Drunk Elephant is showing your skin more than a little care with its T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum. Marketed as a glycolic acid exfoliant, it's actually a combination of the AHAs glycolic and lactic acid and BHA ingredient salicylic acid, plus antioxidants and anti-irritants. Its lightweight formula is ideal for any skin type, though it's more potent formula means it is questionable for those with sensitivity concerns (i.e. rosacea).
The hard plastic, pump-style plastic container is an attractive way to keep its sensitive ingredients protected from air and light. The pump is easy to use, and dispenses enough product for one full-face application. A removable cap helps avoid any accidents with its pump.
With a gel-light texture, you'll find this easily layers under moisturizers or other treatments without leaving a residue behind. We speculate that the "serum" part of the name, "T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum" refers more to the aesthetics of this formula, as it's ingredient range isn't quite comprehensive enough to replace an anti-aging retinol or vitamin C serum.
Its 12% glycolic acid content means this will work well to reduce dead skin cells on the surface of skin, addressing concerns such as sun damage, dryness and signs of aging. The 1% salicylic acid it contains allows it to penetrate into the pore, dissolving substances that can otherwise contribute to blackheads and blemishes. At an effective pH of 3.8-4.0, both glycolic acid and salicylic acids are capable of improving an uneven skin tone, including red marks left behind after a breakout.
The combined percentage of exfoliating ingredients means not everyone will be able to use this on a daily basis. If you try this, we would recommend experimenting with applying every other day until you know how your skin responds. (It could also be alternated with another AHA or BHA leave-on exfoliant of a lower concentration.)
Where antioxidants are concerned, T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum contains a nice mix of green tea, horse chestnut, cactus, grape and raspberry extracts. For good measure, Drunk Elephant also included skin-repairing sodium hyaluronate and marula oil.
For its impressive array of beneficial ingredients, inclusion of both AHA and BHA at an effective pH level, this excellent 2-in-1 leave-on exfoliant will help treat signs of aging, uneven skin tone/texture, and clogged pores. It certainly exceeds the average, which is a good thing because its price tag is in "splurge" territory—but if you're going to splurge on an AHA exfoliant, this is the one to do it on.
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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