The 10 Best Drunk Elephant Products, According To Dermatologists

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Dermatologists weigh in on the best Drunk Elephant products for your skin care routine.
Getty Images/ Delmaine Donson

It’s nearly impossible to shop for skin care (or hair care) without coming across Drunk Elephant — the buzzy beauty brand that’s practically always placed on Sephora’s best-sellers list and continually praised by skin care aficionadoes.

Known for its innovative take on skin “smoothies” — the practice of mixing and matching serums and creams based on what your complexion needs at that moment — atop its array of products spiked with hero ingredients, Drunk Elephant has become a cult favorite in the beauty world. And, since it launched in 2013 with an edited line of skin care essentials, it’s grown to include products for the rest of your routine, including body care, hair products, and even scalp essentials. And that’s why it can be a little overwhelming when shopping its concoctions for your own routine.

To help parse its wide range of beauty elixirs, Bustle went straight to the skin care experts: dermatologists. Read on for their picks of the best Drunk Elephant products you should be adding to your cart.

We at Bustle only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.


The Brightening Serum

Skin feeling dull? Several of the dermatologists Bustle spoke with cited Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Fresh Day Serum as one of their top formulas in the vitamin C category. “It’s one of my favorite Drunk Elephant products,” Dr. Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, tells Bustle. That’s because it contains the all-important antioxidant that protects your complexion, he explains.

Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology, agrees, adding that what makes this serum so special — and effective — is that you can actually mix it at home (the product comes with the liquid base separate from the antioxidant in powder form). “This serum is designed to be mixed at home prior to first use to ensure freshness and maximum potency,” says Garshick. “And it combines vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid plus fruit nutrients and extracts to help fight free radical damage while brightening and firming the skin and improving the overall complexion.”


The Retinol Oil

According to Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Mudgil Dermatology, Drunk Elephant’s retinol oil provides a gentler route to reaping the benefits of the star ingredient. “This is an elegant product great for sensitive and dry skin types,” Mudgil tells Bustle. “It’s a retinol, which is great for anti-aging and preventing fine lines, packaged with potent moisturizers and rich in antioxidants.”

Dr. Snehal Amin, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and co-founder and surgical director of MDCS Dermatology, is also a fan of the product. The appeal is in the formula: Retinol is a key ingredient for clear and youthful-looking skin, he explains, while marula oil is high in critical antioxidants and vitamins E and C, which protect the skin against free radical UV damage. This is essential, as retinoids increase your skin’s sensitivity.


The Exfoliating Mask

The T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial is one of Drunk Elephant’s more potent treatment products. According to Garshick, this mask uses a combination of exfoliating acids to help brighten the skin, all while smoothing out texture. So it basically works like a facial in a bottle.

“Babyfacial incorporates 25 % AHA [alpha hydroxy acid] and 2% BH [beta hydroxy acid], including glycolic acid, tartaric acid, lactic acid, citric acid, and salicylic acid,” Garshick explains. “Together, these help with discoloration as well as fine lines and wrinkles.” Simply apply the mask to your face for 20 minutes — but only once every seven days. “It packs a punch, so it should only be used once per week,” she advises.


The Makeup-Melting Butter

In the cleanser category, Mudgil recommends Drunk Elephant’s Makeup-Melting Butter. “This is rich with numerous antioxidants,” he says. Besides those, Amin adds that it’s great for gentle exfoliation and diminishing the appearance of pores — which it does via activated bamboo and charcoal powder. “[Charcoal powder] is a naturally occurring ingredient which draws dirt out from pores,” he tells Bustle. “By reducing pore size and gently exfoliating the skin, it leaves the skin smooth.” As a plus, it does this without stripping your complexion of its natural oils thanks to non-fragrant soothing fruit extracts and oils (think blueberry, kiwi, strawberry, and watermelon seed).


The Hydrating Serum

Experts recommend the B-Hydra serum for skin that’s feeling extra dry. “It has no fragrance so it’s great for sensitive skin,” says Dr. Shari Sperling, D.O., a board-certified dermatologist, who likes the formula for hydrating the skin and locking in moisture.

The serum contains a potent combination of sodium hyaluronate (similar to hyaluronic acid, but with a lower molecular weight for effective penetration), provitamin B5, niacinamide, and pineapple ceramide that work together to attract and retain moisture in the complexion, leaving your face plump and hydrated.


The Gentle Cleanser

According to Mudgil, Drunk Elephant’s Jelly Cleanser is a great choice for all skin types. “The surfactant blend works wonderfully as a broad-spectrum cleanser and removes various environmental pollutants and urban grime from the skin,” he tells Bustle.

As for the surfactant blend in question? It contains a stack of mild cleansing agents, including coconut-based surfactants rich in fatty acids, explains Amin, who points to glycerin as a moisturizing ingredient in the formula that’s especially suitable for sensitive skin. “Cantaloupe fruit extract also contains vitamin A, which increases new skin formation,” he adds. The end result is a face wash that’s gentle and replenishing.


The Plumping Face Cream

Drunk Elephant’s Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer is perfect for anyone seeking to hydrate, plump, and/or firm their skin’s appearance, says Garshick. “This moisturizing cream not only effectively moisturizes the skin but also incorporates peptides, growth factors, and amino acids to firm the skin,” she explains.

An added perk? It contains a botanical stem cell extract — from pygmy waterlilies — that’s rich in antioxidants, so it also protects your complexion. Not only that, but it soothes the skin and helps to quash dullness, says Garshick. “Together, these ingredients improve the overall appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” she tells Bustle.


The Bronzing Drops

Skin care devotees may love this product for its ability to deliver an instant, natural looking-bronze — but dermatologists love its nourishing formula, which means it’s a multitasking must-have. “This antioxidant-rich serum is great for folks in urban or polluted areas,” Mudgil tells Bustle. He also points to its inclusion of peptides that help make the skin appear more elastic, firm, and fresh, and cocoa extract and chronocyclin work to add a potent antioxidant punch.

Cocoa is a sought-after ingredient in skin care because of its phytochemical ingredients, flavonoids, and antioxidants,” Amin says, noting that it provides soothing benefits to the complexion. As for chronocyclin? “It mimics the antioxidant benefits of vitamin D, which has important benefits for the prevention of skin aging,” says Amin.


The Glow-Inducing Serum

Garshick’s take? If you’re looking for a serious glow, this serum should be your go-to. “It combines a blend of alpha-hydroxy acids, including glycolic acid, as well as salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid, which together help to eliminate dead skin cells, improving overall skin tone and texture,” she explains.

This serum is also beneficial for those with acne-prone skin, as it works to unclog pores — and Garshick notes it can even be used as a spot treatment. And it won’t leave your face feeling dry: “As an added bonus, it also contains raspberry fruit extract, which helps to rehydrate the skin and help provide antioxidant benefits,” she says. Pro tip: Begin incorporating this into your routine slowly, says Garshick, and only use it a few times a week before working your way up.


The Mega-Moisturizing Salve

Another Drunk Elephant pick from the pros is this multitasking salve. “This is a rich moisturizer good for all skin types, especially folks with dry, chapped, eczema-prone skin,” Mudgil tells Bustle. “Marula butter, a Drunk Elephant fave, is a superior moisturizer with polyphenol antioxidants, and meadowfoam oil, cupuacu, and shea butter provide additional potent fatty acid-based moisturization.”

Meadowfoam oil is another notable active within the formula: According to Amin, it contains a long chain of fatty acids which give it a long shelf life and stability while its blend of cupuaçu and shea butter makes for a robust combination of emollients. “Cupuaçu is a rich emollient best for the driest parts of the body like elbows, hands, and feet, and shea butter is great for very dry skin and eczema,” he says.

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