Photo: Instagram/@josephinecwz and 123rf
My skincare routine is pretty extensive and my dresser is filled with products that are half used, partially used, used once a long time ago. I have never ever strictly stuck to only one skincare brand for my entire skincare routine. My beauty philosophy used to be that different brands excelled at different products, and it would only make sense as an informed consumer to use the star product from each brand.
This was until I met founder Tiffany Masterson on November 7, and I was so taken by her singular commitment to clean and bio-available, skin-compatible ingredients in skincare that I decided to take the plunge and commit to using only Drunk Elephant products for a full two weeks. The phrase she often uses is “clean-compatible” – where “clean” simply means all ingredients used must be safe even if they get absorbed into the bloodstream, and “compatible” means they don’t disrupt the skin’s natural function because “skin just needs to be fed the right things and not changed”.
No cheating, not even when I was sorely tempted to do a clay mask or scrub out bumps. This all-or-nothing take on reviewing the Drunk Elephant range is based on her theory that a product is only as good as its worst ingredient and “your routine [is] only as good as its worst product”. That is why every single ingredient in the line has a specific benefit for your skin and has to be proven to be effective and backed by research, otherwise it does not make its way into the product formulation.
What this means is that the products do not contain silicones and other ingredients like emulsifiers to help your skin feel smoother or make the product texture more pleasant, less watery or absorb faster. There are also no added scents to mask the natural smell of the product, or dyes to make the shade of the product more appealing.
The end result?
This is a skincare reboot which takes time – both in research and commitment to daily usage. If you prefer to slap it on and get out of the house quickly (that’s me!), this skincare routine will be a challenge especially in the mornings. If you’re using the entire range – it can add 10 minutes to your morning routine. The breakdown: 2 extra minutes for eye cream, 3 extra minutes for serum and moisturiser, another 5 minutes for sunscreen.
My skin felt smooth, clean and hydrated each day, and from a week in, also feels firmer and looks brighter. Skin felt super balanced and mid-day shine was reduced, plus I saw fine lines and dryness transform into a dewy glow. All the more incredible because this was a stressful period of time with little sleep and no additional scrubs or masks for the first 14 days. A rash of clogged pores and bumps started surfacing the first few days and took over a week to mostly resolve. After that my complexion was largely clear.
Now in my third week of using DE, I’ve relaxed a bit the past week and started exfoliating with a gentle physical scrub every alternate day (I don’t use the Glycolic Serum afterwards on those days) and this has worked really well. No more baby clogs surfacing every now and then. Enlarged pores on my cheeks and nose seem to be shrinking, and they are so clean (no blackheads at all).
Photo: Instagram/Drunk Elephant
Something I found out after obsessively reading reviews and the DE website because I was so perturbed by the pilling effect when I layered on the Glycolic Serum then the Hydration Serum and Protini Cream after, was that the products should be first mixed into a literal “smoothie” for skin. No need for layering, in fact layering doesn’t work as well because they are silicone-free and products emulsify well when mixed.
There is a Day Smoothie which calls for the mix of C-Firma Serum, Hydration Serum and Lala Whipped Cream, perfect for days when your skin wakes up feeling drier than normal. I just placed a pump of each product into my palm, mixed and then applied it over my face. Be warned that this takes even longer to sink into skin and dry – I had to resort to standing in front of a fan at full blast for up to 5 minutes before it was dry enough to layer sunscreen over. Other days I simply use the C-Firma with Lala Whipped Cream.
I used the Beauty Sleep Smoothie which consists of the Marula Facial Oil, Glycolic Serum and Protini Cream every night religiously because it works like a dream! I sleep in 21 degree AC and this actually made me feel excited to go to bed, because I would wake up with firm, bouncy and bright skin no matter how many hours I lay tossing in bed watching cat videos.
Now, I am excitedly waiting for the “new retinol product” and “a whole new form of cleanser” launching next year. Tiffany lets on that her mother kept sneakily using makeup remover wipes and a retinol product from another brand and these products were formulated to close the gap for women like her mother. You heard it here first.
Drunk Elephant is now available at Sephora Ion Orchard.