The 7 Best Lice Treatments for Kids of 2021

Banish the creepy crawlies

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It’s no secret lice are an annoying inconvenience for parents, caregivers, and kids. It keeps children out of school and families left treating the pests at home. It’s extremely important to know how to treat lice and what to look for when buying a lice treatment.

From kits to shampoos, it can be tough to know what you need to buy to get rid of the unwanted insects. If you're overwhelmed by the options, start with the basics, like a nit comb. Whether or not your little one has sensitivities, ensure to read the ingredients of products to avoid harmful treatments. And even if your kiddo doesn't have lice, a preventative product can be beneficial for the future.

If your child has lice or you just want prevention, here are the best lice treatments for kids to get you started.

Our Top Picks
It’s been effectively treating lice for more than a decade, and parents find it works.
It’s powerful enough to kill super lice and eggs, but it’s also pesticide-free and odorless.
It's tough on the critters, but easy on your toddler’s sensitive skin.
The ingredients in this lice treatment from Head Hunters Naturals are lovely, but they're bad news for lice.
As tough as the formula is on lice, it’s otherwise gentle, containing only non-toxic ingredients.
The formula is non-toxic and pesticide-free, and it’s infused with peppermint oil, so it has a fresh, minty scent.
This shampoo and conditioner from Fairy Tales won’t kill existing nits and lice, but it will help keep them away.

Best Overall: RID Lice Killing Shampoo

RID Lice Killing SHampoo, Proven Effective Head LIce Treatment for Kids and Adults

When parents just want to rid their kids of lice, they turn to RID. It’s been effectively treating lice for more than a decade, and parents find it works. To use, apply the formula to dry hair, rinse, then comb through with a nit comb (which comes with this kit). Then, seven to 10 days later, you repeat the process again to ensure there are no lice left standing. It claims to be 100 percent effective, and while some customer reviews disagree, the majority say it works as promised.

This formula is recommended for adults and kids age two and over. While some don’t like the harsh formula, most customers say it’s tough enough to get the job done.

Best Budget: NIX Ultra 2-in-1 Lice Treatment

While you can shell out big bucks for a professional to delouse your child’s head, fortunately, there are also effective and inexpensive solutions you can use at home, like this one from Nix. It’s powerful enough to kill super lice and eggs, but it’s also pesticide-free and odorless. To use, you apply the solution, let it sit for 15 minutes, shampoo it out, then use a lice removal comb (included) to comb out the nits and lice. It can be a tedious process, but it works.

Most customers say it’s easy to use and tough on lice. Some note that regular shampoo won’t thoroughly remove the solution, so you may need to add some dish soap to your regular shampoo to get the job done. Others find that the comb that’s included is a bit flimsy.

Best for Toddlers: Ladibugs One and Done Lice Treatment Kit

When it comes to taking down toddler lice, you want something that’s tough on the critters, but easy on your toddler’s sensitive skin, like these products from Ladibugs. The three-step kit is pesticide-free and made with 96 percent natural ingredients, like essential oils, which are free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates and other chemicals. To use, first you apply a serum, then follow with a mouse that’s designed to dissolve the glue of the nits, before you comb them out of the hair.

Best Natural: Head Hunters Complete Pro Lice Kit

The ingredients in this lice treatment from Head Hunters Naturals are lovely, but they're bad news for lice. This mix of natural ingredients, including lemon and eucalyptus oils, is designed to tackle lice and super lice and take no prisoners. To use, apply the formula, then rinse it off before coming out the nits and dead lice.

Best Kit: Lice Clinics of America Lice Treatment Kit

For a complete kit, parents rave about this one from Lice Clinics of America. It comes with everything you need to get rid of lice and keep them from coming back. It comes with lice-killing gel, an applicator, and nit comb. It also comes with a conditioning lice prevention spray so that you (hopefully) never need to kill lice again. As tough as the formula is on lice, it’s otherwise gentle, containing only non-toxic ingredients. As for the smell, the gel is scented with fresh pear blossoms while the conditioning spray is scented with mint.

Best Shampoo: LiceLogic Clear & Free Shampoo

This lice treatment comes in shampoo form. To use, you wash hair like you would any shampoo, but instead of rinsing it out, let it sit for 15 minutes, then comb out the nits with a lice comb and rinse the hair. You can also use it daily as a preventative measure to keep lice at bay. The formula is non-toxic and pesticide-free, and it’s infused with peppermint oil, so it has a fresh, minty scent.

Best Preventative Treatment: Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Lice Shampoo & Conditioner

Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Daily Kid Shampoo (12 oz) & Conditioner (8 oz) Duo for Lice Prevention

This shampoo and conditioner from Fairy Tales won’t kill existing nits and lice, but it will help keep them away. Parents swear by these products, which are clinically proven to work. The scent is a yummy blend of organic rosemary, citronella, peppermint, lavender, tea tree, and geranium oils, and the formula is safe enough for kids to use every day. It’s free of sulfates, toxins, and other harmful ingredients. It also helps keep the scalp moisturized and hair tangle-free with jojoba, aloe, and chamomile.

When parents and caregivers just want to get rid of lice, turning to RID Lice Killing Shampoo (view at Walmart), also our Best Overall pick, is a great place to start. It’s been effectively treating lice for adults and children for more than a decade.

Or, if you’re wanting to prevent lice from even happening, check out Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel (view at Amazon). The shampoo and conditioner won’t kill existing nits and lice, but it will keep them away. 

What to Look for When Buying Lice Treatment for Kids 

Comb 

A nit comb is critical when it comes to treating lice in kids as the super snug teeth will allow you to remove the eggs and lice from your child's scalp and hair. When shopping for lice treatment, make sure one is included in the kit or buy it separately. When used properly, a nit comb will make treatment easier.

Ingredients

Check the ingredients of the treatment you’re looking at to ensure they are non-toxic and pesticide-free. It’s best to use a method of treatment that will not expose your child or yourself, possibly through inhalation or absorption, to a potentially hazardous treatment. There are many natural ingredients that are non-toxic that can help to kill lice and treat your child's scalp.

Prevention

Whether it’s the first time your child has gotten lice, or they never have, a preventative product is ideal when out shopping for a lice treatment. Some shampoos and conditioners are aimed at preventing lice from happening while treatment kits sometimes include prevention spray. Either way, they’re best to look for so you don’t have to kill lice again or (hopefully) ever. 

FAQs

Does lice treatment kill eggs? 

If you are careful with treatment, all lice and eggs are typically killed after the first round. However, it is possible that after the first treatment there will still be eggs leftover to hatch. This is when a second treatment should be done to kill any remaining eggs. 

How long does it take for a lice treatment to work? 

The timing of lice treatment all depends on what happens after the first round of treatment. Typically, you will begin seeing results within hours. It’s best to do a second treatment anywhere from seven to 10 days after the first round. However, if you still see live, active lice around eight to 12 hours after treatment, it’s possible the treatment did not work.

Contact your child’s health care provider if you see no difference after the first round of lice treatment.

Why Trust Verywell Family 

Katrina Cossey has been a digital content producer and news and feature writer for more than six years. She has covered topics ranging from local and national news as well as writing and researching for parenting content. Katrina is a parent herself and has a passion for helping parents and caregivers through writing.

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  1. Lice - head. Seattle Children’s Hospital.

  2. Cdc - lice - head lice - treatment.