Coconut Oil for Head Lice Tutorial
If you’re looking for a natural and effective way to kill head lice, coconut oil is one option.
I've tried all of the over-the-counter products and the lice keeps coming back! I've heard that coconut oil kills lice, is it true? How do you use coconut oil as a lice treatment?
Answer from a Lice Expert:
Anyone struggling with lice today knows that it is no small feat. If you have tried other treatments that have failed, you should know that you are not alone, and it’s not your fault. The latest stats say that 75% of parents that use over-the-counter kits still have lice even after multiple treatments! And that's because of the new strain of lice, called super lice.
Using a home remedy for lice is one option, and coconut oil is one of the better home remedies, but it's not the very best thing you can do. Let's talk about ways that coconut oil can help with lice, how to use it, and some other alternatives.
Let me introduce myself...
Hi there! I'm Theresa, I'm a lice expert, lice coach, and Registered Nurse. I help people with lice every day! You can get rid of lice in ONE DAY at home by using the same proven professional technique that I use in my lice center.
Just follow the step-by-step videos and be done with lice by the end of the day.
Coconut Oil For Lice
Why Is It So Hard to Get Rid of Lice?
Now that you know what you're looking for I want to talk briefly about your biggest worry (that your child actually has lice) and the question I get asked by parents around the world that have been battling lice….
Parents around the world are all asking me the same question…. "Why is it so much harder to get rid of lice now?"
Lice have become immune to everything that used to work in the past. Perhaps you remember your mom using a typical lice treatment or mayonnaise and that doing the trick. The new strain of head lice is no longer killed by those treatments, that’s why lice today are termed by people, “super lice,” because they are immune to those treatments.
I’ve cured thousands of people of lice in my lice center and let me tell you, I don't do it with over-the-counter lice treatments.
Most people struggle with lice because they focus all of their attention on killing lice bugs and not enough attention on GETTING RID OF LICE!
If you want to get rid of lice you have to address all 3 of the problems of lice:
- Lice Bugs
- Lice Eggs
- Getting Lice Back
The best way to get rid of lice is to tackle all 3 of these problems at the same time, which is what I teach in my step-by-step video system.
So, if you discover your child HAS lice, don't panic. Just head over to the video system. Follow along with the videos and you'll be done with lice by the end of the day.
Do You Have Super Lice?
Like I said these super lice are the newest strain of head lice, and the latest data shows that close to 99% of lice are immune to treatments.
So, if you’ve tried treatments and still have lice, yes, you have super lice and so does everyone else that has lice.
Does Coconut Oil Kill Lice?
A few studies have compared coconut oil to traditional over-the-counter treatments.
There have been three credible studies testing the effectiveness of coconut oil vs. the effectiveness of lice treatments.
While coconut oil was not effective against killing lice completely, one study showed coconut oil’s average lice kill rate was about 80%, compared to the leading lice treatments (which only had a kill rate of 42%).
That means that coconut oil is about 2x more effective than the traditional over-the-counter lice treatments.
While it’s notable that coconut oil is a step above lice treatments, an 80% kill rate really isn’t something to get excited about. That means that if you have 100 lice bugs to start with, then you still have 20 lice bugs alive after the treatments, AND all of the lice eggs no home remedies or treatments kill lice eggs.
That's why it's not the best thing you can do. Instead, I'd recommend following along with my step-by-step videos and getting rid of lice that way.
Coconut Oil with Essential Oils
If you want to go the coconut oil route then you'll need to be okay with doing multiple rounds of treatments over several weeks. And I’d suggest that you combine coconut oils with some essential oils so that you have more chances of increasing its effectiveness. The most common for helping to kill head lice are:
The study that tested coconut oil, anise, and ylang-ylang was most effective, but it involves doing the treatment several times.
Older studies on tea tree oil are the most promising, showing higher kill rates of lice. But, as with most treatments, lice have developed resistance to tea tree oil and tea tree oil does NOTHING to lice eggs.
If you decide to add essential oils, be sure you treat essential oils with respect. Many people have skin reactions to essential oils, and high concentrations on the skin can burn children, so be careful.
Does Coconut Oil Kill Lice Eggs?
Remember, killing lice and getting rid of lice are not the same thing!!
Coconut oil does not kill lice eggs, whatsoever, so, if you use a coconut oil treatment, you should try to remove all of the lice eggs from the hair and retreat multiple times. If you only focus on kill lice and not on lice eggs, you’ll never get out of the never-ending cycle of head lice.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Coconut Oil for Lice
I feel like I have to address vinegar in this article because this myth is making so many people's lice worse. There are some well-intended, ill-informed people out there that advise soaking hair in apple cider vinegar to loosen lice eggs. I have an entire article dedicated to apple cider vinegar.
VINEGAR MAKES LICE WORSE!!!
In fact, the studies show that treating lice with apple cider vinegar makes lice significantly worse, not better. Lice eggs are even more likely to hatch after you soak them in apple cider vinegar! Don't do it!
Coconut Oil For Lice Tutorial
In this article, I've tried to be really clear about what coconut oil can do and can not do. And if I were you I would drop the coconut oil plan altogether and instead follow along with my step-by-step video system.
But if you are set on using coconut oil, then I'll show you what it takes....
To get rid of head lice with or without coconut oil, you need to:
- Kill Head lice
- Remove as many lice eggs as possible
- Clean Your House
- Repeat Treatments
#1- How to Kill Head Lice with Coconut Oil
I’ve been pretty clear that coconut oil is not the most effective way to kill head lice, but of the home remedies, it is one of the better ones. Coconut oil kills about 80% of head lice, 80% isn’t great, but it’s better than lice kits. (If you want something that is 100% effective then use my Video System instead)
Here are the steps to get you to that 80% kill rate with coconut oil:
Step 1 - Prep Your Child
- Beginning with completely DRY hair is essential because if you expose lice to water, they close their “breathing holes” which makes them less susceptible to being killed by oil.
- Place a towel around your child’s shoulders; this will be a messy process.
Step 2 - Prepare Coconut Oil
Regular coconut oil is solid at room temperature, which makes it a little more challenging to apply.
- Melt ½ cup to 1 cup of coconut oil in the microwave until it is at least partially liquid (start with 30 seconds and add more time as needed). Feel free to use more or less coconut oil depending on hair length. Typical is ½ cup for short hair and 1 cup for long hair.
- Add essential oils if desired.
Step 3 - Focus on the Scalp
Section your child’s hair and slather coconut oil directly to your child’s scalp. Focus most of your attention on the scalp and roots of the hair, because this is where lice usually reside.
Step 4 - Comb through the Hair
After you apply coconut oil to the scalp, comb the coconut oil through the rest of the hair. Saturate the hair with the remaining coconut oil.
Step 5 - Wait
Coconut oil is going to be more effective at killing head lice the longer you leave it on. You should leave coconut on for at least 4 hours, but I recommend at least 8 hours with coconut oil for maximum effectiveness. Most people do this treatment overnight.
Step 6 - Cover the Head...or Don’t
If you have a safe shower cap or another hat for your child, then feel free to put it on her.
DO NOT put plastic on your child’s head and send her to bed. Using a plastic bag is dangerous and can kill your child, as it did with the parents in this news story.
You do not need to cover the head at all. Put your child’s hair in a bun and send her to bed. Coconut oil does not stain the same way other oils stain. Just wash her bedding the next morning, and all of the coconut oil will come out.
Step 7 - Rinse
I recommend waiting at least 4 hours before rinsing, then you are ready to rinse the hair if you so desire. Some people keep coconut oil in the hair while they comb with a lice comb to remove as many of the lice eggs as they can. Really, it's up to you.
Step 8- Remove Lice Eggs
As stated before, coconut oil does NOT kill the lice eggs/nits. You'll need to get those out of the hair.
This can be a pretty daunting task for most, especially if you're using one of the crappy combs from a lice kit or trying to do a bunch of nit-picking. If that's the route you're taking then I recommend you get a good metal lice comb, like this one here.
Step 8 - Clean Your House
Don’t go insane with the house cleaning; this is the easiest step.
Clean your house using the 48 hour rule. Lice cannot live longer than 48 hours on household items, focus your attention on cleaning items that have been in contact with the lice-infested individual within the last 48 hours.
For more about cleaning check out the Lice Cleaning Checklist to Get Rid of Lice in Your Home
Step 9- Retreat!
Coconut oil DOES NOT kill lice eggs!!
Any nits left in the hair WILL hatch and reinfest your child.
In fact, there isn't a home remedy or treatment out there that kills all of the lice eggs. This is why I created my step-by-step video system instead because it kills lice eggs and there are no re-treatments.
But, if you're set on using coconut instead of the step-by-step videos then be sure to re-treat. I recommend retreating every 5 days for 3 weeks because if you don't then you're child will just get lice right back because those lice eggs will keep hatching.
Why I Am Not A Fan of Coconut Oil for Lice
Reason #1- You’ll have lice for AT LEAST 3 weeks. As with any home remedy or typical lice treatment you'll be doing multiple treatments and retreatments. I’m not a fan of any idea of living with lice for weeks on end. Lice eggs will be hatching on your child’s head every day, which means she will have head lice crawling on her head until you do another treatment.
Reason #2- Eggs hatch at variable times. Eggs will not hatch all at once. Many lice eggs hatch in about 7-10 days after being laid. But, some lice eggs hatch in 4 days and others take longer to hatch. Some studies show lice eggs hatching 15 days later. So, you’ll need to do these treatments for AT LEAST 3 weeks to ensure they’re effective.
Reason #3- Lice eggs are your first sign of lice. Early in an infestation, you don’t usually see lice bugs; you see lice eggs. If you do not remove lice eggs from previous outbreaks you won’t figure out your child has lice until she’s had it for a very long time because you’ll assume the eggs in the hair are “old eggs.”
Reason #4- Having lice for weeks can spread it. The longer your child has lice, the more likely she is to spread it to others in the home. Let’s say a few lice hatch the day after the treatment. What’s to keep lice from spreading to her siblings and friends?
If you choose the “repeat treatments” method, your child will have lice for several weeks, because every day new baby lice will hatch from the eggs left in the hair.
If you want to get rid of lice fast, skip the re-treatments, and move on with your life then learn how to do the professional technique I teach on the Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro page.
Summing It Up…
Coconut oil has about an 80% kill rate for lice bugs. I recommend leaving it on the scalp for at least 8 hours. You can add essential oils to the coconut as desired to increase its effectiveness.
Coconut oil does nothing to affect lice eggs. If you leave lice eggs in the hair, they will hatch.
If you plan to use a home remedy for lice then Coconut Oil is one of the better ones. But, even if you’re using a decent home remedy like Coconut Oil, it’s only going to kill a percentage of the lice bugs, and it won’t kill any of the lice eggs. So, you should anticipate retreating every 5 days for several weeks. On the other hand, if you want to get rid of lice quickly, then check out my Step-by-Step Video System, follow along, and get rid of lice today.
All the best,
Theresa is a Registered Nurse and lice expert with years of experience curing children of lice. She owns a lice treatment center in the US which is where she perfected the Step-by-Step Video System proven to get rid of lice. She also works with government agencies and schools helping those with the worst head lice cases in America.
Her greatest passion is empowering parents by teaching parents online how to do a professional lice treatment on their child at home. She is the Lice Coach for the My Lice Advice Step-by-Step Video System.