Read the Label: Vacation Brand Classic Whip SPF 30 Sunscreen Mousse

Depiction only; not actual product
Depiction only; not actual product
Image by serhiibobyk at Adobe Stock

As the weather warms, we put away our heavy coats and unpack our shorts and tank tops to get ready for summer. The sun shines for longer each day, which means we are exposed to more UVA/UVA rays and to a higher UV index as it inches closer to summer.

In my quest to try everything once, I recently picked up the Vacation brand Classic Whip SPF 30 Sunscreen Mousse. This column explores the brand and features of its Classic Whip SPF 30 Sunscreen Mousse.

See also: Read the Label: Milk Makeup Cooling Water Jelly Tint Lip and Cheek Blush Stain

About Vacation Inc.

Vacation Inc. was developed with Elizabeth Hale, M.D., a board certified dermatologist and chief medical advisor to the brand. The brand is a modern take on vintage with innovation at the forefront as it re-imagines the past in the present with unique textures and fragrances.

The brand was dubbed “the world’s best smelling sunscreen," per the Daily Beast, with nostalgic fruit scents such as coconut, banana, pineapple, orange blossom and local pool scents such as pool water, pool toy and swimsuit lycra. Admittedly, I came for the SPF, but I stayed for the unique mousse texture in a familiar whipped cream can.

Here, we take a look at the ingredients to see how the formula was designeda.

Ingredients: Vacation Brand Classic Whip SPF 30 Sunscreen Mousse

The product ingredient disclosure is as follows; note that bolding was added for emphasis to call out key ingredients for the below discussion.

Active: Homosalate (7.5%), Octocrylene (5%), Octisalate (5%), Avobenzone (3%).

Inactive: Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Aminomethyl Propanol, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance (Parfum), Glycerin, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Hyaluronate, Stearic Acid, Tapioca Starch, Tetrafluoropropene, Tetrasodium Glutam.

Classic Whip Lowdown

The Classic Whip sunscreen offers a broad spectrum SPF 30, water resistance for up to 80 min, and boasts being reef-friendly; having an eco-smart propellant; and being: a "clean classic" formulation, cruelty-free, vegan, dermatologist-tested and manufactured in the USA. In addition, the product features the nostalgic scent of coconut, banana, pool water, pool toy and swimsuit lycra — the brand's signature award-winning scent developed with perfumers Carlos Huber and Rodrigo Flores-Roux.

Eco-Smart Propellant

When creating aerosol products, propellants are perhaps the most important element. These chemicals are used to expel the product from a pressurized sealed container.

Previously, ChloroFluoroCarbons (CFCs) and HydroFluoroCarbons (HFCs) were the most widely used but these compressed air and liquified gases are a thing of the past since regulations have changed over the years due to Global Warming Potential (GWP) and ozone depletion. 

What does eco-smart on this label mean? It appears to relate to GWP. Propellants with the lowest GWP ratings are carbon dioxide (compressed gas); 1, 3, 3, 3 tetrafluoropropene (1234ze(E)); and dimethyl ether (DME). In this case, 1, 3, 3, 3 tetrafluoropropene (1234ze(E)) is used as the propellant. Highlighted for its low GWP rating and non-flammability, this ingredient is a popular "eco-smart" choice for personal care products.

'Lighter Than Air' Feel

A “lighter than air" feel is noted in the marketing of this product, which is achieved thanks to the water and silicone-based sunscreen formula. We can tip our wide-brimmed summer hats to silicone ingredients such as dimethicone and polymethylsilsesquioxane, as silicones can create innovative textures and aesthetics.

Dimethicone is a clear, colorless liquid that is supplied in various viscosities. It provides slip in formulations.

Polymethylsilsesquioxane, supplied as a free-flowing powder, provides an elegant silky texture with soft and luxurious feel. In this case, it may be supplied as a blend with tapioca starch to act as an aesthetic modifier to reduce greasiness, gloss and tack in high oil-based formulations.

Paid Actors of Sun Care: UVA/UVB Filters

Homosalate (7.5%), octocrylene (5%), octisalate (5%) and avobenzone (3%) are the active ingredients in this product that upgrade it from a cosmetic to drug (sunscreen). These active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) provide SPF to protect against harmful sun rays.

UV or ultraviolet light that reaches the earth’s surface is in the form of UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate the skin’s dermis, while UVB rays penetrate the skin’s epidermis (top layer of the skin). The sun can have short and long-term effects; from redness and tanning, to premature aging and skin cancer. Both UVA and UVB rays are responsible for sunburn, tanning, photoaging and skin cancer, which is why broad-spectrum protection against both is necessary. 

The SPF, or sun protection factor, indicates the level of sunburn protection provided by a product. An SPF of 15 is the minimum limit but SPFs of 30 or 50 are recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Homosalate, octocrylene, octisalate and avobenzone are FDA-approved active drug ingredients for use as chemical or organic UV filters in sunscreens. Homosalate and octisalate are UVA filters, while octocrylene and avobenzone are UVB filters. Through the introduction of these approved UV filters, an SPF of 30 is achieved in Vacation’s mousse product.

Supporting Actors of Sun Care: Films and SPF Boosters

Two important supporting actors in sun care formulas are film formers and SPF boosters. These help to create efficacious products and support water/sweat resistance. 

VP/Hexadecene copolymer is used as a film former in this whipped mousse formula to support water-resistance and promote efficacy. Butyloctyl salicylate is acting as the SPF booster, which while not approved as a stand-alone active, helps those that are to achieve the desired SPF. It also can act as a solvent, emollient and carrier for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Typically used at less than 5% in sun care products, butyloctyl salicylare cannot increase the SPF level by more than two units. 

Foodie Vibe for Fun Sun Care

Overall, the Vacation brand is known for its nostalgic sun care branding to reimagine the 1980s poolside aesthetic. It is intended to make sun care fun and functional, with potent fragrances, an innovative whipped cream texture and familiar food packaging for entertaining application.

This is not your mother’s Reddi-Wipb, so grab your banana hair clip, lycra one-piece swimsuit and Vacation’s Classic Whip SPF 30 sunscreen mousse so that you're spring (and summer) ready!

aDisclaimer: While the "Read the Label" series provides an overview of the ingredients in a product and their related claims, without use levels or access to clinical studies, the author is drawing conclusions based on speculation — albeit from training, formulating experience and, in some cases, evidence in the literature. The information provided is for your consideration and further investigation; including any patent protections.

b Reddi-Wip is a product of Conagra Brands

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