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I can't say that I ever thought I would own, let alone be writing about an electronic lice comb. A recent infestation (now over - phew) lead to a steep learning curve as far as treating my daughter's hair was concerned and after finding the first thing I tried worse than useless it was a case of returning to the pharmacy in search of more effective ways of treating the little beasties crawling on my daughter's scalp. Lloyds Pharmacy didn't have the nitty gritty comb that had been recommended to me by all and sundry but what they did have was the impressively titled Robi Comb for which they charged me a whole £3.97. I don't know if this was some sort of promotion as the comb seems to be about ten pounds more at other outlets as I have since found out, in any case I would have paid much more for what turns out to be a rather cunning gadget, albeit of the sort that no one in their right mind aspires to own.
The Robi Comb takes one AA battery which slots into the base, which is easily removed from the body of the comb. It's exactly the right size to fit into your palm comfortably and made of hard shiny plastic. The head part, the comb itself, can also be removed for cleaning or, apparently, replacement. There is a button on the front with two settings; when you turn the comb on it makes a sound not dissimilar to that of a trapped mosquito. On the first setting (detection mode) the comb will buzz until a louse is trapped in the prongs, and stop, ominously. The second setting (killing mode) does the same thing essentially, only the buzzing sound changes pitch as the comb buzzes and kills the lice............are you itching yet?
Sadly, for me, I had cause to use the comb in both modes, for prolonged periods of time over several days. I can confirm that the two modes work as billed. The prongs, which are made of metal, are just the right distance apart to trap their prey and the comb does stun the lice and enable them to be removed. I won't say using the comb is a fun or pleasant experience, but it works, well and is no harder to pull through hair than any other fine toothcomb though longer prongs would probably make combing thicker hair a bit easier. I managed to cover all of my child's head with the odd stop and start as the buzzing stopped in sinister fashion by making sure I sectioned off the hair. The prongs at the end of the comb are coated in hard plastic so it didn't seem to hurt my child's head, and the battery lasted quite well too, I haven't had to change it yet.
The comb works well on dry hair or hair to which a treating lotion has been applied but NOT on wet hair, where a plastic comb will do the job better. The comb has a teeny tiny magnifying glass of about 1cm which pulls out of its base in case you want to take a closer look at whatever you have removed from the hair (*shudder*), and this magnifier has a little brush for cleaning the prongs of the comb with. This is essential as if there is anything caught in the prongs it won't buzz at all, and if you are in the unfortunate position of needing this comb you will find that there is quite a lot of stopping and cleaning of the comb, but it's worth persisting to ensure everything is removed.
Having used the comb initially to remove and kill head lice I continued to use it on a daily basis just to check that the hair was clear, which it soon was - you should carry on for at least 9 days as eggs can remain in the hair (the infamous "nits" of Nora fame) and may hatch, starting the whole cycle again. I learned some handy facts from the multi-lingual leaflet that came with the comb, including the horrifying statistic that a louse lives 40 days, sucking blood 5 times a day and that it can lay 100 eggs in that time. The leaflet made the use of the comb clear and easy though I could do with knowing where to buy the replacement heads for the comb for future use and this information was nowhere to be seen.
As I said at the start I can hardly say this comb was something I ever wanted to buy, however I'm really please I own it, given the hideous reality of the fact that children of school age are likely to encounter head lice pretty regularly. It was effective in removing lice in combination with a head lice solution, and is handy to have to be used now and then just to check that the unwelcome visitors have not returned as the detection mode is far better than trying to find lice which can be hard to spot with the human eye. Though the comb doesn't particularly get great reviews on amazon, from where it can also be purchased, in my experience the comb works well and does what it is supposed to effectively. It's pretty well made and it may just be the best £4 I've spent in recent times. Highly recommended.