Pasadena resident Michelle Aloisio didn't have a clue what to do when her daughter, Annie, came home with head lice. In fact, Aloisio initially attributed Annie's constant itching to a simple case of dandruff — until a babysitter and fellow mother called.
"She said, 'I have reason to believe Annie has lice,'" Aloisio recalled.
As luck would have it, Aloisio also had a head full of lice.
"I had never dealt with this before in my entire life," she said. "I was panicking."
But, that was five years ago.
Today, Aloisio and business partner Hilary Scofield run The Hair Angels, a lice removal company. Scofield's family has also deal with lice infestations, the most recent of which occurred over the summer when her daughter went to camp.
Hair Angels aims to ease the stress and confusion that can accompany a lice infestation.
"I think there isn't a mom who calls and doesn't say 'I dont' get it,'" Scofield said.
The Angels have long offered in-home lice removal services in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, as well as the East Bay Area, Chicago and Phoenix. Aloisio and Scofield chose East Pasadena as the site of Hair Angels' first brick-and-mortar salon, which opened in August.
The Hair Angels specialize in the Shepherd Method, developed by the nation's foremost expert on lice, Katie Shepherd.
The Shepherd Method involves removing lice manually, going over a person's hair, strand-by-strand, with a specially-designed fine-toothed comb. Non-toxic and pesticide-free treatment products are used to prevent another lice outbreak.
"We don't put anything chemical-based on kids' heads," Scofield said.
One recent school day, Hair Angels was bustling with activity.
Kristen Puccinelli had brought her three daughters, Francesca, 9, Gina, 14, and Michaela, 15, in for treatment.
Puccinelli had found a nit on Francesca's head earlier that morning. The unwelcome discovery prompted her to check her other daughters' heads, and sure enough, all three had lice.
"As soon as I saw the nits...I knew exactly what to do," Puccinelli said.
She immediately took the trio to Hair Angels. Treatment proved so effective and efficient that Michaela, a high school freshman, only had to miss her morning classes.
Gina said she felt great without the constant itching that comes with lice.
"My head was itching for a couple of days," she said. "It feels like I have a whole new head."
To contact the Hair Angels, call (877) 543-8881. The salon is located at 259 Sierra Madre Villa Ave. in Pasadena across from the Bed Bath and Beyond.
Don't panic! Clearing up some common misconceptions about lice:
- Lice don't jump or fly. They crawl.
- Lice prefer clean hair over dirty hair.
- Lice can only survive an average of 24-hours off of your head.
- Over-the-counter lice shampoos do not kill nits or young lice bugs.
- Head lice cannot live on your pet.