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The Business of Beauty Haul of Fame: Vacation Brings Back Orange Gelée

The ‘90s-inpsired sunscreen brand brings back a cult classic, and more industry news.
The zany and beloved sun-care brand Vacation announced a multi-month build-up to the release of their new product, a reformulation of the cult beauty favourite Orange Gelée tanning gel.
The zany and beloved sun-care brand Vacation announced a multi-month build-up to the release of their new product, a reformulation of the cult beauty favourite Orange Gelée tanning gel. (BoF Team)

Welcome back to Haul of Fame, the beauty roundup of new products, new ideas and new ways to make me both angry and amused. Included in today’s issue: Dior, Guido Palau, H&M, Laneige, Necessaire, Nicki Minaj, Rhode Skin, Smooth by Sienna Swim, Target, Tarte and the island of Mauritius.

But first …

Meet the Anti-Drop Model

Instant product drops are about to go on vacation … and also, on Vacation.

Today, the zany and beloved sun-care brand Vacation announced a multi-month build-up to the release of their new product, a reformulation of the cult beauty favourite Orange Gelée tanning gel. Although the news breaks now (like, right now; consider this the exclusive announcement), the actual product won’t hit stores until summer 2024.

Instead of a drop, where products are launched in limited quantities as a fast-and-furious surprise on social media, Vacation is doing a drip, giving fans a long runway to prepare to “add to cart.” Until then, the process of Orange Gelée’s product development, testing and campaign building will be chronicled on Vacation’s own website by a podcaster named Marie Lodi. Vacation has also enlisted an “advisory panel comprising 10 of the country’s most dedicated Orange Gelée superfans” including dermatologist Dr. Caroline Robinson and artist Deana Clement, to weigh in on the progress.

Why is Vacation confident it can hold our attention for so long? Partly because Orange Gelée has a built-in audience of devotees. First created by Bain de Soleil in 1925 to serve France’s nouveau beach set, the tanning gel went extinct in 2019, setting off a serious hoarding spree among fans. Copycat products like Carroten tried to fill the void; an eBay black market for the original commands about $350 a tube. A Change.org petition for its return has over 10,000 signatures, and even the New York Post has decried its demise.

Vacation co-founder Lach Hall, who helped create the brand in 2021, said the line has gotten “near-daily requests on social media to bring it back.” “Obviously, the original [formula ]was launched before we were even born. But I think people asked us to revive it because people see us as this brand that makes sunscreen fun instead of a chore,” he added. And for those wondering why a sunscreen brand is making a tanning gel, the original Orange Gelée always had low levels of SPF.

When asked whether Bain de Soleil’s parent company Bayer may not be on board with the revival, co-founder Dakota Green said cheerfully, “We’ve been working with our lawyers throughout the process.” Cool.

Beauty junkies and sun worshippers can follow the journey to Orange Gelée on Vacation.Inc—but frequent shoppers shouldn’t worry, since Hall says the brand has “a heavy schedule of launches, some say too many launches”—between now and then. He also revealed that Vacation is seeing a spike in SPF orders right now, “even for people not going on an actual vacation. The smell of our products and the feel of them, it really transports you beyond a cold, dark winter,” said Hall.

Vacation’s beachy smell of coconut is indeed an instant mood lifter—and “instant” is good, since we’ve got to wait until 2024 to order their Orange Gelée IRL …

What Else Is New

The sun-drenched mindset that serves Vacation so well is happening elsewhere in the beauty space, too. Sunpatch is bringing back the ‘80s Zinka vibes with neon undereye patches, which hit on Nov. 25. They protect delicate skin from sun and wind burn, while making you look like a “Jem” rocker. The beachwear line Sienna Swim launched their first-ever shaving set on Nov. 24, including a custom razer, coconut oil and a mini Dr. Bronner’s soap. And Dune debuted a subscription service for its SPF on Nov. 27.

Also in ocean paradise land: The island of Mauritius is home to the rare pink pigeon, the third-largest coral reef network on Earth, and now, the beauty brand Meditatif, which was created by designer Alicia Rountree Zannier. Their signature product, Serenity Oil, is made with local coconut, jojoba, and rosemary oils and has a nifty formula that switches from a face oil to a cream or serum, depending on how many drops of water you add. It also smells like a spa and launches today.

Nicki Minaj is launching her own “luxurious press-on” nails under the name Pink Friday. She announced the news this week, but we’ve have to wait until January to see them.

Don’t discount the drop model just yet. Rhode Skin released a surprise new Peptide Lip Tint — in a very cute pink shimmer shade called Jelly Bean — on Nov. 22. It sold out that weekend! Until they restock, Tarte’s new Marajuca Juicy Lip Shimmer gloss dropped a day later with 12 shimmery shades and a promise that “becoming a glimmer-seeker will change your brain and life.” Congrats to their copywriters on being extremely caffeinated.

Move over, Jacquemus bar soap: Miss Dior now has its own pink version at Bergdorf Goodman for $33.

TikTok’s “pop of red” trend is coming for the beauty space. Over Black Friday weekend, Necessaire released an all-red body serum promo, Laneige debuted a peppermint version of their Lip Sleeping Mask with a deep red cap, Shiseido’s new ads from Nov. 27 have “Hunger Games” ingenue Hunter Schafer in a red dress, walking across a red carpet made of red makeup brushes, and Glossier has released … a red pepper mill. No, really.

Fast beauty news! Zara is pairing with GOAT hair artist (and BoF 500 member) Guido Palau on a hair kit that includes gilded gel, glitter spray and hair accessories for $49.90. It hits shelves today. Meanwhile at H&M, the beginnings of their beauty relaunch are well underway, with new blush sticks and mascara (also in a pop-of-red tube) rolling into stores late this month.

Colorescience launches a Barrier Pro 1-Step Cleanser and Essential Moisturiser on November 30 (today). The brand was “originally crafted for vulnerable post-procedure skin,” so if you’re looking to wash your face after Botox, say hi.

Clean beauty cuties Gen See dropped a new brown mascara on Nov. 27. The brand has one of the top selling black mascaras on Credo Beauty, and for good reason: even though it’s not officially waterproof, it really stays put.

Target now sells a cupping set for $25, which is the most amazing evidence that #Goopcore isn’t just mainstream anymore — it’s positively basic.

Google reports that searches for “Beyonce silver hair” have spiked 200 percent since the “Renaissance” movie premiere on Nov. 25. Beyoncé's hair looks more platinum than silver to me, but if her stylist Neal Farinah can’t hook you up, the people to trust with this kind of theatrically fabulous colour job are Michael Angelo at Wonderland, Aura Friedman at Suite Caroline, Alex Brownsell at Bleach London, or Tia Martinez Rotenberg at White Rose Collective. But that’s my colourist, so don’t you dare take my appointment slot!

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Nov. 30, 2023, to amend the launch date of Orange Gelée and to clarify how many requests the brand has received to update the product.

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