With their clean formulations and Instagram-worthy packaging, Drunk Elephant is beloved by shoppers, influencers, and beauty editors alike. The brand combines tried-and-true skin care ingredients (i.e. vitamin C, retinol, and peptides) with unique extracts (i.e. marula oil, mongongo oil, and more) to create products that truly stand out from the crowd. Plus, Drunk Elephant leaves out harmful ingredients — aka the “Suspicious 6” — that they believe are at the root of almost every skin issue.
It’s clear that this brand has a lot of things going for it, but before splurging on this luxury skincare brand, check out our review of the 10 best Drunk Elephant products. We’ve reviewed each product through a scientific lens, meaning we’ve evaluated the research that supports (or doesn’t support) the ingredients that you’ll find in these products. We’ll also share some Drunk Elephant reviews so you can get a better idea of what customers really think about these products.
Is Drunk Elephant Worth The Money?
A common question about this brand is if the products are worth the cost.
In our opinion, Drunk Elephant products are worth the money, but there are other brands that deliver greater value.
One brand is Carrot & Stick, a clean skincare brand that perfectly balances the gentle nurturing of plants with the powerful results of innovative science.
Carrot & Stick intro bundles deliver great value for money because you can bundle 3 full-size products worth up to
$240 for $88.
What are the Best Skin Care Products of 2023?
What’s Inside Drunk Elephant Skincare?
Drunk Elephant takes a “clean clinical” approach to skin care. Put another way, “a product is only as good as its worst ingredient.” Clean clinical means a commitment to only using ingredients that directly benefit the skin’s health or support the integrity and effectiveness of the formulations.
One thing we really love about Drunk Elephant is that they don’t obsess about creating “natural” formulations. Natural does not always equal better, just like synthetic does not always equal toxic.
So rather than choosing ingredients based on whether they are natural or synthetic, the brand chooses ingredients based on their biocompatibility. Biocompatibility means they focus on healthy pH levels, formulations the skin recognizes, small molecular structure that’s easily absorbed, and effective active ingredients that also support and maintain the skin’s acid mantle.
As for the key ingredients used in Drunk Elephant products, we noticed that this brand utilizes a wide variety of unique ingredients that you typically won’t find other skin care brands using, such as pineapple ceramide, acai fruit oil, and cantaloupe fruit extract, just to name a few. They also include tried-and-true ingredients in their formulations, such as vitamin C, peptides, and retinol, just to name a few.
We’ve been hearing for years that Vitamin C is the best anti-aging ingredient. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.
Vitamin C also helps fade dark spots, evens out skin tone, and increases radiance. As if that wasn’t enough, research suggests that when vitamin C is applied to the skin, it significantly reverses aging-related structural changes by influencing collagen and elastin synthesis.
It’s in Drunk Elephant C Firma Day Serum, along with additional antioxidants like ferulic acid and vitamin E.
But our favorite Vitamin C serum is Carrot & Stick The Defence Serum. It contains 3 distinct types of Vitamin C that work together to help fight free radical damage. We recommend using it every morning.
As you age, your body’s production of collagen and elastin slows down. These two proteins are responsible for your skin’s structural support. As a result, the skin loses its natural plumpness and smoothness.
While collagen is necessary for maintaining youthful-looking skin, the collagen protein is too large to absorb into the skin topically. That’s why applying skin care products that contain collagen won’t provide the anti-aging benefits you’re looking for.
This is where peptides come into action. Peptides are the building blocks of protein, and they are easily absorbed into the deeper layers of skin due to their smaller size.
The Drunk Elephant products that contain peptides include Protini Polypeptide Cream, C Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream, and A Passioni Retinol Cream.
If you’re looking for a peptide serum, recommend Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum. It contains 7 plant-based peptides to promote plumper and smoother-looking skin. It also has skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.
Retinol is the go-to anti-aging ingredient recommended by dermatologists and skin experts. Retinol is clinically proven to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone, restore skin firmness, and shrink the appearance of enlarged pores.
The only downside? Retinol can often lead to side effects like skin dryness, peeling, and irritation.
Drunk Elephant A Passioni Retinol Cream includes 1% retinol, which is a moderate strength when it comes to this ingredient, so this product may not be suitable for newbie retinol users.
Look for products that contain Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, an ingredient that provides the same benefits of retinol but without the irritation. One that we recommend is this retinoid oil serum.
What Are The Top 10 Best Drunk Elephant Skin Care Products?
With a collection of over 25 different skin care products, you may not know which Drunk Elephant products are really worth it. To help you out, we’ll give you the details on the top 10 best Drunk Elephant skin care products.
Drunk Elephant A Passioni Retinol Cream
The Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream combines two of the best anti-aging skin care ingredients — retinol and peptides — into one formulation. It comes in an airless, opaque pump bottle (which protects retinol from light and air), and has a creamy texture that absorbs into the skin quickly.
The formula includes 1% retinol, which is a moderate strength when it comes to this ingredient, so this product may not be suitable for newbie retinol users. But if you’re ready for this strength, get ready to reap the benefits because there’s a lot!
According to a publication in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging, retinol can minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone, restore skin firmness, and unclog pores. Pretty impressive, right?
And don’t forget that the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream also contains a triple peptide blend that will help to stimulate collagen synthesis. The result? Firmer, smoother skin with fewer signs of aging. Plus, a blend of passionfruit, apricot, marula, and jojoba oils replenish essential lipids and moisture, while antioxidant-rich kale, winter cherry, and xanthophylls help defend against environmental free radicals. No wonder the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream is one of the brand’s most popular products!
Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream
Retinol often gets all the attention when it comes to anti-aging skin care ingredients, but a good peptide moisturizer can really help to promote more youthful skin. Why? Well, peptides are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins — like collagen and elastin — are important components of your skin that keep it firm and youthful.
Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream contains 9 signal peptides, which are peptides that signal cells in the skin called fibroblasts to produce more collagen. Remember, more collagen equals firmer, tighter skin. The formula also includes pygmy waterlily extract, which helps to moisturize and soothe the skin thanks to its rich source of antioxidants and nutrients.
It’s lightweight gel-cream texture makes Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream a good option for all skin types — even those with acne-prone skin — since the formula is non-comedogenic (won’t clog your pores). However, we noticed that this cream doesn’t absorb very fast. But give it time because once it absorbs, your skin will feel hydrated and supple without any greasy residue.
Drunk Elephant C Firma Day Serum
There’s no such thing as a miracle treatment when it comes to combating age, though vitamin C comes pretty close. It’s a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radicals, helps fade dark spots, evens out skin tone, and increases radiance. As if that wasn’t enough, research suggests that when vitamin C is applied to the skin, it significantly reverses aging-related structural changes by influencing collagen and elastin synthesis. A vitamin C serum is the best way to deliver this active ingredient into the deeper layers of your skin.
This Drunk Elephant vitamin C serum includes 15% pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) combined with 0.5% ferulic acid and 1% vitamin E. These antioxidants work synergistically to protect your skin from environmental free radicals. Plus, the serum also includes pumpkin ferment and pomegranate, which work together to enzymatically dissolve dead surface skin cells, minimizing the appearance of pores and reviving dull, tired-looking skin.
Drunk Elephant Baby Facial
No time to go see your esthetician for a facial? Then it may be time to add the Drunk Elephant Baby Facial into your routine. This at-home facial is recommended to be used weekly to smooth texture while minimizing the look of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. The formula features high concentrations of the exfoliating alpha and beta hydroxy acids (25% AHA and 2% BHA).
The BHA (salicylic acid) deep cleans pores in order to reduce blackheads and breakouts, while the AHAs increase cell turnover, stimulate collagen production, and help the skin retain moisture. We also love that the brand includes a soothing antioxidant blend of matcha tea, milk thistle, and apple extract to help reduce any irritation that may occur.
Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
Skin looking a little dull? If so, adding in a product that exfoliates (aka removes dead skin cells) can help to revive dull, tired skin. Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum is a chemical exfoliant that contains a blend of 12% AHAs (glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric acids) and 1% BHA (salicylic acid). These exfoliating acids will help to slough off dead surface cells, revealing healthier skin underneath. And as with all Drunk Elephant products, the formula contains supporting ingredients to nourish and protect the skin, such as raspberry fruit extract, horse chestnut, and marula oil.
Drunk Elephant C Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream
This Drunk Elephant vitamin C eye cream has a rich texture that leaves the eye area feeling hydrated but not heavy or greasy. The formula is pretty impressive with 8 peptides, 5 forms of vitamin C, vitamin E, superoxide dismutase, ubiquinone, and several more antioxidants. There are also soothing ingredients like cucumber and licorice extract, as well as hydrating ingredients like panthenol and hyaluronic acid. The formula truly contains everything your skin needs to stay healthy and youthful. One reviewer even said this Drunk Elephant eye cream “Took a few years off my under eye area”.
Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser
This jelly cleanser contains a blend of mild coconut-derived surfactants and makeup-dissolving emollients to gently remove all traces of makeup, excess oil, pollution, and any other impurities, leaving skin clean and soft. The cleanser also includes hydrating ingredients, like glycerin and cantaloupe fruit extract in order to prevent dryness.
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil
Marula oil is a key ingredient that you’ll find infused in all Drunk Elephant products, and it’s the only ingredient in Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil. It’s derived from the South African marula fruit tree, which actually inspired the name of this brand. Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson read about the myth that elephants become drunk after eating marula fruit that has fallen to the ground and fermented. According to Vanity Fair, the phrase “drunk elephant” stuck in her mind and the brand name was born.
So is marula oil actually a beneficial skin care ingredient? One of the main benefits of marula oil is its ability to absorb into the skin quickly, strengthen the skin barrier, and help other ingredients absorb better. This is because marula oil contains about 70 to 78% oleic acid, an omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid that functions as a penetration enhancer. You can use Drunk Elephant Marula Oil if you want to get the full experience of this oil, or you can find marula oil in nearly all of the other products in the Drunk Elephant skin care line.
Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
When skin is lacking moisture, it not only leads to dry patches and flaking, but could make signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles, look worse than they really are. That’s where a hydrating serum can help. Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel helps to tackle dryness and plump out lines and wrinkles thanks to the humectant panthenol (pro-vitamin B5) and sodium hyaluronate (aka the salt form of hyaluronic acid). Additional hydrating ingredients in this gel-like serum include pineapple ceramide, lentil-apple-and-watermelon complex, and squalane.
Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser
Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser is a luxurious cleansing balm that’s activated by water, turning it into a milk that melts away all traces of dirt, makeup, and sunscreen from skin, even water-resistant formulations. The formula contains what the brand calls a “nourishing fruit salad blend”, a mix of non-fragrant soothing fruit extracts (blueberry, kiwi, and strawberry) and replenishing fruit oils (cranberry seed oil, acai fruit oil, and watermelon seed oil).
Is The Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream Right For You?
We already mentioned that the Drunk Elephant A Passioni Retinol Cream is one of the brand’s most popular products. But before hitting “Add to Cart”, we recommend reviewing these important factors to consider:
- Key ingredients? 1% retinol and triple peptide blend
- pH? 5.8 (ideal)
- Skin type? Recommended for all skin types
- Texture? Lightweight cream
- Fragrance? No
- Cruelty free? Yes
- Cost? $74 for 1 oz (30 mL)
What if I Just Want a Simple Moisturizer?
If you’re just looking for a simple moisturizer, you may want to consider Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream. This Drunk Elephant moisturizer is claimed to be a “rescue cream” by reinforcing the skin’s acid mantle and defending against the effects of everyday stressors. A few of the key ingredients you’ll find in this moisturizer include ceramides, phytosphingosine, and an African oil blend (marula, mongongo, baobab, ximenia, and passionfruit).
What is The “Suspicious Six”?
All Drunk Elephant skin care products are formulated without the brand’s list of “Suspicious 6” ingredients, which include:
- Essential oils
- Sodium lauryl sulfate
- Chemical sunscreens
- Drying alcohols
Drunk Elephant believes that these six ingredients are behind every skin issue and when they are eliminated from your routine (which they called a “Drunk Break”), your skin can reset and return to a healthy, balanced state.
Where to Buy Drunk Elephant Products?
Drunk Elephant skin care products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as several third party online retailers, such as Sephora, Dermstore, Amazon, and more.
What is The Drunk Elephant Return Policy?
The Drunk Elephant return policy states, “We want you to love your Drunk Elephant purchase, so if you are not totally satisfied, please send an email to [email protected] within 30 days of your purchase, and we will provide a return authorization and mailing information. Simply return the unused portion, and we will be happy to remit your account for the full amount of your purchase, minus shipping.”
Is Drunk Elephant Cruelty Free?
Yes, Drunk Elephant is cruelty free.
Is Drunk Elephant Vegan?
Not all Drunk Elephant products are vegan because they use honey in some of their formulations. However, they currently offer 12 products formulated without any animal ingredients.
Drunk Elephant Reviews
Drunk Elephant has received plenty of editorial coverage in publications such as Allure, New Beauty, Vogue and Refinery29 and has scooped up plenty of industry awards as well. The Drunk Elephant C Firma Day Serum won an Allure Best of Beauty Award in 2018, and a Reader’s Choice Award in 2019.
A Glamour editor described the Drunk Elephant Baby Facial in this way: “Despite the hefty price tag, this formula is a facial in a bottle and it lasts a while” and a writer for the Zoe Report was “floored” by the Baby Facial. “A 20-minute at-home facial achieved what my entire skin care regime hadn’t before.”
While beauty editors certainly love Drunk Elephant, what do real customers think? To answer this question, we went over to Sephora.com to read some Drunk Elephant reviews, which we noticed were a mix of positive and negative.
The reviews for the Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream average to just 4 out of 5 stars after more than 5,000 customer reviews. The positive reviews for Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream mention that it moisturizes well without feeling heavy or greasy.
For example, one review says, “This is my favorite moisturizer I’ve ever used. I’ve been using Protini for about 2 years and have found it to be light enough for summer use, when my skin is oily, but still nourishing enough to keep away winter dryness.”
However, there are quite a few negative reviews for the Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream from customers who didn’t find this cream to moisturize well, and some even experienced breakouts after using it.
For example, one review of the Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream says, “I am very disappointed in this moisturizer. I have dry and sensitive skin. No matter how many good ingredients this moisturizer claims to have, it does not perform its basic function which is to hydrate and moisturize. I often wake up my skin is so dry and tight it has fine lines! I tried to apply two pumps but it just sat on my skin no matter how long I tried to message it into my skin. I have to reapply it during the day several times, but my skin is still dry after one hour. This may be suitable for combo or oil skin as night cream, but not for dry skin like mine.”
Overall, we think that Drunk Elephant skin care products are formulated well and can be a good option for treating common skin concerns like hyperpigmentation, dullness, and signs of aging. The only drawback is that the cost of Drunk Elephant products may be out of reach for many people.
- Excellent packaging (most products come in twist-top airless pump bottles)
- Evidence-based ingredients (retinol, vitamin C, sodium hyaluronate, AHAs, BHA, etc)
- Formulations never include harmful ingredients like fragrance, dyes, essential oils, and drying alcohols
- Drunk Elephant is cruelty free
- Many positive Drunk Elephant reviews
- High price point
What Are Some Alternatives to Drunk Elephant Skin Care?
There’s no need to compromise when it comes to finding skincare that’s effective and safe.
If you’re looking for effective skincare products that skip harmful toxins, one brand we recommend is Carrot & Stick.
Carrot & Stick is committed to creating plant-derived formulas that deliver extraordinary results without relying on toxic chemicals or standard preservatives.
Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare, perfectly balancing the gentle nurturing of plants with innovative science.
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Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013 Apr-Jun; 4(2): 143–146.