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We Tested 15 Mosquito Repellents, And These Kept Us Bite-Free

We asked literal bug experts to share their recs — and then we put these bug-banishers to the test.

Mosquito repellent is the categorical opposite of pheromone perfume. Unlike the latter, which attracts babes, the former bucks bugs.

True to its name, mosquito repellent uses a combination of active ingredients — like DEET or picaridin —to discourage insects from docking on your skin and feasting on your blood. The result of using these products is that whether you’re spending the day swimming, running, hiking, or BBQ-ing, without worrying about a gnat attack ruining your fun.

So which are the most effective mosquito repellents on the market? After testing 15 different products for over 600 hours and evaluating them on effectiveness, ease of use, smell, coverage, and value, we’re got the answer. Below, you’ll learn the best products for stopping itching and muting buzz before it starts — plus, get all your questions about DEET and how mosquito repellent works, answered.

Our Top Picks


Off! Family Care Insect Repellent With Picaridin at Amazon


EarthKind Stay Away Mosquitoes Insect Repellent at Amazon


Off! Active Insect Repellent at Amazon


Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent at Amazon

Continue reading the full article and further details on the various mosquito repellents here.


October 20, 2023

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Gabrielle Kassel

Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a sex and wellness journalist who writes at the intersection of queerness, sexual health, and pleasure. Her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well & Good, Health, SELF, Women's Health, Greatist, Bustle, and more. In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, or recording episodes of her podcast Bad In Bed: The Queer Sex Podcast.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that for protection that lasts hours, people should look for ones with these active ingredients: DEET, IR3535, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.