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Treating head lice and nits

Head lice treatments: brands and prices

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Head lice treatments: brands and prices

Full Marks? Hedrin? Lyclear or Nitty Gritty? Head lice and nits brands compared

When you need to delouse your child, a trip to your local chemist will see you faced with an array of different sprays, lotions and shampoos, all calling to you with various enticing claims – such as '10-minute treatment' or '100% effective in one go'. And with prices ranging from around £5 up to around £20, it can be hard to know which head lice treatment to choose.

To help arm you with some information before you hit the pharmacy, we've highlighted some of the top sellers for head lice treatments below, with a brief description of what they offer.

Prices are correct at the time of publication, based on the most expensive RRP given for August 2018. You may find the products for sale cheaper in different retailers.

What head lice treatment works? – find out what really worked for parents who have treated their children for head lice.

Hedrin

Hedrin

Hedrin products work by using the physical-action method of killing the head lice – this suffocates the lice, rather than poisoning them. The range of treatments includes:

  • Treat & Go Lotion, Spray or Mousse (applied to hair, dried, then washed out after eight hours). It’s available in different application sizes (60ml does about two applications) and prices start at £5.50 for 50ml and go up to £13.50 for 250ml.
  • Once Spray Gel – a 15-minute gel treatment, which is applied like a shampoo and then washed out. Prices start at £4.99.
  • Protect & Go – a conditioning spray that's claimed to prevent an infestation. The active ingredient, in a low dose, dissolves the waxy coating of the head lice, effectively dehydrating them. It needs to be used at least twice a week after normal hair washing. Prices start from £8.50 for 250ml.
  • All-in-One Shampoo – this treatment is claimed to work in 10 minutes, so it's easy to include in a regular bathtime routine. Hedrin claims it will kill head lice, remove eggs and clean hair in one go. Prices start from £9.99 for 100ml.
  • Stubborn Egg Loosening lotion – this is designed as a post-treatment option for the nits (dead eggs). It works by chemically releasing the bond between the egg and the hair shaft, lifting the egg and enabling it to slide off. Prices start from £7.50.

Money saver: Based on cost per ml, the 250ml liquid sizes of Hedrin Once and Treat & Go are the cheapest formats. The Treat & Go spray and mousse might be easier to apply, but they are the most expensive formats. The 250ml version of the lotion is the cheapest to go for if you need to treat the whole family.

Vamousse

This brand started off with a mousse-based treatment, however it has now branched out and offers a protective lice shampoo as well. The active ingredients are isopropyl alcohol and isopropyl myristate, and it works by dissolving the lice's protective exoskeleton and then dehydrating the lice and eggs. It's claimed to do this in two hours. 

  • Vamousse treatment mousse (£15.50 for 160ml)
  • Vamousse Head Lice Protection shampoo (£10 for 200ml)

Money saver: Vamousse mousse only comes in 160ml bottles, but look out for a discounted price, particularly during August and September.

Lyclear

Lyclear

Lyclear has a wide range of products, including a lotion, spray, shampoo, and a treatment suitable for sensitive skin. Lyclear says its products use a physical action to suffocate and dehydrate the live and unhatched head lice.

The lotion (100ml) costs from £6.99 and the spray (100ml, also includes a comb) costs £11.99. The 10-minute treatment shampoo (200ml) costs £13.99, and can be used on dry hair. The most expensive product is the 'sensitive lotion', costing nearly £15 for 200ml.

Money saver: Based on the RRP, the 200ml shampoo is the cheapest format to use; it's almost half the price (per ml) compared with the cost of the spray.

Nits: top five tips for parents - find out how to combat head lice and keep them at bay

Nitwits

This is an Australian brand, but it's available in the UK. It's an all-in-one treatment that comes in a spray format. You spray on the treatment, leave it for 20 minutes and then rinse out.

  • Nitwits All-in-One Lice Treatment (£9.99 for 120ml).

Money saver: The Nitwits kit comes with a comb, which can be useful for removing dead lice and eggs.

Nitty gritty comb

Nitty Gritty

Nitty Gritty, famous for its nit comb, is a pesticide-free treatment that you can buy as part of a kit, which includes a solution, a nit comb and a defence spray.

Nitty Gritty says the head lice defence spray can be used daily to help mask the hair's aroma, as head lice use a sense of smell to detect new hair to infest. It claims the essential oils in the spray 'encourage head lice to stay on their existing host rather than migrate'.

Prices start at around £14 for lotion and detection comb, £7.49 for a 250ml defence spray, and up to £29.99 for a complete kit including comb, solution and defence spray. The Nitty Gritty nit comb on its own costs £10.50, or you can buy the white detection comb for £2.50. If you have the comb already, you can buy the solution and defence spray for £20.99.

Free head lice treatment

Free head lice treatment used to be available under the NHS minor ailments scheme. The scheme is a service that some pharmacies offer, and is designed to make it easier to get treated for minor ailments, by going straight to your pharmacy rather than getting an appointment. 

Head lice used to be included in this scheme, and meant that customers entitled to free prescriptions, such as children under 16, could get treatments free of charge. However, head lice treatments are just one of 35 over-the-counter treatments and medicines that are no longer covered on the minor ailments scheme in an aim to cut costs within the NHS.

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