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01
The
Drunk Elephant
Difference

We are committed to using only skin-friendly, research-backed ingredients that either directly benefit the health of the skin or support the integrity of our formulations. We never take into account whether something is synthetic or natural, instead choosing ingredients based on biocompatibility.

Skin Illustration

That’s why we focus on healthy pH levels, formulations the skin recognizes, small molecular structures that are easily absorbed, and effective active ingredients that also support and maintain the skin’s acid mantle. But what we leave out of our products is just as important as what we put into them, so you will never find what we call the Suspicious 6™ (essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances/dyes, SLS) in our line.

02
The Suspicious 6

We avoid six categories of ingredients, many of which, research has shown, can be at the root of common skin issues, such as sensitivity and breakouts. They’re not scary; they’re just the things we think have the potential to be troublesome for the skin. When the Suspicious 6 are entirely removed from one’s routine (we call that taking a Drunk Break™ ), skin can reset and return to a healthy, balanced state. That’s our ingredient-elimination philosophy for a total skin reset.

Essential oils are potentially sensitizing ingredients that are concentrated chemical mixtures of volatile fragrance compounds–like florals and citrus–that smell strongly of the plant from which they were derived.

There are hydrating (“good”) alcohols, and dehydrating (“bad”) alcohols that have the potential to dehydrate and sensitize the skin. Drying alcohols clear the way for active ingredients, but they do it by dissolving skin’s protective lipids, which are the very substances that keep your skin healthy over the long term.

Silicones form a barrier on skin and slow down the penetration of other ingredients, making it harder to get the results that you want.

Many types of chemical sunscreen actives can be sensitizing, especially around the eye area, and can lead to breakouts.

Fragrances and dyes are used to make products look or smell pretty, but they can also sensitize, promote inflammation in skin, and worsen undesirable skin behaviors (dryness, excessive oil production, breakouts). Also, let’s just be honest: Who really wants to smell their face?

Sodium lauryl sulfate is just a little too good at its job. The cleansing agent takes too much from skin, sapping the protective barrier of critical lipids, which are required for skin to function at its happiest, healthiest state.

03
Biocompatible Skincare
+
Why pH Matters

Your skin barrier is made up of lipids, protective substances, and your microbiome. The microbiome is the balance of microorganisms that live on our skin (and in our bodies), and it needs an acidic environment to survive. Anything below 7.0 is acidic; anything above 8.0 is alkaline.

Our Sweet Spot

Drunk Elephant products have
pH levels between 2.5 and 6.8.

pH Balance

Acidic

Neutral

Alkaline

The skin barrier is also acidic: It has a pH of around 5.5.



Generally, you want skincare products to be close to your skin’s natural pH level. That's what we mean when we talk about biocompatible skincare.



If you use products that are too alkaline or too acidic, you can disrupt the pH balance of skin, which can result in inflammation, redness, and breakouts.

04 Smoothies

Blender

Why We Smoothie

We think of our skincare routines as smoothies. They’re good for you, they're easy to mix, and you can change up the recipe whenever you want. All of our products are silicone-free and biocompatible with skin, which means they’re highly absorbable and mix together easily—except for our Umbra sunscreens, whose protective zinc sits on skin’s surface. There’s no need to waste time layering. Just mix any of our serums, treatments, or moisturizers together in the palm of your hand and apply them all at the same time.

Listen to Your Skin

Our skin’s needs change
depending on the day, the
time of year, and where
we are in the world.
Much like you choose
ingredients for your daily
smoothie based on your body’s
cravings, pick products for
a.m. and p.m. skincare
smoothies based on how your
skin feels. Listen to
it—it doesn’t always
need the same thing.

What does “listen to your skin” mean?

It means pay attention to what is going on with your skin on a particular day. We can get stuck in the same routine and not question whether the needs of our skin have changed, even subtly. That can lead to greater issues if we aren’t paying attention.

For example…?

If your skin feels tight, it is usually a sign of dehydration. That is a sign that your skin has suffered some water loss, which can be due to weather, cleansing too often, and/or not giving skin enough water-boosting or protective ingredients.

Another for instance: If you have flaky spots, that can be a sign that chronic dehydration has advanced to the next stage, which is a loss of lipids deeper in skin. This can also be a sign of using too much retinol (or another active ingredient) too often. Only you know the answer to that one.

How often should I listen to my skin?

Every time you reach for a skincare product. The goal is to get into the habit of questioning your routine, understanding that your skin will always behave slightly differently and that a lot of the skin issues we struggle with are a direct result of what we do—and what we don’t do.

05
Drunk Break

Head to Toe

With our hair and body lines, we apply the Drunk Elephant philosophy from head to toe because skin—whether it’s the scalp or the legs or any other part of the body—can only function at its healthiest when it’s treated with smart, nourishing, biocompatible ingredients.

06 Bare With Us

Once you adopt our ingredient-elimination approach and remove the Suspicious 6™ from your routine, you’ll probably find that you don’t need as much makeup—or any at all. Take a #drunkbreak, let your skin reset itself to its healthiest, happiest, most balanced state, and shoot a selfie to show us your gorgeous, glowing bare face. That’s what we mean when we say #barewithus.