If you have lice, it will not go away on its own. Lice are highly contagious, and if allowed, it will linger in the home and on your head for a long time. Since lice spreads from head-to-head contact, your entire family will likely be overridden with lice.
The best lice shampoo will help you kill off the lice and babies that are on your head.
But the best lice treatment will be a well-rounded approach which include shampoos, repellents and a lice comb.
The best lice shampoo is hard to find, so we’ve done all of the hard work and found the best products on the market this year.
Table of Contents
- Our Top Pick for Best Lice Shampoo
- Top 7 Best Lice Shampoos
- Types of Lice Shampoo
- How to Apply Lice Shampoo Properly
Our Top Pick for Best Lice Shampoo
RID is our top choice because it has been on the market for over 10 years and has been highly tested and rated by consumers. The shampoo works on adults and kids, and it can treat a heavy head lice infestation in 7 to 10 days.
- Comes with a lice comb
- Contains ingredients known to kill lice
- Works in less than a week to kill adult lice
Top 7 Best Lice Shampoos
1. RID Lice Killing Shampoo
RID is a leading lice shampoo that is proven to be effective in the treatment of head lice. Tested for safety on both children and adults, this product has been around for ten years and also includes a nit comb to remove eggs in the hair.
A conditioner product is also available, but it’s not included with this product.
RID requires that you apply the shampoo to the hair when the hair is completely dry, Application when the hair is wet will dilute the product. You will need to use RID for a period of 7 to 10 days for the product to effectively eliminate head lice.
The two active ingredients in this product are:
- Piperonyl butoxide
- Pyrethrum extract
If a person has extremely long hair, you may need to purchase several bottles of this product for it to be effective.
- Rid works to get right of head life
- Proven method with 10 years of effective treatment
- Can be used on children age 2 and older
- May require additional bottles for longer, thicker hair
2. Schooltime Shampoo for Head Lice
Schooltime offers a full strength application that is effective at killing head lice and nits. The effective shampoo has a 15-minute application, and a family-sized bottle offers enough shampoo to last for 6 to 9 uses depending on hair length and thickness.
Clinically tested, this product is hypoallergenic and is safe on the skin and even if it gets into the user’s eyes.
The shampoo will soften and dissolve nit glue that keeps nits on the hair follicles. When softened, it’s easy to use a nit comb to remove nits from the hair. Polyethylene Glycol is the main ingredient, but the product is free from pesticides and is cruelty-free, too.
Simply massage this shampoo into the scalp while the hair is dry. You will want to be very generous with your application. When thoroughly applied, allow the shampoo to remain in the hair for 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
Once rinsed, you can use the comb to remove nits.
- Family-size bottle offers multiple applications
- Works in 5 to 7 days
- Dissolves nit glue for proper nit removal
- Difficult to apply to dry hair
3. LiceLogic Treatment
LiceLogic’s mousse shampoo is non-toxic, mom-approved and pediatrician-recommended for children over the age of two. This treatment is free of pesticides and gentle enough for everyday use.
LiceLogic’s mousse is plant-based and contains a special enzyme blend that has been proven to kill lice and nits on contact. It also contains peppermint essential oil for a soothing effect and pleasant smell.
This product is simple and easy to use. Just massage onto the scalp and hair, and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Detangle and use a lice comb to remove nits and eggs. Each bottle contains up to five treatments.
- Easy to apply
- Uses natural ingredients (pesticide-free)
- Gentle enough for everyday use
- Can perform up to five treatments with one bottle
- Must sit on the hair for 15 minutes before combing and rinsing
4. Licefreee Everyday Shampoo
Licefreee’s Everyday Shampoo contains natural tea tree oil which has natural antifungal properties. Ideal for use after lice treatment to help prevent reinfestation and for maintenance.
The key active ingredient in this shampoo is natrum muriaticum 2X. Inactive ingredients include benzyl alcohol, edetate disodium, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium lauryl sulfate and tea tree oil.
Licefreee’s shampoo is designed for use in children aged six months and older. After working into a lather, the shampoo should be left on the scalp for two minutes. For best results, this shampoo should be used daily.
- Contains effective active ingredients that kill and prevent lice
- Contains tea tree oil for natural treatment
- Can be used by all family members
- Easy to apply
- May be drying for the hair
5. Maple Holistics Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
Formulated with tea tree oil and argan oil, this shampoo and conditioner combo can help combat lice while also getting of dandruff. It also contains aloe vera to soothe the scalp and help moisturize the hair.
It’s gentle enough for sensitive scalps, and this shampoo can help prevent future lice outbreaks.
Here’s what this shampoo contains:
- Tea tree oil: Soothes irritation and fights against bacteria and lice.
- Mint: Stimulates and boosts circulation to the scalp
- Aloe: Hydrates, nourishes and soothes the scalp
- African shea butter: Moisturizes the hair and scalp
- Menthol, lavender and rosemary: Fights against lice
Maple Holistics includes both shampoo and conditioner for convenient and easy lice treatment.
- Uses natural ingredients to fight against lice
- Also treats dandruff and other scalp issues
- Includes both the shampoo and conditioner
- Nourishes the scalp
- Hydrates the hair
- More effective as a lice preventative
6. Head Hunters Wipe Out Shampoo
The Wipe Out shampoo from Head Hunters is the #1 super lice treatment on the market today. The newly enhanced formula is designed to kill all stages and strains of lice for quick and easy eradication of the infestation.
This shampoo penetrates lice and nits to create a physical reaction that kills them from the inside-out. At the same time, Wipe Out also soothes and restores the hair and scalp from the damage of the lice infestation.
This is the #1 professional lice treatment that is used in salons all over the world. As an added bonus, it contains natural ingredients and no harsh chemicals, including:
- Wild rosemary
- Lemon oil
- Coconut oil
- Mango oil
- Grape seed oil
- Olive oil
Staphysagria is a plant that has been shown to eliminate parasites, and is especially effective against head lice. It also contains compounds that are effective at destroying eggs or nits.
These ingredients work to effectively trap and drown the lice. Because this shampoo is technically conditioner-based lice are unable to escape and become trapped in the cream-like texture of this product.
To use this shampoo:
- Saturate the hair
- Massage the shampoo thoroughly onto the scalp
- Allow the product to sit for 20 minutes
- Rinse and towel dry
This shampoo is recommended for use before using a lice comb.
7. ClearLice Natural Hair Lice Shampoo
ClearLice is a natural lice remover, and the product claims to contain everything you need to start eliminating lice from day 2. The ingredients contain essential oils and botanicals that are all designed to kill lice.
Biodegradable and pH balanced, this pesticide-free product will remove lice and nits from the hair.
The product contains:
- Tea tree
- Neem extract
- Peppermint oil
One bottle offers treatment for up to four people, and the company is so confident that their shampoo will work that they guarantee that it works. The shampoo offers a natural peppermint scent, and you’ll want to allow this product to remain on the head for 40 minutes while wearing a cap.
- 100% all-natural and safe
- Backed by a guarantee
- Works on the whole family
- Requires 40 minutes to set into the hair
Types of Lice Shampoo
Repellents are rather common, and we cover them in great detail in another article on our site. When you use repellents, you’ll use them as a preventative measure to keep lice from going on your head.
The problem is that these repellents will not kill lice.
Lice will not go on your head, but if you have lice, this is not the best lice treatment. Instead, you would use a lice killer like the products that we listed above. Repellents should be a natural part of a child’s care routine if they’re:
- Involved in sports
- Go to school
- Engage in large social gatherings
Repellents also come in conditioner form, and they’re a leave-in product that will not cause the hair to harden or change the style of the hair.
Lice killers are what you really want when you have lice. Shampoos, for the most part, will be lice killers. You need to be careful when making your purchase because there are a few shampoo repellents that are not going to help at this stage.
Lice killers are meant to kill off the lice on your head – period.
But this is just part of the process. You’ll need to make sure you clean off all of your bedding in hot water and use any repellents you can find on your bedding, too. This will be the most effective way to put an end to your lice problems.
Natural vs Unnatural Products
Natural and chemical products exist. I would normally recommend chemical products for a lot of infestations, but there are ample natural products that work well to kill lice. The best lice shampoo has chemicals in it called:
- piperonyl butoxide
- pyrethrum extract
But we also cover a lot of all-natural products which work extremely well to remove and kill lice. You’ll have to see what works best for you.
I prefer to go the all-natural route because there’s less of a risk of side effects and adverse reactions. You also want to use these gentle, all-natural products when a younger child or baby has lice.
Chemical products are often not recommended for children under the age of two years old.
Read the instructions and warnings for any product that you choose to see if it’s safe to use on a younger child before application.
How to Apply Lice Shampoo Properly
When applying the shampoo to the child’s hair, you’ll want to make sure that you use a towel to cover the child’s eyes. Adults can simply keep their eyes closed tight. You want to avoid the shampoo from getting in the eyes.
Do not wet the hair.
A major mistake that people make is that they treat lice shampoo like they would a natural shampoo. Wetting your hair before applying the shampoo will dilute most products making them far more effective.
Usage guidelines and charts should be followed and can often be found on the manufacturer’s website or product listing page.
When applying the shampoo for head lice, you’ll want to follow these basic techniques:
- Apply behind the ears
- Apply behind the neck
- Apply from the roots upward
Lice are resilient, and you’ll want to make sure that you use the product from the roots to the end of your hair. If you do not cover the entire hair follicle, you risk the lice crawling up or down the follicle to hide away from the shampoo.
The majority of lice shampoos will require you to let the product sit in the hair for 10 minutes or so.
When this is done, you’ll want to use warm water and lather up the shampoo before rinsing out of the hair. You can now use your traditional shampoo and go about your day as normal.
The best lice treatment will take a week to 10 days to kill off lice. Eggs will hatch during this time, and you’ll want to make sure that you kill them fast enough so that they don’t lay more eggs and continue to spread.
This is a basic lice treatment routine.
You’ll also want to use a lice comb, and make sure to read the product instructions and follow them.