Drunk Elephant's New Wonderwild Balm Is a Luxe Way to Slug

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Drunk Elephant Wonderwild Miracle Butter

photo of wonderwild miracle butter packaging

Drunk Elephant / Stocksy

What We Like
  • Extremely moisturizing

  • Universal use (face and body)

  • Clean, hygienic packaging

  • Non-sticky finish

What We Don't Like
  • Slightly greasy texture

  • Not suited for acne-prone skin

Drunk Elephant's Wonderwild Miracle Butter is an excellent occlusive option in the prestige space. It's packed with well-studied, well-supported ingredients and our writer found it extremely effective at bringing her red, stinging, peeling skin back to life.


Drunk Elephant Wonderwild Miracle Butter

photo of wonderwild miracle butter packaging

Drunk Elephant / Stocksy

If you've ever experienced windburn on your face or cracked skin around your nose and lips, then you understand there's no discomfort quite like it. It makes even the softest cotton towels feel abrasive, and makes it feel like all of your skincare is setting your face on fire. If this sounds familiar, you've probably Googled (or TikTok'd) how to fix it, and likely stumbled upon something called an occlusive.

Occlusives are thick moisturizing agents—typically with a goopy viscosity—that form a protective layer on the skin to A) prevent moisture from escaping and B) to prevent the elements (like freezing wind) from penetrating your skin. You've probably even used an occlusive before without realizing it. Common drugstore occlusives include products like Vaseline and Aquaphor—but some consumers lament that between the slightly sticky feeling and the super thick texture, these products aren't always enjoyable to use on your face.

Enter: Drunk Elephant's Wonderwild Miracle Butter. The brand's latest launch is an occlusive moisturizer-balm hybrid that you can use all over—from elbows, to lips, to your under-eyes and beyond. So how does it stack up against my cracked winter skin? Keep reading for my full review of Wonderwild.

Drunk Elephant Wonderwild Miracle Butter

BEST FOR: Cracked, Chapped, or Dry Skin

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Marula Butter, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Meadowfoam Oil


PRICE: $38

ABOUT THE BRAND: Drunk Elephant is known for its effective, "bio-compatible" products formulated without essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances, dyes, or sulfates. 

About My Skin: Dry and peeling

Most of the year, I'd describe my skin as combination. But during the colder months, the combination of commuting in freezing temperatures in New York City and my prescription retinoid just does not bode well for me. My skin becomes extremely dry, and often becomes red and chapped around my nose, the corners of my mouth, and along my chin (where I tend to go a bit heavy with my retinoid). I typically switch to a thicker moisturizer during these months, and "slug"—layering petroleum jelly on top of your moisturizer—once a week.

Drunk Elephant wonderwild balm squeezing out of the tube

Holly Rhue

The Feel: Creamy and buttery

This might be an occlusive, but the texture is nothing like what you might traditionally think of (there's definitely no aforementioned goopy texture). Wonderwild is closer to the texture of a rich, buttery moisturizer, which I personally love. When I slug with petroleum jelly, it feels super greasy and my hair tends to stick to my face—a feeling I can't stand. This is much easier to spread around, and I actually enjoy wearing it.

Is it 100 percent non-greasy? No. This isn't something you want to apply to your hands right before you, say... type up an article (my keyboard is so shiny right now). But it doesn't feel greasy on my face at all, and that's a big win for me. In fact, it feels divine all over—lips, elbows, and under-eyes—just don't expect to use it as a hand cream unless you're climbing into bed for the night.

The Results: Refortified skin barrier

As you can see, I really went overboard with my Rx Tretinoin earlier this month when temperatures were in the teens in New York. The combo left me with raw, irritated skin that was painful to the touch, even when using a super gentle moisturizer. But after just two nights of slugging with a pea-sized drop of Wonderwild, my skin was completely back to normal.

before and after photo of woman using Wonderwild balm

Holly Rhue / Design by Cristina Cianci

I've also found that Wonderwild works similar miracles on chapped lips, dry cuticles, and cracked heels. I keep it on my desk and use it as a lip balm throughout the day, and I keep a second tube by my bedside to slather onto my nails and dry knuckles at night. I've truly never had softer skin, especially in the winter.

Just be wary of applying anywhere you are particularly acne-prone, because some of the ingredients can be comedogenic when used in excess. More on that below.

The Ingredients: Rich oils and butters

Wonderwild is designed to transform and protect extremely dry, compromised skin, so it's no surprise that it's loaded with all kinds of oils and butters (which are good for your skin, btw!). But with that being said, these ingredients can also be pore-clogging if you're acne-prone, so use Wonderwild wisely. If your face is acne-prone, use Wonderwild as a universal salve on your lips, elbows, nails, knees, and heels. But if your skin is dry like mine, you will see a huge difference with the tiniest amount of product on the areas of your face where your skin needs support.

  • Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil, Meadowfoam Oil, Coconut Oil: The oils found in Wonderwild are there to help moisturize and soften the skin, replenishing lipids and repairing dry, cracked skin.
  • Marula Butter, Shea Butter, Mango Butter: Meanwhile, the butters you find in the formula are there to seal in the moisture that the oils provide, as well as to provide a protective layer from environmental stressors.

How to Use: Use alone or "slug"

Like we've covered, you can use Wonderwild pretty much anywhere that you have dry, compromised, cracked, or peeling skin. I personally use it on my heels a few nights a week (with a silicone sock on top), on my lips and cuticles every night, and on the extremely dry parts of my face once a week as part of my slugging routine. I just apply my usual moisturizer all over my face, then I take a pea-sized drop of Wonderwild and work it around my nose, the corners of my mouth, my under-eyes, and my chin if it's feeling raw from my retinoid that day.

The only wrong way to use this product is to slather it all over your face every single night—that's what your moisturizer is for. Only use it where you really need it.

Similar Products: You have options

Vaseline Original ($2): Plain old Vaseline is certainly a more cost-effective option, and it's also a derm-approved method for slugging. That being said, some people complain about it leaving a sticky residue behind, and it contains none of the nourishing oils and butters that you'll find in Wonderwild.

Glossier After Baume ($28): Glossier's latest launch definitely looks and feels much more like a moisturizer than an occlusive balm, but it still has a deep moisturizing effect. It contains similar oils and butters as Wonderwild to deliver a rich, creamy texture—it's just not what you'd typically think of as a balm or salve.

The Final Verdict

If you're looking for a more luxurious take on your favorite drugstore occlusive—with improved texture and better ingredients—then you will love using Drunk Elephant's Wonderwild Miracle Butter. It's truly a universal salve you can use anywhere you have dry, cracked, or compromised skin, and a little goes a long way.

Drunk Elephant's Wonderwild Miracle Butter launches March 15th on the Drunk Elephant website.


  • Product Name Wonderwild Miracle Butter
  • Product Brand Drunk Elephant
  • Price $38.00
  • Release Date March 2022
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Hardy MA. What can you do about your patient’s dry skin? J Gerontol Nurs. 1996;22(5):10-18.

  2. Pazyar N, Yaghoobi R, Ghassemi MR, Kazerouni A, Rafeie E, Jamshydian N. Jojoba in dermatology: a succinct review. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2013;148(6):687-691.

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