The 7 Best Lice Shampoos of 2019

Wash those nits away

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: NIX Lice Killing Creme Rinse at Amazon

"NIX is the only lice shampoo on the market that contains permethrin, a substance known to be extremely effective for killing lice and other mites."

Best Budget: Mata Piojos at Amazon

"Many who have tried this shampoo say it works just as well—and in some cases even better—than the leading brands."

Best Single-Application: Sklice at sklice.com

"It’s the only lice shampoo available with the ability to kill lice in all stages of their life cycle without having to reapply after a week or so."

Best for Toddlers: SchoolTime Shampoo at Amazon

"SchoolTime’s natural formula is scent-free and tear-free, so you won’t have to worry about it stinging your little one’s eyes."

Best Preventative: Fairy Tales at Amazon

"Parents rave about the pleasant scent that’s not too overpowering and it’s gentle enough for everyday use to keep the bugs away."

Best Natural: HeadHunters at Amazon

"If you’re tired of super smelly lice treatments that reek of chemicals or tea tree oil, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by HeadHunter’s Wipe Out."

Best Pesticide Free: Lice Clinics at Amazon

"With dimethicone as the active ingredient, this product is formulated to kill adult lice only, rather than adults and nits."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: NIX Lice Killing Creme Rinse

NIX Lice Killing Creme Rinse

Courtesy of Amazon

When it comes to treating lice, NIX is the biggest name in the business—and for good reason. NIX is the only lice shampoo on the market that contains permethrin, a substance known to be extremely effective for killing lice and other mites. It’s safe for kids too (as long as your little one is over two months). The kit comes with lice creme rinse and a comb to help comb out eggs and nits.

Best Budget: Mata Piojos

Dealing with lice is bad enough without having to pay a lot for treatment. If you’re hoping to save a few bucks, check out Mata Piojos, which literally means kill lice in Spanish. Many who have tried this shampoo say it works just as well—and in some cases even better—than the leading brands.

Similar to other lice treatments, the active ingredient in Mata Piojos is pyrethrum, which kills active bugs. To ensure complete elimination, you’ll have to apply a second treatment of Mata Piojos after seven to 10 days, since this formula doesn’t kill eggs. 

Best Single-Application: Sklice

Sklice

Courtesy of Sklice

When it comes to head lice, it’s understandable to want a one-and-done solution. After all, who wants to deal with lice longer than absolutely necessary? Eliminate adult lice and nits on the double with Sklice, a prescription-strength lice shampoo made with Ivermectin. It’s the only lice shampoo available with the ability to kill lice in all stages of their life cycle without having to reapply after a week or so.

Although you’ll need a prescription to obtain Sklice, it’s super effective, with no nit combing required—lice are dead on contact when you use Sklice. It's even approved for use in children as young as six months old.

Best for Toddlers: SchoolTime Shampoo

If your toddler comes home with a case of head lice, you’ll probably want to look for a lice treatment that’s gentle and without harsh smells or chemicals. Enter Schooltime Shampoo: a chemical-free alternative to some of the most popular brands of lice treatments available today. SchoolTime’s natural formula is scent-free and tear-free, so you won’t have to worry about it stinging your little one’s eyes.

Best Preventative: Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales

Amazon 

Why not handle the lice issue before it even starts? Opt for a lice-repellent shampoo like Fairy Tales. It’s formulated with Rosemary, Citronella, and tea tree oil, all of which are natural lice repellents, and it’s free of harsh chemicals and sulfates. Parents rave about the pleasant scent that’s not too overpowering and it’s gentle enough for everyday use to keep the bugs away.

If, however, you find yourself dealing with lice despite your best efforts to avoid them, Fairy Tales also offers a gentle and chemical-free lice treatment kit. 

Best Natural: HeadHunters

Most people are under the impression that it takes a heavy dose of insecticides in order to get rid of lice. That’s certainly one way to do it, but if you’re looking for a natural alternative lice treatment, WipeOut by HeadHunters is a great place to start. The company explains that their product is particularly effective because it attacks lice on a physical level instead of using chemicals to kill them. That means it permanently damages or disables the lice, rather than exposing them to chemicals known to kill them.

If you’re tired of super smelly lice treatments that reek of chemicals or tea tree oil, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by HeadHunter’s Wipe Out. It’s got a light, fruity scent you’ll love.  

Best Pesticide Free: Lice Clinics

If you’re looking for a lice treatment that’s a complete elimination kit but you’d like to skip the pesticides, look no further than Lice Clinics of America. With dimethicone as the active ingredient, this product is formulated to kill adult lice only, rather than adults and nits. That means you’ll not only have to comb, but also be diligent about doing a second application one week later to kill all the lice (to account for all stages of the life cycle). A bonus is that the bottle comes with enough product for both applications, so you don’t have to head back to the store.

Users claim that this highly rated lice treatment is an effective alternative to more popular brands like NIX and RID. Though it may take a bit more time and diligence to completely eradicate head lice, reviewers say it’s worth it to avoid potentially harmful pesticides. 

Our Process

Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular lice shampoo on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 18 different shampoos overall, screened options from 8 different brands and manufacturers and read over 25 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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