updated 05/03/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/03/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Thanks to Maria Botham and Michelle Wolloff, however, L.A. parents need not suffer in silence. At Hair Fairies, a one-of-a-kind salon in West L.A., kids are debugged in a cheery environment featuring videos, Game Boys and a chairside manner designed to quell the stigma of (eeeww!)...you know. At $65 an hour ($250 for house calls, favored by celebs) it ain't cheap, but one mom calls the year-old salon "a godsend."
As a swim instructor, Botham (33 and a mom herself) heard complaints about lice for years before she decided to develop her technique (shampoos plus "good old-fashioned nit-picking"). Up next: She and Wolloff, a former toy marketer, who's 39, will launch another L.A. salon and a line of organic lice fighters—and they have plans to open boutiques in five other cities.
Not a pretty job, but, says Wolloff, "we actually have repeat customers who say, 'Cool, I get to go back to Hair Fairies!' "