Oops, I Found A Natural Mosquito Repellent That Works

I think I was a pretty chill bride, with the exception of one thing: the damn mosquitoes. I got married in my backyard and the one particular shady, damp corner of Brooklyn where I live is rife with thousands of blood suckers. And not just any kind, but Asian Tiger mosquitoes, which don’t behave like normal mosquitoes at all! They sting once, twice, five times in a matter of seconds. So for my wedding I revved up several turbo fans to blow those bad boys away, and handed out packets of Picaridin (Avon Skin So Soft) to guests. By the end of the night I gained a husband and just one bite. An overall success.

But while fans work best, and Picaridin, DEET, and contraptions like Thermacell are proven winners, they just aren’t practical for me long term. For one, I’m no Beyoncé, so there goes the idea that a fan can trail me wherever I go. And the other options either stink (in the literal sense) or make me feel a little uneasy (I’m looking at you Thermacell, and you’re 10 warnings about accidental inhalation). So every summer I try something new that feels a littles less scary. And like clockwork, they find their way to the trash a few weeks later. Well, except for this latest one.

It’s called Mrs. White’s Unstung Hero and it’s really not supposed to work. There is no proven science that essential oils actually repel mosquitoes, be it lavender, citronella, or anything else. And yet this spray that’s made mostly of alcohol and herbal fragrance really does work, to a certain extent. I know because it underwent the ultimate test: an entire week of wear in my backyard. I usually get bitten in a matter of minutes if I’m out there fully unprotected, whereas my more heavy-duty repellents yield at most one to two bites over the course of a day. Unstung Hero sits squarely in the middle: I got three bites, which is not nothing but certainly an improvement. I think the trick is that it smells so damn good. Like spa water meets skin scent: there but not overwhelming. The brand calls it a “lemon tea” scent but I got more “floral hairspray smell” and less citrus. And because it smells so delicious, I found myself spraying it often, delivering dose after dose of fresh protection with every spritz.

Some other notes about Unstung Hero: it’s not sticky or heavy, but dries on skin like water in a matter of seconds. It’s also absolutely clear, so there’s no fear of staining any precious summer whites. A small thing is that it looks good, with simple black and white branding that puts all other spray repellents to shame. Because it’s so high in alcohol the scent doesn’t last a very long time, but long enough to confuse a mosquito or two. And by then I’ll be ready to re-up on a spritz. My new summer scent that’s truly a twofer.

—Ashley Weatherford

Photo via ITG

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