Beyond its cute name, folks are liking Drunk Elephant because of its efficient formulas and bio-compatible ingredients. Founder Tiffany Masterson wanted to create a safe skincare zone by eliminating the “Suspicious Six”. Her list of rogue ingredients include essential oils, silicones, chemical screens, alcohol, fragrance/dye and sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS).
So far, the products have lived up to their hype. Items like the A-Passioni Retinol Cream, B Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum and C Firma Day Serum actually found their way into our skincare routines. And now, the brand is rolling out a hair and body line with the same manifesto.
“Skin is skin, whether we call it the scalp, the eye area or the legs. It can only function at its healthiest when it’s treated with smart, nourishing, skin-compatible ingredients,” Masterson explained. We put the products to the test, and here’s what we found.
TLC Happi Scalp Scrub, $52
What it is: A pre-shampoo scalp exfoliant that uses a blend of alpha and beta hydroxy acids (lactic, glycolic and salicylic) to keep your scalp clean. The grime-dissolving blend removes product buildup and dandruff. The biodegradable plant cellulose beads help the exfoliating process as well as improve blood circulation, to give a fresh scalp that encourages healthy hair growth.
Lest you’re worried, it uses a blend of nourishing amino acids and antioxidant-rich plants oils (like marula, baobab, maracuja and mongongo) to address any possible sensitivity. It’s safe to apply directly to a dry scalp. You’ll need to spread it through your hair with your fingers or a comb, and leave it on for five to 10 minutes. Then, gently massage it in before rinsing.
Our experience: For our inexperienced hands, application was a tad clumsy. But we managed to work it through the gunk (hair spray, wax or clay) in our mane. We didn’t feel any tingling sensation as the formula has a low pH of 3.7. But you may feel some if you have a sensitive scalp. After eight minutes, we massaged the exfoliating grains into our hair and scalp. We definitely felt relieved to be rid of the week’s worth of sebum and gunk buildup. Our scalp felt cleaner and fresher after finishing with a shampoo. For drier or coarser hair types, we suggest following up with a conditioner.
Cocomino Glossing Shampoo, $35
What it is: A sulphate-free coconut-based shampoo that keeps your hair and scalp clean without drying it out. A blend of amino acids keeps your hair structure intact, while antioxidant-rich oils of sacha inchi seed, marula, and argan condition and shield scalp and hair from damage caused by environmental pollutants.
Our experience: It’s a straightforward shampoo that does the job of cleaning your hair effectively. Our hair didn’t dry out excessively when used on its own. As we like a bit of texture on our hair, we skipped using conditioner. If dryness is a concern, follow up with one.
Cocomino Marula Cream Conditioner, $35
What it is: A frizz-fighting product that keeps your hair nourished and tangle-free. Aside from a blend of amino acids that repair and smooth unwanted texture, it contains oils (including rosehip, blackcurrant seed, watermelon seed and green tea) and marula butter to neutralise free radicals and condition hair cuticle without weighing your mane down.
Our experience: We didn’t think much of this at first as it felt like any other conditioner. However, we noticed a healthy gloss and even some bounce when we left our hair to dry naturally. Some family members even commented that our hair “looks nicer than usual”. It also helps that despite the use of multiple conditioning agents, this conditioner didn’t leave an oily film that weighs down hair or leaves it looking greasy. We still like having texture in our hair, so we have decided to use this product just twice a week for nourishment. Use sparingly if you have very fine hair.
Wild Marula Tangle Spray, $35
What it is: A tangle-fighting hair mist that leaves your hair soft to the touch while imparting a healthy shine. The leave-in silicone-free formula is infused with a concoction of conditioning oils including marula, coconut and sweet almond that coat each strand with essential fatty acids to reduce static and frizz. A blend of amino acids helps with strengthening the hair, protecting it from environmental damage.
Our experience: If you’re looking for a hair-smoothing leave-in product, this is not it. We’ve applied it on both dry and damp hair. Unfortunately for us, the formula left our hair feeling dry and matted, contrary to other reviews we’ve read online. Perhaps this might work better on longer hair, but it didn’t do our close crop any favour. You could think of it as a texturising hair mist perhaps.
Kamili Cream Body Cleanser, $28
What it is: A body cleanser that uses coconut-derived detergents to gently and effectively remove grime and buildup from your skin’s surface. It’s also packed with amino acids to soothe and condition the skin, while passionfruit oil neutralises any environmental damage with every wash. Skin is expected to feel healthier with fewer instances of skin irritation.
Our experience: The silky formula forms a light lather upon contact with water, and does a decent job of keeping our skin clean and fresh. Though it’s packed with nourishing ingredients like amino acids and plant seed oils, it doesn’t leave a tacky feeling that is quite commonly experienced with most “natural” formulas.
Sili Body Lotion, $28
What it is: This body lotion is infused with a five-ceramide blend and sodium PCA known for their reparative and restorative properties. Kakadu plum, beta-carotene and the pulps of banana and mango support the lotion’s conditioning functions with cell-regenerating properties.
Our experience: We didn’t think too much of this soufflé-like lotion. It looks and feels like most drugstore-bought lotions. After using it for two weeks though, we noticed how much healthier our skin looked and felt. Our skin also appeared more even and our elbows felt less dry and wrinkly, so this lotion did its job after all. We have yet to test it in dry air-conditioned environments, so we’ll give this our approval as a nightly routine for those with normal to dry skin for now.
Sweet Pitti Deodorant Cream, $23
What it is: A natural deodorant that works as well as standard formulas, but minus the toxic and irritating ingredients like baking powder and aluminium. Its combination of arrowroot powder and mandelic acid effectively absorbs excess moisture and kills odour-causing bacteria. Ingredients like marula, baobab and mongongo seed oils and marula butter also help strengthen and calm delicate underarm skin.
Our experience: We can cook up quite a stink when we work out or if the weather is exceptionally warm and humid, and we were impressed at how our pits were odour and moisture-free after using it for the whole day while working from home. But to really put it to the test, we had it on and went for an evening jog. We came home soaking wet, so it definitely isn’t resistant to heavy perspiration. However, we definitely didn’t detect any hint of underarm odour even after a cool-down. We also like that it doesn’t feel like we’re using any product at all. Don’t underestimate its “alternative” formulation. This is definitely going into our gym bags once we’re out of self-isolation. Obviously, those with sensitive skin types should do a patch test first.
so, yay or nay?
Yay, mostly. We think of Drunk Elephant’s body and hair care line as the viable all-natural alternative to QV or Cetaphil. The products are generally decent, but we definitely expected more seeing how revolutionary the skincare line is. Perhaps Masterson is interested in feedback to help improve the body and hair ranges. We look forward to seeing great products in time to come.
Of the seven available products, we see ourselves adding the Sweet Pitti Deodorant Cream and Cocomino Marula Cream Conditioner to cart, and possibly the TLC Happi Scalp Scrub and Sili Body Lotion if we feel like splurging a little that month.
If you’re curious but unsure if you should be dropping cash on a single product, we suggest getting the Littles Head To Toe set (below) that comprises all seven products in miniature sizes for $69. Do let us know how the Wild Marula Tangle Spray work for you.
Drunk Elephant’s hair and body line is now available from Sephora.