It smells like a luxury fragrance and works like a top-notch bug spray.
Costa Rica is home to some seriously gorgeous nature. Its jungles are teeming with exotic flora, sun-speckled trails, hidden waterfalls, and mosquitoes — many, many mosquitoes. In Nosara, where I recently spent a week, I’d even venture to say they outnumber the people.
While prepping for my stay at Olas Verdes Hotel to attend Safari Surf School’s women’s retreat, a good insect repellent was the first item on my packing list. I ended up bringing two: Fragrance With Benefits' NoMo travel set (ahalife.com, $55, originally $65) and my standard Deet bug spray — and the latter never even left my toiletry bag.
The NoMo set included a unisex body crème, shower gel, and perfume that successfully kept me from becoming the itchy, polka-dotted mess of a human I usually morph into after spending too much time out-of-doors. And it all smelled amazing. The perfumer behind Fragrance With Benefits, Olivia Jan, studied scent-making in Versailles at the prestigious ISIPCA perfume school and spent years perfecting her craft at Chanel and Robertet as a senior perfumer. Now, she and business partner Corinne Gillespie create functional fragrances inspired by their love of seeing the world.
The first thing I liked about the NoMo products was how light they all are, not just in scent but in weight, too. Some bug sprays can leave a greasy residue on the skin, but both the spray and the body crème absorb right in and a little will go a long way.
They all smell bright and soft — nothing like that overpowering I-bathed-in-citronella insect repellent smell. With notes of Florida orange, Sicilian lemon, French lavender, and insect-repelling peppermint, geranium, and cedarwood essential oils, it's a lively and layered scent that the other women at the retreat loved, and mosquitos absolutely hated. I had the great joy of watching one fly up to my arm, hover for a few seconds, and change its mind, zipping away to find a more appetizing snack. This has never, ever happened.
All said and done, I left Costa Rica with a grand total of five bites from the entire week, and only because I'd gone too long between spritzes. So, I'd recommend reapplying every two hours or so, especially if you’ve been sweating or swimming (and we did plenty of both).
NoMo Travel Set
To buy: ahalife.com, $55 (originally $65)
NoMo Eau Fraîche 100ml
To buy: ahalife.com, $68 (originally $85)