I've had to learn the hard way that my skin wastes no time when it comes to trying new beauty products. I find out fast if it's a love or hate relationship—there's no in-between BS. Sometimes, I'll be stubborn and give a new skincare product I'm testing "one more try" even if I wake up with unwelcome breakouts. I hold on to hope that maybe my skin is irritated because of a slip-up in my diet that week. But more often than not, it's the new product, which is why I'm reluctant to add new skincare products to my arsenal.
After thorough research and raving reviews on skincare products, though, I'll risk it all. I inevitably give in to my curiosity and innate attraction to new beauty things. This is how my love affair with Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil began. Read on to find out whether it really is worth the splurge.
Pros + Cons
- Only one ingredient
- Absorbs quickly
- No additional fragrances or preservatives
- Wears well under makeup
- Smooths fine lines and wrinkles
- Price per ounce is expensive
The Bottom Line: We love it
The Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil is an antioxidant-rich powerhouse oil that soothes the skin, reduces wrinkles and fine lines, and targets dry, dull skin.
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil
Best for: All skin types, but best for those with dry skin.
Uses: Reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, hydrate, even out texture.
Star rating: 5/5
Potential allergens: None
Active ingredients: Marula oil
About the brand: Known for its Insta-worthy packaging, Drunk Elephant offers clean, high-end skincare products—but with a pretty high price tag to match.
About My Skin: Picky and extremely dry
I've had a rather tumultuous relationship with oils. I had to finally come to terms with the sad reality that coconut oil was clogging my pores. After surveying several dermatologists, they confirmed that coconut oil is indeed considered a comedogenic product. This means it's too thick of an oil to be adequately absorbed by your skin, so it essentially sits on top of your skin's dermis and forms a film over pores. Bacteria and dead skin cells will then fester under the skin and cause your body to produce excess sebum, which can result in acne.
So, I moved on to rosehip oil. I was instantly drawn to the comforting scent that transported me to a garden, but my skin wasn't having it. Unfortunately, the particular formula I tried was too fragrant, which my skin never reacts well to, and wasn't as "natural" as it proclaimed to be. My skin doesn't feel moisturized enough without an oil, so giving up altogether wasn't an option. Up next, I tried a cleanser infused with essential oils. After consulting a few team Byrdie members, I learned that a hefty blend of essential oils can potentially cause more skin irritation. Even though essential oils are plant-based, they aren't gentle enough to be used alone and should be diluted first so that they're safe to use on your skin.
I remained determined to find a compatible oil my skin so desperately yearned for. This is when I was introduced to the aforementioned heaven-sent bottle of marula oil.
Ingredient Quality: Brimming with nutrients
First off, I was wooed by its impressive antioxidant-rich, pure formula of untouched marula (right from the marula fruit), which came with a healthy dose of omega-6 and omega-9, two antioxidants that improve your skin's texture and appearance. But not all marula oils are considered equal. Drunk Elephant founder, Tiffany Mastersonwas determined to keep this product 100 percent pure and full of all the skin-healthy benefits untouched marula oil has to offer.
"Marula oil is high in omegas, which means it rapidly absorbs into the skin, and it is healing," explains Masterson. "It's antimicrobial, which means it is ideal for problematic skin and can help balance it.
My pores drank this rich oil up so fast, it felt like my skin had just been swallowed by silk.
"We went with unrefined, which is more expensive, but I chose not to try and control the color or scent. Things should look and smell as they do in their natural state. I wanted to deliver it to the consumer exactly as they have used it for centuries in Africa," she added of the nutty, nutrient-dense, amber-colored oil that is totally untouched by any chemical or fragrance. "It's a one-ingredient, multitasking rock star of a product. It's also fair-trade. Drunk Elephant uses a proprietary extraction and filtration process, resulting in the purest and most concentrated form of the oil, with its delicate antioxidant and fatty acid compounds preserved." Clearly, the hard work paid off.
The Feel: Hydrating and weightless
The same day this landed on my desk, I took it home. Yep, the hype was real and I'm happy I followed my heart. After cleansing, exfoliating, and toning, this oil's turn was up next. I squeezed a dime-size amount out and massaged it onto my cheek and forehead area (I avoid my nose because that's where my pores tend to clog the most). My pores drank this rich oil up so fast, it felt like my skin had just been swallowed by silk.
I'm devoted to my nighttime ritual, and this oil is my favorite thing to apply before bed because even on the coldest nights that like to sneak up and dry out my skin, I wake up with hydrated skin. And if you can't tell by now, I have inherently dry, thirsty skin. So, this is an absolutely necessary step before bed.
The Results: Ultra-smooth skin
I love to use this as a foundation primer. After using it, my skin's glow is seriously next level and my foundation applies so much smoother. It gives me a lit-from-within look that I can't help but photograph. I'm wearing this oil all over the high points of my face and my décolletage in the below photo (click the arrows to the right for proof). The formula restores elasticity and instantly brightens the overall look of my skin. And it stays like this for hours.
The Value: Pricey, but worth it
From reducing signs of aging and dark spots to giving skin a healthy dose of moisture, this oil was love at first sight. And the fact that the oil is a 100 percent natural, simple formula that does not contain gluten, fragrance, essential oils, irritants, or silicones soothed many of my skin fears before I even opened the bottle. It's pricey, but for anyone with severely parched skin, it's money well spent.
Similar Products: You have options
Instanatural Organic Marula Oil: At $15, this is a fraction of the cost of the Drunk Elephant oil. It's unrefined (meaning, it's cold-pressed and minimally processed), and helps with enlarged pores, fine lines, and dryness.
The Ordinary 100% Cold Pressed Virgin Marula Oil: Featuring linoleic and oleic acids, this one gets rave reviews for its affordable price tag ($10), and its multi-tasking properties (use on hair or skin).
Our Verdict: Yes, buy it
Between the punch of hydration and the Insta-worthy glow, I was sold on this oil at first drop. I'm already imagining the year-round glow-up with this gem by my side. You've been warned. No lie: Every time I apply this nourishing oil onto my skin, my face instantly feels so bouncy and pillow-soft. Now that you're fully aware of my marula oil love story. I highly suggest you give it a go, too. You have my word that you won't regret it.