Gina Grillo wears Vivianne Westood
Red label from Kasuri Hudson NY.

Portrait by Shannon Greer


I found Grillo Essentials while on the hunt for an effective, non-toxic tick repellent. The chances of getting Lyme disease and a host of co-virus' is higher in the Hudson River Valley NY than any other place in the world at the moment. So if you live there, as I do, it becomes crucial to find the right product.  

In my research I had seen a few articles written about Gina Grillo’s Essential Natural Insect Repellent as an aromatic, essential oil blend that would protect us from these pesky bugs.

I caught up with Gina Grillo to chat about her popular new formula. Gina lives in the Saratoga Springs area, her house is situated in the woods surrounded by tiny critters and wild animals of all shapes and sizes. She tells us she 'loves her life there and wouldn't change a thing' except for the Lyme carrying ticks that have affected her health and lifestyle.  

Gina was diagnosed with Lyme disease several years ago, and after numerous doctors’ visits and recognizing the lack of scientific research on Lyme and its remedies Gina set out to find answers through naturopaths and healers. She discovered that, with the help of homeopathy and a clean diet, she was able to keep her symptoms in check without any pharmaceutical side effects. Gina kept going with her research with the intention of helping others avoid the situation she found herself in.

AGB: Hi Gina can you tell us what made you want to develop this product, and what makes it better than the rest?

GG: In order to fully answer the question I need to reflect back about 8 years, to when I was diagnosed with Lyme disease from a tick bite. The ensuing battle to regain my health left me with a passionate mission: to design a truly effective tick repellent.

As I had done in the past with designing other products, I started the process by using existing products on the market and writing pros and cons to each product. There were a lot more cons than pros with commercial repellents. I knew I could create something better, I also knew I needed to look outside the box. My research left me with the task of developing a repellent that works for ticks, mosquitoes and black flies. I also wanted a natural essential oil repellent that smelt so good people would want to wear it. And of course a repellent that is compact enough to always have handy for reapplications (no repellent will last all day) and small and light enough to tuck in a backpack or pocket.

After much experimentation and drawing from the vast array of well-documented essential oils used as repellents, I created a sophisticated fragrance that passed my strict nose test for an acceptable scent. I then set about field-testing in the tick infested 'Ground Zero' wooded landscape of Washington County, as opposed to laboratory testing. 

Stay safe this season. When traveling check your destination for tick stats and carry your roll on every were you go, you just never know when a little crawly critter will have eyes on you.