We had made it to the lice mythical finish line — seventh grade —without confronting so much as a single louse. But by the time Halloween rolled around, we were all capped with itchy-crawlies.

First, my daughter, who has honey-brown hair like Rapunzel to the middle of her back, started itching and squirming. Next thing you knew, my husband and I were itching and squirming, too.

No problem, I thought with bravado. Like a good discount-card carrying American, I marched over to our local drug store and bought up enough over-the-counter anti-lice treatments for three people.

And then, when they didn't work, I did it again. And then, I'm embarrassed to confess, I did it again. All in all, I tried the same approach three times over a span of three weeks hoping for better results each time.

I was convinced that the most toxic approach would be the most deadly to the lice. And with all the complicated instruction sheets, I was sure I wasn't executing the process, and the lice, quite right.

Desperate, I called the doctor. He gave us an anti-bug drug. It was strong and had to be taken for several days. But again, nothing had changed.

Was it possible to be stuck with lice for the rest of your life? I didn't want to find out.

I ended up on Amazon. The answer to all my problems, reviewers proclaimed, was a natural shampoo and conditioner. I scoffed at the idea that anything effective could be gentle enough to use year-round. Just wash and condition hair with the products daily and run a nit comb through the hair.

Hmmm, I thought. Could such a benign approach really work?

I was cynical, skeptical, miserable, and just the tiniest bit hopeful, as I waited for the order to arrive. As soon as my daughter got home from school, I put her in the shower.

My daughter sighed, but complied. I combed. And what do you know? That nit-comb really did not snag, even in her thick curtain of sopping wet hair.

Not too shabby, I thought. Then it was my turn. The shampoo was surprisingly refreshing. It even smelled good. I inspected my daughter's hair and found no nits.

"Impossible," I thought parting and peering. But the lousy lice were gone.

What I have learned is to not be so quick to go toxic. I will never again doubt a natural solution to any problem. If I had only known, I could have saved myself a bundle of money, frustration and tears. ■

More: A guide to treating head lice


Christina Katz is typically a quick learner but like many moms, she is occasionally blind-sided by stigma. She used Fairy Tales "Rosemary Repel" Shampoo & Conditioner and Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb.


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