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Update #10

The Magic Behind Orange Gelée's Ingredients

By Marie Lodi | Feb 20, 2024

Keep reading to learn which ingredients made the cut and which got the boot!

What Were The Ingredients in The Original Orange Gelée?
a tube of orange gelee by vacation on an orange background

One of the biggest changes we had to make with Orange Gelée by Vacation® had to do with the ingredients. During our research, we discovered that the hardcore fans rarely turned over the tube to read what was in it. However, the original formula was made with mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin, and octinoxate — all ingredients that don’t have the best reputation nowadays, so we knew to avoid using them for our reimagined version.

Our Goal: Ingredients That Are Clean and Good for Your Skin, But Feel Like the Original
a woman holds a jar of orange liquid in her hand

Our vision for Orange Gelée by Vacation® was for it to be an homage to the original and inspired by its look, feel, and scent, but with a few modern changes. The formula would contain ingredients that were clean, nourishing, beneficial for skin, and based on science, including natural, plant-based butters, oils, and waxes. Interestingly, many of the Orange Gelée Advisory Board Members never cared too much about the original ingredients; everything else about the product, like its texture, was more important. The mission was clear: Our reimagined version had to be better for you, but essentially felt the same to our Board Members. It was a tricky feat.

it looks like a sunset with a red , yellow and black gradient .
What Board Members Have Said:

“God only knows what was in it before, and of course, we were young, we didn’t care,” Board Member Denise Dion said when we asked her about the ingredients in the original Orange Gelée. According to Denise, the reason for the apathy was most likely due to both a lack of education and the consumer culture surrounding sunscreen being much different than it is now. “Back then, my idea of sunscreen was just zinc. There weren't a lot of sunscreen products out then,” she said.

a picture of a woman with a quote from denise dion

Ingredients may not have been important to Orange Gelée fans back then, but it’s evident that modern shoppers, especially millennials and Gen Z-ers, demand transparency regarding ingredients. “I'm very cognizant of what I'm putting on my body, and I think that's definitely key for my generation,” says Gen Z Board Member Jessie Siu. “I want my skin to be soaking up good ingredients. And I believe if you’re applying things your skin appreciates, it will show.”

it looks like a sunset with a red , yellow and black gradient .
The Solution
a hand holding a toothbrush with orange toothpaste on it

When we asked our Board Members, like Thalia Pappas, if better-for-you ingredients were something they’d be interested in for Orange Gelée by Vacation®, there was no question. As long as it was as close to the original as possible, it was a go. But it wasn’t that simple. “It's not the easiest to create something that feels, glides, breaks, and stays like [mineral oil and petrolatum]. Those are ingredients that are still around; they're still being used, but they're not ingredients that we want to use in our brand,” explains Katrina Virani, Vice President Of Product Development at Vacation®.

Natural ingredients have their own set of complications, as they can have a massive effect on texture and consistency. The chemists went through a series of Goldilocks-esque phases of the formula, from too powdery to too loose. After many iterations, they struck gold and landed on the winning formula, which contains skin-loving ingredients like coconut oil, jojoba, and passion fruit. There are also sesame and sweet almond oils, while saffron extract brings its antioxidant powers to the table and infuses radiance into the skin. Marajuca oil lends its anti-inflammatory and elasticizing benefits, and it all gets rounded out with skin saviors like shea butter, and vitamin E. This is a significant departure from the mineral oil and petrolatum of yesterday’s Orange Gelée, and that is a very good thing.

a quote from deana clement, board member

The last step was making sure the final formula had the approval of longtime Orange Gelée fans. Board Member Deana Clement was impressed by the feel of the new formula, saying it felt great on her skin. “Not only does it feel nourished and hydrated, but it has that summery sheen and glow that you might want from wearing something like that all day long,” Deana said, adding, “It doesn’t sit like an oil. It definitely sinks in, but it’s radiant and definitely hydrating.” Even though the ingredients might differ from the original, we were able to satisfy one of Orange Gelée’s most ardent supporters. “With this realm of ingredients that they’re using, they hit it on the nose because it’s really, really reminiscent of the original,” Deana said. Meanwhile, Board Member Denise Dion used the final version after a shower and was pleased with its application. “It went into the skin and didn’t feel greasy, and it's still on,” she said. “I think this final product is really, really good. You guys nailed it.”

In the next update, we’ll learn about the fragrance formulation process through a talk with Carlos Huber, Vacation® Scent Consultant and Founder of ARQUISTE Parfumeur. Then, we’ll see how it fared with the longtime Orange Gelée fans. The pressure!

The Magic Behind Orange Gelée's Ingredients

The Orange Gelèe Revival Project is a joint initiative between Vacation® and Orange Gelee fans to bring back the beloved product by Summer 2024.

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The Orange Gelée Revival Project is now complete.

Shop The Completed Orange Gelée


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