If there was a brand of 2018 for me it was Drunk Elephant. Obsessed. Like literally. Said like a Kardashian for impact. So here it is. A Drunk Elephant Brand Review.
I recently spent a good three weeks or so using Drunk Elephant *almost* exclusively (EDIT- not so recent now by the time this article is actually published, but hey, it happened and it was half written so now I’m just filing in in the blanks) You’ll see why it was only *almost exclusively* further down. And you know what happened? I had great skin. Zero complaints. I will preface this by saying, I don’t have any major skin concerns besides ageing in general and surface redness. I rarely get a breakout and if I do, it’s just an hormonal spot and will shrink to oblivion as quickly as it popped up – if I leave it alone. I try my very hardest to not pick at anything on my face unless absolutely necessary. But by god I want to squeeze those suckers. Is there any greater satisfaction than a spot popped right? Ok, tangents… Back to the program.
After my little exclusive Drunk Elephant skincare experiment? I’ve discovered some cannot live without products and quite possibly one of the best…. Oooh actually I’ll save that part for the review. Cheeky hey?
As with all brands, there’s some stars products (in my opinion there’s quite a few) and also a few that you can skip without the FOMO. Obviously this is just all my own opinions, you may love something that I think is meh, but hey, that’s what it’s all about right?! If we all loved the same thing what a boring world it would be. Not to mention how bare bones Sephora would look.
Also I’d just like to preface this by saying that this post is in no way a comprehensive review of the entire Drunk Elephant line. The aim of this post is to give an outline of what each product is supposed to do and my personal experience and thoughts about each one.
Where to start? The good, the bad or the meh? I think I’ll mix it up.
B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel
What is it? In short, B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel is a hydrating serum (with a few bells and whistles). You can apply under your moisturizer as is traditional for a hydrating serum or you can “cocktail” your Drunk Elephant goodies for a custom experience (end of article will explain cocktailing in more depth).
My Thoughts – I know I just said I didn’t want to start on a negative, but alphabetical order has failed me. To be fair, I didn’t have this during my little experiment. I have tried it in the past and also after my little DE exclusive period. I have been left to wonder if it may have performed more optimally when paired with the rest of the elephants, but brutal honesty? I wasn’t going to spend money on something again I’d already bought in the past that didn’t tickle my fancy first time around. I think if your skin is mildly dehydrated and normal/combo/oily you may find this completely suitable for your needs.
I have noticed that DE has reformulated this recently. There’s a chance I may need to revisit. Let’s chat about this again after that.
Protini Polypeptide Cream
What is is? Protini is a peptide infused lightweight moisturiser aimed at all skin types. Helps with tone, texture and firmness.
My Thoughts – Could this actually be one of the most perfect products I’ve ever put on my face? Why yes, I think this could. Can’t get enough of this cream. In summer I can use over top of serums and sometimes a light oil over top but come winter I layer this under a heavier moisturiser and put this in my routine as a serum. I am all about a peptide product and this does not disappoint. Oh, it also does wonders for reducing redness and soothing irritation.
C-Firma Day Serum
What is it? C-Firma is an intense vitamin C antioxidant serum. Aimed at brightening and protecting against environmental damage.
My Thoughts – I can take or leave this one. When I first tried this I hadn’t tried too may vitamin c products so I didn’t really have any reference for comparison. At the time I really enjoyed it. Since I have found others I prefer. Does this make it bad? No, not at all. I have a few travel sizes and will definitely use them up and wouldn’t rule out a repurchase. The texture is where I’ve now experienced better. This serum is quite oily and sometimes I don’t want that during the day you know? I also find it harder to layer over the top (the old Vitamin C should be closer to bare skin and layer over top story…). As for results? This has them in the bag!
A-Passioni Retinol Cream
What is it? 1% retinol. A-Passioni improves lines, wrinkles, sun damage – basically retinol can turn back the hands of time.
My Thoughts – There are so many conflicting reviews online about this one. My experience? I love it. I do not experience mass amounts of peeling or flaky skin, the big inclusion on niacinamide calms my skin – so thats likely counteracting any irritation on my face. I use a pea-ish size amount over my face 3 times a week or so – max every second night. In a short space of time my skin felt smoother, brighter and in general just pretty happy.
TLC Famboos Glycolic Night Serum
What is it? TLC Framboos is an exfoliating serum treatment. Despite only glycolic being named in the title it’s actually an AHA/BHA blend and includes glycolic, lactic, salicylic, tartaric and citric acids.
My Thoughts – Another winner for me. This stuff is not for beginners. It’s fairly strong at a 12% acid blend and let me tell you, it acts like it. Overnight skin texture is better (much better!) and because of the added BHA you will notice results in terms of spots and blackheads. For me this is not a nightly treatment – I prefer to use this no more than once a week.
TLC Sukari Baby Facial
What is it? The Mac Daddy of at home exfoliating treatments. Again Baby Facial mixes AHA/BHA but this time at a whopping 25% AHA and 2% BHA. So strong that we actually can’t buy it here in Australia and I believe Europe also.
My Thoughts – Oh yes, I have thoughts, because even though I can’t buy it here I am crafty and had a friend send one to me. This is not for the faint of heart. Nor if you have reactive skin. My skin can be sensitive/reactive to particular things but generally I am ok with acids (especially ones in a formula such as DE with no alcohols/fragrance). You want Baby Skin? You got it babe. Serving up the smoothest skin imaginable. You won’t believe your eyes.
C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream
What is it? Eye cream infused with 5 vitamin c variants, 8 peptides and cucumber extract. C-Tango results claim to strengthen and brighten the skin around the eye.
My Thoughts – This is a brilliant eye cream. It is hydrating enough without feeling heavy but still sits under makeup beautifully as well as being perfect for nighttime use. Softens fine lines in the eye area and makes tired eyes more awake and bright. Will it actually erase proper dark circles? Likely not, but that isn’t a concern that I have so I can’t really speak to it.
Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser
What is it? Gel or Jelly as Drunk Elephant call it. Free from SLS (harsh on skin cleansing agent) and is supposedly non drying or irritating. Beste claims to remove makeup and all surface dirt and grime from skin.
My Thoughts – Let’s not beat around the bush – I am not the Beste’s BFF. I find it to be an okaaaay gel cleanser. I wouldn’t be removing makeup with it, there’s so many other better non-DE options for that (but just quietly there looks to be a upcoming release that is a BALM CLEANSER from DE. Yes, you heard that right – Slaai Makeup Melting Butter Cleanser) so just wait for that! Back to Beste now – Personally I find it a little drying, like my skin has that tight uncomfortable feeling after use. I understand there’s no harsh surfactants in the formula but it still gives me that too squeaky clean feeling and it’s not for me. This is part of the reason why my little DE Exclusive time didn’t include cleansers. The Drunk Elephant cleansers just unfortunately don’t do it for me.
Virgin Marula Luxury Oil
What is it? Pure cold pressed Marula oil. Absolutely nothing added. Virgin Marula Luxury Oil is packed with antioxidants, vitamin E, Omegas 6 & 9 and flavonoids. Deeply moisturising, calming and nourishing.
My Thoughts – This oil is perfection for my normal/dry complexion. Free from essential oils, which can irritate this oil is absolutely pure joy to use. If you are so inclined it mixes well into all DE products (the brand likes to cocktail ingredients for a personalised approach if you wish to). It is expensive no doubt, but DE source ethically and only the highest quality ingredients to differentiate from its lower priced competitors.
Lala Retro Whipped Cream
What is it? Deeply nourishing and comforting thicker cream for those with dull, tired dehydrated skin. Lala Retro blends 6 rare African oils (marula, baobab, mongongo, kalahari melon, ximenia, passionfruit) which all have their own benefits in terms of delivering things such as vitamin c, antioxidants, omegas, fatty acids etc and theres also green tea, sodium hyaluronate cross polymer (smaller molecular weight than hyaluronic acid so in essence can penetrate deeper) and plantain extract for its brightening properties.
My Thoughts – This is a dream cream. Come the colder months and I reach for this without thinking. It is so soothing and replenishing, especially on drier skins, but has the unusual benefit of feeling light on the skin. Don’t get me wrong, this cream is thick out of the pump but once applied to face and absorbed you will marvel at how un-heavy it truly feels. It is not going to have quite the numerous anti-aging effects as Protini, but they work brilliantly together for a best of both worlds experience.
D-Bronzi Anti Pollution Sunshine Drops
What is it? D-Bronzi has a serum-like light texture that gives a bronzed glow to the skin. Beneficial ingredients include marula, omegas, antioxidants, fatty acids and peptides.
My Thoughts – D-Bronzi is such a cool concept. It’s very multi-use – you can mix into any other product to give you skin a little JLO glow plus the added benefits of the ingredients. I have used in this way many times and I always look much more alive and fresh. My favourite way, however, is using D-Bronzi as a liquid bronzer. I can’t be too heavy-handed with it or I look ridiculous, just a touch over the cheeks and forehead and wherever else I feel like glowing a little. If I just have SPF or a sheer tinted moisturiser I apply D-Bronzi with a brush or even fingers to blend. I like the idea that even though I am using kind of as a makeup thing its still greatly benefiting my skin. I mean, thats a good thing right?!
Umbre Sheer and Umbre Tinte
My Thoughts – Right. So I have used both of these and I find both perfectly adequate. I prefer the Tinte version as the Sheer is a little more difficult to blend in (yes, it will leave a white cast – there are other zinc formulas that perform better but equally a lot of them perform a whole lot worse). Both are sunscreens that I definitely feel on my face. Probably not your best option if your complexion falls in the oily/combo realm. These are not must-haves for me. But I don’t dislike them either.
Juju and Pekee Cleansing bars
My Thoughts – I haven’t tried either and I’m not super keen on the idea of a bar of soap to wash my face. Yeah, yeah I know DE don’t use harsh surfactants in their cleansers and they are supposedly nourishing and stuff but it’s a head thing. Like I cannot wrap my brain around using a bar cleanser. No thank you Pekee and Juju.
Lippe Balm and Shaba Eye Complex
The Drunk Elephant Experience – About the Brand, Ethos, Public Perception, Dramas.
So, how much time do you have? Never have I encountered a brand that has so many die-hard devotees versus the anti-drunk brigade. You seriously have to pick a side. And someone on Instagram will argue to the death with you (slight exaggeration) if you disagree with them whichever side of the fence you guys are arguing over.
So what makes Drunk Elephant so loved, yet so loathed? I personally find their marketing a little hard to swallow at times. It comes across very Holier than Thou at times and the social media team as well as founder Tiffany Masterson herself, while incredibly passionate, are either are misconstrued in the message they are delivering or at times can’t see that another opinion (or scientific study) could be correct or at least a possibility.
You can’t knock their passion for their product nor their steadfast devotion to their philosophies.
Quick rundown of the Suspicious Six – Essential Oils, Silicones, Drying Alcohols, Chemical Screens (SPF), Fragrance/Dyes and SLS.
The brand is founded and based around the philosophy of the Suspicious Six. These six ingredients they believe either cause harm or have the potential to cause harm to the skin. So they don’t formulate with them. This isn’t a new concept, there are loads of brand that have their own ingredient black-list but perhaps are just a lot less vocal about it.
My opinion in regard to formulating with out these ingredients? Brilliant. I have come to really appreciate (my skin does too!) skincare products without some or all of these six. But are these six ingredients the root of everyones skin problems? No. Is some cases yes but not all. I can use and tolerate all of these (exception being SLS – I totally avoid) but I know my skin and in higher dosages EO’s, Alcohol and Fragrance do upset my skin and I appreciate formulas I can purchase without (or with very small amounts) them. Silicones do no harm to my skin and my understanding of the scientific studies seem to conclude that the can be a good thing for the skin. Personally I just don’t love the texture, so again, I appreciate a product formulated without it. As for chemical screens, I do use them but my preference is with physical filters.
Look we could go on all day about Drunk Elephant and break down incidents that have occurred and who said what. There’s rights and wrongs on both sides. At the end of the day, if you like the products and are happy to support the brand. If you don’t, then don’t buy it.
Drunk Elephant has produced some of my all time greatest skincare loves and must-haves so I will continue to use, love and purchase the brand.
Some of the items in this post have been gifted via PR. My experiences with Drunk Elephant began long before I ever received a PR gift from them. As always my experiences and words are my own.