The Full Story
How it all began...
Nitty Gritty was founded by three London mums – Amanda, Gill and Lillan - who knew exactly what it was like to go through 'head lice hell'. We started our company with a single mission in mind – to do everything we possibly could to help our customers and their families 'beat the bugs' without the need for nasty chemical treatments.
When our three daughters (Dani, Jessica and Kerensa) constantly came home from school with head lice, we bought every single over the counter lotion and potion that we could get our hands on… but nothing ever seemed to work.
We got sick and tired of our girls ending up in tears from the awful products we were putting on their heads - which more often than not still left them with live head lice and eggs in their hair. It just felt like such an ongoing battle. We knew it was time to rewrite the rules on how to deal with head lice!
So we made it our mission to create our own Aromatherapy head lice solution, that would not only be completely natural and kind to kids, but that would actually be effective. Lillan was a trained aromatherapist, and Gill was a manager of Body Shop, so we knew we could come up with a better, more natural way of dealing with head lice. After lots of research and lots of trialling on our own daughters we finally came up with the perfect solution to safely and effectively remove head lice without the need for any nasty chemicals. The following year we launched our company Nitty Gritty, bringing the first ever Aromatherapy head lice solution to the UK market.
In 1999 we saw the launch of our Nitty Gritty Aromatherapy Head Lice Solution, a simple, no fuss, natural solution to aid the detection and removal of head lice. It is completely natural, made from a blend of essential oils, with no nasty ingredients! Our solution was designed to not only loosen the glue that sticks the eggs to the hair but to immobilise the lice, making it difficult for them to move around the head. Simply apply our solution to dry hair, leave for 20 minutes and then comb through thoroughly with your nit comb, and it will glide smoothly and effortlessly through any hair type. With neem and added wheatgerm it not only smells great but leaves the hair in wonderful condition.
Our Nitty Gritty Solution straight away became a huge hit. Parents were so relieved to finally say goodbye to nasty chemical treatments and to be able to put something on their children’s hair that they knew was completely natural, yet effective. It felt like such a victory, we were being inundated with letters from parents and carers all over the country thanking us for finally freeing them from using chemical products on their children.
Parents were thrilled with our solution and how effective it was but they also wanted a product that would prevent the little critters from coming back. So the following year in 2000 we expanded the range and developed our Nitty Gritty Conditioning Defence Spray to help keep those pesky lice from crawling back on to your little one’s heads. It's a carefully chosen blend of ingredients with a lovely grapefruit scent, that will not only keep the lice at bay but keeps everyone's hair beautifully fragranced, soft, shiny,
de-tangled and in tip-top condition.
How does it work? Head lice feed on the human scalp and just like mosquitoes, head lice use their sense of smell to detect the presence of a 'new' host during even the briefest head-to-head contact. Our Nitty Gritty Conditioning Defence Spray messes up their 'radar' and encourages head lice to stay on their existing host rather than migrate.
So after you have cleared an infestation, we recommend daily use of our Nitty Gritty Conditioning Defence Spray. Simply spritz it on your child’s hair every morning before nursery, school or any other occasion where they will come into close contact with other children.
The first five years for Nitty Gritty were amazing, we had built something that was truly helping people, and it felt so good. But the real breakthrough happened in 2004 when we launched our innovative Nitty Gritty NitFree Comb. This was an absolute game-changer in the world of head lice.
Unlike any other product on the market our innovative micro-spiral comb was the only product to not only remove the smallest head lice as well as the nits (the empty egg cases) but also, most importantly, it even removes the unhatched 'live' head louse eggs, which is the main cause of repeated infestations.
Every other product simply targets the live lice but leaves the ‘live’ eggs behind in the hair to hatch out. That’s why infestations often seem to go on forever and you find yourself having to do treatment after treatment. But unless you get the unhatched live eggs out, you just end up right back where you started a week later when the new generation of head lice hatch out.
But our comb deals with an entire infestation in one go – without any need for nasty chemicals. It works brilliantly with any ordinary hair conditioner, and even better when teamed with our Nitty Gritty Aromatherapy Head Lice Solution, which loosens the eggs from the hair and immobilises any live lice, so that they can’t move around the head when you are combing. One comb is all you need for an entire family, and even better news, it will last you a whole lifetime!
We have always been so passionate about our products and believe in their effectiveness 100%, which is why in 2005 we introduced our Lifetime Guarantee on all our products. Meaning if for any reason anyone was ever less than completely satisfied with any of our products they could return it for a full refund or replacement.
After just 6 years since we first launched Nitty Gritty was fast becoming a household name and soon captured the attention of major High Street retailers such as Boots, Tesco and Superdrug. Suddenly we were being approached left, right and centre by retailers wanting to sell our range.
Despite competing alongside Global pharmaceutical brands, our Nitty Gritty comb soon became the UK’s No1 selling head lice product for parents wanting a 100% natural solution for tackling head lice.
With zero advertising budget behind us, we have always relied solely on the power of word of mouth recommendations, but soon after launching our amazing comb, it wasn’t just parents who were swearing by it. It didn’t take long before journalists from major National magazines and newspapers started writing about it, The Guardian called it the 'Rolls-Royce of nit combs', The Daily Telegraph called it a ‘miracle comb’, The Times newspaper named it as one of their 'Top Five Quick Fixes For Family Emergencies', the UK’s leading parenting website Mumsnet named it as ‘The Best Nit Comb’ and it was even singled out for praise by Which? Magazine. Even celebrities were suddenly talking more openly about head lice and raving about our comb, we particularly loved when Jonathan Ross recommended it to Emma Thompson on his show, telling her “you need to get the Nitty Gritty comb - it is the only thing that works”.
Like for so many people and businesses 2020 was an extremely difficult year for us, not just as a company but on a very personal level. In April 2020, just two weeks into the National lock down Amanda passed away completely unexpectedly, and then quite unbelievably tragedy struck again, when 6 months later Lillan also passed away unexpectedly. We were completely devastated, we didn’t know if we could continue the company without them, but our 3 families stuck together and we pulled the ourselves and the company through our darkest time.
At the beginning of 2021 Dani, Amanda’s daughter left behind her own career and officially joined Nitty Gritty. Luckily for Nitty Gritty Dani knew everything there is to know about head lice, not only had she been the ‘poster child’ for head lice, growing up as one of the daughter’s and inspiration behind Nitty Gritty, but she had always been very passionate about the company, and never more so than when her own child started primary school and she got to see for herself just how highly other parents spoke about the brand. It completely motivated Dani to continue her mother’s legacy of ‘freeing families from head lice hell’. Dani now works alongside Gill on all the day to day runnings of the company.
This has been a very exciting year for us, not only have we reached the milestone of 3 Million happy NitFree families, but today we are now sold in over 3,000 retailers across the UK, making our products more easily accessible to parents and carers than ever.
We have also just redesigned and launched our new comb packaging to make it 100% recyclable cardboard, meaning our whole range is now 100% recyclable.
Today Nitty Gritty is a testament to the fact that you don’t need to apply horrible chemical treatments to your child’s head. With over 3 million combs sold and over 3,000 stores across the UK stocking our products. We are so proud of what we have built over the last twenty five years, providing families with an alternative to chemical treatments with a safe, natural, effective solution for tackling head lice.
Despite being innovators in the head lice industry we are still a small family run business. With all the day to day operations being run by Gill and Dani. We have always strived to offer first class customer service alongside our outstanding products, which is why you will always be able to get one of us on the other end of the phone (whichever one of us is not running around after our children or grandchildren) to ask us any questions you may have about head lice or about our products. It is not uncommon for us to have a parent or grandparent phoning us and bursting into tears as they are literally at their wits end after trying every other over the counter treatment available, before finding us. But this is what we are passionate about, helping families realise head lice is not something you have to live with or something that should cause you or your child distress. With our products there really can be an end to your battle with head lice, without the need for horrible chemicals!