Drunk Elephant Review - The Dermatology Review

Drunk Elephant Review

Skin Care Reviews


“Clean” is one of the biggest buzzwords around. It applies to everything from eating to beauty, and household products. But what exactly does clean beauty mean? While there is no formal, singular definition, clean beauty generally means products which are free from fragrance, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, silicones and chemical sunscreens or anything that may be deemed harmful to consumers. One of the biggest and buzziest newcomers in the clean beauty space is Drunk Elephant. Here’s a closer look at the brand, what it sells and should you try Drunk Elephant products?

What Is Drunk Elephant Skincare?

Drunk Elephant is the brainchild of Tiffany Masterson. She launched the brand in 2014 with the philosophy that “a product is only as good as its worst ingredient.” She was inspired to launch Drunk Elephant after her own battles with issues such as rosacea, enlarged pores, acne and combination skin. As she describes on the company website, “Nothing ever really worked and if it did, it wasn’t for long.”

Masterson entered the beauty industry when she started to sell an imported cleansing bar, which inspired her to take a deep dive into the world of skincare ingredients. This lead her to identify the six skincare ingredients which she felt were responsible for her problematic skin. Today she calls them the “Suspicious Six” (more on that later).

Drunk Elephant debuted in 2014 and quickly built momentum and a loyal fan base. According to WWD, by 2016 Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial was the best-selling skin-care product on Sephora.com within a week of its launch in 2017, and was named Sephora’s top-growing skincare brand the same year. Today Drunk Elephant includes a full collection of skincare products, such as moisturizers, serums, cleansers, masks and sun protection.

What Is the Concept Behind Drunk Elephant?

The brand’s philosophy is “clean clinical” skincare. The company sums it up this way. 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. Ingredients are based on their biocompatibility, rather than choosing them based on whether they are synthetic or natural. Another key cornerstone of the Drunk Elephant philosophy is to ensuring proper pH levels and safety, and using active ingredients at their optimal levels.

What Is the “Suspicious Six”?

The brand’s list of “Suspicious 6” ingredients include essential oils, fragrance/dyes, silicones, sodium laurel sulfate, chemical sunscreens and drying alcohols. Drunk Elephant believes that these six ingredients are behind every skin issue and when they are eliminated from beauty routine (which they called “a clean break”), skin can reset and return to a healthy, balanced state.

Where Does the Name “Drunk Elephant” Come From?

Marula oil, from the African marula tree, was a key ingredient in one of the company’s first products, a moisturizer. The name is based on the urban legend that elephants who eat fermented marula fruit become drunk.

What Does Drunk Elephant Sell?

Drunk Elephant includes cleansers, moisturizers, serums and masks. Here’s a closer look at some of its best-selling products.

Drunk Elephant Serum
Drunk Elephant C Firma Day Serum – This high potency cocktail contains 15 percent l-ascorbic acid, one-half percent ferulic acid and one percent vitamin E to help brighten and hydrate skin.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum – Skin exfoliating acids including tactic, tartaric, citric and salicylic acids along with raspberry extract work together to gently dissolve dead skin cells, revealing fresher looking and smoother skin. The serum should be applied at night.

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum – Formulated for anyone with dry skin or looking for a moisture boost, this serum is packed with pro-vitamin B5 and pineapple ceramide along with a lentil/apple/watermelon complex.

Drunk Elephant Eye Cream
C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream – This soothing eye cream can be used twice daily, and is designed to moisturize the eye area and brighten it thanks to cucumber extract and five forms of vitamin C.

Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum – Apply this eye cream twice a day to help fight the signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. Key ingredients include sea buckthorn oil, black tea ferment and copper peptides.

Drunk Elephant Mask & Treatments
Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial – The Babyfacial helps to exfoliate the skin and improve texture with a blend of AHA/BHA – including 25% AHA while matcha tea, apple fruit and milk thistle help soothe the skin.

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream – 1% vegan retinol is the key ingredient in this anti-aging night cream, which is designed to help minimize the look of fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration.

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops – This bronzer has the added benefit of protecting the skin from damaging free radicals. Just add a drop or two to a serum or moisturizer for a sun-kissed glow.

Drunk Elephant Creams
Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped – This cult favorite cream has a whipped texture that glides on but packs a hydrating punch thanks to six types of African oils and plant ceramide complex, along with hyaluronic acid.
Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide – Drunk Elephant says the best way to describe this product is that it is the beauty equivalent of a protein shot in a smoothie. Loaded with proteins and peptides, this cream can be applied in the day and at night and helps hydrate the face and tackle signs of aging.

Drunk Elephant Moisturizers
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil – Drunk Elephant describes this face oil as “rehab for your face.” The face oil contains only 100% marula kernel oil and can be applied directly to the face, neck, chest, hands and under the eyes, or added to creams for an added dose of moisture.

Drunk Elephant Sunscreen
Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 – This daily sunscreen goes on sheer, without any whiteness or residue and contains antioxidants as well as hydrating ingredients like marula oil.

Drunk Elephant Cleansers
Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser – An award winner, this jelly cleanser lathers up with a little water and whisks away dirt and makeup without stripping the skin thanks to hydrating virgin marula oil, glycerin and cantaloupe seed extract.

Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser – This cleansing balm turns from an oil to a milk when activated with water. Key ingredients include fruit extracts and hydrating oils like marula and baobob seed oil.

How Much Are Drunk Elephant Products?

Drunk Elephant products have a midrange price point, and are all under $100, such as the Lala Retro Whipped Cream ($60), B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum ($52) and D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops ($36). Both the Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser and the Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 retail for $34. Some of the priciest products in the collection are the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial ($80), and the T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum which retails for $90.00

What Ingredients Are in Drunk Elephant Products?

Many of the brand’s products are formulated with no-nonsense skincare ingredients such as AHAs, BHAs, peptides, and nourishing plant and fruit derived oils. Exfoliating glycolic acid is the key ingredient in the Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, and the Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial contains a cocktail of acids including glycolic plus tartaric, lactic, citric and salicylic acids. Peptides are found in Drunk Elephant’s Day Serum along with skin brightening vitamin C. The Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser contains multiple types of fruit oils (marula, cranberry seed, acai and watermelon). Retinol, a gold standard wrinkle fighter, is the key ingredient in A-Passioni Retinol Cream along with antioxidants like kale leaf extract and vitamin F, a fatty acid.

Where Are Drunk Elephant Products Sold?

Drunk Elephant is sold at Sephora, on its own website and online retailers including the Dermstore.com and Amazon.

Is Drunk Elephant Cruelty Free?

The company says that it does not test on animals.

Does Drunk Elephant Work?

When trying to determine if a product works and may be right for you, remember that beauty doesn’t have a one size fits all approach. One person’s miracle product could do absolutely nothing for someone else, so a little trial and error is always involved when testing new products – and looking into reviews.

The 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. The Drunk Elephant C Firma Day Serum won an Allure Best of Beauty Award in 2018, and a Reader’s Choice Award in 2019. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum has received accolades from Shape, Real Simple, Stylecaster and New Beauty. Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped won Allure beauty awards for three consecutive years.

Customer feedback is largely positive. The Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer has over 162,000 “loves” on Sephora, and more than 2,000 reviewers gave it a 4.1 star rating out of 5. Users said the cream was “Everything I’ve ever hoped for” and “this is the one.” Those who didn’t love it had negative reactions to the cream, such as a rash or breakouts. One customer said her face felt “suffocated.”

The cult favorite C-Firma™ Vitamin C Day Serum has over 155,000 Sephora “loves” and a 4 out of 5 star rating. Fans say the serum is “pricey but worth it” and “can’t live without it.” Customers who weren’t fans said the serum was too sticky, didn’t do anything for them, or caused a breakout.

What Are Some Alternatives to the Drunk Elephant?

Drunk Elephant may not be the right choice for everyone, in terms of the price point or how it reacts with your skin. If you’re looking for a well-rounded skincare line, there are a few other brands to consider.

Formulyst’s philosophy is long-term and effective skincare. The brand wants to help its customers achieve their best looking skin, rather than covering it up with makeup. The comprehensive line of products focuses on everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. Formulyst’s Pro-Collagen Serum contains a highly concentrated mix of peptides and proteins, derived from seaweed, wheat and soy, to help address the signs of aging. Or reach for wrinkle busting retinol, a vitamin A derivative. This is the star ingredient in Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Night Cream. What makes this formula different is that it contains a high dose of retinol but it’s also packed with ultra-soothing and hydrating safflower seed oil and jojoba to lock moisture in and soothe the skin.

If you like the simplicity of a skincare kit, consider Advanced Dermatology. This no nonsense brand offers a pared down approach to skincare. The packaging is simple and streamlined, and the products bring skincare back to the basics. The kit contains just six essential items including a daily cleanser; serum; anti-wrinkle firming treatment; night cream; day cream and an eye cream. In other words, everything you need to achieve your best possible looking skin.




The philosophy of Formulyst is long-term and effective skincare, rather than covering up any imperfections. The comprehensive line of products tackles everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. While some brands rely on unnecessary fillers and scents, Formulyst focuses on ingredients that help create results, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Many of the Formulyst’s products harness the power of plant and citrus extracts as well as gold-standard workhorses such as retinol. Read More

Advanced Dermatology

The Advanced Dermatology skin care regimen addresses the most pressing aging concerns. It can be used by men and women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. This award-winning system can help diminish wrinkle appearance, reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation, fade away redness, even out skin tone and improve the appearance of eye bags and dark circles. Some of the standout products in this line include the Super Youth Serum, Complete Age Defense and Anti-Wrinkle Firming Night Treatment. Read More

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream Review

What is Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream? Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream is a protein moisturizer that combines an array of signal peptides, growth factors, and supportive amino acids. It is said to provide visible and immediate improvement in the appearance of skin’s tone, texture, and firmness. This moisturizer also...

Drunk Elephant Marula Oil Review

The Drunk Elephant Marula Oil was one of the first products to be released from the cult favorite brand, and has consistently remained a cornerstone of their approach to skincare. This product embodies simplicity at its finest, as it only contains 1 ingredient: pure, cold-pressed and unrefined marula oil. Marula oil is created using the pip of the marula fruit. This luxurious, emollient oil softens and smooths the skin upon application. But the really unique compound of this oil in particular in comparison to other nutrient rich ingredients is its polyphenol content. Polyphenols or the compounds with antioxidants are hugely important for maintaining the health of your skin and preventing skin damage from accumulating. Marula oil has a greater concentration of polyphenols that dark chocolate, green tea or black tea, making this product an excellent option for tackling pollution and free radical damage.


Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Review

There are few brands that have as much hype surrounding their products than Drunk Elephant. As a champion for transparent, safe and effective formulations, Drunk Elephant has been creating products that offer benefit to the skin without any drawbacks. One of their home run products has been the Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte. This sunscreen offers the best of both worlds with sensitive skin friendly physical filters that offer a great SPF factor of 30, along with a flattering tint that eliminates any whitecast. In addition to these two factors, the formula behind this product is loaded with skin loving ingredients including astaxanthin, grape juice, sunflower shoot extract, raspberry seed oil and marula oil. Each of these ingredients contribute different nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants designed to nourish and reinforce your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Because of this, this product would be great for those of you who are looking for an everyday sunscreen to prevent all forms of environmental damage.


Drunk Elephant Night Bright Review

If you’ve been thinking about trying out Drunk Elephant skincare, but are pretty intimidated by their price tag, you make want to check out one or two of their mini sets. These sweet and super useful sets feature a combination of products in cute mini sizes that allow you to try out the products and see how they work for your skin before going out to buy the full size. One of the easiest sets to start out with if you’re brand new to the brand is the Drunk Elephant Night Bright Set. This duo contains two of Drunk Elephant’s most well known and well loved products, including the T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum and the Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil. The T.L.C. gel contains AHA’s and BHA’s to gently but effectively resurface dull or congested skin, while the Marula Oil works to deliver key nutrients and antioxidants to the skin while simultaneously nourishing and protecting the skin’s moisture barrier. Together, these two products help to bring your skin into balance between treating and calming, so you can see all of the progress without any of the backlash.


Drunk Elephant Inspector Drunk Review

Drunk elephant has been without a doubt, one of the most talked about brands in the last few years. But with a more luxurious price point, it can be hard to go out and purchase a full sized product without knowing if it’s going to work for your skin or not. Because of this, the brand has been steadily released mini sets and sets of their products like the Drunk Elephant Inspector Drunk Set. These sets contain a few of their most highly reviewed and rated products in cute mini sizes for you to try out so that when it comes to buying a full size, you know exactly what you want. The Drunk Elephant Inspector Drunk set contains the Beste No 9 Jelly Cleanser, the B Hydra Intensive Gel, the TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, the C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream and the Lala Retro Whipped Night Cream. With these 5 products, you’ll have a complete routine that is suitable for day and night use. The brand also encourages you to play around with their products and create cocktails of one or two products in order to create the combinations that work best for you. For example, if you’re feeling extra dehydrated, you may want to create a cocktail of two products like the B Hydra Intensive Gel and the Lala Retro Whipped Night Cream in order to really seal in that moisture and hydration.

Drunk Elephant Slaai Cleanser

Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser is a cleansing balm that is said to melt all traces of dirt, makeup, and sunscreen from skin, even water-resistant formulations. It is gentle enough to be used around the eye area and is free of PEGs, fragrance, silicones, and essential oils. It must be applied to a dry face with dry hands to begin melting impurities away. Adding water activates Slaai™ into a milk that rinses away cleanly, leaving behind a dewy glow. One of the key components of the Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser is the “nourishing fruit salad blend”, which is 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) that work together to help comfort and moisturize the skin.

Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser also contains a nourishing African oil blend of baobab, marula, kalahari melon, mongongo, and ximenia oil. Baobab seed oil is a super-penetrating oil that helps to dissolve makeup and other impurities due to its high fatty acid content. It also softens and moisturizes the skin. Marula seed oil is rich in antioxidants and omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids that protect and replenish the skin. Kalahari melon seed oil is a lightweight oil that soothes while moisturizing and restoring elasticity. Mongongo oil has a fatty acid profile as rich as coconut oil that protects the vital lipids in skin as it melts dirt and other impurities from skin. Lastly, ximenia oil is rich in the antioxidant vitamin C and is very nourishing and moisturizing.


Drunk Elephant B Hydra Review

There are few brands that have as much hype behind them as Drunk Elephant. But one of their lesser talked about, but still incredibly well formulated products is the Drunk Elephant B Hydra. This lightweight gel acts as both a hydrating serum and ultra-lightweight moisturizer, depending on your needs and skin type. The entire Drunk Elephant range has been designed to encourage users to play with their skincare and cocktail the ideal combination of products that best suits their skin. Because of this, the B Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum was formulated to work well with all of the other serums and moisturizers in the Drunk Elephant range. The formula behind this product including provitam B, pineapple ceramide and hyaluronic acid, all of which attract and hold moisture and hydration to the skin while simultaneously improving barrier function. Because of this, we would recommend tailoring and tweaking this product to fit your needs. For example, for those with very oily skin, you may find that a more active-focused serum plus the B Hydra gives you the perfect amount of lightweight hydration. On the other end of the spectrum, those with ultra dry skin may find that this product offers the boost of moisture and hydration that their skin is missing, even with a rich moisturizer in the winter months.


Drunk Elephant The Littles Review

If you’re looking to try all the a brand has to offer, starting out with one of their starter sets is one of the easiest and most cost effective methods out there, even for more luxury or premium skincare brands. One of the most popular sets on the market today is the Drunk Elephant The Littles collection. This small pouch contains all of the most well loved products from the Drunk Elephant range including the Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser, the C-Firma Day Serum, the B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum, the T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, the Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, the Lala Retro Whipped Cream, the Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 and the Shaba Complex Eye Serum, all in converient, easy to use travel sizes. This product can be mixed and matched and combined together to create a tailored daytime and nighttime skin care routine based on your central skincare concerns. For example, if you may concern is brightening and radiance boosting, you could try the C-Firma Day Serum as part of your morning routine and the T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum.

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

Staying safe with skin care isn’t always a first priority, but with the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, it’s so much easier than you think! Whether we realize it or not, the effects of every day life can really show in our skin. From simple stresses to harmful environments, our skin shows it all. It’s not always easy to remember to stay protected and especially not at certain times of the year. On warmer days or when living in a warmer climate, it’s much easier to remember to protect the skin and keep it away from harmful UV rays. But it isn’t just the sun that can be detrimental to our skin.


Drunk Elephant Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

Sometimes, the key to achieving an effective skin care routine is through supercharged rest – that certainly is the case with Drunk Elephant’s Framboos Glycolic Night Serum. Longing for radiance is a common skin care goal. Radiant skin often equals healthy skin, so there’s no surprise that many of the world’s women are in search of the perfect products on their journey to radiance. But it isn’t always the products that are the answer, sometimes the problem is the cause. The key to healthy and radiant skin can often be hindered by lifestyle choices and not just the skin’s genetic makeup. The way the skin is treated and exposed to the elements can really get in the way, making dead skin cells and blocked pores way more problematic than they need to be.

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream Review

One of the most highly anticipated launches has been the Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream. This product offers one of the strongest percentages of retinol that’s available over the counter. This 1% retinol also includes a hefty dose of niacinamide and peptides, both of which help to address a variety of skincare concerns including enlarged pores, fine lines and wrinkles and even hyperpigmentation. Additionally, unlike some other retinol based products, the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream contains a number of deeply hydrating and nourishing ingredients. Although retinol has long been considered the gold standard in anti-aging skincare, it does have a few drawbacks, including increased dryness and sensitivity. The formula behind this product works to effectively relieve that dryness and minimizing the less desirable side effects.


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