There are few truly water-based gel moisturizers available today, which is regrettable as such formulas have an unmistakably unique and refreshing aesthetic. Enter Drunk Elephant's B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel, a sheer moisturizer that breaks convention by offering something new and interesting. Its fragrance-free formula is particularly well suited to those with combination to oily skin, including those prone to clogged pores.
Packaged in a bottle with a pump dispenser, B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel has a water-light texture that dries quickly, but still manages to leave skin with a smooth, slightly dewy feel. Its interesting texture (airy, neither tacky nor greasy) is owed to its lack of silicones. While silicones are fine ingredients to use in cosmetics, by omitting them Drunk Elephant achieved this formula's unique feel and finish. We should mention that if you have dry to very dry skin, this likely won't be enough for you—creams, we say, still rule the day for addressing such complexion concerns.
Panthenol, sodium PCA and sodium hyaluronate provide hydrating and replenishing benefits, especially helpful for soothing temporarily "dehydrated" skin due to sensitivity, overzealous use of products, or a dry environment. (In fact, it's surprisingly hydrating given its lightweight texture.) We should note that although Drunk Elephant calls out panthenol (vitamin B5) specifically, this has much more going for it beyond this single ingredient.
The decision to omit silicones is an unconventional one, but the resulting aesthetic quality is undeniably unique. Those who prefer water-based formulas may find this to be an instant favorite for its refreshing feel—especially if you have oily to combination skin—while its blend of antioxidant and reparative ingredients are beneficial for any skin type. While B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel isn't inexpensive, it earns our top rating for its creative, interesting and exceptional formula.
Drunk Elephant At-A-Glance
Drunk Elephant, based out of Los Angeles, California, was started in 2012 by former skincare executive Tiffany Masterson. As their website describes, Masterson developed the brand out of a desire to create natural-themed formulas that were truly effective. Beyond effectiveness, Masterson wanted leave out what wasn’t effective—primarily fragrance. We concur, because fragrance isn't skincare.
We were pleasantly surprised by this stance, as in our experience, the inclusion of an abundance of fragrance is where many natural-themed brands seem to go wrong—along with using too few beneficial ingredients or formulas. Fragrance, whether from essential oils or synthetic perfumes, is never helpful for skin because over the long term, it can cause damage that holds any skin type back from being its healthy best.
As for the brand’s unconventional name, “Drunk Elephant” is in reference to anecdotes that African wildlife, including elephants, partake on the fallen, fermented fruit of the marula tree—an indulgence that leads to intoxication. We don’t know how true that is, and it's not really related to skincare, but the brand’s name is certainly different.
Drunk Elephant avoids using ingredients like non-mineral sunscreen actives, silicones, and parabens, even though countless studies have indicated these ingredients are safe (Journal of the Academy of Dermatology, 2013 and Skin Therapy Letters, 2013). Regardless, we’re just happy that the line has made it a focal point to use what research has been shown improves skin concerns like sun damage, breakouts and signs of aging, and leave out everything else. They’re also using some novel yet potentially exciting ingredients in many of their formulas.
Drunk Elephant line is a small line, but tends to make each product count, or at least puts an unconventional twist on the norm. Overall, we came away impressed with most of its products and (usually) smart packaging.
Many of the formulas include the ingredient marula oil, which is an ingredient the brand favors due to the fact it contains an array of beneficial fatty acids, calming agents, and antioxidants (Journal of Food Lipids, 2004 and Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2014). It's a good ingredient, but there are many excellent non-fragrant plant oils, including coconut, jojoba, sunflower, and more, of which have similar benefits, meaning marula oil isn't the best out there, just one good oil among many.
Though the price tags are absolutely on the higher end, if you decide to to splurge on some key items, this is a good line to do so!
For more information, visit the brand at www.drunkelephant.com.
Strengths: A solid, though limited array of well-crafted skincare formulas; commitment to fragrance-free products.
Weaknesses:Their products are on the pricey side; limited options for those struggling with acne and discolorations.
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