This DEET-Free Bug Spray Is the Only One My Kids Don’t Hate

published Aug 1, 2023
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Although summer is a welcome respite for my kids from the busy routine of the school year, the constant buzz and bites from mosquitoes can sour the sweetness of the season really fast. Where we live in Florida, these pesky creatures have a guaranteed presence at practically any outdoor venture, from playing at the park to going for a bike ride. And in the height of summer, when mosquito populations are at their peak, it only feels more treacherous.

The only other alternative to staying inside is to douse ourselves in bug spray as soon as we leave the house. Because my kids both have sensitive skin, I’ve experimented with a number of different DEET-free products. Most of them either have an off-putting odor that makes my kids (and me) gag, or they leave a greasy film that is highly unpleasant. Needless to say, getting my kids to put on bug spray has been a constant uphill battle — that is, until I discovered the Kinfield Golden Hour bug spray. Read on to see why it’s the only spray I’ll use on my kids. 

What Makes the Kinfield Golden Hour Bug Spray Special?

While citronella is a commonly used ingredient in other DEET-free bug sprays, the founder of Kinfield discovered a unique strain of it in Indonesia that contains higher levels of the key compounds that repel mosquitoes. She even had its efficacy tested and verified by an independent third-party lab. This special strain of citronella oil forms the base of Kinfield’s Golden Hour bug spray. 

Paired with hints of vanilla and clove, it gives the bug spray its signature scent, which can best be described as citrusy and slightly creamy. If you’ve ever had an Orange Julius, it smells kind of like that.

The company was founded upon an ethos of providing natural plant-based ingredients and sustainable packaging for anyone who loves to spend time outdoors. You’ll only find seven items listed in the ingredient list of the Golden Hour bug spray.

Kinfield also offers a travel-friendly version of the insect repellent in the form of biodegradable wipes, which allows for a fuss-free application — especially for children who complain about getting bug spray in their eyes or mouth. 

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My Experience Using the Kinfield Golden Hour Bug Spray

Hands-down, the biggest selling point of the Kinfield Golden Hour bug spray is its fragrance. While other DEET-free bug sprays hit the olfactory senses hard with overpowering aromas, like eucalyptus and cedarwood, Kinfield’s sweet, citrusy scent is remarkably pleasant, and it morphs into more of a clean smell as it dries. 

I personally wouldn’t mind wearing it even if I weren’t trying to fend off blood-sucking insects (although at $22 a bottle, I wouldn’t make a habit of it). Don’t get me wrong — like all bug sprays, the scent is strong and concentrated upon first application. But so far, it’s the only bug spray scent that doesn’t send my kids running in the opposite direction.

Another big plus is that the bug spray does not leave behind any kind of oily residue on the skin. One of the biggest complaints I hear from my kids about other bug sprays is that the oil causes their clothes, sand, or grass to stick to them. Or, even worse, they get some of the oil onto their hands and then rub their eyes, resulting in lots of tears. Thankfully, there’s none of that to worry about with the Kinfield bug spray. Once it dries, it actually feels like you don’t have any bug spray on at all.

Pleasant smells and clean feels aside, the real question is: Does it work? I can say with absolute certainty that it does. 

We live in a wooded area of Florida that’s also on the water, where mosquitoes love to swarm, and my kids can play bite-free in the yard when they’re wearing this spray. Part of what I think makes it so effective for my kids is that they don’t run away while I’m applying it, so I can make sure they’re thoroughly coated. I do reapply it every couple of hours, just to be safe, but I’d do this with any bug spray.

If I were hard-pressed to voice any complaints, the only one is that it sells out so fast and can be occasionally hard to find. I’m pretty sure this started happening once the company was featured on “Shark Tank” (and scored offers from four different sharks). The company’s website currently has a waitlist, but you can usually find it in stock at retailers like Anthropologie or Credo Beauty. Other than this minor inconvenience, as the name on the bottle implies, our experience with the Kinfield bug spray has been nothing short of golden.

Buy: Kinfield Golden Hour Mosquito Repellent Wipes, $22 for 12 towelettes at Amazon