Since Drunk Elephant launched in the States about seven years ago, it has gained a massive, dedicated following. Word spread quickly across the Atlantic, so when the brand finally became available last year in the UK (where I'm based), skincare obsessives lost it. October 2018 marked the end of beauty junkies having to beg friends, family, and colleagues to bring back a piece of the clean-beauty action from any and all trips abroad.
But what really sets the hype around Drunk Elephant apart from other Instagram-favorite beauty brands is that it isn't just beauty insiders and editors who have been swept up in the buzz. It's our fashion friends and style influencers, too.
Maybe it's something to do with the chic packaging (neon lids that pop against stark-white tubes) or Drunk Elephant's laid-back approach to application, encouraging consumers to cocktail the products. The entire Drunk Elephant skincare line can be mixed and matched as you see fit for a personalized approach to your beauty routine.
Bonus points definitely have to go to its clean, compatible approach to beauty, too. Founder Tiffany Masterson wanted to create a brand that was entirely free from essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance dyes, and sodium lauryl sulfate (aka the Suspicious 6) to provide consumers with a range of products that actually work and are safe for sensitive skin types.
Whatever the reason, there's no doubting the brand's popularity. In fact, Drunk Elephant is the fastest-growing skincare brand in Sephora's history and continues to be its best-selling skincare line. So where should you start if you're new to the brand?
With prices ranging from $18 for a lip balm to $90 for a glycolic serum, I decided to break down every product in the range to give you the full lowdown on what the products do, how you should use them, and how they've worked out for me. Keep scrolling for the full skincare scoop.
Who should buy this: People who have congested, spot-prone skin and want a cleanser that exfoliates at the same time.
Some people just love the feeling of cleaning their face with a bar of soap and water (hi, Dad), which makes this little cleansing bar feel decidedly old-school. The difference with this one, however, is the ingredients. It's enriched with deeply cleansing thermal mud, gently exfoliating bamboo powder, and nourishing marula oil that works into a rich lather when applied to damp skin. I was really unsure about using this at first but can confirm it did a great job of sloughing away dead skin cells around congested areas like my nose and chin without leaving my skin feeling stripped.
Who should buy this: People with sensitive, dry skin or who want a no-frills cleanser that gets the job done.
Bar cleansers are an integral part of Drunk Elephant and a product type that sets the brand apart from a lot of other skincare brands. This skin-clarifying one is suitable for use on your face and body. It contains blueberry extract, marula oil, and honey and is completely fragrance-free. For my oily skin, I definitely preferred the Juju Bar (this one was a little too moisturizing for me), but it would be great for sensitive skin.
Who should buy this: People with dull skin who want a cleanser that'll brighten without dehydrating.
I'll just come right out and say it: I've been a big fan of Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser for a while now, so I was pretty certain Drunk Elephant's cleanser wouldn't turn my head. How wrong I was! The formula uses coconut-based fatty acids and is rich in virgin marula oil, so although it's a jelly, it feels more luxurious than other gel cleansers. What I noticed most is the way it creates a rich foam when mixed with water. My skin always feels baby-soft after cleansing with this, and I don't feel like I need to reach for the moisturizer right away.
Who should buy this: People with skin that has scars and pigmentation or whose complexion is looking tired and dull.
If you ask any beauty editor what product they'd recommend most from Drunk Elephant, chances are it'll be this vitamin C serum. I can confirm the hype is real, and the reason it's great is the potency of its ingredients. For me, it has already done an amazing job of reducing pigmentation and scarring, but I've also heard great things about the way it diminishes fine lines. A whack of pumpkin ferment and pomegranate extracts also works to gently exfoliate the skin so your complexion will feel softer and look brighter from first use.
Who should buy this: People whose skin feels tight and dry by the end of the day.
I can't get enough of this stuff. I've been adding it to my morning moisturizer on dry days, mixing it with Drunk Elephant's potent glycolic acid (more on that below), and layering it straight onto my skin on makeup-free weekends. Formulated with provitamin B5 and pineapple ceramides, this is basically an incredibly hydrating gel. Dry complexions will drink this up, but it also works as a great base product to cocktail with some of the brand's more intensive treatments. I think of it as a glass of water for thirsty skin—more is more.
Who should buy this: People who want clearer, more even skin. Scars, dry patches, discoloration, pores—this serum tackles it all.
This is the one product in the Drunk Elephant range I was most excited to try. I use glycolic acids as part of my usual skincare routine but have found that when used daily, my skin often tends to break out. Annoying. This glycolic is different, as it's combined with a whole host of other acids—lactic, tartaric, citric, and salicylic—to really penetrate your skin and remove impurities while raspberry extract and white tea help soothe your skin. This prevents your skin from becoming irritated, dry, or sensitive as you might find with pure glycolic acids. The first time I used this, I mixed a pump with the B-Hydra serum and the marula oil before bed, and the next morning, the redness of my blemishes had been visibly reduced.
Who should buy this: People who have eyes or an addiction to brow gel.
I'm ambivalent about eye creams. I've never been particularly wowed by one, and they aren't in my regular rotation. I'm not entirely convinced they aren't just smaller pots of face moisturizer. This one's a serum rather than a cream and contains black tea ferment to smooth, brighten and slow down signs of aging. If I'm honest, the texture was lovely, but as I don't have too many fine lines yet, I can't comment on how it works in this regard. I did, however, take the brand's suggestion and try it as a brow serum, which I can highly recommend. I'm always testing new brow gels—some good, some not so good—which means that my brow hairs can get weirdly dry and crispy. This stuff has helped soften them and give them a healthy sheen.
Who should buy this: People who can only get one product from the Drunk Elephant range.
This is coined as the hero product from the Drunk Elephant collection: a 100% pure marula oil. Cold-pressed from the pip of the marula fruit, it's naturally high in antioxidants, vitamin E, and omegas-6 and -9, so it's something of a natural wonder at rejuvenating and nourishing your skin. Plus, it's naturally antimicrobial, which means it also helps to soothe your skin and bring things back into balance. It's lovely alone (I press a few drops over the rest of my skincare when I want a more intensive hit of hydration), but for me, it works best when mixed with other serums from the range to create a personalized skin treatment. I've also used it on the ends of my hair when they've felt particularly dry; it really holds its own compared to more targeted hair treatments that I've tried.
Who should buy this: People who hate the feeling of heavy moisturizers on the skin.
Of the two moisturizers in the Drunk Elephant range, this one was my favorite. It has a water-gel texture, and I loved the way that it sunk quickly into my skin without leaving behind any tacky residue. This is a great daytime option and perfect for before makeup. As I'm approaching 30, I'm starting to think about the early signs of aging, so I was pleased to note that this cream has been formulated to maintain your natural collagen levels (essential if you want to keep plump, juicy-looking skin). If you have more dehydrated or dry skin, the Lala Retro moisturizer might be better suited to you, but this is a good option for normal to oily skin types.
Who should buy this: People who have dry or dehydrated skin or love thick, buttery moisturizers.
On an everyday basis, this moisturizer was a little too rich for me. However, if your skin is on the oily side like mine, then I found that this worked really well when used as a weekly hydration mask. It would be great for parched skin after a flight, too. Dehydrated or dry skin types, however, will undoubtedly drink up this oil-rich cream. It's brimming with fatty acids and moisturizing extracts to deliver a steady dose of hydration that will keep your skin feeling comfortable all day and night.
Who should buy this: People who have dark circles or puffy eyes.
I know; I know. I said a few paragraphs ago about how I'm just not into eye creams. But honestly, this one has possibly changed all that. It contains similar skin-brightening benefits to Drunk Elephant's C-Firma serum, so I've been reaching for this cream on mornings when my complexion just doesn't look its best. It particularly comes into its own on mornings when you might be a bit hungover. The vitamin C helps brighten your under-eyes instantly, which translates to applying less concealer. Oh, and the peach-colored cap and dinky packaging are cute.
Who should buy this: People who have already tried and love retinol or who want to reduce fine lines and plump the skin.
I've written about this product before since I was seriously impressed with the results after my first time using it. I have used retinol before (if you haven't, then I'd always tread cautiously), but this one didn't irritate my skin at all. It uses 1% retinol to boost collagen production and promote skin renewal along with nourishing fruit extracts and fatty acids to pamper your skin at the same time. I've since found that mixing this in with Lala Retro Whipped Cream is the perfect skincare cocktail for me.
Who should buy this: People who like lip balm.
I always have multiple lip balms on the go, so I consider myself to be something of a lip-balm connoisseur. This one contains the brand's key ingredient, marula oil, which means it's intensely moisturizing. Admittedly, it won't change your life, but it's a damn good balm if you're looking for a new one to pop in your handbag.
This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.