Drunk Elephant has been on my radar for well over a year now. Its colourful whimsical packaging and irreverent name does not take itself too seriously, and stands out against all the other brands trying to appear luxe and grown up. Skincare should be fun and easy to use, without us having to decipher complicated ingredient lists for fear of different products negating each other’s efficacy. The brand’s clean ethos combined with formulae that feature high concentrations of active ingredients make Drunk Elephant a strong contender for every skin-loving beautyjunkie. I was over the moon to finally be able to test out a representative selection of their skincare products recently, and 4 of them stood out the most.
The name Drunk Elephant is rooted in an old African myth about elephants who walk around drunkenly after eating fruit from Marula trees. Founder Tiffany Masterson is obsessed with Marula Oil as she believes that its high content of fatty acids and antioxidants make it superior to any other oil. Consequently, every item in the Drunk Elephant line contains Marula oil. Apart from the obvious anti-aging, skin softening and hydrating properties, Marula oil heals & protects the skin from a variety of ailments including eczema and acne!
Drunk Elephant products are formulated without toxins, controversial synthetics and chemicals known to cause internal disruptions. Furthermore, DE also avoids 6 ingredients that it believes to be the cause of most skin issue – essential oils, alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances/dyes, SLS. Most of these are probably not new to you, but I think many will find it surprising to see essential oils and chemical sunscreens on DE’s “Suspicious 6” list. I have long found these 2 to irritate my skin and cause tiny bumps to appear, if not red sensitive patches… so I was quite gratified to finally discover a brand that echoed my personal beliefs.
To create such an extensive range of products without so many ingredients common to the beauty industry truly takes dedication. You have to keep that in mind when exploring Drunk Elephant. It is not easy to create a cream that is lightweight and smooth without silicones; and without the use of essential oils and fragrances products may sometimes smell off-putting at first. In the extreme, I had to put the C-Firma Day Serum away after 2 applications because the scent was so overpowering I felt like I had dunked my face in orange concentrate even 10 minutes afterwards. I probably would not have felt quite so disappointed in Lala Retro Whipped Cream if the name had not conjured up images of souffles when in reality the texture it was more like heavy cream. In spite of this, 4 products managed to impress me not just by first impressions but by their results.
The star of the show is of course the Virgin Marula Oil that is used throughout the line. I have tried many oils in the past, but none have felt as lightweight and silky as this! Drunk Elephant uses a proprietary raw, cold-press extraction and filtration process, resulting in the purest and most concentrated form of the oil. It is high in vitamin E, tochotrienol, antioxidant polyphenols, and omegas 6 and 9; all of which helps to moisturize, rejuvenate and nourish skin while restoring a youthful glow.
Next at the top of my list is the T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum. This is a power-packed serum filled with AHA/BHA blend of glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric and salicylic acids to exfoliate and resurface the skin. It has a light watery texture that sinks into the skin easily without stinging, thanks to soothing plant extracts. Full list of ingredients may be found here. My skin tends to be hyper sensitive towards acids in general, so I was really surprised to find my skin looking clearer and more even-toned the next morning without any redness, even my acne bumps were looking smaller and my skin smoother!
Drunk Elephant’s A-Passioni Retinol Cream has one of the highest concentrations of retinol found in a non-prescription product. It is sensibly balanced with a trio of peptides to firm and strengthen skin, and a blend of Vitamin F and natural plant oils to replenish essential lipids and moisture. There are also antioxidants to help skin defend against environmental stressors. Full list of ingredients may be found here. I like adding a pea-sized amount to 3 drops of Virgin Marula Oil, and applying after cleanser and toner. Even though it is recommended to first start with 2 applications a week, I was able to quickly scale this up as my skin loved it so much and I did not suffer from any sensitivity!
It may seem odd to pick a cleanser as one of my faves out of so many exciting offerings, but Drunk Elephant’s Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser really did impress me. I am always on the lookout for a cleanser that can remove makeup and cleanse without stripping my skin nor leaving an oily film, and this one managed to do that excellently. The watery gel texture does not lather much, yet it removes every trace of makeup well, even dissolving my water-proof mascara! It is pretty much odorless which is great, and leaves my skin feeling clean and nourished at the same time.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with Drunk Elephant’s range of well formulated offerings! The cute packaging and marketing spin combined with a mid-range accessible price point make this brand a strong contender to any other clean beauty line out there. As with any skincare ranges, there will invariably be hits and misses, but it all depends on your skin. I find it cool that Drunk Elephant has packaged some of their products with mini sizes of complementary items so you can try them out before committing to the full size. For me, I am hooked and can’t wait to explore more from the brand!
This post featured products that were generously provided for my consideration. Regardless, all opinions expressed here are my own honest, unbiased views.