I ordered some from REI a few years ago. Applying it freaks me out more than it should so I've only used it a couple of times for a particularly tick-infested area. It lasts for weeks on your shoes and other clothing. I didn't get any ticks, for what it's worth.
Because DEET ruins our gear, we've just started trying picaridin (also called icaridin). The science says it's almost as good as DEET but doesn't melt synthetics. I don't have much faith in repellents anyway. Mosquitoes still get me eventually so I expect some ticks may ignore it too. :(
I think I'll try it all out!
I think your hair in a bun in a buff is an extremely effective strategy! Must try that.