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Little Kids

7 Best Lice Prevention Shampoo Picks We Love

Lice? Psssh, no thanks.

By Courtney Leiva
7 Best Lice Prevention Shampoo Picks We Love

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Don't forget to add a lice-prevention shampoo to your back-to-school checklist. Because let's face it, these pesky little critters are the worst. Here's what lice look like, if you're wondering—and once they settle into your home, it can be challenging to drive these buggers away.

Luckily, many shampoos prevent lice infestation from happening in the first place. That's why we found expert-approved, top-rated and easy-to-use lice-prevention shampoos.

We've compiled a list of a variety of options, from all-natural formulations to affordable choices that won't break the bank. And if your little ones are already in school or daycare, these are the best shampoos for kids to keep in regular rotation. We also spoke with Dr. Arianna Rodriguez, ND, doctor of naturopathic medicine, about what to look for in lice prevention shampoos to make the selection process quick and painless.

What to look for in lice prevention shampoo

Lice may be tough. But remember, you can win this battle. To help you, Dr. Rodriguez suggests keeping these tips in mind when shopping for lice-prevention shampoos.

Look for active ingredients:  When picking a lice-prevention shampoo, Dr. Rodriguez says you'll want to make sure it's got the good stuff. "Look for active ingredients like benzyl alcohol, ivermectin, malathion, permethrin, pyrethrins, and piperonyl butoxide,"  she tells Today's Parent. "These ingredients pack a punch against lice."

Try natural treatments:  "While there are natural products that you can try for treating lice infestation, many of them have not been proven to be effective at killing both the lice and nits.," says Dr. Rodriguez. "Some essential oils that may be effective against lice are rosemary, tea tree, peppermint, and cinnamon."

Read labels carefully: You don't want to use products containing ingredients that are not safe for children or have unpleasant odors. "Some ingredients are also flammable and should be used with care," adds Rodriguez.

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Follow directions: If you're dealing with a lice infestation, the key to success is following all treatment/usage instructions to a T.  "This helps avoid infestations and reinfestations that may occur," says Dr. Rodriguez.

Seek a doctor: Sometimes it's best to call in the cavalry. If you've tried topical treatments for a week and they're not working, Dr. Rodriguez says it's time to reach out to your healthcare provider for additional treatment.

Best lice prevention shampoo options 2024

Best overall

Lice Shield Shampoo & Conditioner in 1

lice shield 2 in 1 shampoo, best lice prevention shampoo Merchant

If you're looking for a hair product that's both a shampoo and a lice repellent, don't worry, Lice Shield has you covered. This two-in-one formula gently cleanses and conditions your hair while also keeping lice and super lice at bay. Each bottle is brimming with natural essential oils of citronella, rosemary, lemongrass, cedar and geraniol. These oils smell great to humans, but make lice and other gnarly bugs want to head for the hills.

This shampoo is a great lice deterrent, but keep in mind that it does not kill lice or eggs. It's ideal for kids attending busy schools and daycare centers that may be prone to infestations due to crowded settings.

Pros:

  • Gentle on a child's hair and skin
  • Contains natural essential oils such as citronella, rosemary, lemongrass, cedar, and geraniol
  • Use daily to cleanse and condition hair
  • Repels lice and super lice
  • Use in conjunction with other head lice treatments

Cons:

  • Some reviewers say the scent is strong
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Best budget

Grisi Kids Cleansing and Lice Repel Shampoo

Grisi Kids lice prevention shampoo, best lice prevention shampoo Merchant

Who says you need to break the bank to get quality hair care? This Amazon lice-prevention shampoo proves that you can have it all! Not only does it gently clean, hydrate, and detangle your hair, but it also contains Quassia extract to keep lice at bay. And at under $15, it's a no-brainer for parents with more than one kid.

Pros

  • Combines shampoo and conditioner in one product
  • Quassia extract helps with lice proliferation
  • Under $15 price
  • Leaves hair soft and manageable after washing

Cons

  • Best to be used as a preventative measure rather than a treatment


Best rated

Schooltime Shampoo for Lice & Nit Removal

Schooltime shampoo, best lice prevention shampoo Merchant
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With a 4.1-star rating and hundreds of five-star reviews to boot, it's easy to see why this lice prevention shampoo is a bestseller. It's made with plant-based ingredients and doesn't contain any pesticides or fragrances, so it's super gentle on your skin and eyes.

It's unique in that it can be used on both dry and wet hair, and it's hypoallergenic and dermatologist-endorsed. Instead of just repelling lice, it actively kills and removes existing infestations while leaving an herbal scent behind these bugs hate. That prevents them from returning.

Pros:

  • Contains plant-based ingredients and no pesticides or fragrances
  • Hypoallergenic and dermatologist-endorsed
  • Use on dry or wet hair for both repelling and lice removal
  • Gentle on skin and eyes

Cons:

  • Thick texture takes some finessing to work through hair

Best natural

My Hair Helpers Lice Prevention Shampoo and Conditioner

my hair helpers lice removal shampoo, best lice prevention shampoo Merchant

Say goodbye to chemicals and pesticides with this shampoo and conditioner duo from My Hair Helpers. Packed with essential oils that lice absolutely hate, it's the perfect solution for all hair types, from curly to fine to thick.

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Plus, the soothing power of peppermint keeps your child's scalp happy and protected against future lice infestations.

Pros:

  • Safe for daily use
  • Suitable for all hair types including curly, fine, normal, and thick
  • Chemical and pesticide-free
  • Contains peppermint essential oil

Cons:

  • Some reviewers say the bottles are on the smaller side.

Best Walmart

Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Daily Lice Prevention Kids Shampoo

Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel, best lice prevention shampoo Merchant

Think of this preventative shampoo as the knight in shining armor that can save you from the lice dragon. Its ingredients (rosemary, citronella and tea tree oil) are its sword and shield, giving you the 'hairy' tale ending you deserve. Gentle enough for daily use, this cleansing product leaves a subtle herbal scent behind that kids love and lice hate.

But this shampoo is not just a hero for your hair, it's also gentle enough to use every day without irritating your scalp. It won't leave your hair feeling oily or greasy afterward either thanks to the proprietary blend of organic rosemary, citronella, tea tree oils.

Pros:

  • Rosemary, citronella and tea tree oil ingredients repel live lice
  • Use daily if desired
  • Appealing scent
  • Gentle and non-irritating
  • Gluten, soy, dairy and nut-free
  • Paraben free and sulfate free

Cons:

  • Somewhat pricey, though worth every penny if you're looking for a lice prevention shampoo to keep in your regular arsenal

Best for adults

RID Daily Defense Lice Shampoo & Conditioner

rid daily defense shampoo, best lice prevention shampoo Merchant

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If your kid brings home lice from school, it's like playing the worst game of hot potato. Instead of a potato, it's a bunch of tiny bugs that you don't want to catch. Luckily, there's a whole arsenal of lice-prevention shampoos for adults.

This best-seller from Amazon ensures lice stay far away with every wash. While it may not kill all lice, this pesticide-free shampoo has a special Lice Defense Factor that does everything to keep them at bay.

It neutralizes the static charge in hair that attracts those little buggers, prevents them from attaching and stops them from laying eggs.

Pros:

  • Shampoo and conditioner in one formula
  • Neutralizes static charge in hair that attracts lice
  • Prevents lice from attaching
  • Stops lice from laying eggs
  • Hydrating, moisturizing and soothing

Cons:

  • Not ideal for color or chemically-treated hair

Best after-shampoo product:

Ladibugs Lice Prevention Spray

ladibugs mint spray, best lice prevention shampoo Merchant

Don't let the stress of shampooing your kid's hair turn into a lice nightmare. This minty lice prevention spray is here for extra backup, and here's the kicker: it's under $20. Because it's portable, you can take this spray with you wherever you go, whether it's in your purse or your kid's backpack.

With each spray, you treat tresses to spearmint essential oil, which deters lice without harsh chemicals and leaves your kid's locks smelling great. Spritz it on clothing and stuffed animals (yep, lice hide there too—still be sure to put them in a plastic bag for a while) in your kid's room to keep the bugs away.

Pros:

  • Provides on-the-go protection
  • Mint deters lice and keeps hair smelling fresh
  • Use on clothing, stuffed animals and toys
  • Under $20 price

Cons:

  • Long or thick hair may require lots of product

This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

This article was originally published on Aug 24, 2023

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