Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for Best Drunk Elephant skincare

If you’re looking for cruelty-free vegan beauty products, Drunk Elephant offers an extensive line of skincare items you may be interested in. The company was founded by Tiffany Masterson, who made it her goal to isolate what she considered to be the most effective skincare ingredients while eliminating the most damaging ones. Drunk Elephant products are formulated to easily absorb into the skin while helping the skin maintain its normal pH level.

Some of the ingredients in Drunk Elephant products are natural; others are synthetic. All have been deemed by the company to be “biocompatible” with human skin. In an open letter on the Drunk Elephant website, Masterson challenges consumers to take a #drunkbreak in which the only facial skincare products they use are those from Drunk Elephant. With time, she asserts that the skin will “reset” and return to a more balanced state. To quote Masterson directly,“You may find that your skin is so smooth and even and glowing that you can go without makeup.”

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When formulating products, Drunk Elephant concentrates on maintaining healthy pH levels with ingredients that support the skin’s acid mantle. 

Key considerations

Product mixability

Some Drunk Elephant skincare products are standalone items, meaning you only need to apply one soap, cream, or serum at a time to get the desired effect. However, many Drunk Elephant products are intended to be mixed with other Drunk Elephant products in what Masterson promotes as Drunk Elephant “smoothies.”

Smoothie ingredients can be mixed into special “recipes” formulated by the company. Smoothie recipe “cards” are available on the company website. This unusual DIY approach to mixing products may sound puzzling at first, so let’s take a look at a couple of recipe examples.

The “Beach Your Heart Out” smoothie recipe is purported to render skin that is “radiant, bronzey, and naturally flushed.” It calls for three ingredients: one pump of Lala Retro Whipped Cream (a “rescue” cream), one drop of D-Bronzi Sunshine Drops (an “antioxidant-rich bronzer”), and one drop of O-Bloos Rosi Drops (an “omega-rich blush”). The consumer mixes these three ingredients between the palms before applying them to the face.

The “Flush Hour Smoothie” requires only two ingredients. Its targeted result is “stronger, smoother skin with a peachy-pink glow.” The recipe calls for one drop of the aforementioned O-Bloos and one pump of a Protini Polypeptide Cream (“protein-packed moisturizer”). 

Ingredient overlap occurs among the recipes, as evidenced by the fact that O-Bloos is called for in both smoothies above. We will refer to these as Drunk Elephant’s “core” mixable products and tell you a bit more about them now.

Core mixable products

A Passioni: Consisting of 1% vegan retinol, this cream uses plant-based ingredients to help minimize the look of lines and wrinkles.

B-Hydra Intensive Day Serum: This clear, odorless serum imparts deep moisture to the skin. It remains slightly tacky to the touch for a few minutes before it absorbs into the skin.

C-Firma Day Serum: This vitamin C serum brightens and smooths the skin and is claimed to help fade acne marks and other skin discolorations.

Di Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sun Drops: This bronzer with antioxidants adds a touch of sun-kissed color to the skin. Notably, it should not be used alone. For best results, consumers are advised to mix a drop of bronzer with a Drunk Elephant serum or moisturizer.

Lala Retro Whipped Cream: This exceptionally rich moisturizer thoroughly hydrates and soothes the skin, tempering the signs of aging with antioxidants and drying to an airy finish.

O-Bloos Rosi Drops: These concentrated drops are designed to be mixed with another product to impart a healthy-looking flush.

Protini Polypeptide Cream: This protein-infused cream tones and firms skin with peptides and amino acids.

T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum: This combination alpha hydroxy acid/beta hydroxy acid (AHA/BHA) serum refines pores and “resurfaces” the skin. 

Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil: This antimicrobial oil is easy to apply and readily absorbs into the skin, addressing redness and blotchiness to help the skin appear more youthful. 

Additional products

The above-mentioned products appear frequently on Drunk Elephant’s smoothie recipe cards. However, they are not the only products made by the company. You can also purchase micellar water, facial sprays, facial cleansers, lip balms, sunscreens, bar soaps, and eye serums from Drunk Elephant. These products can be considered “standalone” items because they need not be mixed.

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Did You Know?
Drunk Elephant has labeled the following ingredients as “The Suspicious Six” and vowed not to include them in its products: drying alcohol, essential oils, chemical sunscreen, fragrance/dye, silicone, and sodium lauryl sulfate. 
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Features

Biocompatibility

According to the company, all ingredients in Drunk Elephant skincare products are biocompatible. Merriam-Webster tells us that this means the products are neither toxic nor otherwise harmful to the body. According to Drunk Elephant, it also means that the products do not disrupt human skin’s normal pH, which is mildly acidic. 

Scent

Drunk Elephant products contain no added fragrance. However, some of them may have a scent, which the company describes as “refreshing and reassuring.” Ingredients that may contribute to this scent include marula oil, fruit enzymes, glycerine, and zinc oxide.

Tiffany Masterson was a stay-at-home mother when she started her skincare company during the recession of 2008. Today, Drunk Elephant is still run by Masterson, but the company was purchased by Shiseido in 2019.

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Pricing

Inexpensive: For under $40, some basic Drunk Elephant products are available. These include the Lippe Balm (clear and slightly oily), Jelly Cleanser (gentle and foamy), Juju Bar (a non-lathering bar of facial soap), SPF 30 products for the face, and D-Bronzi serum.

Mid-range: Between $40 and $80, many of Drunk Elephant’s core products can be found, such as the B-Hydra gel, C-Tango eye cream, D-Bronzi serum, and Protini Polypeptide Cream. Along with these bigger names, you will also find some of the company’s eye serums.

Expensive: Over $80, you will find some highly coveted Drunk Elephant products. At the lower end, look for smaller quantities of the C-Firma Day Serum. Around the $90 mark, you will find smaller quantities of the T.L.C. Framboos night serum. For over $100, you can get larger quantities of these products as well as product duos and sampler sets.

Notably, to take advantage of the smoothie recipes we mentioned, you must buy more than one product. 

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Did You Know?
Drunk Elephant is a cruelty-free company. It does not test its finished products on animals, nor do any of its suppliers.
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Tips

  • Using products that are too acidic or too alkaline can disrupt the skin’s normal pH. This can result in complexion problems such as inflammation and acne. For this reason, skin pH is a major focus of Drunk Elephant formulas.
  • Some ingredients in these skincare products are natural; others are synthetic. The company focuses on biocompatibility rather than these two distinctions. Consumers who strive to avoid synthetic products should take note of this.
  • Most Drunk Elephant products have a shelf life of three years. The exceptions are the C-Firma serum and Babyfacial mask, which have shorter shelf lives. All products also have a PAO (period after opening) date on the packaging, which is essentially a “best if used by” date.
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If you’re interested in trying more than one product but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars, we advise you to buy smaller quantities and experiment. For example, a 10-milliliter container of the company’s retinol cream costs under $30, whereas a 30-milliliter container of that same cream costs closer to $75.

FAQ

Q. Does Drunk Elephant make other types of beauty products?

A. Yes. In addition to the skincare line, Drunk Elephant makes a line of hair care products consisting of shampoos, conditioners, scalp scrub, and tangle spray. It also makes a body care line consisting of lotions, cleansers, and deodorant cream. These products are formulated with the same guiding principles as the facial skincare products.

Q. Why did the founder choose the name “Drunk Elephant” for the company?

A. Many of the products contain marula oil, which comes from the marula fruit. When these fruits fall from the southern African deciduous marula tree, they can ferment. Elephants, in turn, eat the fruit and become “drunk.” Whether elephants really get drunk in the wild is up for debate. If you’re interested, check this National Geographic article to learn more.

Q. Can pregnant women use Drunk Elephant products?

A. The company advises pregnant and nursing women to avoid using the Babyfacial and A-Passioni products. Further, it advises all who are pregnant or nursing to check with their physician before using new products.
 

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