Drunk Elephant: What to Buy & What to Skip

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If you are reading this, you are probably thinking about testing out some Drunk Elephant products. Maybe you are a bit apprehensive about adding those $80 beauty products to your cart. You want to make sure this skincare line is worth the hype before you make the investment.

If any of the above is true, then you are in the right place. Overall, I’ve had a positive experience with Drunk Elephant’s skincare products. That being said, there are some products that are more worth the hype than others.

Just like my other brand reviews, each product review is based on my personal testing experience and my deep dive into the ingredient list. I’ll be sharing my experience with each product, who I think would like the product, and if I think it is worth the hype.

Drunk Elephant Skincare Review

About The Brand

Before we dive into the products, let us have a bit of a history lesson. Drunk Elephant officially launched in 2014 on the premise that “a product is only as good as its worst ingredient,” sparking a whole new category of skincare that founder Tiffany Masterson coined clean-clinical.

Drunk Elephant is formulated using ingredients that can be recognized, accepted, and used by the skin. Masterson defines clean-clinical as safe, high-performance skincare that will nourish, support, protect and improve the skin without disruption, irritation, or any form of sensitization.

All of the products from the brand are free of essential oils, fragrances/dyes, silicones, SLS, chemical sunscreens, and drying alcohols.

Drunk Elephant Reviews

This is a detailed review of the products that I have tried. If you want to skip to the verdict, I share if you should purchase or pass on the product.

Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser

Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser

The Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser is a gel cleanser that is formulated to remove dirt, oil, and makeup. With mild surfactants and makeup-dissolving emollients, this cleanser also claims to be non-stripping.

When I tested the jelly cleanser, it produced a nice foamy lather that rinsed clean without leaving any residue behind. Surprisingly, it also removed the little bit of eyeshadow, mascara, and lipgloss that I wear daily.

While it removed the light non-waterproof makeup that I wear, I wouldn’t reach for this if I was wearing a full face of makeup. Instead, I would recommend starting with a cleansing balm or oil to remove the makeup and then use this as your second cleanse.

I didn’t find this to be overly drying or stripping on my combination skin. However, if you have very dry skin you might find it to be a bit much.

Verdict: Buy it!

E-Rase™ Milki Micellar Water

E-Rase™ Milki Micellar Water

Drunk Elephant E-Rase Milki Micellar Water is a gentle micellar cleansing water that removes dirt, makeup, and pollution from your skin. Unlike most micellar waters that are clear and water-like, this one has a milky, serum-like consistency that is meant to nourish the skin.

To test this product, I applied it to a reusable cotton round. Because this micellar water is thick, it took a lot to get the cotton round saturated enough to wipe on my eyes. Once I started to remove my mascara, it took quite a bit of effort. I had to apply even more micellar water to my cotton round and I had to rub quite a bit. But eventually, it did remove my mascara. With how hard it was to remove regular mascara, I couldn’t imagine using this to remove eyeliner or matte lipstick. You could use this after removing your makeup with a cleaning balm as a way to remove any last traces of makeup, instead of a second cleanse.

If you are looking for traditional micellar water to remove makeup, this is not it.

Verdict: Pass on it. Buy this micellar water instead.

B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

The B-Hyrda uses a mixture of B5, pineapple ceramides, Niacinamide, and other fruits to help hydrate the skin and even out the skin tone.

I tested the B-Hyrda in a couple of different ways. First, I tried applying it directly to the skin after cleansing like you would a traditional serum. It did leave a slight sticky feeling which is common for many hydrating serums. But as I continued my skincare routine, the sticky feeling went away.

Next, I tested this by mixing it with different DE products. I tried mixing it in with all of the serums to make them a bit more hydrating. I also tried adding the B-Hydra to the moisturizers as well. When I added the serum to a product, I didn’t experience any stickiness at all.

No matter how I applied it, I was pretty impressed with how it worked. It really does deliver hydration. I would recommend this to everyone, even those with sensitive skin.

Verdict: Buy it!

C-Firma Day Serum

 Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum is a potent vitamin C day serum formulated with antioxidants, nutrients, and fruit enzymes to visibly firm, brighten and improve signs of photoaging. This formulation also includes ferulic acid to increase the stability of vitamin C.

My skin can be sensitive, so I was not surprised that I had a bad reaction to this product. Unfortunately, I am not sure what part of the product my skin didn’t like. It could be the very high concentration of vitamin C or it could be the combination of the vitamin C and fruit enzymes. Either way, it made my face red and irritated.

If your skin can handle aggressive ingredients, you may like this serum. But if you are sensitive or new to Vitamin C, you should pass on it.

Verdict: Pass on it. Buy this Vitamin C serum instead.

C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream

C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream

The Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream is an eye cream that is designed to brighten and firm the skin around the eyes. It is formulated with five different forms of vitamin C, eight different peptides, ceramides, and emollients.

Given my experience with the C-Firma, I wasn’t surprised I had a negative experience with this eye cream. After just a few days of use, my under eyes became red, dry, and flakey.

I could only recommend this product if you know you do not have sensitive skin under your eyes.

Verdict: Pass on it. Pick up this eye cream instead.

Protini™ Powerpeptide Resurfacing Serum

Protini™ Powerpeptide Resurfacing Serum

Drunk Elephant Protini Powerpeptide Resurfacing Serum is an AHA-based exfoliating serum. It is formulated with lactic acid, peptides, and amino acids to remove dead skin cells while also plumping and hydrating the skin.

When I first heard about this serum, I thought it was going to be the DE equivalent of Sunday Riley’s Good Genes since they both feature lactic acid. But honestly, this serum is SO MUCH BETTER. The texture is thinner, the smell is pleasant, and it feels better on the skin.

Overall, I really enjoyed using the Protini™ Powerpeptide Resurfacing Serum and would recommend it to anyone looking for a gentle yet effective way to exfoliate and improve their skin texture.

Verdict: Buy it.

T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum is an acid-based exfoliating serum formulated with high concentrations of AHAs ( tartaric, lactic, citric, and glycolic acids) and BHAs (salicylic acid). This combination resurfaces congested skin by lifting away dead skin cells to visibly improve skin tone, texture, fine lines, wrinkles, and pores.

Knowing that my skin is sensitive, I used this serum two times a week instead of nightly. But even with reduced usage, it irritated my sensitive skin. There was no way I could work up to using this product every night.

If you have been using acids for a while and have skin that can handle aggressive ingredients, you may want to try this serum. Otherwise, I would stick with the Powerpeptide Serum.

Verdict: Buy it, if your skin can handle strong actives.

Protini™ Polypeptide Moisturizer

Protini™ Polypeptide Moisturizer

Protini™ Polypeptide Moisturizer combines peptides and pygmy waterlily extract to hydrate, plump, and firm skin. This moisturizer targets wrinkles, dullness, and uneven texture.

Out of the Drunk Elephant moisturizers I tried, the Protini™ Polypeptide Cream was my favorite for the daytime. It delivers the perfect amount of moisture without feeling heavy or greasy, making it a great choice for year-round use.

Since this product is formulated with coconut alkanes (a known acne trigger), I wouldn’t suggest this if you have acne-prone skin. Otherwise, it is a great moisturizer for normal and combination skin types.

Verdict: Buy it.

Lala Retro Whipped Moisturizer

Lala Retro Whipped Moisturizer

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro™ Nourishing Whipped Refillable Moisturizer is a rich, whipped cream designed to combat dryness, fine lines, and loss of firmness. This formula features a unique blend of African oils to nourish and rejuvenate the skin, while plant-derived ceramides, help replenish the skin’s barrier.

The Lala Retro™ is incredibly rich. Packed with nourishing ingredients, it left my skin feeling soft and soothed. However, this richness makes it a bit much for daily use. I found that it worked best as a nighttime moisturizer when my skin needed a boost of extra moisture.

If you have very dry skin or live in a dry climate, this cream is a great option for you.

Verdict: Buy it.

Bora Barrier Rich Repair Cream

Bora Barrier Rich Repair Cream

Drunk Elephant Bora Barrier Rich Repair Cream is a powerful moisturizer for dry, damaged skin. It contains a 6-Butterlipid Complex to intensely hydrate, plus ceramides and hyaluronic acid to strengthen the skin’s barrier and reduce redness.

To be honest, I didn’t even know Drunk Elephant had put out another product. I only tried this cream because it was included as a gift with purchase in my Sephora order. That being said, I am so glad I tried it.

This cream is one of the best DE products I have tried. A lot of barrier repair creams are thick and occlusive, feeling like a heavy layer on your skin. The Bora Barrier Cream, while rich and nourishing, does not feel heavy at all.

During the winter months, I would use this during the day and at night. When my skin is extra irritated, I don’t wear any face makeup, so I don’t know if this moisturizer works well under foundation. Now that it is getting warmer, I prefer to use the repair cream at night.

This is a truly fantastic moisturizer. If you have a compromised skin barrier, the Bora Barrier Rich Repair Cream is absolutely worth adding to your skincare routine.

Verdict: Buy it.

Umbra Tinte

Umbra Tinte™ Physical Daily Defense SPF 30

The DE Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 is a tinted, broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen for the face.

If you know me, you know that I am dedicated to wearing sunscreen. As an SPF devotee, I am always looking for the best SPF. So when I saw that Drunk Elephant had an SPF I had to try it. After all, their founder is very serious about skincare and using the best ingredients. And I want the best.

Unfortunately, this SPF was far from the best. When I applied the tinte, my skin immediately started to burn. My face felt like it was on fire. In addition to the burning, this sunscreen felt very thick and greasy on the skin. It was hard to spread and equally hard to remove. Overall, this is one of the worst sunscreens I have ever tried.

I can’t recommend this product to anyone.

Verdict: Pass on it.

D Bronzi

D-Bronzi™ Anti-Pollution Bronzing Drops

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi is a tinted serum that defends against pollution and environmental stressors, while also providing a hint of bronzy glow.

Honestly, I didn’t care about the skincare benefits when trying this product. I was more interested in adding some much-needed glow to my very pale skin. After testing, I can see why everyone loves this product. It really is that good. You can mix it in with your moisturizer, sunscreen, or tinted moisturizer. Some people even apply it directly to the skin, but I don’t prefer to use it that way.

If you like a no-makeup makeup look or just want to add a little warmth to your skin, you will LOVE this product.

Verdict: Buy it.

DE Babyfacial

T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

The Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial is a 20-minute acid-based exfoliating peel formulated with a high concentration of AHAs and BHAs to exfoliate dead skin cells and unclog pores.

As someone who suffers from uneven skin texture, acne scars and pits, and dullness, this is a miracle product. That being said, it is a strong mask. The first few times I used it, I only left it on for half the recommended time. After continued use, I was able to leave the Babyfacial on for the full amount of time. After washing the treatment off, I always follow with facial oil.

I know that it can be difficult to spend $80 on one product, but if you can afford it, the price is worth it. While there are cheaper alternatives, this product performs better than any alleged dupes.

Verdict: Buy it.

DE Marula Oil

Virgin Marula Luxury  Face Oil

DE’s Virgin Marula Oil is a face oil rich in critical antioxidants and omegas 6 and 9 that moisturizes, nourishes, and visibly balances while restoring a youthful-looking glow.

As someone prone to breaking out, I am very hesitant to put oil on my face. Plus, marula isn’t my oil of preference. I did use this product after the Babyfacial as a way to soothe the skin. It did its job just fine. I just prefer squalane.

The decision to pass has nothing to do with my oil preference and everything to do with the price. I am sure the process they use and the quality of the oil make the product more expensive, but you can find a cheaper marula oil to use.

Verdict: Pass on it. Buy this marula oil instead.

Overall Thoughts On Drunk Elephant

From everything that I have tested my favorite products are:

  • Protini™ Powerpeptide Resurfacing Serum
  • Bora Barrier Rich Repair Cream
  • T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
  • D-Bronzi™ Anti-Pollution Bronzing Drops

All in all, Drunk Elephant offers a variety of powerful products. With high percentages of active ingredients, Drunk Elephant is an ideal brand for those that have experience using strong ingredients and those with hardy skin. If you have sensitive skin, consider a different brand or proceed with caution.

Let’s talk a bit about price. Drunk Elephant products are expensive. Given the research, quality of ingredients, and concentration of actives in each product, the price point of most of their products is justified. However, if you can’t afford their prices there are plenty of affordable alternatives.

*** Still not sure about Drunk Elephant prices? Check out this Drunk Elephant Dupes post.***

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Leave a Comment


  1. 6.6.19

    I absolutely love that you took the time to review so many products!

    I definitely was one of the people that were a little apprehensive about the price tag! I still am but I know now that it would be worth it.

    Thanks for an honest review!

  2. 7.23.20

    what a great in-depth review! I find DE products very hit and miss, and some items like the marula oil I don’t see how they can justify the pricetag. My two favs are the b-hydra and the TLC. Amazing products and just what my skin needs

    Hannah @ The Northern Writes