Vacation Brought Back a Re-Imagined Version of Bain de Soleil’s Iconic Orange Gelée


We’ve all had that one beauty product discontinued by the powers that be. It can feel like the one that got away or an even more intense heartbreak. (I definitely pine for certain liquid eyeliners, red lipsticks, and fragrances from my past instead of any exes!) Imagine if a brand brought back your one truly holy grail product in a new form. That is precisely what the SPF brand Vacation did with Orange Gelée, a discontinued cult sunscreen product originally by Bain de Soleil, which recently launched as Orange Gelée by Vacation ($23).

But, Vacation didn’t just bring back a reimagined version of Orange Gelée, the brand got the OG product’s most diehard fans involved in the process every step of the way. Composed of 11 panel members, including longtime fans and modern beauty experts, the Orange Gelée Advisory Board tested formulas and gave input throughout the entire process. Full disclosure: I was hired by Vacation to be its official “Orange Gelée Reporter;” I wrote regular updates about the panel’s findings, and I put on my investigative nerd hat to learn all I could about this beloved orange gel.

For the uninformed, Bain De Soleil’s Orange Gelée was invented in the 1920s when tanning started becoming more trendy (some believe Coco Chanel had something to do with that). This was pre-SPF times, so the first iteration of Orange Gelée was a tanning gel that gave skin a glow. By the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, Orange Gelée had amassed a devoted following that included Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Dorinda Medley, and queen of the beach, Pamela Anderson. It was famous for its catchy commercial jingle and luxury, laying-on-a-yacht-in-Saint-Tropez vibes. Eventually, SPF was add to the formula, but not much. Many of its loyal fans remember using SPF 4. (Yes, four!)

Vacation Orange Gelée

(Image credit: Vacation Inc.)

In 2019, Bain De Soleil’s then-parent company, Bayer, announced it was ceasing all production. Once word spread, resellers took advantage of the opportunity to make cash, tempting the diehard fanbase to succumb to ridiculously inflated prices. Old, expired, and decrepit tubes of Orange Gelée (even some that literally look like they’ve been run over by a truck) have sold for $400. Real Sméagol, “My precious!!!” energy, but I can’t blame them. I once panic-bought EIGHT bottles of my favorite Bath & Body Works coconut lotion when I heard it was discontinued.


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