For those of you living under a beautiful, tranquil rock away from the lures of Instagram – Drunk Elephant is a wildly hyped up American skincare line which finally landed in the UK last autumn.
It’s beautiful. The packaging is minimal and sleek and yet like a bright and beautiful millennial wet dream at the same time.
It’s pricey. It starts at £15 for a lip balm (which, I have not reviewed in this post – I’m cool with a £3 cherry Carmex thanks very much) and goes right up to £76 for a night serum.
And it is good. Really fucking good. Or I mean, everyone who chats skincare on the internet seems to think so. So naturally, me and my mediocre skin wanted to get our hands on it.
It’s also cruelty-free and ‘clean’. The Drunk Elephant mantra is that they do not touch the ‘suspicious six’ which are essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance/dyes and SLS. So make of that what you will.
But the thing that stands out for me about the brand is the way they untangle skincare and make it easy for complete novices and those overwhelmed by the sea of products out there to work out there to put together a routine.
I highly recommend Drunk Elephant’s ‘The Littles‘ which is (again, pricey) a collection of seven miniatures from the range – it comes with a booklet that tells you whether the products should be used for day or night, at which part of the routine, and which products they can be mixed with. It’s mega helpful.
‘The Littles’ is also a great way for sampling the best bits of the range and finding out which ones work for you and which ones are worth purchasing at full-size. Everyone seems to have their own hero product (or products) from Drunk Elephant, rather than their being one product which is the clear winner.
It’s also worth noting before I start with the lil mini first impression reviews of the products, that some of them were gifted to me for review by Cult Beauty which stocks Drunk Elephant. It’s also available at Space NK.
Whilst Drunk Elephant say that this is a ‘silky water-gel moisturiser’ it doesn’t feel quite as light as I expected it to. I used this a few times on holiday with the reasoning that a) my skin was probably crying for moisture after a long flight and b) was also probably crying for moisture having been in the sun all day. It’s nice, it made my skin feel rich and soft, but it didn’t get me too hot under the collar. Maybe more for one-off use rather than every day with my oily skin. I will likely not invest in the bigger version. Shop here.
This was the first Drunk Elephant product I threw money at – having heard Alexis Foreman rave about it at a dinner I was at a couple of months ago. It’s meant to brighten and even out skin tone and I have plenty of dull spot scaring so was ready to get my glow on. It’s a bit sticky, and has a smell that you just have to get used to over time, and it does leave skin feeling a bit tacky but HELLO LOOK AT MY SKIN. I noticed the difference within days. It instantly felt clearer and almost ‘blurred’. Likely my fave product from the entire range. Shop here.
Now, if you love a cleansing butter like Clinique’s Take The Day Off then you will likely LOVE this. It does a great job at removing every last scrap of even the most dramatic of eye make-up. It also feels gentle and light on the skin and doesn’t leave any residue once washed off. It comes with a little magnetic spoon which clings to the lid so that you don’t have to dive your bare hands straight into the cleanser which is more helpful than it sounds. It’s not for me purely because I prefer a pump dispenser, but the product itself is excellent. Shop here.
Now, I’m a bit stuck with reviewing this. I started used it after Kate La Vie told me how much it had transformed her skin. She said it had completely changed the way her skin looked without make-up on, and I wanted in on the action. If you’re new to retinol, Amy Lawrenson wrote a great beginner’s post here, but it’s an ingredient you’ve got to be patient with to see results. I started by applying this one evening a week, and moved up to two/three applications a week. If I went in too heavy, my skin would go red and flaky and sore and I would have to pull back. My skin and chin acne have got MILES better, but I noticed the difference maybe two months after starting the retinol and one week after starting the C-Firma serum, so WHICH WAS IT?! Shop here.
I read another review of this which described it at the least sexy of the Drunk Elephant line-up and y’know what? I’m inclined to agree. I like it a lot. And know both Liv Purvis and Alex Stedman highly recommend it. But it hasn’t done anything noticeably different to my skin overnight. As a huge Clinique Moisture Surge fan, this serum is right up my street – it feels very similar, incredible hydration whilst remaining very light on the skin. I’m using it morning and night and it’s an excellent base for make-up. I will likely buy this as a replacement for my Moisture Surge (*mic drop*) but would not say that it’s changed my life?! Shop here.
I’ve got to hold my hands up and say that I do not use eye cream. Sorry. I got into it aged around 15 when a make-up artist told me to and then yes that’s the end of our relationship right there. This is nice and light and sinks into skin quickly. It’s meant to be AMAZING for dark circles, of which I do suffer, but I’m struggling to incorporate it into my routine often enough to see the difference. Shop here.
This is the pricey monster in the range – an acid as a serum. I usually take my acid via the way of Paula’s Choice BHA which you apply onto cotton wool and sweep across your cheeks, whereas this is almost more like a gel which you apply after cleansing. It’s quite strong. I notice a slight sting in certain pores as soon as it’s applied, which lasts a few seconds. And you do need to use a decent moisturiser afterwards to stop it drying your skin. I have the small version of this from ‘The Littles’ and am using it every other night (alternating with retinol as you can’t use the two together) instead of the Paula’s Choice acid, so will see how my skin holds up over the coming weeks! Shop here.
Now, I haven’t used a night oil in about a year. I read this piece from Amy Lawrenson about how she’d stripped oil from her routine and so started to pull back myself. I might have completely ignored this product if I hadn’t watched Caroline Hirons’ Drunk Elephant video in which she said this was her fave product, and so I decided I had to give it a go. It’s incredibly lightweight as an oil, and absorbs very quickly. I used it with the hydration serum after a flight and my skin was so, so, so soft. Whilst I wouldn’t use it every day as I think it would be too much for my skin, I’ll definitely be using it when my skin needs a pick-me-up and would likely re-purchase. Shop here.
And finishing my first impression reviews with my least fave of the range. Eeesh. I use the Glossier jelly cleanser every day so was excited to try this and hoped it’d be similar. It’s actually almost foam-y and soap-y? And a little drying? There just wasn’t anything about it that stood out or felt particularly nice. You can use it on wet or dry skin and apparently it can be used to remove all make-up. Personally I tried it as a second cleanse (on damp skin) and as a morning cleanse (on dry skin) and really didn’t love it either time. Would be surprised if it could handle stubborn eye make-up. Shop here.
There are some other products in the Drunk Elephant range which I haven’t tried. There are the D-Bronzi Sunshine Drops (which give an instant holiday glow when mixed with a moisturiser/serum), there are two kinds of SPF (which I believe only recently launched in the UK), there’s the lip balm, a couple of cleansing bars (obvs gentler on the environment), another eye cream and the Lala Retro Whipped Cream which is seemingly a hardcore moisturiser for super, super dry skin.
And, not available in the UK, is the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial which is an exceedingly strong acid which is meant to be AMAZING. So amazing in fact that it’s too lethal to pass UK regulations. I’m hoping to pick it up on my next trip to the States.
Which products have you tried and which is your fave?