One of the worst experiences of my life began with a horsefly bite and ended with me showing my bare arse to a doctor. I’ll let you fill in the blanks. It was that day that I realised my personal embargo on insect repellent (I hate it, it stinks, it gets down my throat, it always has ugly packaging, I hate it) needed re-examining. For one thing, I didn’t want to show my bare arse to a doctor again (and I’m sure she didn’t want me to either). And secondly, I certainly did not want to pay £18 for the antibiotic privilege.
So I did what I always do in times of ‘crisis’: took to google and searched away. I’m a really good googler, it’s something I take a remarkable level of pride in. And lo and behold, on the internet lay the answer to my (arse’s) prayers. From the Isabella Smith Apothecary, an insect repellent / perfume hybrid. I rejoiced.
The first one I got was the Floral, because it was the only one I could find on Amazon. It smells (believe it or not) floral and quite nice. To be totally honest, the smell is a bit too flowery for my tastes (I think I might have quite awful taste in perfumes: my favourite smell is vanilla), but certainly fine. I was not opposed to spending my summer smelling like this, and it was certainly vastly preferable to the sour, chemical odour of conventional DEET insect repellent.
And, in a way that truly surprised me, this actually worked! Whenever I have worn this, I haven’t been bitten. Obviously this isn’t a proper test; there is no independent variable, science, whatever. But if I don’t get bitten while this is on, then that’s good enough for me. I even wore this on holiday in Turkey and I didn’t get bitten whilst there, either. Obviously for trekking through the Andes or something, you’ll probably want something more reliably effective, but it has surpassed all of my expectations.
After my success with the Floral, I finally managed to track down the Citronelle. This one is much more up my olfactory alley – a sort of citrusy, sweet, fruity summer vibe. It’s along the lines of Chanel Chance Au Fraiche, for example. And alongside the scent, which I would probably actually wear regardless, this one works too! I won’t pretend to know how, but I repeat: this one works too!
For summer fragrance, I think one of these will suit most tastes. Everyone likes either flower or fruit smells, that’s one of life’s undeniable truths. As perfumes, these last nicely, the packaging is pretty, they are easy to transport and they aren’t particularly expensive. So they are like a good normal perfume, plus they repel insects. Genius.
Now I never have to worry about rolling around in grass, or sitting outside until the early hours of morning. Whoever said ‘once bitten twice shy’ has clearly never tried insect repelling perfume.
Isabella Smith Repellant, £9.95, Amazon