Have you ever wondered why incognito® was started or how we came to have an award winning, 100% effective insect repelling camouflage? Well wonder no more, we’re going to tell you a little story…
A Malaria Malaise and a Dengue Disaster
Our story starts way back in 1997, when our founder Howard was working in the world of publishing, whilst authoring travel articles and guides, travelling the world and building up an in-depth knowledge of India and Africa. Here he is back then (and he’s not aged a day since 😂 )
Whilst on a trip to India, Howard contracted life threatening Malaria and then later dengue fever, despite using a DEET based product, taking malaria tablets and undertaking other recommendations to protect from mosquitoes. You can read more about Howard’s ordeal in this malaria and dengue fever blog post.
A&E to the Apothecary
After his recovery, Howard returned to his publishing job but also became obsessed with understanding everything he could about mosquitoes and malaria, and more importantly how to camouflage himself from them. Howard was also keen to find out more about the impact chemical or synthetic insect repellents had on our health and the planet, and set about exploring natural alternatives.
MUSICAL INTERLUDE (One of our favourites, obviously!)
The next bit is where the alchemy part comes in...
Armed with plenty of his own research and a thirst for knowledge, Howard travelled far and wide looking for natural ingredients, speaking to doctors, nurses, researchers at Universities, shamans… Anybody who could advise on possible ways to camouflage against insects.
Whilst on his travels and back home in his London flat, Howard was creating multiple variants of a camouflaging repellent based on what he’d learnt and the ingredients he’d collected.
At one point there were over 100 versions of his solution. He’s nothing if not thorough!
99 bottles hanging on the wall
From those hundred versions, Howard took 20 of the ingredients around the world testing different ingredients in different countries in basic combos - at this stage it was all kitchen chemistry.
Finally, he had 2 or 3 camouflage formulations that he was happy with because they worked in nearly all environments.
Howard then returned to India with Patricia, his now wife, and set about trialling the best blend (we told you it’s been quite the family affair!). Throughout the whole of India, from tip to tip, Kanuka Mari to Darjeeling, the couple only received a couple of bites between them over a 6 month period: they knew they had a winner. Naturally.
Later on, after a series of experiments during the manufacturing process we were able to develop the unique secret ingredient, PMD, which increased the camouflage’s performance and is still used in incognito® today!
Our early packaging, featuring the dancing lady.
..and now for the science bit!
PMD is our secret ingredient, the secret sauce some might say. It’s PMD which makes the product really work, it’s completely natural but as strong as synthetic/chemical alternatives (and in some cases stronger. It’s NHS and Public Health England approved too and works a charm in high risk areas.
It’s basically a wonder formula, which is why it’s our secret ingredient.
And as for Howard, he’s now known as Mr Mosquito in the trade, so he must be doing something right!