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Drunk Elephant: Why You Need to Stop Buying and Alternatives

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Drunk Elephant is quickly becoming one of the most sought after skin care brands out there. But there’s a lot of questions going around about the brand. Is Drunk Elephant cruelty free? Is Drunk Elephant worth the price? Is Drunk Elephant vegan? We’ll cover all these questions, AND MORE, in this article. Let’s get right into it!

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PS if you love skincare, you’ll love these articles:

Is Drunk Elephant Cruelty-free?

When referring to cosmetic products, cruelty free means that the products are manufactured or developed with methods that do not involve harm and cruelty to animals.

Drunk Elephant IS cruelty free! None of their products are tested on animals.

In fact, the brand is cruelty-free certified by Leaping Bunny, which is the gold standard when it comes to cruelty-free certification.

Keep in mind, though, that Drunk Elephant is now owned by Shiseido, which does test on animals.

Is Drunk Elephant Vegan?

The brand has many products that are vegan, but not all. Some of their products contain honey, beeswax, and/or seashell derivatives.

BUT, some of the brand’s most popular products are vegan, like their A-Passioni Retinol Cream, C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream, and their Lala Retro Whipped Cream. Drunk Elephant’s website lists whether specific products are vegan, so just scroll down to whatever product you’re interested in and it will tell you if it’s vegan or not.

Is Drunk Elephant Worth the Price?

Drunk Elephant seems to be dominating the skincare world. Over 50% of the top 10 skincare best sellers on Sephora are from Drunk Elephant, and every influencer on Instagram is in love with the brand. But is the brand worth the hype considering how expensive most of their products are?

The brands philosophy is clear-cut: avoiding questionable products and short-cuts to save money. Here are some screenshots from the brand’s ‘Our Philosophy’ page:

Drunk Elephant philosophy
Drunk Elephant philosophy

Drunk Elephant’s products are also fragrance free. BUT, and this a big but, it’s not worth the price.

While their products are good, and work really well, there are other products that work just as well, without breaking the bank.

Also, the brand is infamous for blaming other skincare brands if you get undesired results. Drunk Elephant insists on you using ONLY their products, because if you use other products and get breakouts or bad results, then it’s those other brands’ fault and NOT Drunk Elephant’s.

I don’t know about you, but this lack of responsibility doesn’t sit right with me, especially when you’re investing so much in their products. It’s great to have confidence in your formulations, but to blame other brands for problems that may be your own isn’t right.

The biggest downfall with the ‘only use Drunk Elephant products’ philosophy is that the brand is already so expensive, to replace your entire skincare routine with Drunk Elephant is ridiculous.

If we look at the prices of full size products:

  • The average price of a moisturizer is about $65 (though the Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil can be as much as $72)
  • Their C-Firma Day Serum is $80
  • Their T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum is $134 (for 50ml)
  • Their cheapest cleansers are the Juju Bar and E-Rase Milki Micellar Water, both at $28
  • Their Umbra Sheer SPF 30 is $34 (the tinted version is for $36)

The total for just these five products is a mind-boggling $341, and this isn’t including any hair or body care. This list also doesn’t include any eye creams!

Like I mentioned earlier, their products are good, even great. But with such a steep price tag, does it matter how good they are when there are cheaper alternatives available?

With that being said, Drunk Elephant is NOT worth it. With their ridiculously high prices and lack of accountability, it’s hard to support the brand. Products like their retinol creams and vitamin C serums have become cult classics, but they shouldn’t be. Let’s look at some affordable skincare products that are comparable to Drunk Elephant for a fraction of the price!

Best Alternatives to Drunk Elephant

1. Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer – $68

This moisturizer is $68 and here’s a few amazing alternatives, with basically the same ingredients for a fraction of the price of Drunk Elephant!

Acure Radically Rejuvenating Whipped Night Cream – $16.73

For the same amount – 50 ml – you’ll pay a fraction of the price of Drunk Elephant for the same ingredients! The Protini cream is ‘special’ because of its peptides but this night cream has peptides from the same ingredient family!

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA Cream – $14.27 (for 100 ml!)

The moisturizing cream from The Ordinary is only $15 and eerily similar to the polypeptide moisturizer from Drunk Elephant. For one, they both have the same whipped texture. Also, they have the same amino acids, dermal lipids, and hyaluronic acid, to keep your skin looking radiant. Do yourself a favor and get this and save yourself the $68 dollars you’d have to spend on Drunk Elephant.

The Inkey List Peptide Moisturizer – $15

This moisturizer is another great alternative to the Protini moisturizer, again at a much cheaper price.

So skip the Drunk Elephant’s unnecessarily over-priced products and switch to these!

Good Molecules Super Peptide Serum – $12

For 30 ml you’re paying $12 for a serum that uses peptides to target fine lines, wrinkles, and dullness. Though the ingredients aren’t the same and this a serum rather than a moisturizer, they are still pretty comparable.

2. Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Face Oil – $72

We all love a good face oil. But how much do we actually love them when they’re $72?! You can find face oils for a couple of dollars, though they probably aren’t formulated like this one or it doesn’t have the word ‘luxury’ smacked onto the label.

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Let’s look at some amazing alternatives for this luxury face oil!

The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil – $16.20

This Virgin Marula Oil by The Ordinary has the same ingredients as Drunk Elephants ‘luxury’ face oil for only $16!

Acure The Essentials Marula Oil – $14.80

This marula oil from Acure is EXACTLY like Drunk Elephant’s marula oil, so save yourself the coin and get this or The Ordinary one, instead.

3. Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream – $74

drunk elephatn a-passioni retinol cream $74

This retinol seems to have taken over the skincare world, because every Instagrammer I follow who’s even remotely interested in skincare, has this cream. This cream has 1% retinol in it – which is pretty high, but like many of Drunk Elephant’s other products, it also has peptides in it. In addition, there’s also vitamin F to not make the cream as drying and irritating.

If you use any retinol regularly enough you’ll probably see similar results from most of them, so any affordable retinol cream is a great alternative, in my opinion. But here’s some amazing retinols I’m obsessed with (and they’re affordable)!

Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream – $15.95

This retinol cream is a favorite among dermatologists and a lot of celebrities swear by this product. Infact, Kim Kardashian uses this cream and loves it! It’s budget friendly and a great retinol cream, and has squalane in it to hydrate your skin and not have intense dryness and irritation which retinol is infamous for.

BUT, this retinol doesn’t have the same ingredients as the Drunk Elephant retinol cream, but it’s a great alternative nonetheless.

EltaMD Renew Eye Gel – $56

Now, I know what you’re saying, $56 isn’t much of an alternative, is it? BUT, like Drunk Elephant’s retinol cream, this eye cream has retinol, peptides, niacinamide, and plant extracts so it’s a very, very close to to the A-Passioni retional cream.

4. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum – $80

Cleen Beauty Vitamin C Papaya Glow Serum – $10

This product is basically an EXACT copy to the Drunk Elephant C-Firma, but at a fraction of the cost. Definitely check out this product – it’s almost scary how similar their ingredients are.

La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Serum with Salicylic Acid – $40

This is a pricier alternative, but has a high concentration (10%) of vitamin C, making it very comparable to Drunk Elephant’s 15% vitamin C concentration. It also includes salicylic acid which is great for anti-aging. Plus, I’ve never tried a La Roche-Posay product I didn’t like.

5. Drunk Elephant T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum – $90

Farmacy Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum – $50

This isn’t an exact alternative because many of the ingredients differ but they both contain AHA, which is the main ingredient. Plus, this serum is more than $30 cheaper, so it’s a lot more affordable than Drunk Elephant.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Exfoliant – $29.50

Paula’s Choice is a great skincare brand with a lot of more affordable options that rival luxury skincare brands like Drunk Elephant. This exfoliant isn’t an exception. For one, it’s a third of the price of Drunk Elephant’s serum. Plus, this exfoliant has salicylic acid, a BHA that’s great for brightening the skin and preventing future breakouts.

6. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial 25% AHA + 2% BHA Mask – $80

This ‘babyfacial’ is essentially a chemical exfoliant to give you smooth, supple skin. It removes any dead skin cells and makes your skin a lot more glowy and soft.

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution – $9

This is an amazing alternative for Drunk Elephant’s Babyfacial for only $9! This peeling solution is a part of acid exfoliation and does exactly what Drunk Elephant’s Babyfacial does. It fights off dull skin and blemishes and leave your skin baby soft.

I’m not even going to suggest other alternatives because this peeling solution by The Ordinary is all you need if you’ve been looking at the Babyfacial by Drunk Elephant!

7. Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum – $48

This serum is mega-hydrating and meant to replenish your skin and improve the look and texture of your skin.

Let’s look at some similar options!

Grace & Stella Hyaluronic Acid Serum – $12.99

This serum by Grave & Stella is great for hydration because it has hyaluronic acid, which retains moisture and keeps your skin supple and plump the entire day!

This product is half the price of the Drunk Elephant B-Hydra serum and if you’re looking for a product to keep your skin hydrated and moisturized, definitely try this Grace & Stella product.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – $8

This product is super affordable and gives you the hydration your skin needs! It’s super inexpensive but also very effective. Give it a try!

PRO TIP: when putting hydrating products on your face, make sure your skin is a little damp so the product clings to it and keeps your skin extra moist and plump!

Drunk Elephant is NOT Worth it!

Okay, so…. Drunk Elephant is definitely NOT worth it! If you’re looking for comparable products, some of which have almost entirely the same ingredients, look at the list above. Not only are these products great alternatives that are just as good as, if not better than Drunk Elephant, they’re also MUCH cheaper than Drunk Elephant products.

Plus, I don’t know about you, but I don’t agree with the company’s approach to unsatisfied customers, who they blame for problems that may be coming from their products.

Drunk Elephant is such a big brand and to be honest, I don’t think it deserves the hype.

VERDICT: Drunk Elephant is not worth the money.

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(7) Comments

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