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Buckle up because I’m solving this sweet-smelling mystery.
TikTok is rife with *imaginative* beauty hacks. As a twenty-something with a TikTok account, I’ve seen my share of wild makeup ideas and viral beauty hacks. Some of them are unusual, some are weirdly satisfying and strangely effective, but the latest one has literally left me speechless. The girlies on TikTok are using a Victoria’s Secret perfume as mosquito repellent and their efforts have gone viral. This particular TikTok trend, part ingenuity, part life hack, could be a major game changer if, in fact, it turns out to actually work. Still, it’s wise to be wary of TikTok trends, especially when your health is in play so I asked the experts if the TikTokers who swear Victora’s Secret perfume works to ward off mosquitos are onto something.
I’m a mosquito magnet and it’s honestly the pits. In the warm weather, it’s nearly impossible for me to step outside and not get a million itchy little bites all over my skin. Sadly, one of the only ways to fight off these nuisances is with smelly repellents. DEET, the main ingredient found in most insect repellents, works wonders, but smells awful. Forget trying to mask the chemical smell with your favorite signature scent. Mixing perfume with insect repellent creates a far from pleasant scent profile so if one of Victoria’s Secret’s delicious perfumes can help keep pesky mosquito bites away, the world will never be the same.
TikTokers aren’t recommending just any VS perfume, but one of the brand’s most popular scents. Victoria’s Secret Bombshell Eau de Parfum mixes peony and orchid notes with pine for a fruity, floral fragrance that people love. Whether or not it keeps mosquitos at bay is hard to say so I reached out to Dr. Shuting Hu, cosmetic chemist and founder of Acaderma, and dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick to help me get to the bottom of it.
It all started with a video posted by @absolutely.lm on July 2. “Amber Romance and Bombshell by Victoria’s Secret have been proven scientifically to prevent mosquitos better than repellent,” the user says, referencing a 2015 academic study from The Journal of Insect Science. In it, researchers claimed Victoria’s Secret’s Bombshell Eau de Parfum to be “a strong repellent with effects lasting longer than 120 min.” Interesting, for sure, but since @absolutely.lm’s video has over 3,000,000 likes, it’s worth checking in with secondary sources before you toss out your actual bug spray.
TikToker Kaylee McCarthy was brave enough to test the theory on July 9 in Alabama. She doused herself in Bombshell and went into her garden. For her, the perfume worked. “I can see them flying around, but I’m not being bitten. Holy crap! This might work,” she said.
The experts I spoke to were doubtful. “I do not believe that this perfume would repel mosquitos. Due to mosquitos’ innate consumption behaviors, the Victoria’s Secret Bombshell perfume would essentially attract [them],” Dr. Hu says.
Despite the 2015 study and the TikTok hype, Dr. Garshick thinks that for this hack to work you’d have to take it to the extreme. “In this particular study, higher concentrations of these particular fragrances were used and at lower concentrations, it may not be as effective,” she tells Elite Daily. In other words, if you want to get Bombshell’s alleged repelling powers, you’ll probably have to douse yourself in it. Brand representatives from Victoria’s Secret agree. “Our fragrances are not designed nor have they been approved for use as an insect repellant,” they shared when Elite Daily reached out for comment.
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At the end of the day, it definitely seems like a few lucky folks have had success with this viral perfume hack, but it’s not time to throw away your bug spray. If you really feel inspired, nothing’s stopping you from swapping DEET for the much sweeter smelling Bombshell Eau de Parfum, but it might be a good idea to bring both along on your next outdoor adventure.
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