You’ve likely heard about consuming electrolytes—potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium help keep athletes adequately hydrated through intense workouts. But skincare brands are also tapping those minerals for topical moisture, too. Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial makes the case for hydrating electrolytes on your skin, not just in sports drinks.
Basically, the theory is this: If electrolytes soak into your skin, water will be pulled in with them, according to Blair Murphy-Rose MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of NY in Manhattan. That said, while electrolytes work in the body to increase hydration, scientific findings have been limited as to whether or not they work in skincare products in the same way.
I can tell you, though, my dry, flaky skin has dramatically improved using Drunk Elephant’s miracle facial a couple times a week. Electrolytes, plus a bunch of other moisturizing ingredients, may just take your complexion from dull and dry to dewy. How quickly, you ask? For me, it’s literally overnight. Here’s everything you need to know.
Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial
BEST FOR: All skin types, but especially for sensitive or dry skin types
USES: Hydrating, softening, and smoothing dry skin
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Electrolytes, vitamin F, ceramides, niacinamide, squalane
BYRDIE CLEAN: Yes
ABOUT THE BRAND: This popular skincare brand is known for its high-quality, splurge-worthy products wrapped in colorful packaging.
About My Skin: Combination with dry patches, sensitive, and acne-prone
I deal with hormonal acne along my chin, but I can also easily get dry—that's combination skin for you. I get dry patches and eczema that'll crop up every now and again. As such, I am usually fighting dullness and flaky patches.
I only recently learned how to appropriately moisturize and deal with my skin issues. I use gentle cleansers to preserve my skin’s moisture as much as possible, and usually hit it with the gamut of hydrating ingredients: toner to balance, serum to repair, moisturizer to smooth, facial oil to lock it all in. I use a mask every now and then, if my skin is particularly stressed or dry. Of course, then I have my topical retinoid.
Ingredients: Packed with electrolytes
Yes, electrolytes are the flashy ingredients here—magnesium repairs dry, inflamed skin, while sodium attracts water. Coconut water, rich in potassium, increases hydration for your overall glow, as well. But don’t discount the other skincare superstars on this ingredient list with a track record of excellence.
Fatty acids keep the skin soft and supple. Ceramides lock in moisture and keep the skin hydrated and protected. Niacinamide can calm issues ranging from acne to rosacea, while also reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. And squalane reduces inflammation, hydrates, and soothes while preventing skin damage and premature aging.
On top of that, F-Balm is vegan, cruelty-free and clean. Drunk Elephant is also formulated without essential oils, which I’ve also found can sometimes exacerbate redness on my sensitive skin.
The Feel: Like a thick, cool moisture bath
The product has a pump for easy dispensing. The texture feels like the thickest, richest water-based moisturizer you’ve ever used. It's incredibly smoothing, and you can on top of your other nighttime skincare steps. This product is also cooling, so it feels great on skin after a hot shower or a long day.
The Results: Smooth, flake-free, dewy skin
I love that you can apply this mask over whatever you typically use before bed, leave it on overnight, and then wash it off in the morning. It feels like you’re locking in all the good-for-you benefits each time.
Immediately after application, my skin was glowy and felt soothed. More than any other mask I’ve used—and believe me, I’ve used more than a few—I could see the moisture and feel the inflammation reducing on contact.
After using F-Balm a couple of times a week, a couple weeks in a row, I could see a noticeable difference in my skin. Not only were my flakes gone, there was also a smoothness and softness to my skin that I did not previously have. It also seemed to calm my acne and redness more generally, which means this has A plus results.
The Value: Worth it for dry skin
This overnight mask clocks in at $52, which is mid-range for luxury beauty—and there are certainly more expensive products in Drunk Elephant’s arsenal. If you have issues with dryness or a dull complexion, I think the results definitely justify the price tag. But if you’re able to get the glow you want with your everyday moisturizing products? Feel free to skip it. At the end of the day, this is about what concerns you have and what fix you really need.
Similar Products: You have options
Glow Recipe Banana Souffle Moisture Cream, which costs less at $39, also packs electrolyte power. This moisturizer is rich in magnesium and potassium for mega hydration benefits, courtesy of banana extract. The formula also features sodium hyaluronate to revive your complexion and turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Maelove The One Cream is a daily moisturizer that has a mineral base with hydrating electrolytes like magnesium and sodium, coupled with nourishing coconut extracts and balancing prebiotics to maintain your skin's barrier. It is a relative steal at just $30, but still makes skin super-soft.
The Verdict: Buy it
I typically don’t splurge on overnight masks, but this one is well worth it if you suffer from dry, dull skin. Every time I wake up wearing Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial, I look in the mirror and think, Where did this glow come from? That’s how I know a product has earned its place in my semi-regular skincare rotation.
Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica (Cairo). 2017;2017:4179326. doi: 10.1155/2017/4179326
Spada F, Barnes TM, Greive KA. Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin's own natural moisturizing systems. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018 Oct 15;11:491-497. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S177697
Boo YC. Mechanistic Basis and Clinical Evidence for the Applications of Nicotinamide (Niacinamide) to Control Skin Aging and Pigmentation. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Aug 21;10(8):1315. doi: 10.3390/antiox10081315
Sethi A, Kaur T, Malhotra SK, Gambhir ML. Moisturizers: The Slippery Road. Indian J Dermatol. 2016 May-Jun;61(3):279-87. doi: 10.4103/0019-5154.182427.