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There’s perhaps no greater success story in the skincare world than that of Drunk Elephant. Founder and chief creative officer Tiffany Masterson first began the journey when she was looking for an extra way to make money during the recession. She quickly realized just how products can impact your skin, and after several years spent formulating and researching, Drunk Elephant was born.
It quickly became one of the fastest-growing masstige beauty brands out there, not to mention one owned by a female and one focused on clean formulations. The products are all free of what the brand deems ‘the suspicious six:' silicones, essential oils, chemical sunscreens, SLS, alcohols, and fragrances/dyes, ingredients that can cause skin issues for many people, notes New York City dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman, who likes the brand. Still, they take a slightly different approach, calling it ‘clean clinical’ skincare and using both natural and synthetic ingredients with a focus on efficacy and what actually benefits your skin. Beauty editors and consumers alike quickly became obsessed, and the beauty industry took note. It’s a success story that largely hinges upon one thing: The products are truly, genuinely, really good.
Find out for yourself by getting your hands (and skin and hair) on the best Drunk Elephant products.
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil
This is one of the first products DE launched. It's also inspired the brand’s memorable name (when African elephants eat the fruit from marula trees they do in fact appear to be drunk). Completely pure, raw, and cold-pressed, this skin-loving oil is an excellent source of protective antioxidants, not to mention ultra fast-absorbing. Case in point: One Byrdie editor claims it’s her ultimate secret for extremely glowy skin. Dr. Jaliman calls out this product, too, lauding it for being moisturizing yet light and for helping to fight free radical damage.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
This is yet another must-try staple. True to its name, the mask leaves your skin, well, baby-soft. It’s a two-step process; first comes the mask, which touts a 25% concentration of various alpha-hydroxy acids plus 2% beta-hydroxy acids. It sounds intense, we know, especially if you have sensitive skin that freaks out at even the mention of the word acid. But because it’s formulated at the right pH and buffered with plenty of soothing ingredients, even the sensitive set can reap the smoothing, radiance-boosting benefits without any irritation. Step two: The aforementioned marula oil for a final hit of hydration.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
Think of Babyfacial as your weekly deep clean, and this nighttime serum as your daily tidying-up. It also uses a power combo of AHAs and BHAs for effective-yet-gentle chemical exfoliation that can target pretty much all of your complexion concerns, from dullness to dark spots (and everything in between). “The AHAs and BHAs help decongest your skin, and this serum is a good way to achieve a smoother and more even complexion,” says Jaliman, who also likes that it contains additional soothing plant extracts.
Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream
A 2019 Byrdie Skincare Award winner, this nabbed the prize for the best moisturizer for dry skin. One editor calls it, ‘the moisturizer I recommend to everyone,’ thanks to the combo of peptides and proteins that improve both the look and feel of your skin. It’s also a must-have for Byrdie Editor Holly Rhue, who attributes it for addressing her dryness, breakout, and anti-aging concerns. We also love the fact that it comes in an airtight pump jar that eliminates the need for you to stick grimy fingers into the container.
Drunk Elephant Protini Powerpeptide Resurfacing Serum
If you love the above moisturizer, you have to get your hands on the brand’s latest launch. Ultra-concentrated, it touts 11 (versus the cream’s nine) signal peptides, growth factors, and amino acids for some serious youth-boosting effects. Noteworthy: It’s the brand’s first product where lactic acid is the superstar, namely in a 10% concentration that helps improve the texture and tone of the skin.
Drunk Elephant Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser
There are good face washes and then there are good face washes. This most definitely falls into the latter category, hitting the exact right balance of being strong enough to completely remove makeup and the day’s gunk and grime, while still being gentle and hydrating enough to not strip the skin. It’s creamy and bouncy, and rinses off completely clean, too.
What Our Testers Say
"My immediate impression of the Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser is that it got the job done—my skin felt clean, and it didn’t interact poorly with other products. Two or so weeks later, that sentiment holds up." — Nicole Kliest, Product Tester
Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30
With completely mineral-based, broad-spectrum sun protection this gets the essential sun blocking job done. But it doesn’t stop there. It also touts a long list of potent antioxidants to act as a second line of defense. And unlike so many mineral formulas, it goes on silky and sheer without leaving behind a tell-tale chalky cast. It’s why we called it our favorite zinc oxide sunscreen for dark skin tones. Though FYI, there’s also a tinted variant for those who prefer some coverage with their SPF.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Vitamin C Day Serum
Ask a group of beauty editors what their favorite Drunk Elephant product is and we’re willing to bet this comes in top. (It’s also a Byrdie pick for best vitamin C serum for sensitive skin.) An all-around awesome antioxidant serum, it pairs vitamin C with ferulic acid, two antioxidants known for their synergistic benefits. It also has a reservoir effect, meaning it continues to work for up to 72 hours… yes, even if you wash your face.
What Our Testers Say
"C-Firma Fresh is clear with a slightly amber tone, which instantly gives some warmth and luminosity to my skin." — Holly Rhue, Product Tester
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it—retinol is the absolute best, most proven anti-aging ingredient out there. Everyone and their mother would be using it… if not for the notorious side effects that can be a mega deterrent. Enter this formulation, which uses 1% vegan retinol coupled with vitamin F and nourishing oils that drastically minimize the likelihood of those irksome side effects, such as redness and flaking.
Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup Melting Butter Cleanser
Byrdie’s pick for one of the best makeup removers, one of the brand’s newest launches uses fruit, nut, and seed oils for an ultra-creamy formula, which takes off even stubborn waterproof makeup. (But yes, it’s gentle enough to use even around your eyes.) The trick: Apply it with dry hands onto dry skin, then add a little bit of water to emulsify it into a milky texture.
Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream
What do you get when you combine eight peptides with five forms of vitamin C? Answer: This multi-tasking eye protector that both firms and evens out your complexion around the sensitive skin of your eyes. Plenty hydrating, but still lightweight enough that you can use in the morning, it made our list of Byrdie editors’ all-time favorite eye creams. We call it, ‘a little bottle of magic.’
Drunk Elephant Wild Marula Tangle Spray
Our hearts skipped a beat when we learned DE was launching haircare; all of the products are great, but we reach for this multi-tasking, leave-in mist on the regular. As is the case with so many of the skincare SKUs, it touts marula oil, and helps to moisturize, smooth, and impart plenty of shine, though it also is a top-notch detangler and heat protectant, too.
Drunk Elephant Cocomino Marula Cream Conditioner
Marula butter is the star of the show in this deeply moisturizing conditioner, another favorite of Rhue’s. There are no silicones in the formula, instead, it features marula butter, mongongo oil, and a blend of coconut oil and amino acids. It promises to hydrate and strengthen hair without ever weighing it down. And while it pairs beautifully with the brand’s shampoo, we’ve found that it also works well even when it’s mixed and matched with shampoos from other lines.
Drunk Elephant Sweet Pitti Deodorant Cream
There’s no aluminum, nor potentially irritating baking soda in this natural (yet effective) deodorant; happy reviewers repeatedly say that it’s the best natural option they’ve ever tried. It features mandelic acid, and it promises to kill odor-causing bacteria, all without ever irritating the sensitive skin under your arms. The formula also features arrowroot powder and shea butter and promises to absorb moisture while hydrating and protecting the skin.
Drunk Elephant Sili Body Lotion
Another one of Rhue’s go-to's, this lotion is plenty hydrating without being greasy and absorbs super quickly. It contains five different ceramides, choice ingredients for helping to strengthen your skin barrier and prevent natural moisture from escaping. The formula also includes marula oil and shea butter.
What Our Testers Say
"If you have some minor dryness or a lack of glow, I think the Drunk Elephant Sili Body Lotion is going to work wonders for you." — Ashley Rubell, Product Tester
Drunk Elephant Kamili Cream Body Cleanser
Skincare, check. Haircare, check. Whatever could come next? Well, body care, of course. This is one of our favorites, a sulfate-free wash that uses coconut-based surfactants instead, leaving skin feeling totally clean but never stripped. We especially love it as an option for those prone to conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
What to Look For in Drunk Elephant Products
Drunk Elephant uses an assortment of moisturizing agents in their products, which will help prevent your skin from looking dry. Marula oil is one example, and another is polypeptides. Drunk Elephant products should note which are to be used specifically for moisturizing.
It’s never too early to begin your anti-aging routine, and Drunk Elephant utilizes numerous ingredients in its products that help prevent aging. Look for ingredients such as retinol, which is infamous for its ability to stave off fine lines and wrinkles. Drunk Elephant puts it in a cream, which can help to prevent any drying that retinol can cause.
They aren’t just for internal use. Vitamins can also be applied on your face, and Drunk Elephant includes them in some products. Their retinol cream contains vitamin F, the multivitamin cream utilizes vitamin C, and their C serum is chock full of vitamin C as well. When combined with other functional ingredients, vitamins are an important part of skin and body care products.
What is so great about Drunk Elephant?
Drunk Elephant is beloved for its clean take on skincare. They avoid many harmful ingredients, and people with all different types of skin adore their products. The brand is a fan favorite of consumers and also beloved by celebrities.
How expensive is Drunk Elephant?
Because they use only quality ingredients in their products, Drunk Elephant items aren’t inexpensive. The products range in price, but many cost somewhere in the $50 to $75 range. While this might seem like a high price in comparison to drugstore brands, it is not expensive when compared with other high-end skincare brands.
Is Drunk Elephant oil-free?
Drunk Elephant does avoid the use of certain oils. Specifically, they do not use essential oils in their products. However, there are many beneficial oils for skin, and Drunk Elephant does utilize some oils in their line. One example of that is their marula oil. Other products also contain oil ingredients.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. Drunk Elephant is arguably one of her favorite skincare lines; many products are staples in her daily and weekly routine.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Debra Jaliman is a New York City board-certified dermatologist. She’s an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai and the author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From a Top New York Dermatologist.
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