I received a full-sized Lychee Gel Softening Shower & Bath Gel in my most recent Luxe Box. It was one of the items that I was most excited about, mainly because of how cute the packaging is, and that I love lychees (or litchis)!
The lychee is native to southeastern China, and it’s now cultivated in many tropical regions worldwide. My extended family is from Malaysia, in southeast Asia, and because of this I have been lucky enough to have eaten heaps of lychees, practically fresh off the trees! The skin of the fruit is a bumpy pinkish red, thin and pliable so it’s easy to peel off the delicate, white, and very juicy flesh. The flavor is sweet, floral, and honeyed—I don’t think there’s any other fruit that tastes quite like it.
Lychees are also available canned in most Asian shops, though, of course, they won’t taste quite as delicious as the fresh fruit. I’m particularly fond of canned lychees served on ice. A Thai restaurant near me also serves a chicken-and-lychee dish served in a hollowed out pineapple—it sounds weird, but it works amazingly well!
So, as you can tell, I’m a little crazy about this fruit, and it’s not often that I come across a perfume or bath product that is lychee-scented. (Fragrantica says that good options are Juliette Has a Gun’s Miss Charming, Sonia Rykiel Rose, and Diptyque Eau Rose are good options with lychee as one of the centerpiece notes, so I’ll definitely need to check these out! I’m just so sad I missed out on Yves Rocher’s soliflore—solifruit?—version, since those tend to be really nice.)
The day after I received the Lychee Gel, I used it in the shower with my bath pouf. I mean, this was a 1.1 fl oz / 30 mL full-sized, cruelty-free, made in Italy (though packaged in China) product that retails for US$15.95. It just has to be amazing, right? Honestly, how do you screw up a bath gel?
And the scent! Lychee plus lemons?! How could this be in any way bad?
From Jelly Pong Pong’s product page:
A softening bath & shower gel infused with the most delicious lychee-lemon scent that cocoons you in a delicious cloud of fresh tangy lemons and sweet, ripe lychee fragrance. The ultra-gentle formula produces a luxurious, silky foam that cleanses without drying out your skin. Made without parabens.
Formulated in Italy, packaging made in China / Fabriqué en Italie, l’emballage fabriqué en Chine. Dist. by/par So Susan Ltd, Colchester CO4 9HB, UK Poids Net Wt. 30mL / 1.1 fl. oz.
Let me describe to you the disappointment I experienced. I opened the tube and gave it a sniff. Hmm. Smells like unscented shampoo. Probably have to squeeze it out and lather it up a bit, right?
So I squeezed out a grape-sized dollop—hey, at $15.95 per 30 mL, surely a little of this stuff goes a long way!
Scrub-scrub. Nothin’. Can’t smell a thing other than a very faint generic “shampoo/body wash” smell. Lathers up like any other bath gel. If anything, it doesn’t even lather up as well as my cheapo Yves Rocher body washes, which, incidentally, are quite well-fragranced. My skin certainly didn’t feel any softer and more moisturized afterward.
After my shower, I did wonder if perhaps it was just my own sense of smell that was not functioning (being anosmic to certain scents is a thing, though I haven’t noticed much of it in myself—not to mention that while pregnant, your sense of smell is supposed to be heightened!), so I brought it to DH to sniff. He agreed with me: there was barely any discernable fragrance, and it certainly didn’t smell like lychees or lemons.
Even the ingredient list is really underwhelming when you compare it with the limited edition Yves Rocher shower gel I was using at the time:
Jelly Pong Pong Lychee Shower Gel ingredients (US$15.95 for 30 mL):
water (aqua), sodium laureth sulfate, cocamide DEA, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium chloride, sodium lauroyl lactylate, citric acid, fragrance (parfum), disodium EDTA, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone. [+/- (may contain/peut contenir) titanium dioxide (CI 77891), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), mica]
Yves Rocher Candied Orange & Almond Shower Gel ingredients (CA$4 for 200 mL):
aqua/water/eau, ammonium lauryl sulfate, decyl glucoside, centaurea cyanus flower water, parfum/fragrance, cocamide MIPA, cocamidopropyl betaine, citric acid, sodium benzoate, sodium chloride, tetrasodium EDTA, limonene, salicylic acid, BHT, methylpropanediol, potassium sorbate, CI 17200 (Red 33), CI 19140 (Yellow 5)
It’s actually incredible how much luxury brands charge for their shower gels: I did a little research and found that many expensive shower gels (I checked Bliss, Fresh, philosophy, Laura Mercier, Acqua di Parma, and Tocca) have the cheap surfectant sodium laureth sulfate —SLS—as the first or second ingredient in some of their shower gels. Other brands, like Cake Beauty and Yves Rocher, avoid using SLS, but replace it with a slightly different surfectant—basically, the ingredient that gets the product all nice and foamy when you use it with water. The Yves Rocher product I mentioned above uses ammonium laurel sulfate, and Cake Beauty uses sodium coco sulfate. (I did find that Consonant’s shower gel didn’t appear to have a sulfate in its ingredient list, so I might give that one a try, just out of curiosity!)
Surfectants are generally quite drying, and I particularly try to avoid it in my shampoo, since I’ve found it gives me an itchy and flaky scalp. I’ve never tried to avoid shower gels with SLS and similar surfectants, since most of them seem to use some sulfate or another. Otherwise, you don’t really get any lather, and hardly anybody likes a shower gel that doesn’t lather. Plus, my city has harder water (containing more dissolved minerals like calcium), which means that it’s more difficult to get a lather going.
So, it seems rather silly to me to spend a lot of money on shower gel, unless, of course, the fragrance is especially nice. That’s where the luxury comes in, for me! (I’m in love with some Bvlgari and Le Labo shower gels I’ve sampled, but I still balk at the high prices.) But Jelly Pong Pong’s product is an utter fail when it comes to the fragrance, since I couldn’t smell it a damn bit: they have seemingly released the biggest fail in shower gel history. I suppose it’s possible that I received a dud, but that’s the only excuse they have. I don’t recommend this product at all, as many a drugstore-priced shower gel will outperform it at a tiny fraction of the price. And, probably smell better.
Jelly Pong Pong Lychee Gel Softening Shower & Bath Gel contains 30 mL and retails for US$15.95.
Jelly Pong Pong was founded by Susan Chyi and appears to be based in the UK. There isn’t a lot of specific info about the company on their website or Facebook page.