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There’s perhaps no greater success story in the skincare world than that of Drunk Elephant. Founder and chief creative officer Tiffany Masterson first began the journey when she was looking for an extra way to make money during the recession. She quickly realized just how products can impact your skin, and, after several years spent formulating and researching, Drunk Elephant was born.
It quickly became one of the fastest-growing masstige beauty brands out there, not to mention one owned by a female and one focused on clean formulations. The products are all free of what the brand deems ‘the suspicious six:’ silicones, essential oils, chemical sunscreens, SLS, alcohols, and fragrances/dyes. Still, they take a slightly different approach, calling it ‘clean clinical’ skincare and using both natural and synthetic ingredients, with a focus on efficacy and what actually benefits your skin. Beauty editors and consumers alike quickly became obsessed, and the beauty industry took note. It’s a success story that largely hinges upon one thing: The products are truly, genuinely, really good.
Find out for yourself by getting your hands (and skin) on these top Drunk Elephant products.
One of the first products DE launched, this also inspired the brand’s memorable name (when African elephants eat the fruit from marula trees they do in fact appear to be drunk). Completely pure, raw, and cold-pressed, this skin-loving oil is an excellent source of protective antioxidants, not to mention ultra fast-absorbing. Case in point: One Byrdie editor claims it’s her ultimate secret for crazy glowy skin.
This is yet another must-try staple. True to its name, the mask leaves your skin, well, baby-soft. It’s a two-step process; first comes the mask, which touts a 25% concentration of various alpha-hydroxy acids plus 2% beta-hydroxy acids. It sounds intense, we know, especially if you have sensitive skin that freaks out at even the mention of the word acid. But because it’s formulated at the right pH and buffered with plenty of soothing ingredients, even the sensitive set can reap the brightening, smoothing, radiance-boosting benefits without any irritation. Step two: The aforementioned marula oil for a final hit of hydration.
Think of Babyfacial as your weekly deep clean, and this nighttime serum as your daily tidying-up. It also uses a power combo of AHAs and BHAs for effective-yet-gentle chemical exfoliation that can target pretty much all of your complexion concerns, from dullness to dark spots (and everything in between).
A 2019 Byrdie Skincare Award winner, this nabbed the prize for best moisturizer for dry skin. One editor calls it, ‘the moisturizer I recommend to everyone,’ thanks to the combo of peptides and proteins that improve both the look and feel of your skin. We also love the fact that it comes in an airtight pump jar that eliminates the need for you to stick grimy fingers into the container.
There are good face washes and then there are good face washes. This most definitely falls into the latter category, hitting the exact right balance of being strong enough to completely remove makeup and the day’s gunk and grim, while still being gentle and hydrating enough to not strip the skin. It’s creamy and bouncy, and rinses off completely clean, too.
With completely mineral-based, broad-spectrum sun protection this gets the essential sun blocking job done. But it doesn’t stop there. It also touts a long list of potent antioxidants to act as a second line of defense. And unlike so many mineral formulas, it goes on silky and sheer without leaving behind a tell-tale chalky cast. It’s why we called it our favorite zinc oxide sunscreen for dark skin tones. Though FYI, there’s also a tinted variant for those who prefer some coverage with their SPF.
Not only do these tinted drops leave you looking sun-kissed without damage, but they also take it one step further, actually helping to safeguard your skin. Credit strengthening oils and fatty acids to reinforce your skin barrier and help block out environmental toxins, plus a hefty dose of antioxidants to counteract whatever does get in. All while leaving behind a perfectly pretty hint of bronzy color.
Ask a group of beauty editors what their favorite Drunk Elephant product is and we’re willing to bet this comes in top. (It’s also a Byrdie pick for best vitamin C serum for sensitive skin.) An all-around awesome antioxidant serum, it pairs vitamin C with ferulic acid, two antioxidants known for their synergistic benefits. It also has a reservoir effect, meaning it continues to work for up to 72 hours…yes, even if you wash your face.
There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it—retinol is the absolute best, most proven anti-aging ingredient out there. Everyone and their mother would be using it…if not for the notorious side effects that can be a mega deterrent. Enter this formulation, which uses 1% vegan retinol coupled with vitamin F and nourishing oils that drastically minimize the likelihood of those irksome side effects, such as redness and flaking.
If you want to try a little bit of everything, or just want to completely overhaul your entire skincare routine to be all DE all the time, this set is your best bet. You get eight different products (all perfectly travel-sized, we should add) to cover every want and need, conveniently housed in a waterproof travel bag.
Byrdie’s pick for the best brightening makeup remover, one of the brand’s newest launches uses fruit, nut, and seed oils for an ultra-creamy formula, which takes off even stubborn, waterproof makeup. (But yes, it’s gentle enough to use even around your eyes.) The trick: Apply it with dry hands onto dry skin, then add a little bit of water to emulsify it into a milky texture.
What do you get when you combine eight peptides with five forms of vitamin C? Answer: This multi-tasking peeper protector that both firms and brightens the sensitive skin around your eyes. Plenty hydrating, but still lightweight enough that you can use in the morning, it made our list of Byrdie editors’ all-time favorite eye creams. We call it, ‘a little bottle of magic.’