When you walk into any major beauty store or counter, there's no mistaking the best Drunk Elephant products for any other brands. The tiny elephant logo stamped on the plain white containers with bright lids certainly look pretty, but packaging isn't the only reason why the brand, founded by Tiffany Masterson, retained a cult-like following. They look good on your sink, and they make your skin look good, too... and they've got the seal of approval from dermatologists.
“Drunk Elephant does a great job with their products. Masterson and her team have identified several 'problem' ingredients that are commonly included in skin care products and actively avoid them,” Dr. Heather Rogers, dermatologist and creator of Doctor Rogers RESTORE, tells TZR. "Sodium lauryl sulfate, known as SLS, and drying alcohols are all common causes of irritation and are said not to be found in the line."
In fact, Drunk Elephant products nix most ingredients that make you question what they are. All of the products are naturally-formulated and cater directly to your skin's health. You don't have to worry about added fragrance if your skin is sensitive to scents, either, or any harsh materials that will cause your face to react.
And you know it's good stuff when the derms actually use the products themselves. Dr. Lily Talakoub of McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center in Virginia has tried almost every product that Drunk Elephant has to offer: “I love them — especially the ones with ingredients like marula oil and glycolic acid," she says.
New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum counts the B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum as one of her go-tos, and the C-Firma Day Serum is liked by Dr. Estee Williams, a New York City dermatologist. "It has a nice blend of vitamin C and plant-based antioxidants," she gushes.
Want to see the other products that derms are roaring about? Keep scrolling ahead.
"Vitamin C is the most commonly used topical antioxidant in skin care, and it's advised to apply it in the morning, before any other products," Dr. Williams says of the serum's hero ingredient.
"This product has a blend of alpha (or glycolic) acids and beta (or salicylic) hydroxy-acids and is a potent nighttime exfoliator. During the winter, it’s essential to periodically use exfoliators, whether it be chemical — such as glycolic acid — or mechanical — such as scrubs or brushes — to loosen dead skin cells and encourage sloughing," Dr. Williams says.
"The key ingredient here is the retinol — which is the over-the-counter, pre-drug version of tretinoin, a prescription vitamin A derivative. Both retinol and prescription tretinoin have been shown to do great things for the skin, including treating acne, reversing sun damage, and improving skin smoothness and texture," Dr. Rogers shares.
Dr. Rogers recommends this product because "it has a strong blend of both AHAs and BHAs that work together to exfoliate dead skin, to improve the tone and texture of skin, and minimize the appearance of pores. I also love that Drunk Elephant recommends using this product once a week as a mask and to follow immediately with a moisturizer oil, because it's powerful stuff."
This cleanser contains the ingredients passiflora edulis seed oil and passion fruit oil, which has skin-soothing properties and are a source of lycopene — an antioxidant, according to Dr. Rogers.
The cucumber in this eye cream smoothes, hydrates, and decreases puffiness under the eyes, Dr. Talakoub says.
Dr. Talakoub's favorite from Drunk Elephant contains omega-6-rich marula oil. Omega-g is also also known as fatty acids, which everyone needs as they age, she notes.
"This cream is full of oils that are great for keeping the skin soft, and taking off makeup," Dr. Talakoub says.
The star ingredient in these drops are omega-6, which contain the building blocks for ceramides — and those are necessary for skin hydration and plumping, according to Dr. Nussbaum.
Dr. Nussbaum's favorite includes the ingredient sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, which is "a popular ingredient with water-binding properties, that is important to supplement topically because as we age our bodies lose some of our naturally occurring supply, located in the deepest layers of the skin," she says.
"The sunflower sprout extract in this product helps to protect skin from sun exposure, and the raspberry seed oil is rich in antioxidants and phytosterols," Dr. Nussbaum says. "Studies are being done on [phytosterol's] potential to absorb UVB and UVC rays, and possibly some UVA rays."