Cartoon of a head lice's head

The female louse lays six to 10 eggs each day. These eggs, also known as nits, live at the base of the hair shaft and hatch after six to nine days. Hatched nits are called nymphs. Nymphs become mature adult lice after nine to 12 days and adult lice can live for up to four weeks. An infestation usually begins through the direct transfer of lice from human hair to human hair1

Lice eat tiny amounts of blood from a person’s scalp for nourishment and need to be next to skin to survive. They also lay eggs, or nits, on the hair shaft but once the eggs hatch, the nymphs move closer to the scalp. Although lice don’t hurt, they can irritate the skin and make it itchy. Too much scratching can break the skin, which could lead to infection2. Importantly, head lice have not been found to carry any diseases3.

Even without a human host, nymphs and adult head lice can actually survive for up to three days. Nits can too, although they cannot hatch without the warmer temperatures available near the scalp4. While they can survive a short time, any lice you see on pillows or other surfaces are either dead, sick, or elderly, and cannot infect a person5.

A head lice infestation usually occurs when the lice from the hair of one person directly transfers to the hair of someone else. This often occurs through head-to-head contact, but indirect transfer, spread through the sharing of items such as hats, scarves, hairbrushes and pillows, is also possible. Direct transfer is more common within a family or among children who might make contact at school or during play1.

An adult louse can live for as long as 30 days on a human and the female louse lays up to 8 eggs a day6. A head lice infestation does not die off without proper treatment7.

Head lice can cause an itchy scalp, but an itchy scalp is not confirmation of head lice. The only way to confirm someone has head lice is to find a live louse in their hair4. One of the easiest and most effective ways to check for lice is by using the wet combing technique.

First, apply a conditioning product such as MOOV Head Lice Combing Conditioner. Then, using a strong, fine-toothed comb, separate sections of hair and starting at the scalp, comb out the conditioner and wipe it onto a tissue to spot lice or eggs (nits). The MOOV Head Lice Combing Conditioner will help to stun the lice making them easier to spot.

Head lice bites appear as small pink or red bumps. They can be crusted with blood. Since lice prefer warmth, they tend to bite at the back of the scalp and behind the ears8.

Yes. Exposure to temperatures greater than 60°C will kill lice and eggs. For example, bedding used, or clothing worn by a person infected with head lice can be washed and dried using hot cycles. However, this will not eliminate a head lice infestation9.

You might. As well as itching, a possible symptom of head lice is the sensation of the bugs crawling, moving or tickling on your head10.

There are a few ways to help minimise the risk of catching head lice. A no-sharing rule when it comes to hats, scarves, combs, brushes, or other items that people – kids especially – commonly share will decrease the risk of spreading lice. Avoiding head-to-head contact with the infected person is also important. For added protection, MOOV Head Lice Defence Spray helps to provide up to eight hours of defence against head lice. Applied like a leave-in conditioner, the spray is formulated with a special combination of researched ingredients that make the hair feel unpleasant to lice.

Head lice are small, wingless insects. Measuring about the size of a sesame seed, and usually whitish-grey or brown in colour, they can be mistaken for other small insects, such as aphids. It is also possible to mistake objects such as sand, dandruff or flakes of hairspray for nits5.

Head lice can be challenging to get rid of unless you work to break the life cycle. The adult louse can live on a human scalp for about five weeks. During that lifetime, the female can lay up to 120 eggs. To help break the head lice life cycle, MOOV treatment products (MOOV Head Lice Solution and MOOV Head Lice Shampoo) should be used three times - treatment should be repeated at seven and 14 days after the initial treatment. You can be confident a lice infestation is gone when you haven’t found any live lice, or clustered nits, for two weeks.

No. Head lice don’t go away on their own, which is why proper treatment is so important11.

The mature louse is about the size of a sesame seed. It is wingless and whitish- or reddish-brown in colour12. Its six legs have hook-like claws. Lice eggs, or nits, look like tiny white or brown dots12,13, making them easy to mistake for dandruff5.

Wet combing is a simple and easy technique whether you are checking your own, or someone else’s hair. This is the process of combing through small sections of wet hair with a fine-tooth comb. Checking your own hair is a little trickier because it is important to closely examine your scalp. Adjust mirrors around your head to ensure you have a good view and transfer residue from the comb teeth to a paper towel after each stroke for a closer look.

The risk of re-infection from a pillowcase is low, but washing pillowcases and other bedding is an easy, low-cost step to help reduce the risk1,10.

Not everything. It is easy enough to wash pillowcases and other linens, as well as clothes that have been exposed to a head lice infestation. As for blankets, stuffed toys and other bulkier items, 15 minutes in a hot clothes dryer will do the trick2,10. Place items that cannot be washed in an air-tight plastic bag and leave it for two weeks to kill the critters13,14.

Head lice can only survive on a human host.

An infestation usually comprises less than 10 live lice4.

A female louse lays six to 10 eggs each day and those eggs hatch after six to nine days1And while they cannot fly, head lice can crawl and are fast for their size, clocking 23cm per minute4,15. Some people don’t experience symptoms of head lice, while for others, it may take up to six weeks to experience itching14,16.

The key to treatment and eradication of a head lice infestation is to break the life cycle, which is done by repeating the treatment. The MOOV Head Lice range supports the three-treatment model, helping to ensure all lice and eggs are destroyed. Without breaking the life cycle, a lice infestation can linger indefinitely.

Several products in the MOOV Head Lice range contain essential oils (Eucalyptus oil, Lemon Tea Tree oil). Both these essential oils, and all other ingredients in the MOOV Head Lice products, are considered safe to use during pregnancy16. However, some sources recommend you avoid using essential oils altogether during the first trimester16.

If you have a head lice infestation in the house, it’s best to do a thorough check of all family members and treat as needed. It is also advised to contact the parents of friends whom your child has had close contact with so they can get on top of any infestation they may have caught.

To effectively treat head lice, three treatments over 14 days are required to break the head lice life cycle.

Due to the nature of the head lice’s life cycle, it takes three treatments to ensure all lice on the head are effectively targeted. The second and third treatments ensure that any eggs or nits that had not hatched before the first treatment, or those that survived are destroyed.


1. Mayo Clinic. Head Lice. [Internet][cited 27 April 2021] Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/head-lice/symptoms-causes/syc-20356180

2. Healthline. What Do Lice Look Like? [Internet][cited 2 May 2021] Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/what-do-head-lice-look-like#Outlook-and-prevention.

3. Global Health – Division of Parasitic Disease. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. [Internet] [cited 27 April 2021]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/gen_info/faqs.html

4. Head lice infestations: A clinical update. Paediatr Child Health. 2004;9(9):647-657. doi:10.1093/pch/9.9.647=

5. Nash B. Treating head lice. BMJ. 2003;326(7401):1256-1257. doi:10.1136/bmj.326.7401.1256

6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parasites. Lice. [Internet][cited 2 May 2021] Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/biology.html#:~:text=Adult%20lice%20can%20live%20up,2%20days%20off%20the%20host.

7. InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Head lice: Overview. 2008 Mar 5 [Updated 2018 Dec 13]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279329/

8. Healthline. A Close Look at Lice Bites. [Internet][cited 28 April 2021] Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/lice-bites#:~:text=They%20bite%20anywhere%20they%20are,the%20bites%20can%20become%20infected.

9. Speare R, Cahill C, Thomas G. Head lice on pillows, and strategies to make a small risk even less. Int J Dermatol. 2003 Aug;42(8):626-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-4362.2003.01927.x. PMID: 12890107.

10. Healthline. Head Lice Infestation. [Internet][cited 28 April 2021] Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/head-lice#risk-factors

11. InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Head lice: Overview. 2008 Mar 5 [Updated 2018 Dec 13]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279329/

12. AusMed Head Lice: What they are and how to get rid of them. [Internet][cited 19 May 2021] Available from: https://www.ausmed.com.au/cpd/articles/head-lice

13 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parasites. Lice. Parasites. Treatment FAQs. [Internet][cited 2 May 2021] Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/gen_info/faqs_treat.html

14. Texas Department of State Health Services. Head Lice Fact Sheet. [Internet][cited 28 April 2021] Available from: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/region1/documents/Epi/Head-Lice-Fact-Sheet.pdf

15. Tisserand R, Young R. Essential Oil Safety - E-Book: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2013.

16. Essential Oils for Pregnancy: What’s Safe and What to Avoid [Internet]. Healthline 2020 [cited 2020 Dec 18]; Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/essential-oils-for-pregnancy