July 15, 2016

New York Times

CreditDola Sun

For mosquitoes, summertime is prime time. The pesky buggers swarm and feast as thirstily as their targets at backyard bashes in Brooklyn or outdoor fetes in the Hamptons. But with the looming threat of Zika this summer, mosquito season is underlined with uncharacteristic anxiety. Cue the mad scramble for mosquito repellents.

As people anxiously douse themselves (and eau de Off! is intended to … well, repel), perfumes that double as bug repellent are having a moment. And they’re considerably more sophisticated than the classic Avon Skin So Soft.

One of them, Coqui Coqui, the fragrance line of a group of Mexican boutique hotels of the same name, offers a citrusy mosquito repellent packaged in the same manner as its fancy perfumes ($12 for two ounces). It is sold out nearly everywhere, including on net-a-porter.com.

At Aromaflage, a perfume-repellent hybrid line, Michael and Melissa Fensterstock, its husband-and-wife founders, have been fielding daily questions about the Zika virus through their customer service channels. “Our sales have doubled since last summer,” Mr. Fensterstock said.

The couple started the company in New Jersey in 2013 after traveling in Southeast Asia for their honeymoon. There they discovered that locals used essential-oil blends as repellents and thought to create a lab-refined version.

They now offer two scents at $65 for 1.7 ounces: the original, a zesty, active blend of orange peel oil, cedarwood oil and vanillin; and the Wild fragrance, which is more woodsy and features geranium oil, geraniol, lemongrass oil, cedarwood oil, citronellol and thyme.

The line has been largely marketed through luxury hotel chains. (At Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons properties in the Caribbean, orders were up 50 percent during the peak travel season earlier this year.) “The thought was, ‘Why can’t we launch something that was beautiful and efficacious?’” Ms. Fensterstock said.

But when it comes to efficacy, most essential oils can do only so much, said Dr. Dendy Engelman, a dermatologist in Manhattan. She pointed to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommend only four mosquito-repelling ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus.

“I always tell my patients these are the ones that have the studies to back them up, with DEET generally thought as being the most effective,” Dr. Engelman said. Still, she said, a lot of her patients “bristle the second you mention anything chemical.”

For those who dislike a chemical odor, Jessica Richards, the founder of Shen Beauty in Brooklyn, has a savvy solution. She imports Mrs. White’s Unstung Hero Anti-Mosquito Eau de Cologne from London ($38 for 8.5 ounces), which contains IR3535 but smells like lemon tea. She has nearly doubled her usual order this season.

“We usually sell a ton of it anyway,” Ms. Richards said. “It smells great, it’s in pretty packaging, it works and people love that it’s British. But Zika is freaking everybody out. I have moms come in asking all sorts of questions and buying cases of 12.” That has made the Unstung Hero quite the hostess gift in the neighborhood, Ms. Richards said.

For die-hard anti-chemical clients, Dr. Engelman points to a natural option: a repellent with oil of lemon eucalyptus as its base. Some studies support the effectiveness of rosemary and peppermint as well. (Intelligent Nutrients Smart Armor Perfume Spray bug repellent contains both: $31 for 3.5 ounces.) And burning citronella candles can help clear an area, she said.

Should you travel to mosquito-rife territory, Dr. Engelman suggested a multilayered plan of attack. “If someone doesn’t want to put chemicals directly on their skin, I recommend insect-repellent clothing, which is infused with permethrin,” she said.

In general, mosquitoes are drawn to pulse points — the neck, wrists, ankles and behind the knees, she said. “Keep those areas covered with clothing or even a bandanna as much as you can.”

July 07, 2016

Pure Wow

A picnic always sounds nice--before you start thinking about bugs, crowds and how on earthyou’ll stop your wine from getting warm. But don’t worry--we’ve got you. Here are six ways to have a truly idyllic (and delicious) picnic in Chicago.



The perfect picnic blanket is not only pretty--it’s practical. Look for blankets that can be wiped off with a damp cloth. (That grass gets messy in the dryer.) Ones that are waterproof always win. And consider portability. Some blankets even come with handles attached, or zip up into easily transportable tote bags. 



It can be hard--actually impossible--to slice your cheese without a hard surface. So consider springing for a table that easily folds up. And if you want to get extra fancy, deck that table with some fresh wildflowers from Flowers For Dreams. It can deliver the blooms right to your picnic spot.



There may be bugs. OK, there will be bugs. But fear not: There are some remedies that actually smell decent. Many bug repellents are made with essential oils (mmm, lemongrass). And hey, Jessica Alba even makes one.

Try: Burt’s Bees ($8); Honest ($13); Aromaflage ($65)


July 07, 2016

XO Vain

This Perfume is Also Mosquito Repellent — Whaaaaaaaat?

I'm actually looking forward to summer now.

When you're shopping for a new summer fragrance, what do you look for, specifically? Perhaps something that smells clean and fresh, or your favorite floral note, or a lighter version of your winter fragrance? 

I've considered all of those possibilities when trying out summer fragrances, but one thing I never even knew was an option is a huge component of my new favorite summer scent: insect-repelling abilities. 

The tagline for Aromaflage is "fragrance with function." The perfumes and candles in the line contain essential oils that claim to repel bugs as effectively as DEET. The idea of natural ingredients is particularly appealing if you don't love the idea of spraying DEET all over yourself (I definitely don't). 

So I was definitely intrigued from the start, and decided to put Aromaflage to the test. My two main concerns were: Does it actually repel bugs? And does it smell nice enough that it would be worth wearing as a perfume even it doesn't repel bugs?

I was definitely worried that it would just smell like a perfumed bug spray. Luckily, the first spritz allayed my fears. 

Their classic scent has notes of vanilla, orange peel, and cedarwood. It smells sweet and citrusy with a base of silky warmth from the cedar. It's not overpowering enough to interfere with other scents in case I want to wear a different fragrance while still being protected from bugs, but the sillage is pretty strong if you use more than a couple spritzes. 

They also have another scent, Aromaflage Wild, that I didn't like as much as the classic fragrance. This one has notes of cardamom, cedar, and spruce. On paper that sounds right up my alley, but unfortunately, it just didn't work well on my skin. If the notes sound appealing to you then try to sample it at Nordstrom (it's marked down online right now!) to see if you like it since this is one of those fragrances that you'll either love or hate. 

As for their efficacy at repelling bugs, I've been wearing Aromaflage while outside for the past week or so and have yet to suffer any bug bites. I walk my dog multiple times every day, and we go to the dog park as well as hiking in the woods, so there's definitely been plenty of chances for me to get eaten alive. I'm very pleased with these results, and I'm looking forward to wearing the classic Aromaflage fragrance all summer. 

I also want to mention the packaging. I appreciate it when a brand clearly puts thought into every aspect of a product, including the aesthetics. These rollerballs come in pretty boxes that I'm going to try to repurpose, and inside, they're housed in sturdy drawstring bags so they're easy to transport. 

If I run out of the rollerball before summer's over, I may have to upgrade to the 50ml bottle. I love the idea of a natural bug repellant that actually has a beautiful scent, and I really love the fact that it works. 

  • Will you try anything from the Aromaflage line? 
  • What are some other functions you wish your perfume had? I want one with SPF and another that repels cat-callers.  
July 07, 2016

Garden and Gun

A Pretty Sweet Bug Remedy

March 23, 2016

Insect repellant that doesn’t smell like insecticide? We’ll take it. Aromaflage founders Michael and Melissa Fensterstock stumbled on the power of all-natural recipes on their honeymoon in Southeast Asia. “We discovered that what the locals were using worked amazingly well and smelled beautiful,” Melissa says. Their recipe, which is entirely free of DEET, combines organic elements such as citrus, cedar, and cardamom instead of harsh chemicals—and the mix still deters mosquitoes, as well as no-see-ums, sandflies, black flies, and gnats.

Best of all, both the original and the newest scent are available as sprays and candles—they’re a fragrant and functional solution for bug-free porch-sitting in the South. 


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February 16, 2016

Real Life

Read more to see why Real Life recommends Aromaflage to ward off irksome mosquitoes without coating yourself in chemicals.


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NY Daily News

Read more to see why NY Daily News recommends Aromaflage for the perfect Valentine's Day gift. 

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Life, Tailored

Take a peek at what Life, Tailored had to say about Aromaflage Fragrance with Function.

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February 05, 2016

Out Traveler

We are elated to be featured on Out Traveler for the valentine's Day Round-up.Out Traveler


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