’s treatment uses proven ingredient dimethicone to suffocate lice and nits so you can easily comb them out. The gel formulation fully adheres to your hair shaft for results in minutes, so you can get back to your on-the-go life.

Adults loved how efficiently this lice treatment worked, saying that it killed lice fast and was more thorough than products three times the price.

Our Process

Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular lice treatments on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 18 different treatments overall, screened options from 8 different brands and manufacturers and read over 26 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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