For Christmas, I wished and got the Drunk Elephant The Littles 2.0. This little kit is definitely the best way to discover the brand as a whole and try out the individual products for a fraction of the cost.
The samples aren’t just great for a weekend getaway, but lasts longer than you’d expect! All-in-all, I got about 1-month of use. But for example, the one product I’ve still not finished is the TLC Framboos. As I’ve only used it once a week or when needed.
In this post I won’t be reviewing the C-Firma Day serum as I’ve already talked about it here and, for the record, it’s been repurchased!
As for my thoughts and experience with all the other products in this kit, keep on reading!
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Beste Jelly Cleanser
The Beste Jelly cleanser promises to remove makeup and other grimes of the day.
It’s a gel cleanser that becomes more creamy than foamy. It’s definitely one of the most effective gentle cleansers I’ve tried, but I wouldn’t rely solely on it to remove all traces of makeup and sunscreen anyway. And really, how can we trust that when they recently came out with a cleansing balm?
If it truly was that good of a cleanser, there really wouldn’t have been a need to create an oil-based cleanser? Just saying.
But if you are on the lookout for that all-in-1 cleanser to rule them all, this together with a finishing swipe of toner might be just that one.
The travel size packaging has a fun twist-to-pour opening, but can’t say it’s very practical…
While I think it’s a well-formulated cleanser, that’s gentle yet thorough, I personally can’t justify the price. There are several cheaper options for water-based cleansers that are pH-balanced and fragrance-free. This cleanser is just heavily overpriced because they persisted with adding their expencive marula oil and melon extract into the mix which doesn’t do much for the cleansing experience.
When it comes to oil and balm cleansers though, I’m stuck having to pay extra as there are very few brands that offer these without fragrance, essential oils, mineral oil, coconut oil, and other irritants.
But it’s not just the price that’s bothering me with this cleanser, it’s also the scent. Although it’s fragrance-free, I’m amazed how no one’s ever commented on the smell it has?! It stinks just like smelly feet – even my boyfriend agrees! For someone who considers cleansing the best thing in a routine, the scent of feet definitely ruins that moment. But I could just have gotten a faulty product?
Repurchase? It’s a really good cleanser except for the smell. I might give it another try in the future. But I still think it’s somewhat pricey.
Lala Retro Whipped Cream
In all honesty, this product was the least interesting one to try for me. Going solely on the description, I thought the Lala Retro Whipped cream moisturizer wouldn’t suit my skin and feel too heavy. And therefore, I was even a bit afraid to use it.
However, within my first try, I was shockingly surprised how not heavy it felt on the skin. It wasn’t at all as I had imagined. Quite the contrary, it doesn’t actually feel that hydrating at all!
My skin simply “drank it up” and it left a dry/matte finish. At least on its own; Pairing it up with the Marula Oil – or any oil for that matter – made the skin feel smooth, soft and glowy looking.
Overall, my skin really loved it paired with the rest of the Drunk Elephant routine.
I’m very picky about how I want my moisturizers to feel, and most need a drop of oil to dry to the skin-like finish that I like. But I have to say that the matte feeling the Lala Retro leaves on its own comes to a close favorite. Still, in the winter, this felt quite drying in the long run, and I felt like I needed to add a few drops of oil, and also add the B-Hydra serum to not feel completely dehydrated in the long run.
While I am in a sense impressed by its whipped and soft texture, I’m also a bit critical towards it. Its description mentions the word “quenching”, but when looking closely at the ingredients, it doesn’t have a lot of water-based hydration at all that you would expect from the marketing.
So in all sense, if you suffer from dehydrated skin like me, you must pair it with the B-Hydra serum (or similar) to get adequate quenching for the long haul or your skin might become unbalanced. And I personally find it a bit off-putting that a moisturizer worth $60 doesn’t come with it all.
Repurchase? I wouldn’t mind having the moisturizer around, but it’s not at the top of my repurchasing-list.
Shaba Eye Serum
It dawned on me as I sat down to write this review that it’s called “eye serum” and not eye cream. Well, perhaps if I realized this earlier I might’ve not held it up to so high standards. Because, if I had thought about it as an eye serum, I wouldn’t have expected the formula to be a little thicker.
Either way, the Shaba eye serum didn’t impress me more than my $10 eye cream from the drug store. I mean, yes, its formula is more advanced, but I did not experience any lesser wrinkles or better hydration than my cheaper eye cream. It has a milky consistency, and I’d prefer one with a more “primer”-feel to it.
Although it’s a perfectly good eye serum, you just need the tiniest bit, suitable for younger people and those who suffer from dry skin around the eyes, I just can’t justify its price for the experience I got.
Repurchase? No, not worth the price.
B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
The Drunk Elephant B-Hydra serum is sort of a pimped up HA+B5 serum.
Unfortunately, the “intense hydration” is a bit misleading. I do feel like I would need to spend more time with this serum, but my overall first impression from the 8ml sample that I tried is that it didn’t feel very quenching. My beloved HA+B5 from The Ordinary felt more hydrating than this one.
With that said, maybe it isn’t so much about hydration as it is how it makes your skin feel? Although it’s hard to pinpoint, I want to say that despite not being moisturizing enough for winter, it did make my skin feel smooth and less breakout-prone. But I personally would’ve liked panthenol higher up in the ingredient list.
Repurchase? Of all the serums and products, this might be the only product that’s fairly priced for the amount you get. I still like to try out it again and it didn’t make my foundation pill, which is good.
Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil
Having been an oil junkie in the past, it’s really hard to impress me. Not to mention that whenever a brand talks about
Anyway, back to the oil!
I’ve tried Marula oil before from the brand Oils of Heaven (Ooh!). But I can’t say for sure that it was expensively “cold-pressed using a patented process of unheated water extraction.” That’s supposed to be so much better, ensuring the oil remains nutrient-dense and stays fresher longer than a regular cold-pressed method to justify it being 6x more expensive than other cold-pressed Marula oils… It feels like you’re paying more for the package design than the actual content here. Because, in this case, the packaging (of the full-sized bottle) is actually above ordinary. From what I’ve read, the bottle’s inside is shaped so that you’ll get every last drop of it!
I don’t know the ins and outs of the plant oil industry, but I have a hard time understanding how a brand like Drunk Elephant can get away with selling 30ml Marula Oil for $72 vs a brand like Shea Terra – who supports workers in Africa with their products – can get away with selling 59ml of cold pressed Virgin Marula Oil for $21. Drunk Elephant doesn’t even mention about any ethical or environmental work they do with the proceedings they get from every Marula Oil purchased. They might’ve done that in the past, but right now on their website, there’s no information about “supporting” workes from where they source their oil from.
If you’re expecting miracles from this oil because of its price, you will probably get quickly disappointed. Like any other oil, all it can do is nourish with its fatty acids, nothing more. Its high oleic acid content does make it more suitable for dry and aging skin and can be a wonderful oil in the wintertime to use. However, unbalanced, inflammatory, acne-prone skin may want to skip it for something that’s higher in linoleic acid (subscribe to my newsletter and get the oil guide!) I’ve been able to use it, but that’s because my skin is more or less balanced nowadays, as well as it was in the midst of winter when I tested it.
In the end, it’s an oil. Just like any other oil. And I can’t say I notice a big difference between this one and another marula oil or any other oil for that matter. It’s just oil.
I expect some kind of boosted ingredient to justify the price, like a fat-soluble vitamin C (Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate) which is found in the Korres Black Pine oil-serum. That would’ve been a wonderful delight! But for what it’s got going, you’re better off buying Marula Oil from another brand.
Repurchase? If you ever see me repurchasing this it’s because I wanted the bottle, not the actual oil!
*I’ve tried finding research and studies that show that oils might contain vitamin C and I have so far not found one that does. There’s instead a lot of statements without any references to back it up other than that the fruit itself has vitamin C. And correct, fruit oil does contain small amounts of vitamin C! But what most brands sell us is not the fruit but the seed oil.
T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
I was most excited about trying the T.L.C. Framboos! After my failed attempt to love the BR P50V lotion, I was on the lookout to try another similar product that had a good mix of several different acids. As I found that to be very effective on brightening the skin faster than when only using glycolic or lactic acid. The TLC Framboos also has a similar strength to P50 lotion, at 12% AHA, plus 0.5-1% BHA, and yeast extract.
I really enjoyed this one and it could easily take the place of my beloved Elizabeth Arden Pro Perfection Serum! However, the price is much steeper than both the EA Pro and Lotion P50V!
As I’m only using it once to twice a week or less, the price might as well be justified as it will last me more than a year. But that hefty price tag does make me try to look at other options…
But overall, if there’s one product I would highly recommend from Drunk Elephant it’s this one!
I don’t think I even need to explain what it does to the skin, it’s simply a chemical exfoliant with an AHA/BHA blend of glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric and salicylic acids. But unlike the P50V lotion, my skin tolerates this one much better! No aggravation within the first use!
Still, wouldn’t use it more than once to twice a week. Drunk Elephant, on their website, claims that the “T.L.C. sinks in easily and delivers an effective level of chemical exfoliation without the harsh side effects like dryness or sensitization”. But at the same time, recommends to build up for everyday use. I personally think using it every day can certainly lead to over-exfoliation. At 12%, it’s too much and unnecessary for anyone with healthy skin. If you got thicker and oilier skin, you might get away with more. But I’m speculating that they (like any other brand) want you to run out of it faster…
Repurchase? I would! But my wallet cripples at how expensive my routine is starting to get. Before I’ll make the huge investment, I will first try the Paula’s Choice 10% AHA Treatment which is also composed of 4 different AHA’s, has Malic Acid instead of Citric Acid, 0.5% Salicylic Acid, as well as peptides and ceramides. Plus, it’s less than half the price of TLC Framboos!
Conclusion | ★★★★★
Despite a critical eye, I do find Drunk Elephant to live up to the expectation of their hype. It’s probably the first brand I’ve come across where I almost think to myself, can they do anything wrong? With so few products and no focus on ranges/skin types, I can’t help but give kudos for creating a brand of products that work for such a diverse range of people. You can have oily skin, sensitive skin, or dry skin, and the majority of products will appeal.
Yes, I know that Drunk Elephant does get a lot of backlash for ignoring skin types. And there’s definitely a crowd of people that haven’t experienced their best skin with some of their products. In all honesty, I didn’t expect my skin to do so well.
Whenever you test something new, I’d always recommend introducing one product at a time. But for this I totally switched my routine to only use the Littles. I did that for about 2 weeks, then I started to use them more or less individually to see what product gave the best impact.
While solely using products from the set my skin turned to one of its best states. And after experimenting, I found it to be that they simply all work best together. I know, very tragic for the wallet.
However, as if it’s any consolation, I do suspect that it’s the serums that counted for most of the magic. If anything, C-Firma, B-Hydra, and T.L.C. Framboos are the ones I highly recommend to check out the most.
Breakouts became less or none existent and my bumpy forehead suddenly got smooth. So we can say that my skin really liked and benefited by the total switch.
Still, it all comes down to pricing. I can feel like it’s a bit unnecessarily steep with some of their products. And their price-setting for the UK at the beginning was a total fail and made it look like greed from their part. I know I stupidly defended it while it happened, which I’m now sorry of doing.
But comparing their prices to other professional brands, as well as looking at the results they give (for me personally), they might as well be worth it. While their full-size products may hurt your wallet, you can really save some + try some by purchasing their sets instead. But you need to act fast, as they sell out pretty quickly!