Treating Head Lice with Essential Oils

Treating Head Lice with Essential Oils

A few decades ago, if your child came home from school with the dreaded head lice note, the only way you had to treat it was to shave your child’s head and scrub it with kerosene.   Fortunately, we have much better ways of treating it now!

While head lice can be difficult to eradicate, using essential oils is becoming very popular because it is a natural, rather than chemical approach to the problem. So you feel much safer in the treatment. And it smells much better than the chemicals too!

Remember these

A few things to note, when a child gets head lice, it can be quickly passed to the entire family so everyone will need to go through the treatment to prevent any risk of cross-infection.

All bedding, clothes, towels, combs, and brushes need to be cleaned with a good disinfectant to remove any eggs. Wash all clothes, bedding, towels, etc. in the hottest water the fabric can withstand and use a disinfectant with your detergent.

Head Treatments

Copyright The Complete Book of Massage and Aromatherapy, consulting editor Catherine Stuart.

This recipe is for one complete treatment for one person. It is applied three times so you will need to store the remainder in a sealed, dark bottle. It can be kept for up to 12 months.

Head Lice Treatment
  • 2 Tablespoons  of F.C.O. (Fractionated Coconut Oil)
  • 5 drops Lavender
  • 5 Drops Eucalyptus Radiata
  • 5 drops Geranium
  • Lice comb

Apply mix over the head and hair, massaging in well. Massage all of the way through to the ends of the hair. Cover head with a towel or shower cap and leave on for at least 4 hours. Overnight would be even better. To remove the oil, massage shampoo completely into hair, all of the way to the ends of the hair, before applying water. Wash and rinse as normal. Comb through hair with lice comb.

Repeat treatment in 24 hours and again in 8 days. This is to treat any lice that hatched after the initial treatment. (4)

In The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood, she recommends as a preventative you teach your family to vigorously brush or comb their hair very thoroughly morning and night. Also use the following oils when washing their hair: Rosemary, Geranium, Lavender, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Lemon. You can mix equal parts of Rosemary, Lavender, and Lemon and add 2 drops of formula to final rinse after shampooing. She also said this should be used sporadically. So it’s best to not do this every day.


If you suspect the presence of lice, here is a treatment than can be used:

  • 27 drops Rosemary
  • 27 drops Geranium
  • 27 drops Lavender
  • 1 ounce White Beeswax
  • 2 ounces Castor Oil

Copyright The Complete Book of Massage and Aromatherapy, consulting editor Catherine Stuart.

Melt the Beeswax in a double boiler and add Castor oil until a creamy consistency is achieved. Cool, then add essential oils while stirring well. Rub well into the scalp and leave overnight. (1)

If your child already has head lice and has scratched his/her head so much as to cause inflammation, use this formula to help heal the inflammation.

  • 20 drops German Chamomile
  • 10 drops Lavender
  • 5 drops Lemon

These can be used as a rinse, added to the Beeswax and Castor oil cream and left in overnight, or in a hair oil treatment made by adding 30 drops of formula to 2 tablespoons F.C.O. and again, leave in overnight. (1)

Head Lice Formula 1

  • 8 drops Geranium
  • 7 drops Rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon Jojoba

Head Lice Formula 2

  • 5 drops Peppermint
  • 5 drops Ginger Root
  • 5 drops Lavender
  • 1 tablespoon Walnut oil

With either one of these, massage the entire formula vigorously into the hair and scalp before bedtime. Wrap towel around the head, and leave it on overnight. Repeat nightly until the lice are gone. (3)

Head Lice Scalp Oil and Rinse

  • 10 drops Myrtle or Melaleuca
  • 10 drops Tea Tree
  • 5 drops Clove Bud
  • 10 drops Lavender
  • 4 drops Thyme
  • 5 drops Eucalyptus Radiata

Mix together and store in a dark colored, glass bottle. Put 10 drops of formula into 1 tablespoon Sesame oil and apply to scalp. Do not allow mixture near the eyes, nose, or ears. Cover the hair with a shower cap and leave on for a half hour.

Using a fine tooth comb, gently comb, wiping the comb between each sweep through the hair. Comb the hair in one inch sections. If the hair is long, you’ll need to use clips to separate the hair. When you have combed the whole head, wash the hair with a gentle baby shampoo. Then use the following rinse:

  • 4 ounces Water
  • 10 drops of above lice mixture (2)

If your child’s scalp has become irritated because of the biting and possible infection, make up the following:

Scalp Calm
  • 1 teaspoon Jojoba
  • 1 drops German Chamomile
  • 2 drops Lavender

Apply directly onto the scalp with your fingertips. Gently separate the hair into sections, so you can reach the whole scalp. (2)

And finally,

What ways have you used to treat head lice? Do you have a different recipe that you would like to share? Please comment in the section below. We’d love to share your experience with everyone else.

Child in leaves


  1. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood
  2. Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child: More Than 300 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Essential Oil Blends, by Valerie Ann Worwood
  3. 500 Formulas for Aromatherapy by Carol Schiller and David Schiller
  4. The Complete Book of Massage and Aromatherapy, consulting editor Catherine Stuart.





About JC Shannon

I am a writer. I was first introduced to this world of natural health in 2005 when I was asked to write an article about using essential oils. Since I like to know what I'm writing about before I do it, I immersed myself in the essential oil and aromatherapy world and found I prefer it. I never left it. In a quest to educate myself and others in more alternative and safer ways to make our world a better place, I am always looking for good information to share.