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Posted on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 10 a.m.

Get your nits picked at Rapunzel's Lice Boutique

By Stefan Szumko


A youngster gets his hair examined for lice and nits at Rapunzel's Lice Boutique in Ann Arbor.

Photo courtesy of Rapunzel's Lice Brigade

A few weeks ago, we had some houseguests stay with us. Fear and terror was brought into our household when a few days before the visit, we were informed that both the mother and daughter of the family were infected with lice. To keep our heads and home free of these creatures, we sent them to the Rapunzel's Lice Boutique. After a couple of visits, their hair was cleared, and our visit was worry-free.

So I asked my friend, Sarah Casello-Rees, founder and owner of Rapunzel's Lice Boutique and the Lice Brigade, to send me an article about how and why she opened these lice removal operations. Hopefully it will save some of our readers from the hassle of getting rid of these pests. Here is what she wrote. - Stefan

Head lice. Just mention those two little words and watch in amazement as people begin scratching their heads. Unfortunately, my family has dealt with head lice more than once. Here is our tale of turning a miserable situation into opportunity. Because, you see, my family's travails turned into a new business for me.

In the fall of 2007, my son, then a fresh-faced kindergartner, brought home a roaring case of head lice. It was not until I found a louse on my own head that I checked him. He was majorly infested. However, he was like 60 percent of people with head lice - showing no symptoms.

I was desperate. I ran to the store and bought every pediculicide I could find, including horribly toxic furniture spray. Upon check-out, the cashier observed my purchases and succinctly summed it up: "Uh, this doesn't look good..." Talk about an understatement.

I went insane cleaning everything. I was frantic and frenzied, unsure what I was supposed to do and unable to find any help. My husband did his best, spending hours going through my thick mane, but his fifty-year-old eyes aren't the best for spotting lice. Plus, he didn't know what he was doing any more than I did. Desperation time.

I remember actually entertaining the thought that we might never get rid of this. If only there was someone who could help me, I would definitely pay for guidance, assistance and peace of mind. Light bulb moment...

I had been a personal trainer in the Ann Arbor area for about 15 years but, because of the economy, fewer people could afford a trainer, so my business was not exactly booming. I thought "lice removal — now that's something people will need regardless of the economy." Boy was I right.

I kept pondering the idea — researching the best head lice removal techniques and products — until I truly felt I'd become the expert I so desperately needed before. So, in the fall of 2008, I opened The Lice Brigade.


The courteous, discreet staff at Rapunzel's Lice Boutique in Ann Arbor.

Photo courtesy of Rapunzel's Lice Boutique

We offer in-home, non-toxic head lice treatment and removal of nits as well as environmental cleaning. We service all of Southeast Michigan, as well as the Grand Rapids region. Business was so good that we opened Rapunzel's Lice Boutique in April 2009. Now parents have two choices: They can have us come to their home, or they can come to our homey Ann Arbor boutique. Clients come from all over Michigan, Ohio, and beyond - we've had clients from Canada, Indiana and even Missouri.

With the help of my researcher husband, we developed our own line of non-toxic treatment and prevention products. If we can't treat you in person, we can still ship our products to you. We have a special silicone oil to suffocate the live bugs as well as an enzyme spray that loosens the nit glue for easy egg removal. Our shampoo and conditioner are infused with natural essential oils famous for their insect repelling properties.

Here are some "facts of lice":

  • Head lice are wingless insects about the size of a sesame seed.

  • Head Lice can not hop, jump or fly. They are most often acquired through hair to hair contact.

  • Head lice affect approximately 12 million people annually.

  • A female louse needs only to be fertilized once, and can then lay about six eggs (nits) a day for the rest of her life. A louse lives for approximately 30 days.

  • A nit hatches in about seven to 10 days and the nymph (juvenile louse) reaches reproductive maturity in about another seven to 10 days. So, within a few weeks, you could have quite the colony happening.

  • Head lice are showing a resistance to both over-the-counter and prescription pediculicides.

  • The safest, most effective treatment is manual removal.

-Sarah Casello-Rees, owner

The Lice Brigade 734-929-9080
Rapunzel's Lice Boutique 734-929-9180
2390 Winewood Ave., Ann Arbor MI 48103

Stefan Szumko enjoys insects and bugs of all kinds, so long as they stay outside and out of his hair. Stefan can be reached at



Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 2:54 p.m.

I want to know why this is in the *entertainment* section - there's nothing entertaining about lice! Shouldn't it be in business? Gotta love entrepreneurs - they see a need and fill it. More power to Sarah!


Tue, Feb 23, 2010 : 12:59 p.m.

I think it is fantastic that a service like this is offered, and I hope the schools can afford to make use of it. HOWEVER, in regard to the comments at the beginning of this story....Houseguests being welcomed with lice? I don't think so!


Tue, Feb 23, 2010 : 12:48 a.m.

@djm12652: consider that once lice are in the household, parents can contract them, too, and for a single parent, there is no other adult in the home to nitpick.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 3:41 p.m.

My son's class has had 10 lice warnings sent home so far this year. We were told months ago that the "lice brigade" was contacted. Just got another notice last week.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 3:38 p.m.

"Practicing medicing without a license"? Oh, please! Many bigger cities have this service; Ann Arbor is lucky to have it, considering how small it is.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 2:48 p.m.

Sounds like they might be practicing medicine without a license. The Michigan Department of Community Health might come a knocking if they see this article.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 1:14 p.m.

Only in Ann Arbor will this business be a success...LOL and not because we are more lice laden...just a lot of people not willing to do take care of this problem themselves?

Myra Klarman

Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 12:51 p.m.

Rapuzels is a great resource, and I highly recommend them. They confirmed my son had lice, and provided me with products to safely and effectively remove lice and the nits. I brought Max back in on Saturday (free lice checks on Saturday) and success! Not to mention relief. While I would be happier if he never had lice again, it's comforting to know that we can manage it safely and quickly. And if I was unable to remove the nits myself, I could get it done at Rapunzels.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 12:42 p.m.

it doesn't make me itch,it makes me want to gag...but as a small business owner I hope they do well. Just think of all the schools they can leave business cards with and day cares, they'll never run out of clients...


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 12:30 p.m.

As an educator who sees many lice cases I am happy to know that a service such as this one is available. Just thinking about it makes me itch.

Mike Hulsebus

Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 12:10 p.m.

I read this article solely because of the business name. I'm glad it is a business based around lice _removal_ and not something strange.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 11:48 a.m.

Oh yes lice CAN hop!! My daughter's head was on my thigh while I was reading a magazine and one of the little buggers jumped right onto it.

News Watcher

Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 11:33 a.m.

What I'd like to know is how such an off-the-wall business like this actually receives funding from a bank?

Tammy Mayrend

Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 9:51 a.m.

I can very firmly say that I hope to NEVER use their services, it IS good however to know there is someone out there for assistance with this though...