Eliminate Head Lice Safely with Soothing Shea Butter

Eliminate Head Lice Safely with Soothing Shea Butter

Does Shea Butter Kill Hair Lice?

Lice infestations can be frustrating and difficult to treat. Many people turn to chemical shampoos to try eliminating head lice, with mixed results. Shea butter is growing in popularity as a safe, natural way to kill and remove lice from hair.


Shea butter comes from the nut of the African shea tree. When applied directly to hair and scalp, the thick, creamy butter coats the lice and nits, suffocating them. The fatty acids also help detach the nits from strands of hair so they can be combed out.


Using shea butter is an affordable, non-toxic treatment that avoids putting harsh chemicals on your scalp. And shea butter leaves hair soft and moisturized. Read on to learn how using shea butter can effectively remove a lice infestation.


How Lice Infestations Occur

Head lice spread through direct head-to-head contact. They move quickly from one person’s hair to another’s. Lice attach themselves to hair shafts close to the scalp where they feed on blood. The female lice lay eggs called nits, cementing them in place on strands of hair.


Lice multiply rapidly once an infestation takes hold. A female can lay up to 10 nits per day, leading to hundreds of nits over her lifetime. The nits hatch after 7-10 days. Newly hatched lice reach maturity 9-12 days later, and are then able to reproduce.


Catching and treating an infestation early is important to stop the spread. Checking family members’ hair regularly can help detect lice before they propagate.


Using Shea Butter to Treat Lice

Shea butter’s thick, oily texture coats lice and makes it impossible for them to grasp the hair shaft. It smothers adult lice and nymphs quickly. The butter’s fatty acids also help detach nits glued to hair follicles so they can be removed with a nit comb.


Shea butter melts at body temperature and absorbs rapidly into hair and skin. Spreading softened shea butter thoroughly across the scalp and throughout the hair helps ensure full contact with lice and nits.


Depending on hair length and thickness, using 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of shea butter is usually sufficient to coat all areas of hair. Focus application along the hairline, behind the ears, and at the nape of the neck where lice congregate.


Applying Shea Butter to Hair and Scalp

Follow these steps for using shea butter to treat lice:


  1. Melt shea butter to a smooth consistency. Use a double boiler or microwave at 30 second intervals.
  2. Apply melted shea butter generously throughout dry hair from roots to ends. Use more butter on thicker, longer hair.
  3. Massage shea butter thoroughly into the scalp, especially behind ears and at nape of neck.
  4. Cover hair with a shower cap and leave butter on for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  5. Shampoo hair twice to remove dead lice and nits. Rinse thoroughly.
  6. Follow up by combing out remaining nits with a nit comb.
  7. Repeat the treatment 5-7 days later to eliminate newly hatched lice.


Using shea butter for 2-3 treatments over 10-14 days will fully remove a lice infestation. Monitoring your scalp for 2 weeks afterwards ensures any nits that survived hatching are eliminated before they mature and reproduce.


Shea Butter Suffocates and Removes Nits

In addition to killing live lice rapidly, shea butter also helps eliminate nits glued to individual hairs.


The oily film left by shea butter helps detach and loosen nits from their anchor points. Coating each strand of hair makes it easier to slide nits off the follicles.


Combing small sections of hair at a time with a quality nit comb after treatment removes the dead lice and loosened egg casings. Thorough combing is vital to ensure all nits are eliminated.

Checking through hair strands under bright light helps spot any tiny nits that remain afterwards. Removing all traces of nits prevents the infestation from perpetuating as they hatch.


Choose High-Quality Shea Butter

Look for pure, unrefined shea butter to treat lice. Raw shea butter retains its nourishing vitamins, fatty acids, and antimicrobial properties. Refined or processed shea butters use heat and chemical solvents that destroy these beneficial components.


Ivory or pale yellow shea butter has the highest concentration of oleic and stearic fatty acids necessary to smother lice and detach nits. The rich nutty aroma signals the retention of therapeutic chemical constituents.


We recommend using shea butter from the African Fair Trade Society. Our shea butter is handcrafted using traditional methods without any hexane or other chemicals. We partner directly with women’s cooperatives in Ghana to sustain eco-friendly shea production.


Additional Tips for Treating Lice at Home

Using shea butter can eliminate lice safely and effectively. But proper hair care between treatments helps ensure re-infestation doesn’t occur:


  • Check the whole family for lice and treat anyone affected. Lice spread rapidly between family members.
  • Change bed linens and wash clothing worn in the 2 days prior to treatment in hot water.
  • Soak combs, brushes, hair accessories in rubbing alcohol for 1 hour or more.
  • Vacuum carpets, pillows, couches, and seats in cars to remove stray hairs with nits.
  • Avoid sharing hats, helmets, pillows or hairbrushes with others during an infestation.
  • Check every 2-3 days for 2 weeks to ensure lice don't return.


Following this comprehensive hair and home hygiene regimen along with using shea butter maximizes the chances of eliminating a lice outbreak for good.


African Fair Trade Society's Pure Shea Butter

Treat lice organically and avoid toxic chemicals on your scalp with unrefined shea butter from the African Fair Trade Society. Every jar directly supports women's cooperatives in Africa.

Buy high-quality shea butter now to get rid of head lice safely. 

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