Ward Off Bugs The Au Naturel Way

No, that buzz you're hearing isn't of the delightful variety, like the latest Ryan Gosling news or the happy feeling you get after a second margarita; it’s the unpleasant wing-beating of infamous summer pests, just itching to make you scratch (and much higher concentrations than normal, this year).
As synonymous with summer as watermelons and cutoffs, insects are perhaps the most annoying part of the season (along with our sky-high AC bill). We hate that we need to trade in our favorite perfumes for bug sprays that leave us sticky, greasy, and smelling like a walking chemical spill. Sure, we want to repel the creepy crawlers, but we don't want to send our loved ones running in the process.
On that front, the culprit is often DEET, the chemical ingredient found in most sprays. Though the EPA says it’s okay in small doses, the potentially harmful effects it may have on our nervous system are not on our summer-fun list. Lucky for us, a number of natural sprays and repellents boast organic, sustainable herbal ingredients that leave you smelling fabulously fragrant and also mosquito-free all summer long. Ahead, our favorite au naturel ways to keep those pesky bugs at bay. Now that's the kind of buzz we can get behind.
Photo via NY Mag
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The folks over at Jao intended their essential oil blend to be a perfume first, and a bug repellant second, so don’t be surprised if you give your signature scent a rest in favor of this floral and woodsy concoction.

Jao Outscent, $50, available at The Jao Store.

Photo: Courtesy of Jao Ltd.
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A base of natural citronella oil is the perfect line of defense against creepy crawlers, while lemongrass, rosemary and a hint of clove help you feel supremely refreshed.

Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent, $8, available at Burt's Bees.

Photo: Courtesy of Burt's Bees
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What we love about this oil is its myriad applications: Aside from being safe to apply directly to your skin, it also conditions the coats of your dogs, cats, and horses and a few drops can be incorporated into your favorite lotion or sunscreen, rubbed into the wood of your picnic table, and added to candles — the heat helps release the oils into the air to further prevent flying menaces.

Farmaesthetics Tansynella Organic Bugscreen, $17, available at Farmaesthetics.

Photo: Courtesy of Farmaesthetics
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Free of parabens and DEET, this spray’s base of pennyroyal is known for deterring fleas (Fido will thank you), relieving nasal congestion, and preventing unwanted pests on your garden plants.

Kiss My Face Swy Flotter Natural Tick & Insect Repellent, $10.95, available at US Outdoor.

Photo: Via US Outdoor
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Anything that promises baby soft skin is an automatic, “yes, please” in our books. The lemongrass, citronella, and cedar are all organic and sustainably grown. Not to mention that it's so gentle and pure that you can literally use it on a baby.

California Baby Bug Repellent Spray, $13.49, available at California Baby.

Photo: Courtesy of California Baby
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Jojoba oil has a natural amount of SPF 4, providing a layer of sun protection, while the peppermint and eucalyptus oils keep you cool as a cucumber and immune to those buzzing pests.

Buddha Nose Bug Away Spray, $25, available at Green Cradle.

Photo: Courtesy of Buddha Nose
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Athletes will love this non-greasy, water-resistant formula that blends five essential oils, including geranium, clove, and lemongrass.

All Terrain Herbal Armor Insect Repellent, $9, available at REI.

Photo: Via REI