How I Accidentally Discovered the Best-Smelling Bug Repellent Ever

Hallie Gould
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Hallie Gould

Every year, summer rolls around and everyone around me radiates sunshine. Pedestrians start seeing the world through rose-coloured sunglasses. Beauty brands launch new and exciting seasonal skincare to create the glisten-y, glowy dew factor we’ve been missing all winter. But what keeps me from joining in on all the incessant cheeriness is one depressing thing: bug bites.

To say mosquitos love me is an understatement. And no, Mum, it doesn’t just mean I’m “as sweet as can be!” An estimated 20% of people, it turns out, are especially delicious to mosquitoes and get bitten more often on a consistent basis. It has to with a bevy of things (like your blood type and body temperature), but it’s still terrible nonetheless. I would spend lengthy periods of time dousing myself in all-natural (and not-so all-natural) remedies to aid in this particular ailment. Nothing—and I mean nothing—seemed to make a difference. That is, until a gorgeous glass bottle of Nars Monoï Body Glow II ($85) came across my desk last summer.

When I opened the packaging, my nose was immediately met with the loveliest coconut scent. It smells like a tropical vacation bottled up and sent to your front door. Plus, it is so chic—perfect for your burgeoning beauty vanity. The oil itself is authentic Monoï de Tahiti oil (the result of macerating the native tiare flower in refined coconut extract for at least 10 days). The process slowly infuses the oil with nutrients as well as that delicate, natural fragrance. There’s even an original tiare flower in each bottle.

I slathered my entire body in the stuff and didn’t give it another thought. (Except for when I noticed my legs and arms looked hydrated, glowing, and far more gorgeous than usual.) I ended up going out that night, and it struck me—I’m going to get eaten alive by bugs: This sweet-smelling, delicious oil was about to be the end of me. Much to my surprise, I left with nary a bite. I chalked it up to luck and went on with my summer.

By the end of August, I noticed I had made it through the season with zero attention from mosquitos. It was a miracle. I must not be so sweet after all, I thought. And then it dawned on me: I had been wearing Monoï oil every day since the beginning of summer. I couldn’t believe it! How could it be possible that something that smells so good (and looks so chic) also keep bugs away at the same time? Naturally, I did some Googling. Turns out I was right. Monoï oil is a natural bug repellent. Though the internet doesn’t say much about why or how it works, there are tons of personal accounts and reputable sources singing its mosquito-defying praises.

So, what should you do with this information? Throw out your old bug sprays and stock up on Monoï oil ASAP. I’m partial to the Nars offering, but there are a ton of less expensive versions on Amazon that smell just as glorious. Now you too can enjoy summer! Go forth and beach it up, babe.

For more quick and easy (but totally life-changing) tricks, peep our 10-second beauty hacks every woman should know.

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