The Littles of Drunk Elephant Products
Brand Reviews

Drunk Elephant Creates the “Clean Clinical” Category and is Sephora’s Fastest Selling Line Ever

Drunk Elephant Brand Review Table of Contents

Drunk Elephant Brand Review Quick Facts | Company commitment to ingredients, the environment, ethics, and its Good Guide and EWG standing.

A Difficult Brand Philosophy | Drunk Elephants focus on safe and effective ingredients is “Clean-Clinical”

A Stay At Home Mom Picks Up A Chemical Habit | Ingredient research helps Tiffany Masterson identify problem chemicals

This Brand is not Afraid to Use Strong Levels of Everything and Has Some Really Interesting Formulations | Interesting Ingredients and High Formulations make this brand a customer and editor favorite

Best of Drunk Elephant | Products and Reviews

Drunk Elephant Brand Review Quick Facts

Ingredients | Silicones, Frangrances either synthetic or natural; Chemical screens; Sodium Lauryl Sulfate; Drying Alcohols; Dyes; Animal Fats/Oils/Musks, Benzalkonium Chloride, Benzophenone, Bisphenol A (BPA), Butoxyethanol, BHA, BHT, Chemical Sunscreens, Coal Tar Dyes, -Cones, Detergent, Essential Oils, Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA), Formaldehyde, Fragrance, Hydroquinone, Liquid Petrolatum, Methyl Cellosolve, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Mercury, Mercury Compounds, Mineral Oil, Oxybenzone, Parabens, Paraffin Oil, Phthalates, Polyethylene Glycol (PEGs), Resorcinol, Retinyl Palmitate, Retinol, Siloxanes, Sulfates, Thimerosal, Toluene, Triclosan, Triclocarban

Eco-Friendly | Recyclable and Non-BPA

Ethical | Supports the International Elephant Foundation; Cruelty Free

The Good Guide | Not Rated

EWG | 1-3

A Difficult Brand Philosophy

Elephant on a white background.
The Drunk Elephant name came from poll of friends and family.

I was intrigued by Drunk Elephant, which is not something that usually happens in the course of a brand review.

First, their packaging is neon. It sticks out and makes an immediate impression (I know it did for me; I couldn’t figure out what to make of it).

Second, their name is completely out there. Founder Tiffany took a poll of friends and family who said, “Cute, go for it,” or “Cute, but no way.” She figured that since they all said cute though, she was going to go for it. It’s barely linked to skincare, as it references the legend that elephants who eat too much Marula fruit get tispy-happy-drunk. (Perhaps because Drunk Elephant loves Marula, we’re all going to have a little too much? I’m not sure, I’m reaching here…)

Third and most problematic, Drunk Elephant occupies a unique niche which takes a bit of explaining.

It is not organic. It does not have fragrance from any sources, either from essential oils or from synthetics.

Instead, it focuses on something its dubbed “clean-clinical”, which is what they call a product that avoids suspicious ingredients and focuses on proven scientific actives.

This is a breath of fresh air.

I was immediately interested, since when I first started in this space I was looking for safer personal care for my family.

I had mistakenly linked that to natural and organic but soon found that sometimes brands didn’t live up to their promises. Also, I realized that natural didn’t really have a regulated definition and that it was not always non-irritating or effective.

I had a lot of hope for Drunk Elephant, and what I found was that this “clean-clinical” thing was totally surprising, and amazingly good.

A Stay At Home Mom Picks Up A Chemical Habit

Microscope over a specimen.
Tiffany took a close look at ingredients.

Tiffany Masterson never thought about becoming an entrepreneur.

She always wanted to be a stay at home mom. She had four kids and a loving husband, but she also had a hobby.

Any guesses?

Yup, you’ve got it.

This was one momma addicted to skin care, mainly because she problem skin. Oily patches, T-zone issues and some rosacea had her brand hopping, hoping to find a cure.

Not only was she a brand addict, she was also a science geek. Frustration led her to ingredient research, where she investigated those she believed were the root of her skin problems. Eventually, she narrowed it down to what she calls the “Suspicious Six”.

…remember that your routine is only as good as its worst product, and a product is only as good as its worst ingredient.

Tiffany Masterson

The Suspicious Six are a group of chemicals that may surprise you.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), chemical screens, and artificial fragrances and dyes are present and are par for course. Where it gets interesting is that she also bans Silicones, Drying Alcohols, and even essential oils.

Through her research, she believed that these ingredients are irritating to the skin. Banning them led to the founding Drunk Elephant, because there were no brands that didn’t exclude all of them.

And despite its different take on ingredients and its difficult to explain niche, it clearly resonates with customers, editors and experts.

People love it and consistently give positive feedback. Allure, Instyle, Into the Gloss have awarded it and beauty editors rave about it.

And Sephora just can’t keep it on their shelves.

Sephora storefront
Drunk Elephant is Sephora’s fastest selling line.

When the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial was introduced in Sephora, it became their number one skin care product in a week. In fact, the Drunk Elephant line is Sephora’s fastest selling line ever.

This Brand is not Afraid to Use Strong Levels of Everything and Has Some Really Interesting Formulations

When I review a new brand, I’ve learned to first look at products before getting into the brand story.

Drunk Elephant was already interesting to me because of all the hype around it but the formulations kind of pulled me in.

While I saw some familiar faces, these were mostly ingredients that I’d checked the safety profile of. There were also some very interesting unique additons. Still, what kind of knocked me down was how bold some of these formulations were.

The T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum has 12% AHA and the C-Firma Day Serum has 15% of difficult to stabilize Vitamin C. And the Sukari Babyfacial has 25% AHA and 2% BHA.

Chemicals in glass laboratory beakers
Drunk Elephant has very concentrated levels of actives.

That’s pretty strong.

As you know, a strong chemical peel can go awfully wrong. Red, splotchy faces and incorrectly formulated lotions can bring permanent discoloration (Yes, I have them too).

However, I checked and people love it.

This is surprising, but the treatment does include anti-inflammatory and wound healing ingredients such as prickly pear, green tea and licorice. These help remove the redness and soothe away inflammation. And surprisingly, many said that they didn’t have the usual after peel problems.

I am impressed. (But do stick to use instructions and test skin first to be sure).

The formulations of the sun product and the hydrating gel are no less interesting.

Marula Fuit on the ground.
Drunk Elephant’s star ingredient is Marula Oil.

Usually, moisturizers come in cream or lotion forms. This moisturizer is a gel. It has a surprisingly lovely texture and is light on the skin despite being silicone-free. And there are a mix of lovely hydrating ingredients added in.

Likewise, the sun protect lotion is a good non-chemical screen with strong performance. Although zinc oxide seems to be par for course for non-chemical sunscreens these days, I liked that it was not fragranced. I like that it was packed with antioxidants, and I can live with the slight white cast it gives my skin.

In general, Drunk Elephant products are interestingly formulated and well-conceived. Products really do deserve that in-depth look, and I’d happily spend hours just looking at them.

Best of Drunk Elephant | Products and Reviews

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