In the pharmacy: Heads up for autumn hair care


It's back-to-school season. Mom and Dad can be losing their hair for a few reasons - finding something crawling on the kids' heads is just the beginning. Here's a host of solutions for parents and their young.

September is back-to-school season, a time when wild-eyed parents of young children charge to the pharmacy in a state of near-hysteria over what they found crawling in their children’s hair. Head lice, an unfortunate reality in urban and suburban school communities, can be vanquished. And once the emergency has subsided, parents who have been tearing out their own hair or losing it through stress may seek scalp treatments for thin or thinning hair. A range of products to nourish, strengthen, or style their hair includes those below.

Head lice and nits

A new weapon in the lice-fighting arsenal is TyraTech’s Vamousse Head Lice Treatment, a homeopathic, pesticide-free option termed by the manufacturer as effective, safe, and fast. One application kills 100% of lice and eggs (nits); just saturate the hair and scalp, wait 15 minutes, and  shampoo it out. A mousse and not a liquid, it won’t drip or sting the eyes. 

For follow-up, Vamousse Preventative Shampoo will help to keep the creepy-crawlies at bay. Daily use for at least two weeks protects the entire family and prevents recurrences by breaking the lice life-cycle, killing lice before they can lay eggs. The lice treatment comes in a 6-ounce canister with a steel comb. The shampoo is available in an 8-ounce bottle. ( (Images courtesy of TyraTech)

Insight Pharmaceuticals has packaged a total lice-treatment system in its Nix Complete Lice Elimination Kit, with delousing tools and detailed instructions for treating, removing, and controlling head lice. The kit contains two bottles of permethrin-based Nix Creme Rinse, one bottle of Nix Combing Gel, a two-sided metal comb with a protective handle, and a bottle of Nix Lice Control Spray. The company says the products are safe for use by anyone 2 months of age or older. Other Nix products include an electronic comb that is lethal to lice and a stainless and odorless house spray that can also be used against bedbugs. (

Calling its nonchemical Licefreee! products “America’s original nontoxic head lice solution,” TecLabs’ treatments use sodium chloride, a naturally occurring mineral, to kill head lice and nits. The treatments have a pleasant aroma of black licorice and are effective and safe to use on adults and children 6 months and older. Licefreee! Gel suspends lice while it kills both lice and eggs. For a one-step solution, saturating dry hair with Licefreee Spray! will do the trick. Washing hair with Licefreee Everyday! Shampoo will prevent recurrent head lice infestations in families and can serve as a maintenance shampoo for all family members, and also be used as needed. (


Hair and scalp

Procter & Gamble’s Nioxin Scalp Treatments are designed for women with thin or thinning hair and hair loss. Products that help optimize the health of the scalp, resulting in youthful, healthy-looking, and often thicker hair, are grouped in systems designed for specific hair types. Eight different three-part systems offer products for hair types ranging from fine to coarse and natural to chemically treated. According to the Nioxin website, nine out of 10 users of the three-part systems report that their hair appears thicker when the products are used as directed. 

Nioxin also offers Intensive Therapy Treatments, to be used in addition to the three-part systems to address individual scalp or hair issues. Among these products are Nioxin Hair Booster, for scalps with excessive thinning areas or low-density hairlines. The vitamin-enriched leave-in treatment exfoliates dead skin cells and delivers advanced nourishment to the hair. Nioxin Deep Repair Hair Masque is designed to strengthen, repair damage, renew elasticity, and reduce chemical stress to hair. Nioxin Clarifying Cleanser is a clarifying shampoo that neutralizes hard-water mineral deposits on hair and removes chlorine, styling products, and other environmental buildup. ( (Image courtesy of Procter & Gamble)

From Neutrogena Corp. comes Neutrogena Triple Repair Hair Care, described by the manufacturer as “the 3X system for 3X stronger hair ... clinically proven to instantly repair the three leading signs of damaged hair in just one use.” SSaid to reduce signs of breakage by 80%, these products use proteins, conditioners, and peptides to mend split ends, strengthen brittle hair, and protect it from breakage. Available products include the Triple Repair Fortifying Shampoo, the Triple Repair Fortifying Conditioner, and the Triple Repair Fortifying Leave-In Treatment, which protects hair from heat styling over 400°F. ( (Image courtesy of Neutrogena Corp.)


Garnier Fructis offers an assortment of products for repairing, nourishing, and styling men’s and women’s hair. Among them is its Damage Eraser System, which includes a shampoo, conditioner, and split-end bandage treatment. The shampoo, which is formulated with plant-based proteins, fruit concentrate, cupuaçu butter, and natural lipids, is said to reconstruct the strength of hair “from root to tip,” resulting in “three times the damage resistance.”

Image courtesy of L'Oreal/Garnier FructisIf texture and volume are what is needed, Garnier offers Deconstructed Texture Tease, a dry-finish, flexible hairspray that holds lift and fullness in shapeless hair. Fructis’ Hydra Recharge Shampoo uses ingredients that include goji berry, passion fruit, and kiwi to “recharge hair with weightless hydration.” The gel-creme formula of Hydra Recharge 1 Minute-Replenish, an after-shampoo treatment, also featuring goji berry, passion fruit, and kiwi, provides a blast of hydration that results in weightless, silky hair “for up to two days.” Goji berry, passion fruit, and kiwi are also elements of Hydra Recharge Moisture Whip Leave-In Conditioner, an “ultra-hydrating treatment” that the manufacturer says becomes a “conditioning whip for a lightweight infusion of moisture.”

Fructis products for men include finishing formulas that offer either perfectly sculpted bed-head-style hair or a more windblown look. For the former, men can turn to Power Gel Disorder, a nonflaking formula for dry or damp hair that uses taurine, ceramide, and lemon extract to supply a look that’s both messy and shine-free. Men going for that windblown look can use Power Putty Surfer Hair, which offers a strong, nonflaking all-day hold. ( (Images courtesy of L'Oreal/Garnier Fructis)

Image courtesy of L'Oreal/Garnier Fructis

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