Afrobella Asks You — Hair Help for Little Dreads

Awwww. Look at this poor little guy. His mama has written me with an Ask Afrobella question that leaves me at a loss. Maybe you bellas out there can help? Here goes…


I urgently need your help or the help of the community!!! My 9 yr old son (who has had locks since birth) spent the night over a friend’s house. A couple days later, he told me his head itched all day. I checked his hair only to find LICE!!! Since then, I have treated with over the counter treatments and he still has lice. Not to mention that the treatments have totally changed his hair texture. I have followed the directions (with the exception of combing through the hair…impossible). Please help, I do not want to cut my baby’s hair.


Oh, Msscmoore, I wish I had a definite answer for you… but I don’t. My own knowledge of lice goes little past a disturbing South Park episode. But, I DID Google this issue, and found this helpful link from, which suggests natural remedies, like soaking locks in coconut oil and well, “nit picking.” Also, visit Lice 911 for an all natural solution that hopefully won’t alter his hair texture any further.

This EHow article about preventing lice suggests rosemary and tea tree oil, and also has some obvious suggestions (#1, avoid anyone who has head lice. THANKS, EHow, VERY helpful), and some downright scary info — for example, #3 — “Seats with fabric on them, like the seats in most theaters, are the worst offenders for spreading lice. If you see small white specks on the top part of the seat, don’t sit there. Even brushing them off may not get the lice eggs off the fabric.” Whaaaaaa? How have I never heard that before? Oh, I am taking a little flashlight with me to the movies from now on!

That’s all I gleaned from my Googling, Msscmoore. I wish I could really KNOW what helps, but that’s the best I can do. I’d say don’t cut them off yet — try the info on those links and please keep me posted. And now, bellas — I turn to you. Got any suggestions for msscmoore and her adorable little boy?

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  1. Wow. There is a remedy to this though. Hope you don’t mind my posting Afrobella to my the lockitup group on yahoo… I know they will chime in big time…

  2. UnalteredBeauty says:

    TEA TREE OIL! Defintely. It’s specifically designed to soothe itching scalps among other things. It’s great. You can find it in the ethnic haircare aisle of almost any drugstore. Keep the scalp oiled and moistureized. Lice can’t survive in such environments.

    • Hello! Allesun here from, As a professional dreadlock/sisterloc stylist I have had success removing lice in clients by:

      -Lathering in coconut oil
      -Then cover hair and leave in coconut oil for 12 hours
      -Rinse using the hottest water you can! Best done by having someone help you. Lean your head over a sink with towel over skin and have friend pour the really hot water over your hair. Be careful!
      -Then use Apple cider vinegar and baking soda mix and rinse hair with this. (ingredients and exact method found on my website on the DREADLOCK CARE page)
      -Wash with natural residue free soap
      -Apply shea btter/mixed with almond oil to bring hair back to original texture. Repeat as needed.

      Hope this helps!

  3. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    If all else fails please cut his hair ,and start over.It will grow back in no time.It’s not worth exposing him to scalp damage that would be more traumatic than a hair cut.

  4. Apple Cider Vinegar should do the trick.
    Mix 4 tablespoons ACV into 4 cups of water and pour it over his hair and then work it through let it sit for about 10 mins then rinse. Hope it helps!!

  5. I say cut the hair and start over. It will grow back. It’s about her son’s health.

  6. Okay sorry I didn’t realize you had the link in your article…

  7. Aww, what a cutie..sad face and all. When I was in the school system I was always asked, after a mass head inspection, why black kids never had headlice. It was true, not a single kid in 10 yrs. I dont know for sure, but I suspect it was due to their scalps being well oiled and moisturized, just like “UnalteredBeauty” says. ALL the nits (eggs) HAVE to be picked out if not combed out – otherwise they’ll just hatch and start the whole thing over again. And don’t forget to treat his pillows, blankets, etc. I would consider cutting his hair just to be sure. A haircut cant be as traumatic as being sent home from school by the nurse.

    And, Bella, I never thought about the movie theatre seats! Help!

  8. When my daughter’s extremely curly hair got lice as a 5 year old I couldn’t believe how much time it took to get them all out. She finally fell asleep on the kitchen counter lying down as I combed them all out into the sink. When I asked my doctor about avoiding them he only named THEATRE SEATS as places to avoid. I hadn’t even thought of that!

    She’s 22 now and to this day I wrap my hair up in a ballcap or scarf when I go see a movie. It’s hard to even sit back and feel comfortable.

    I hope her poor little guy gets to keep his hair. Would be sad to cut it, but that might have to be an option.

  9. Poor little one, the one remedy i can suggest is for his mom to mix up some henna, yipe henna i cant remember where i read it but i am all for henna i have been using it for a while, but it kills lice adn nourishes.

    She should get the henna blocks you can get them from Lush they are fantastic and go on really thick, it might be a bit hard to rinse out since he has such long lovely locks but it is the most natural remedy i can think of.

    I hope that helps.

  10. Please read this link in Slate Magazine
    It seems that the best way to kill lice is to basically drown them in oil repeatedly. Good luck, I hope you don’t have to cut his hair.

  11. Vinegar! Plain and simple. Google it. It gets rid of everything. I think someone has already said it about Apple Cider Vinegar, but regular white vinegar will do it as well. He will feel it tingle, but try to leave it in as long as you can – 15 minutes or more is ideal. You don’t need to traumatize the poor little guy with those other harsh products.

  12. Try to find some neem oil. It is good for killing lice and preventing them as well.

  13. I don’t know, y’all. I got lice a couple of years ago from the seat back of a plane. It took two weeks of fastidious nitpicking EVERY night, changing my sheets EVERY night and shampooing with a harsh anti-lice shampoo three times over the two weeks (the directions recommended not doing it more) before those suckers disappeared.

    I got them in the winter so I also rotated my coats and hats (which I washed EVERY day) EVERY day.

    The nits look like dandruff but unlike dandruff they are literally glued to your hair. The shampoos kills the bugs but you must comb and pick out the nits or eggs EVERY day for at least 10 days. Gross, I know.

    I tried tea tree oil and other homeopatheic remedies but nothing worked!
    I also falsely believed that black people didn’t get lice and as a result I suffered unnecessarily for more than a week not believing my lying eyes.

    Mama, if you don’t want to cut your baby’s locks sit him down between your knees every night and handpick out each and every nit carefully inspecting every inch of his scalp (and the hair within two inches of his scalp). Do this after shampooing (Don’t shampoo more than once per week). Have a magnifying glass with you and a glass of wine.

    If you’ve learned nothing from my post know this: pouring something on your son’s head is not going to do the trick. You MUST nit pick.

  14. You can safely and effectively kill lice with salt water or a sauna – learn how to kill lice without killing yourself or the earth……

    The head louse (Pediculus humanus capitas) (DeGeer), the body louse (Pediculus humanus humanus) (Linnaeus) and the crab louse (Pthirus pubis) (Linnaeus) all occur on humans. All three cause considerable skin irritation as they feed on human blood or crawl on the body.

    Human lice can establish and maintain themselves only on humans. A louse cannot hop or jump. They can, however, crawl fast. They are usually transmitted only through close personal contact. They are less frequently transmitted through the sharing of personal articles or toilet seats. For head lice, this includes combs, brushes and other grooming aids, hats, headbands, helmets, caps, headrests, wigs, curlers or other headgear, especially when these items are stored in shared lockers. They spread or infest by crawling, they live by biting and sucking blood from the scalp and can survive for up to 48 hours off a human head, and the nits on a hair shaft can survive from 4 – 10 days – so vacuum thoroughly and/or spray/clean with diluted Safe Solutions, Inc. Enzyme Cleaner with Peppermint.

    Important Note: Pediculicide POISONS do not remove nits and are dangerous. Among the reactions to poison shampoo or lice “treatments” are seizures, mental retardation, many different allergies and respiratory problems, strange tingling, burning, itching, attention deficit disorders, brain tumors, leukemia, cancer and death.

    I have used a sauna and/or salt water to safely and effectiely kill lice (but the nits remain).

    I have also used ½ oz. of Safe Solutions, Inc. Lice R Gone® Enzyme Shampoo and/or their Enzyme Cleaner with Peppermint per shampoo-type application to safely remove both lice and nits in a few minutes. These non-poisonous enzyme shampoos make the hair so slick lice and nits can’t stick and lice can not live off the body for very long.

    If you are still having lice problems, read the latest chapter

  15. OMG!!!
    Head Lice…I’m itching just thinking about it. As a stylist this is my worst nightmare for anyone: child or adult to sit in my chair with lice. As most people do not like to use the harsh chemicals of Nix or Rid on their hair, there are other alternatives. Tea Tree Oil is one that comes first to mind. Caution in using it, as it too can cause some skin irritations.
    This is the remedy one of my clients use and has had good success with:
    Shampoo (use an inexpensive brand – baby shampoo will do)
    3 tbsp olive oil
    2 tsp tea tree oil
    1 tsp rosemary or eucalyptus oil
    Add the oils to shampoo and mix well. Work into hair and leave on for half an hour with a tight-fitting shower cap.

    This causes some smelling but it smoothers the lice as well.

    Mom please make sure that you clean everything in your baby’s room thoroughly to prevent reinfestation. Hopefully this will work for you. Though you may not want to, you may need to cut his locks. Sometimes with locks lice can get into unseen places and create havoc for your child and you.

    Good Luck!

  16. UnalteredBeauty says:

    Awww. He’s such a cutie btw. Poor thing.

  17. That’s crazy unfortunate. I know if that happend to me (27 y.o. black female) I would not be willing to cut my hair off. I mean, I guess I would have to….if nothing else worked, but I would be devastated!!! Completely DEVASTATED!!!!
    I don’t have any recomendations, but I feel your pain, (you and you son since I gather he’s old enough to be attached to his style). I really hope that one of these remedies work for lil’ dude.

  18. Smother them. Take your baby and pack, I mean PACK his hair with vaseline/ petroleum jelly. Pack it. Put the tea tree oil on there and make the lice stop biting him- pack – PACK his hair with vaseline. A friend of mine who is a Rasta did this with her child after trying everything else. It took a little while but they died. Hey, bugs gotta breath too.

  19. the only thing that will kill lice and the eggs is a thorough soaking with specific essential oil AND combing the hair to ensure no nits are left. this means cutting his locks. if you don’t you will dealing with months long process of delousing your son and your household. unfortunately, locks are the perfect environment for nits the take root and stay for a really long time. good luck

  20. Thank you all for the ideas. Here’s my plan of action. We’re going to the beach…we live in Florida. I pick his hair every 3 days. This is when the eggs I didn’t get hatch. Afterwards, I oil his hair with the neem, tea tree, and peppermint oil with a shea oil base. Now it’ just time to pick and wait.

    I’ll keep you all updated.


  21. Look up HairClean 123 – that’s the US name. I went from Trinidad to France and although in my 40s had never seen a louse! Well almost everyone in France that we knew had lice. We tried all the natural stuff – as did my sister.
    Anyhow in the end the hair product listed above was amazing and you don’t even really have to comb through. All of us got rid of our lice with just 1 soalking – including long afro son, long natural daughter and my long curly hair. It’s an amazing product compared to everything else.

  22. Bella

    Check either or the latter is natural hair products for children. Or visit

  23. my daughter came home with lice the second month of kindergarten. I did the shampoos and nit-picking (ugh). another parent suggested hot combing and that definitely helped kill everything and made it easier to pick out all the leftover nits. I also trimmed about 2 – 3 inches off of her very thick, curly hair.

    -good luck

  24. VINEGAR! my friend had really long hair like a lot of her girl classmates when she was young and there used to be epidemics (apparently…). She says her mother used to wash her hair in vinegar (i think almost any acidic one would work…) for a few days. Lice don’t like it.

  25. Poor little guy.

    Cut it off & start over. Life is about change. At the end of the day, it’s just hair.


  26. You must cut his hair immediately as you don’t want him being sent home by the school and being blamed for the whole school being infected! how embarrasing that would be for his self esteem!!

  27. NO NO DON’T HIS CUT HAIR I know when it comes to Lice my mother used to us any kind OF grease over load the head with the grease give it a chance to work wash hair then repeat it again for about a week it works

  28. if this was a girl no one would say cut all HER hair off. Listen to what you’re saying when u speak. I’m sure the vinegar..tree oil..grease and nit picking will work.

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  1. […] Afrobella Asks You — Hair Help for Little Dreads | AfrobellaJun 11, 2008 …, As a professional dreadlock/sisterloc stylist I have had …. Take your baby and pack, I mean PACK his hair with vaseline/ … […]

  2. Chinese Wikipedia has more information

    Afrobella Asks You — Hair Help for Little Dreads | Afrobella

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