Hair Fairies

Posted on 2 min read

Set back from La Jolla Boulevard, in Bird Rock, Hair Fairies seems like your pretty run-of-the-mill hair salon. With its huge pink sign, it

looks like a salon for children. A tony place to take your five year old for a buzz cut or a trim.

As its logo implies, Hair Fairies caters to kids’ hair, but not the way you might think. One of five upscale locations in a nationwide chain, this operation specializes in… head lice removal.

According to the company website, Maria Botham founded Hair Fairies in 1999, inspired by an article in the Wall Street Journal about the lack of effective treatment for head lice. Hair Fairies also has locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York.

In recent years, researchers have discovered that head lice (singular form: louse) in the U.S. and around the world have developed some degree of immunity to the ingredients used in traditional over-the-counter products.

These so-called “super lice” have people frustrated and searching for alternatives. Hair Fairies uses a process of lice removal they call nit-zapping. The

trained technicians wet the hair first with non-toxic, organic shampoos, then comb through the hair with patented combs. Next comes a “dry nit-picking session,” during which nits and lice are removed by hand. To distract kids during the tedious process, the salon is fully stocked with electronic diversions— Game Boys and portable DVD players.

Hair Fairies attacks the issue of the stigma attached to head lice–head on. Offering upscale, salon-style service with a trained staff who can educate parents, entertain kids, and remove nits…all at a cost of $95 an hour. Parents can expect to spend about $300 per infested child.

Hair Fairies guarantees their trademarked system works. Clients are directed to check with medical insurance providers to see if lice-removal treatment is covered.

One La Jolla mom—who asked to remain anonymous—had this to say about her experience with Hair Fairies: “I tried to deal with it myself—it was not working. Hair Fairies was the only place to go. It’s expensive, yes. But you see your kid’s head full of lice and it gets to a point where you’re willing to pay the price. You just want to be rid of it.”