My First Product Review: Drunk Elephant

My birthday was earlier this month, and I went down to my local beauty store and collected a few freebies to celebrate myself. Always celebrate yourself on your birthday. 🙂

I had a choice between two Drunk Elephant products or some make up samples by Kat Von D. This was kind of a difficult decision. I’ve been trying very hard to get out of my comfort zone and try different brands. I have finicky skin and when I find something that works, I’m a lifer. However,  I’m always mortified when a client asks me what I think about a particular product that I’ve never heard of it before, so here we are.

I’m a connoisseur of beauty Podcasts and Instagram stories and pages dedicated to the beauty industry. I hear about Drunk Elephant all over the place. Many love it, some are not huge fans and many are impartial. I decided to use it until the samples were gone and then give my take on them. I got out my biology books and my beauty bibles and I looked up all of the ingredients to decide exactly what they were used for, how they’re derived and what reactions they can cause, so without further adieu… Drunk Elephant ladies and gentleman.

Drunk Elephant Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser retails for $32 for 5 oz. I think that’s a decent price for a good amount of a “prestige” cleanser. Remember, though, the company can only afford to charge a lower price for a product if they haven’t spent a hefty amount of money formulating it. which means lower grade ingredients. Drunk Elephant doesn’t use any of what they call the “Suspicious Six”. Which includes essential oils, drying alcohols, silicone, chemical sunscreen, fragrance, dye or sodium lauryl sulfate. I’m not going to delve into this list right now. I don’t agree that ALL of these things are harmful from a scientific stand point, but I digress. If you guys want a break down of these ingredients, I’ll be happy to give it.

The cleanser that I sampled is clear, unscented and not overly sudsy. It offers a little bit of foam and cleans nicely. Drunk Elephant claims that Beste No.9 is suitable for all skin types, but I disagree. Many of the components to their ingredient lists contain coconut oil derivatives.  Coconut oil is what we in the skincare business call comedogenic. Meaning that it can cause comedones, or…pimples. I have oily skin, and while this cleanser gave me squeaky clean skin, I also broke out while using it.

Beste No.9 also has cocomidopropyl Betaine as the second ingredient on deck. If you don’t already know, ingredients are listed in order of most to least. Like, water tends to be the first ingredient on many lists. That means that they’re made up of mostly water. Then at the end, you’ll see a drop of fragrance, color or maybe the most concentrated ingredient. In Beste No.9, the second ingredient, cocomidopropyl Betaine,  was voted Allergen of the Year in 2004 by the American Contact Dermatitis Association. If you have sensitive skin, this may be a cleanser you want to avoid.

I also sampled Protini, DE’s anti-aging moisturizer. This product wasn’t awful. It felt nice going on and it wasn’t oily. Protini contains 9 anti-aging protein peptides and DE takes pride in the pH of Protoni being 4. It has a pretty decent ingredient deck. More of the coconut oil derivatives and Lye to hold the pH of 4. Skin is naturally a 5.5, but it needs to be a bit more acidic in order to absorb peptides properly. Protini is $89 for a smidge less than 2oz. It’s a little spendy, but I’m impressed with the amount of peptides and the research that went into making sure they absorbed properly. I’d give this one a gold star for anyone who isn’t prone to breakouts and is looking for a little plumping action.

As a whole, I look at this brand like a music album. Not every song is going to be your favorite. Not every product will be for you, but there are good ones. Drunk Elephant may be gilded by clever marketing and a compassionate ethos. I would love for my skincare purchase to go to elephant rescue (which it does with DE). Le Mer supports ocean conservation, Mary Kay supports breast cancer research and Beautyblender supports LGBTQ+ rights. What I mean is that you shouldn’t choose a product because you were side railed by the hype. At the end of the day, it’s just you and that cleanser or corrective moisturizer trying to put in work. Those elements are also important , but there are so many amazing options that if DE products aren’t your jam, you can find a happy alternative.

Visit your local independent Esthetician for some recommendations. Chances are, if she’s a solo-esthy, she’s chosen her own line to carry and she knows it like the back of her hand. Skin isn’t an exact science and it may take a few tries to find what works, but hang in there!




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