Some brands have a runaway hit product, the one that beauty editors and real people talk about in breathless tones. These products are described as being “holy grails” and “life changers.” Drunk Elephant is unusual for having more than one cult favorite product. Some of their super star items include the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, the Protini Polypeptide Cream and A-Passioni Retinol Cream. Thanks to all the buzz, Drunk Elephant was Sephora’s top growing brand in 2016, and is known for its clean approach to skincare. Here’s a closer look at Drunk Elephant, what it sells and is it worth a try? We’ll dive into its products, philosophy and customer reviews.
Why Is It Called Drunk Elephant?
The brand uses marula oil in many of its products, as it is high in fatty acids and antioxidants. Its 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.
What is Drunk Elephant?
Drunk Elephant is a clean skincare brand created by Masterson. She launched the brand in 2014 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 from Malaysia, which inspired her to take a deep dive into the world of skincare ingredients. This led 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 quickly built momentum and a loyal fan base after its launch. 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. Today Drunk Elephant includes a full collection of skincare products, including moisturizers, serums, cleansers, masks and sun protection.
What Is The Drunk Elephant Philosophy?
The brand takes a “clean clinical” approach to skincare. Put another way, “a product is only as good as its worst ingredient.” Drunk Elephant sums up its philosophy 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 ensure proper pH levels and safety, and using active ingredients at their optimal levels. One way the brand does this is by avoiding the “suspicious six.”
What is the “Suspicious Six”?
The brand’s list of “Suspicious 6” ingredients include essential oils, fragrance/dyes, silicones, sodium lauryl 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.
What Are The Drunk Elephant Best Sellers?
Drunk Elephant has multiple best selling products. The brand launched with marula oil, so it’s fitting that one of its signature best sellers is the Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil. The company describes this face oil as “rehab for your face.” It 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. The award-winning Beste No. 9 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. One of the brand’s most unique products is the D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops. It’s more than just a bronzer though. It protects the skin from damaging free radicals. One of the brand’s newest products is the E-Rase Milki Micellar Water. It’s formulated to give the face a deep clean, removing dirt, makeup and sweat. The cleanser contains vitamin E, ceramides and plant oil.
Hydration is the focus of the Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum. It’s designed for anyone with dry skin or those looking for a moisture boost. It’s packed with pro-vitamin B5 and pineapple ceramide along with a lentil/apple/watermelon complex. The cult favorite Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped 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. Fine lines around the eyes are no match for the Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum. Key ingredients include sea buckthorn oil, black tea ferment and copper peptides.
Here’s a breakdown of more Drunk Elephant best sellers.
Drunk Elephant A Passioni Retinol Cream
Wrinkles, fine lines and discoloration are the target of the Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream. This anti-aging cream is formulated with 1% vegan retinol to help soften the tell tale signs of aging. A blend of vitamin F as well as triple peptides round out the formula and help boost the benefits of retinol.
Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream
A tub of the Protini Polypeptide Cream is packed with anti-aging ingredients including signal peptides, growth factors, amino acids, and pygmy water lily. They work together to improve the look, tone, texture and firmness of the skin. The company describes it as “adding protein to your smoothie” and it can be applied in the day and at night. It pulls double duty by hydrating the face and tackling signs of aging.The Protini has scooped up awards from Harper‘s BAZAAR, Byrdie Beauty and Influenster.
Drunk Elephant C Firma Serum
The Drunk Elephant C Firma Day Serum is a high potency cocktail containing 15% l-ascorbic acid, 0.5% percent ferulic acid and 1%vitamin E to help brighten and hydrate skin. The serum also contains enzymes derived from pumpkin and pomegranate to loosen up any dead skin cells. Devoted C Firma fans love to post no makeup selfies tagging (and crediting) the serum, which scooped up a 2019 Allure Reader’s Choice Award.
Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
The Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum gently dissolves dead skin cells thanks to a mix of acids including tartaric, citric and salicylic acids along with raspberry extract. The exfoliating serum should be applied overnight, and the company suggests mixing it with a few drops of their Virgin Marula oil. It can also be used as a spot treatment.
Drunk Elephant C Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream
Drunk Elephant’s eye creams do a little of everything, from hydrating to combating the signs of aging. The C-Tango Multivitamin 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. It also contains eight types of peptides.
Drunk Elephant Babyfacial
One of the brand’s runaway hits is the T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial, which resurfaces the skin to reveal a smoother looking complexion. It contains a powerful 25% cocktail of AHAs, including glycolic, tartaric, lactic and citric acids along with 2% BHA (salicylic acid). Fans liken it to an at-home pro-level peel.
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). 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. The A-Passioni Retinol Cream is $74 and the Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide cream is $68.
Who Should Use Drunk Elephant Serums?
Drunk Elephant is well known for its powerhouse serums, but which one should you use? Just about everyone can benefit from using a serum – the key is finding the right one for your skin type and skin concerns. If brightening the look of skin and fading dark spots is a priority, try the C-Firma Day Serum. If your skin is in need of a deep exfoliation to reveal fresher, smoother looking skin, the T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum whisks away dead skin cells with a mix of AHA and BHAs. The B Hydra Intensive Hydration adds a moisture boost, while the D Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops pull double duty as a bronzer and antioxidant packed skin protector.
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 T.L.C 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). Vegan retinol 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?
Yes, Drunk Elephant is cruelty free.
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.
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 T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial in this way: “despite the hefty price tag, this formula is a facial in a bottle and it lasts a while.” A writer for the Zoe Report was “floored” by the Sukari Babyfacial. “A 20-minute at-home facial achieved what my entire skincare regime hadn’t before.” The Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped won Allure beauty awards for three consecutive years, and PopSugar recently called the new Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial Mask “my new go-to.”
While beauty editors certainly love Drunk Elephant, what do real people think? The Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer has over 273,000 “loves” on Sephora, and more than 4,000 reviewers gave it a 4 star rating out of 5. On Influenster it has more than 10,000 reviews, giving it a 4.4 of out of 5 star rating. 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.
On Influenster, the Sukari Babyfacial has a 4.6 out of 5 star rating from more than 4,000 reviews. Satisfied customers note “If you want smooth, clear skin this is a must have” and call it the “Best face mask out there.” Some call it a “holy grail” and love that they see results quickly; “There was a noticeable difference after just one use.” Others called it “Overpriced, overhyped product” while it was too strong for some users. Others found that it made no difference to their skin, writing “Huge disappointment for the price.”
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.