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Curious About Drunk Elephant


Words: Polly

Photos: Drunk Elephant

“I’m extremely sceptical, especially of beauty hype, but after researching and arriving at the same conclusion re Vitamin C, I discovered Drunk Elephant, whose C-Firma Serum was a game changer for my skin and ingredients are in sync with my desire for non-toxic products”.

I’ve always been lucky and had translucent skin (albeit it sensitive and pale!) that’s needed nothing more fancy than a basic moisturiser. Turn 40 and its all change. I’ve had a steady stream of dry patches, irritation and breakouts, making my skin more high maintenance than a teenagers. This, coupled with a skin condition called Malassezia that I’ve had for years (and will cover in another post), set me on a long frustrating search for products without toxic chemicals or false promise that calmed, rather than enraged my skin. Enter the fray, Drunk Elephant.

Texan born Tiffany Masterson wanted to create a simple skin routine with honest, safe ingredients. “One of my motivations in developing Drunk Elephant was to minimize my children’s exposure to toxic chemicals, hormone-mimicking [innocent sounding] fragrances and natural allergic sensitisers that we as consumers do not understand well enough. I was also attracted to the concept of having healthy skin that ages naturally and gracefully. There is not an ounce of fragrance, natural or synthetic, in any of the Drunk Elephant products. They simply smell like what they are. With ingredient safety of paramount importance, the focus is placed on both internal health and external skin health”.

My own search led me to proven benefits of Vitamin C, or more specifically L-Ascorbic Acid (L-AA), before the current buzz in the beauty industry. Known for it’s anti-oxidant, anti-aging properties and ability to improve the appearance of sun damaged, uneven skin tone L-AA is the only active derivative of vitamin C that exists naturally in our skin. However, too high a dose and it becomes irritant, too low and it’s benefits are negligible – a ratio of 15-20% is suggested as the optimum amount. It’s also very unstable requiring limited interaction with the air to remain potent.

“If your vitamin C products don’t contain pure, stabilised ascorbic acid, you don’t know for sure what concentrations are actually reaching your skin” explains Tiffany, who’s C-Firma™ comes in an airless pump and has a reservoir effect, which means it will stay active on skin for up to 72 hours and cannot be washed or rubbed off.

It also has a pH level of 3.3 to 3.5, which she believes is the key to a non-irritating compound. “That’s why we worked so hard to develop using stabilised 15% ascorbic acid, blended with multiple antioxidants and soothing agents”. These include feluric acid, extracted from Rice Bran Oil and one of the most powerful natural anti-oxidants, along with pumpkin ferment and a chronopeptide that biotransforms into Vitamin D to mimic some of the sun’s benefits without the damage.

This brings me onto the issue of synthetic products. Through my research I discovered that L-AA is actually synthetic, not natural vitamin C. In too high amounts it is potentially harmful, though it is freely used in the food industry, including use in vitamins and many food products. The current general consensus seems to be that in small doses it is not harmful.**

Of course we’re talking about topical use here, but given my propensity to avoiding irritants I queried this with Tiffany, who explained that “all L-AA used in skincare application is the synthesized version, derived in many cases from pure Vitamin C. It has to be in order to stay stable. We use many synthetic ingredients in DE and they are all considered in the formulations and in their amounts to be totally harmless. We claim clean clinical status on all. We’re not an all-natural brand and we try to make that really clear”.

So, the truth from a sceptical me. Is this all clever science and ‘anti-sales’ sales hype? I have to admit it really does work and this makes me so happy. Ok, so I didn’t wake up looking like a twenty year old model as the majority of beauty marketing hype would like us to believe, but my hubby commented on how good my skin looked the very next day – despite my having a heavy cold. Since then I’ve used it daily and had further positive comments, including from a man I’d never met before as I walked through a shopping mall in Miami. Seriously, my skin hasn’t been this radiant and calm in a few years. No dry patches, breakouts or dullness, so much so that I use a lot less moisturiser. At last, a gentle range that is as good as it says and makes the price tag worth it. If you want to trial it before investing look at the Rise + Glow™ combo, which includes an 8ml C-Firma and 8ml B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel.

Following on from the results I got from C-Firma, I also now use the TLC Sukari Baby Facial™ twice per week, including on my aged hands. It leaves my skin super soft. Plus, it keeps selling out, so that has to be a good sign, right. I’m about to trial the Marula oil, though I have found that oils don’t suit my skin, so the jury’s out on that one.

And what’s next for DE? “We’re launching our new and improved physical sunscreen, along with a new tinted version, in Sephora in two weeks” Tiffany enthused. “There will also be a gel cleanser launching later this year, with two further innovative products coming next year, one to compliment Babyfacial and one that is a very unique anti-aging product that doesn’t have a competitor in the marketplace. It’s a miracle worker!”

Vitamin C / LAA has been closely linked (though not clinically proven) to improve Malassezia, so a big old affordable bottle of C-Firma would be great. But Tiffany doesn’t have plans for a body range just yet; “I’ve started thinking about the body line but it wouldn’t be ready for a few years. If and when I launch, the line will be a treatment line, so yes, there would be a C-Firma for body and parallel products across the board to match the face line”. Now, that’s exciting.

Oh, and finally the name Drunk Elephant? It’s “rooted in a myth that says that elephants love to eat the fruit that has fallen from the Marula trees. Once eaten, fermentation occurs inside their very large tummies and the elephants become drunk”. How cute!

[C-Firma™ £70 / TLC Sukari Baby Facial™ £126. Shop Below]

(PS: What DE excludes from its products could work as handy list of ingredients to avoid in other ranges, especially if like me you have slightly sensitive skin: Animal Fats/Oils/Musks, Benzalkonium Chloride, Benzophenone, Bisphenol A (BPA), Butoxyethanol, BHA, BHT, Chemical Sunscreens, Coal Tar Dyes, 1,4-Dioxane, -Cones, Detergent, Essential Oils, EDTA, Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA), Formaldehyde, Fragrance, Hydroquinone, Liquid Paraffin, Liquid Petrolatum, Methyl Cellosolve, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Mercury, Mercury Compounds, Mineral Oil, Oxybenzone, Parabens, Paraffin Oil, Phthalates, Polyethylene Glycol (PEGs), Resorcinol, Retinyl Palmitate, Retinol, Siloxanes, Sulfates, Thimerosal, Toluene, Triclosan, Triclocarban).

*Source The Healthy Home Economist

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