Coconut Oil For Lice: Effectiveness And How To Use it

Coconut Oil For Lice

Coconut oil is a natural remedy usually recommended for head lice because of the relief it gives but unfortunately that is all it offers- relief.

It is not an effective treatment for head lice because it does not completely stop the infestation, it only soothes the bearer for a while, and it also is a nontoxic treatment option that in the process of head lice treatment has healthy hair benefits.

Several things have come to the limelight in the beauty industry and essential oils have not been left out. Coconut oil gained popularity as an oil that is best suited for remedying dry skin and promoting healthy hair growth as well. Coconut oil in its virgin form also turns out to be edible and advantageous to the body making this essential oil more desirable and interesting.

Since it has great hair benefits and head lice is practically a plague for the hair, several hair enthusiasts decided to try it out as a possible solution for head lice. It is sometimes used alone, other times it is mixed with other essential oils, but is coconut oil an effective treatment for head lice?

Coconut Oil Explained

Coconut oil is simply a natural oil that is derived from the coconut fruit. Coconut oil in its virgin form is one of the healthiest natural oil and it is edible as well.

Coconut oil is colorless, has a natural coconut scent, and is a great source of fatty acids. It provides fat-soluble minerals that serve as a source of energy and contributes to having a healthy heart.

Lice Explained

Lice which is more specifically referred to as head lice are tiny wingless parasites that are usually found in the hair of people.

They are known to attach themself to the human scalp and feed on blood, they essentially survive on human blood and continue to reproduce on the human head until they are gotten rid of.

They cause a lot of irritation and discomfort that cause the bearer to constantly have the urge to itch their head for some sort of relief. They can easily be spread from one person to another through clothes, furniture, or other items that a lice-infected person comes into contact with.

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How To Use Coconut Oil For Lice Treatment

If you are a natural or healthy hair enthusiast and you are very conscious of which products come in contact with your hair but unfortunately you have gotten head lice but would much rather prefer a natural remedy that would not cause more damage, you must be thinking “oh! Why not try coconut oil?”.

Here is a simple and short guide on how to apply coconut oil to your hair to get rid of head lice;

  1. You would need a good amount of natural or virgin coconut oil, of course, a shower cap, and a narrow or fine-toothed comb for this process.
  2. With the needed items in place, you can begin by thoroughly rinsing your hair with hot water in preparation for the application of coconut oil.
  3. Next, you would be required to apply coconut oil to your hair in large amounts, small bits of the oil will not do the job. Massage the oil through your hair such that it covers every corner and every strand of your hair.
  4. After a thorough massage, cover your hair with the shower cap and keep it on for as long as eight hours or more. The longer the shower cap stays on, the more time the coconut oil has to suffocate the head lice.
  5. Since coconut oil does not kill the lice eggs, you would need to use the fine-toothed comb to comb out the eggs, this process of combing out lice eggs might be longer than you would think so you may need someone to help you with the combined out since they would see into your hair better and it would make the process faster.

How Effective Is Coconut Oil For Lice?

You might wonder, when people advise you to try coconut oil for your hair when you complain of head lice, how effective is it? Would the head lice die completely? Would there be side effects? Will the relief from the head lice infestation follow immediately after the treatment is completed?

Does it work after a one-time treatment or is continuous use required for effective results?. Yeah, we thought you might wonder, and below the answers to these questions are provided and more.

A clinical test was carried out in Isreal to ascertain the effectiveness of coconut oil as a treatment for head lice on children between the ages of 4 and 13 since they were the largest percentage of the population that suffered from head lice often.

This clinical test was targeted towards creating a cure for head lice in children using a natural remedy. This natural remedy was formulated using three natural oils which are coconut oil, anise oil, and ylang-ylang oil. This mixture of the previously mentioned natural oils was applied to the hairs of the children with head lice three times within a five-day interval.

In the end, the natural remedy proved very effective and the children were completely free of the lice infestation, however, the coconut oil present in the natural remedy merely acted as a bonding agent, but it was not the major ingredient that killed the lice, studies show that anise oil is the major acting agent that completely kills off the head lice.

Coconut Oil For Hair Lice Further Explained

Coconut oil may be an all-purpose oil but it is not an effective treatment for lice. Coconut oil has some soothing qualities that make have made it an option for the treatment of head lice. Coconut oil is known to suffocate the nits which are the eggs laid by the adult lice, it may conveniently suffocate them and this would cause you some much-needed relief after previously experiencing constant itching but this effect is only temporary.

The thick nature of coconut oil allows it to suffocate the nits and kill some of the adult lice but it does not get rid of the root of the problem which is the lice, so the irritation and itching is most likely to continue after a while.

Does Coconut Oil Have Expiry Dates?
Image: Envato Elements

Coconut oil may prove very efficient in making sure you do not leave lice behind on every surface your hair comes in contact with.

Coconut oil in this scenario acts as a blockade that prevents the transfer of lice from person to person because it is when people come in contact with clothes, furniture, or items your lice has rubbed off on that the lice spread to them as well. Since coconut oil serves as a preventive oil, it is advisable to use it to avoid a continued spread of head lice from person to person.

Coconut oil is one of the natural oils that are rich in fatty oils such as caprylic acid, capric acid, and lauric acid. The presence of these fatty oils in coconut oil makes the hair strands hard for the lice to hold on to upon application, this is because the hair will be greasy or oily.

This attribute of coconut oil makes combing head lice out much easier since most of the lice will already be unable to hang on to the hair strands. This proves that coconut oil does indeed get rid of the head lice in your hair, but it still does not prove that it is completely effective as the nits or lice eggs will still be securely buried in your scalp while the adult lice are being gotten rid of, for total relief and to end a head lice infestation you would need to get rid of the eggs as well.

As long as coconut oil does not kill the lice eggs it is not an effective treatment for head lice. The lice eggs have their shells as a protective covering that unfortunately, coconut oil cannot penetrate to destroy them as well. Coconut oil will undoubtedly kill the adult lice present and cause you momentary relief, that is until the lice eggs mature into louse and begin to lay their eggs as well and you begin to itch and feel discomfort all over again.

Combine Coconut Oil With Other Essential Oils For Results

If you expressed interest in coconut oil as a treatment for head lice because it is a natural method as opposed to over-the-counter medications, you may want to combine it with other essential oils for best results.

Essential oils such as anise oil, ylang-ylang oil, tea tree oil, and lavender have been used with coconut oil to get rid of lice infestations. Tea tree oil and coconut oil has been promising in killing lice but it does not completely get rid of lice eggs, this taking you back to square one.

Anise oil, ylang-ylang oil, and coconut oil mixed have proven to be the most effective combination of essential oils that completely kills lice as earlier seen in the study highlighted. Anise oil and ylang-ylang oil are not as easy to come across as coconut oil and this makes this option unavailable to several people.

Over the counter remedies that have proven to be effective in killing head lice and lice eggs as well include; benzyl alcohol lotion, permethrin lotion, pyrethrins, spinosad, ivermectin, malathion lotion, lindane concentrated shampoo, or opting for professional removal in a salon better known as a de-lousing service.

All medications must be as prescribed by a doctor or pharmacist, and if symptoms persist or allergic reactions to any of the medications arise seek a doctor’s advice immediately.


While coconut oil has been known to offer great health, hair, and skin benefits it is not an effective treatment for head lice.

Head lice are stubborn and the lice eggs are twice as hard to get rid of, like parasites they are relentless and unwilling to let go of their life source which is the human head they are sucking blood off at the moment.

This makes home remedies such as coconut oil no match for head lice, hence it is best to get over-the-counter medications and follow the prescriptions and instructions given to the latter to get rid of the head lice completely.

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