Repel Insects in Style

For many of us, this is the time of year when our Chanel No. 5 is replaced by Eau de Insect Repellent.

Here in Nashville, the recent flood has given way to a bumper crop of mosquitoes, which sent me scurrying to the store for a case of OFF!

I use the spray very reluctantly -- to be honest, DEET scares me a little -- and I've begun researching alternative methods of keeping those nasty bugs from biting us. As it turns out, there are actually insect repellent sprays and accessories on the market that will have all you stylistas out there taking a second look (and in some cases, laughing out loud!). Here are a few of my favorites ...


This new idea from OFF! (called a Clip-On Mosquito Repellent) makes me giggle the most. It's a battery-operated fan that clips onto your belt and blows out insect repellent.


Of course, it's a plus that you don't have to wear the repellent on your skin, but still ... can you even imagine?

"Oh, don't mind that noise! It's just my personal fan-circulated mosquito repellent!"

"It's not you. It's my clip-on mosquito repellent."

"Is that a clip-on mosquito repellent in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

But wait! There's more!


Straight from Asia, we have Mosquito Rubber Bracelets (, $15.50 for a pack) enhanced with citronella! RAWK. These would be quite cool for the kids, but I'm not convinced they work all that well. Mosquitoes seem to have an uncanny ability to find the ONE spot on my body I forgot to spray with OFF! and bite me anyway. If I only had citronella on my wrists ... well ...


Lately, I've been testing out a bottle of Geranium Spray (Thistle Farms, $15) that my friend Tori gave me a few nights ago. Geranium oil is said to be an effective insect repellent, it smells much better than OFF!, it has no DEET, and it seems to be working! Better yet, the oil used in the spray was pressed by a cooperative that supports Rwandan widows and orphans who survived the genocide, and Thistle Farms employs women who were prostitutes and drug addicts and helps them get back on their feet! All sale proceeds go back into the program, so your money is going to a few very good causes.



Then there's Skin So Soft Bug Guard(Avon, $7.99), which many, many, many people swear by as a bug repellent. I absolutely LOVE that this version also contains sunscreen and comes in aerosol, and at this price, I'm more than willing to give it a shot!

Finally, has a page with several different make-your-own-insect-spray recipes, including this one that uses vodka as a key ingredient:

Natural Mosquito Repellent Number Three: This organic mosquito repellent requires 1/2 cup Vodka, 1/2 cup Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, and 2 tablespoons Lemon Balm (Citronella) essential oil. Place all ingredients into a jar, and shake to mix thoroughly. Dab the mixture onto the skin, or put into a misting spray bottle and spray directly onto skin and clothing.

What's your tried-and-true method for keeping bugs away this summer? If it smells good and it works, I'm in!


Images (top to bottom): Naturegirl 78/Flickr;;;;


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