Drunk Elephant is enjoying something akin to cult status in the beauty world. It boasts photogenic packaging, instantly memorable product names, and a slew of “best skin of my life!!” reviews. The elephant in the room (hahaha PUN) is that the goodies are quite expensive. Fortunately, Sephora and Dermstore have sales and coupons sometimes, which is pretty much how I assembled my four-strong collection.
In this post, I will be covering two items: the Lippe balm and the C-Firma antioxidant serum. For context, here are my skincare concerns: mild rosacea, sensitivity, and general combination skin issues, such as oiliness in my T-zone and dryness around my eyes.
Drunk Elephant first caught my attention thanks to high ratings on Beautypedia, a site famous for bashing skincare with potentially irritating ingredients. I use its ratings as a predictor to see if a product would make my face redder than normal. (Ironically, the most aggravating products I have ever tried were two masks by Beautypedia’s house brand, Paula’s Choice–but that’s another story.) Drunk Elephant touts its gentleness to skin using the “no toxins” language, a berserk button for those who prefer nerdy skincare philosophies to hippie ones. However, the company promotes beneficial synthetic ingredients in addition to natural stuff, and the “toxins” it avoids include natural irritants such as essential oils.
The core product in the line is the 100% Virgin Marula Oil, which ties into a story behind the brand name. The marula trees grow in Africa and their fruits indeed make elephants drunk. (The fruit are also used for the Amarula cream liqueur, which has an elephant on the bottle.) Marula oil is an ingredient in all of the currently available Drunk Elephant products. A representative told me on Instagram that the brand uses fair trade oils, however I haven’t been able to verify that claim.
Lippe Lip Balm
Lippe is the only product in my Drunk Elephant collection that I know I won’t repurchase. Lip balms as expensive as this one ($22) better be miracle workers… Lippe isn’t.
To be fair, my lips are extremely dry and prone to shriveling, and lip balms either do nothing at all or offer a short-term improvement. Lippe is a decent enough oily balm, similar in feel to Hurraw! and Yes to Coconuts. This is actually my favorite kind of lip moisturizer, but Lippe’s effect is not much different from the aforementioned under-$5 options. If one’s particular about ethically sourced ingredients, Fair Trade USA has partner companies that sell lip balms for $3. In short, even though I don’t regret purchasing Lippe, I remain unconvinced about the whole genre of fancy lip balms.
C-Firma Day Serum
A few years ago, I went to a cosmetic dermatologist at Kaiser Permanente for advice on a general skincare routine. She recommended retinol, resveratrol, and antioxidants, all of which I’ve been dutifully using since then.
Of the antioxidant serums I’ve tried, C-Firma is as good as any. Some use Vitamin C products to banish dark spots, but I don’t have many, and those serums are more like maintenance workers than problem-solvers for me. I view them as building blocks in a regimen for mitigating general signs of aging. So far, I can testify that since I started using antioxidants (along with retinol and resveratrol), my face didn’t slide off, I didn’t erupt in boils, and my skin has been generally looking softer and, ummmm, glowier. And yes, it’s still firm. I might be able to produce more authoritative conclusions in a few years, when I get closer to 40 (I’m 31.) Of course, if I still have this beauty hobby of mine.
I’m on my second bottle of C-Firma now. Drunk Elephant has recently reformulated the serum for a more convenient application experience, and the change is for the better. The first iteration of C-Firma was too runny, similar to Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster, and the new formula is more viscous, feeling oily and gel-like at the same time. Lately, I’ve been mixing the serum in the morning with Drunk Elephant’s B-Hydra, a gel hydrator for oily skin. The resulting mega-serum sinks in quickly, and feels refreshing and nourishing. I consider it decent prep for my dry-ish daily sunscreen, the Paula’s Choice tinted moisturizer. Dayum, a lot of mentions of Paula’s Choice in this post dedicated to a different brand… But it is what it is. I know Paula’s Choice skincare pretty well.
Back to Drunk Elephant, this Sunday I’m planning to post about B-Hydra as well as the Lala Retro cream for dry skin. I will also include some random thoughts about the brand’s products that I’ve sampled or am curious about. Til Sunday.