Now, here’s a brand that’s quite a hot name in the skincare business now – Drunk Elephant. The curiously named brand that conjures up amusing images of inebriated pachyderms has fascinated me for a long time.
But I’ve always balked, because the prices are eye-watering.
So, when I spotted the Drunk Elephant Rise + Glow set, featuring minis of 2 products I’d most wanted to try from the brand, I pounced!
Although containing just 8ml of product each, it’s lasted me for 2 weeks and still counting. About enough time for me to figure out what I think of both these cult products, and whether I’ll splurge on the full sizes.
Drunk Elephant Rise + Glow
The Drunk Elephant Rise + Glow set (RM101 | £19) comprises the famed Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum and the B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum in trial sized 8ml bottles. This set is likely available while stocks last, and also I feel, because the brand realizes that not everyone is willing to drop good money on a full-sized bottle of serum, without knowing if it’ll work for them.
Good call! Suckered me in, hook, line and sinker! 😀
I’d been very curious about both these serums for a while, because there is just SO MUCH HYPE surrounding them! People swear up and down by the C-Firma Day Serum, which is a Vitamin C serum. Naturally, knowing my penchant for Vitamin C serums, it’s one I knew I’d have to try one day.
Ditto the B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum, which many also swear up and down that it’s the best hydration serum they’ve used.
Drunk Elephant’s real selling point is their ‘clean-clinical’ approach to skincare. They claim to have clinical and scientific ingredients, but without the perceived ‘bad ingredients’ comprising essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance/dyes and SLS. It is for this reason, aside from aesthetics, and efficacy, that the brand has developed a cult following.
Having used both the trial sized products in the Rise + Glow set for the past 2 weeks, I think I’ve formed a fairly firm view on the products. And just by way of warning, I am probably running against the grain 😛
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
The C-Firma Day Serum had me most excited about this brand. I love using Vitamin C serums, as many of you know, and a new serum always sends that tingle down my spine.
The Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum does not only contain Vitamin C (15% L-Ascorbic Acid), but also 0.5% Ferulic Acid and 1% Vitamin E. All this, alongside other antioxidants and enzymes, targeted at strengthening the skin, brightening skin, and neutralizing pollutants and environmental aggressors. It all sounds really wonderful.
I’d just finished my last bottle of Vitamin C serum (I am disciplined when it comes to Vit C products. I always finish them up before moving on) and was digging around for another. This fit my needs.
Has my Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum oxidized?
I quickly ran into a problem.
When I squirted out the C-Firma Day Serum, it came out a bright orange. Now, if you’re familiar with Vitamin C, especially Vitamin C in the form of L-Ascorbic Acid, you’d understand my consternation.
L-Ascorbic Acid is quite unstable at the best of times, and I’d been conditioned to understand that when it turns orange, that’s a sign of oxidization. While still usable, it isn’t advisable to, as it can introduce oxidative stress into your skin, instead of protecting it. I was conflicted.
When I reached out on Instagram, many people who have used C-Firma Day Cream assured me that this was indeed, the colour. This has also been confirmed by Drunk Elephant themselves. The colour should apparently, be a clear, light orange. Not a dark orange.
But how light is light, and how dark is dark? Mine was a brand new product that I’d purchased not very long ago. Is this a clear light orange? Is it a clear, dark orange? Has it gone off? Do I use it?
So many questions!
But use it I did.
Not drying, Skin brightening serum
There are a few things going for the C-Firma Day Serum. It is not drying, and absorbs quickly and easily into the skin without leaving any residue. Drunk Elephant says you can blend it with the B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum, but I use it directly on my skin without any issues.
Perhaps, if you have very sensitive skin, blending it with a hydrating serum can help with comfort and delivery to the skin. But if you’re comfortable using Vitamin C serums, just use it direct for best results.
Truth to tell, I cannot say with 100% certainty if it has worked to brighten my skin in the time I’ve been using this (2 weeks – every morning). I am a long-time user of Vitamin C serums, and I’ve been using quite good, and potent ones just prior to this one.
However, it doesn’t dull my skin, nor cause any reactions. My skin tone remains consistent, which for me means it’s working. I can hardly expect each new product to clarify my skin even more than the last can I? That’s unrealistic and ridiculous 😛
As a Vitamin C serum therefore, I have nothing against it. It has a metallic smell of hot dogs, just like the Paula’s Choice Vitamin C (it also contains 15% LAA), but isn’t unpleasant, unless that bothers you.
Will I purchase the full sized C-Firma Day Serum?
My straight answer is no.
I don’t perceive the C-Firma Day Serum to be any better than the most recent Vitamin C serums I’ve tried e.g. Melano CC, Timeless, Paula’s Choice or even Omorovicza.
I don’t like not knowing if my product has oxidized. I prefer my product start out clear so I know something is wrong when the colour has changed. As it stands, each time I apply it to my skin, I have my doubts about how effective it is or still is. I don’t like that feeling.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to try this trial-sized sample. At least it’s put to bed much of my curiousity about this product and I’m happy to move on 😀
Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Ascorbic Acid, Laureth-23, Glycerin, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Phytosterols, Glutamylamidoethyl Imidazole, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Ferulic Acid, Acetyl Glucosamine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Glycine, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sucrose, Maltodextrin, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbitan Isostearate, Propanediol, Pentylene Glycol, XanthaN Gum, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Chlorphenesin, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Potassium Sorbate, Sorbic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin
Potentially brightens and strengthens skin
Protects skin from environmental stress
Not sticky or greasy
Absorbs easily into skin
Orange colour makes it hard to tell if the product is still fresh
Metallic ‘hot dog’ smell
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: Anyone who likes the formula or brand ethos, Anyone who has not used Vitamin C serum otherwise
PRICE: RM345 | US$80 | £67 for 30ml
WHERE TO BUY: Sephora, Cult Beauty, SpaceNK
Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
The B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum is another Drunk Elephant cult product.
It is simply, as the name states, an intensive hydrating gel serum, formulated with Vitamin B5 and pineapple ceramides. It helps attract and hold moisture on skin, and protects against free radicals.
It does, in a nutshell, what any hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid does. But at an eye-watering price tag.
You can see the texture in the picture above, where it is a rather thick opaque gel texture. It melts into skin very comfortably without any residue.
However, the simple fact is that I do not feel like my dry skin derives much benefit from using this product. I much rather use any other hydrating lotion or serum, with a current favourite being the Jordan Samuel Hydrate Serum.
In fact, if you want a budget hyaluronic acid serum that does the job well, The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 or The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid serum is very decent, at a fraction of the price of this product. I’d personally go with that option and skip this.
In a nutshell therefore, I’m quite underwhelmed by this Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum. I don’t think it’s a bad product. I just think there are equivalent, or perhaps better similar products out there, at a smaller price tag. That way, you derive the most benefit out of the product, instead of stinting.
Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Coconut Alkanes, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Wheat Amino Acids, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Berberis Vulgaris Root Extract, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Panthenol, Sodium PCA, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Niacinamide, Cyclodextrin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Lactate, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyproline, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Citric Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Ethylhexylglycerin
Not greasy or sticky on skin
Hydrates skin but not enough for dry skin
Insufficient hydration for drier skin types
My skin feels taut after using this, not plumped
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: Anyone who isn’t familiar with more affordable options for hydrating serums
PRICE: RM228 | £44 | US$52 for 50ml
WHERE TO BUY: Sephora, Cult Beauty, SpaceNK
Are you a fan of either of these cult favourite Drunk Elephant serums?
Please do share if you are. I may be grumpy about it, but it doesn’t mean that it should put you off trying it, and this set is a very good way to help you decide if you’d like it. I’m glad I tried it. Curiousity assuaged, and I can happily move on now 😀
16 comments ... Read or JOIN THE DISCUSSION
I used Drunk Elephant’s Vit C serum and Glycolic night serum back in 2015/2016. The Vit C serum did nothing. The glycolic night serum wasn’t so effective. The marula oil was very good but too expensive for what it was. There are better fragrance-free oils. The hydra serum did not give my dry skin extra hydration.
Paris B says
I’m still finishing them up (the little bottles surprising can last a while!) but nope, still not impressed. Definitely better (and more affordable) products out there!
Beauty Bee says
I liked the C-Firma serum, but just like you, I didn’t think it was anything to rave home about. Good, solid vitamin C serum but I will be moving on to others.
A good friend of mine also bought the Hydrating serum and wasn’t a fan. I won’t be picking it up either! I do love their TLC Babyfacial mask because it really is something unique and the market and it WORKS! 🙂 Not sure if you saw the review of this one on my blog? Anyhoo, it’s a goodie and worth the pennies IMO.
Paris B says
The thing about the C-Firma that really really gets me, is how orange it is! How will I know when it’s gone off? I mean, my eyes can hardly discern a ‘light orange’ from a ‘dark orange’, especially when it changes gradually. I’ll look up the TLC Babyfacial mask on your blog Sylvia! Always helpful to read the experience of those who have actually tried a product and know what to say about it!
Thank you for reviewing this (and saving me some money)! I wanted to try this but the price tag and tiny deluxe size made me think twice about picking it up. Gonna stick with Melano CC, Hada Labo and the Inkey List for now since they work well enough.
Paris B says
To be fair Amanda, I’m STILL using the tiny sizes! There’s a surprisingly large amount of product in there, so if you do still want to try it, I’d say go for the trial sizes. It’ll be more than enough product to allow you to decide if it’s worth buying the full sized ones 🙂
I only tried the vitamin C serum by this brand, and I thought the very same thing. Not worth the price tag.
At the moment I’m using Dr. Zein Obagi Vitamin C Serum 25 Neo (you recommended the 10% serum). Expensive, but my skin looks awesome. I actually think it went up a notch, but maybe it’s also due to the CC Intensive Face Mask I use several times a week. I’ve been having some increased hyperpigmentation since my summer holidays, and this got it back to what it used to be like before.
Anyway, my skin can’t complain about a lack of vitamin C at the moment. 🙂
By the way, I’m always really happy to get a reply from you. Much appreciated.
Paris B says
Glad we agree about the Vit C Maja! 😀 That Obagi VIt C is so amazing isn’t it?! I wish I could get my hands on more because it’s just SO GOOD! So happy that it’s worked well for you too. It’s always daunting ‘talking’ to someone who knows their stuff as well as you do haha! 😀 And I always love hearing from you, so the feeling is mutual! <3
I am so disappointed that Cult Beauty no longer ships Drunk Elephant to Malaysia since Sephora started selling it. Answer to my email enquiry was restricted to distributor agreement.
Now I have to pay high price for buying from Sephora 🙁
Same goes for The Ordinary.
Paris B says
I just saw that too Bryan and I’m as disappointed as you are 🙁 I did purchase my trial set from Cult Beauty before they stopped shipping. I suppose we could just skip buying the brand altogether unless there’s something in Drunk Elephant that you love! 😛
Thanks for the reviews! I’d heard a lot about these but I’ll try out the ones you like first.
Btw I’ve been doing the 13 dot (15 dot variation) method and it’s helpful!
Paris B says
So happy the 13/15 dot technique is working well for you! It’s truly transformed my skin, I swear and I’m so happy! 😀
Wen Huey says
I have not used the 2 serums featured in this article although I was a bit tempted to get them from Sephora during the launch. I did buy the marula oil as a replacement for ANR and love it to bits.
So far it leaves my skin baby soft when I woke up in the morning after I applied it the night before. Haven’t seen any miraculous effect in turning back the clock after just 3 times applying though. ?
Paris B says
I have heard a lot of good things about the Marula Oil too. I did pick up another trial set that had a sample, so I’ll try it too! That said, I have also read that there are many alternative brands for Marula Oil in the market so perhaps you could look and see if those might work for you too? While oils can be a nice ‘natural’ alternative to a more active product like ANR, the effects are usually far more gentle i.e. slower to take effect. But as long as it works for you, that’s great 🙂
Metallic smell of hot dogs (burst out laughing) !! What a timely review, this was gonna be my next clean cosmetic serum purchase once I finished my Arcona hydration serum (pleasant berry smell) but hurtful price tag. Glad you elaborated on the vit c oxidisation check….I had no clue about this at all. Really appreciate it !
Paris B says
It isn’t as hotdoggy as the one from Paula’s Choice, but it’s present LOL! I was quite upset at how orange it is pumped out of the bottle. Without any way of checking how fresh the Vit C remains, I think we’re better off using something else!