7 Trusted Mosquito-Repelling Products You’ll Actually Want to Use
You don't have to be sticky and uncomfortable to avoid mosquito bites. Here are the best products to ward off mosquitoes this summer.
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Protecting against mosquito bites used to require spraying sticky, smelly repellent all over your exposed skin. Now, many products get the job done in a far more user-friendly way.
“Products that contain DEET are still considered the gold standard, but others have been found to be very effective at preventing mosquito bites,” says David Brown, spokesperson for the American Mosquito Control Association. “Always follow the product label directions regardless of which one you use, and if you are also using sunscreen, apply the sunscreen first and the insect repellent second.”
Not sure which repellent to choose? Check out the seven products below. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can help you determine which repellent is best depending on your preferences and where you’re headed. “All EPA-registered repellents have been evaluated for effectiveness and safety,” notes Brown. “Some have been determined to pose a minimal risk to human health based on the percentages of the ingredients found in products on the market.” Whichever one you choose, he says, keep in mind: “It’s important to wear a repellent if mosquitoes are out and about, as they have not learned how to ‘social distance’!” (Here are 10 ways to prevent mosquito bites in your sleep.)
For your hair: Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Hair Spray
Mosquitoes are craftier than you think. If you’re in areas where these insects are rampant, they might even find a way to crawl into your hair and bite your scalp. Luckily, “this isn’t very likely in most situations,” says Brown. “Mosquitoes need to come into contact with skin to bite and take a blood meal, so they tend to land where they can probe for a small blood vessel they can tap into to get a meal.”
To play it safe before you head to a swampy area or hang out for hours on a lake, spritz Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Hair Spray, a lightweight, non-sticky hairspray that adds a seal of protection to strands. It’s made with natural ingredients, including rosemary, peppermint, tea tree, and citronella. It fights against head lice and nits, too.
For your purse: BugBand Towelettes
If you’re constantly on the go, you need a trusty bug repellent that’s easy to carry. For your purse, backpack, or suitcase, pack a few BugBand Towelettes that use geraniol DEET-free insect repellent. “Insect towelettes are an efficient way of applying an insect repellent, especially to areas where a spray may be difficult to use,” says Brown. “Using a towelette can help you avoid getting too close to the mouth or eyes, and you can effectively avoid cuts, wounds or irritated skin.” (Here are 9 things mosquitoes absolutely hate.)
For outdoor dining: BugBand Wristbands
Instead of trying to fit a bottle of bug spray into your purse or back pocket, why not wear protection around your wrist? The BugBand wristband is made with geraniol, a plant-based mosquito repellent. It’s discreet, so no one will know that your band is actually making sure mosquitoes stay far, far away. Each one is DEET-free and can repel insects for up to 120 hours. (Check out the weird reason your mosquito bites itch for so long.)
For beach retreats: Rocky Mountain Oils Bug Away Essential Oil Roll-On
While you probably already know to use sunscreen when you’re son the beach, you also should add an effective repellent to ward off bugs. Rocky Mountain Oils Bug Away Essential Oil Roll-On—made with essential oils such as citronella, cedarwood, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, thyme, and lemongrass—is ideal for your beach bag. (This is the best way to treat every type of bug bite.)
For All Over: Skincando Combat-Ready Bug Repellant
Skincando Combat-Ready Bug Repellant may have a sleek design, but what’s impressive is its history. Originally formulated to help protect U.S. troops overseas from mosquitoes and sand fleas, this potent, toxic-free blend is now ready to go with you on your lakeside getaway. (Here are 7 scary diseases you can get from a mosquito bite.)
For a long hike: PARA’KITO Wristband
Trekking some of the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail? Since you’ll be outdoors for an extended period of time, pack one of these small—but durable and reusable—PARA’KITO wristbands. That slit in the band is just big enough to hold a pellet that’s made with a unique blend of essential oils that repel mosquitoes by masking the human scent. Research, including a study published in Current Biology, suggests that mosquitoes are drawn to certain compounds in your skin, such as lactic acid. This wristband, which can also be worn on your ankle, provides 24/7 protection for 15 days. Bonus? It’s also waterproof. (Here’s why hiking is one of the best things you can do for your brain.)
For boat rides or rooftops: Duluth Trading BUFF Coolant UV+ Insect Shield Headwear
Problem: You want to let your hair run loose in the summer breeze but you’re worried about insects getting trapped in your locks. For a trendy way to stay protected, try this Duluth Trading BUFF Coolnet UV+ Insect Shield Headwear. Designed with an odorless, invisible technology that protects against bugs, the seamless knit tube can be worn as a headband, hair tie, balaclava, and more.
Next up, this company released 20 million mosquitoes in California—and the reason may surprise you.
- American Mosquito Control Association: "Repellents"
- David Brown, spokesperson for the American Mosquito Control Association
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): "Find the Repellent that is Right for You"
- Malaria Journal: "Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing"
- BioMed Research International: "Essential Oils as Repellents against Arthropods"
- Current Biology: "Genes and Odors Underlying the Recent Evolution of Mosquito Preference for Humans"
- South African Journal of Botany, "Geraniol — A review of a commercially important fragrance material"