REVIEW: Is the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream the Key to Younger-Looking Skin?

Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream
Photo Credit: Drunk Elephant Facebook
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Drunk Elephant
A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream
Where to Buy

As we age, our skin takes a beating from the elements — from our environment to our lifestyle, our diet, and even our genetics. The signs of ageing then show up as fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, uneven skin texture, acne, hyperpigmentation or even large pores.

And because it has the properties to address these skin conditions, it’s no wonder retinol has become one of the best-known skincare ingredients on the market. This vitamin A derivative works by going deep beneath the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) to your dermis to neutralize free radicals and boost the production of elastin and collagen. The result is a ‘plumping’ effect that reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores.

By harnessing a powerful concentration of retinol, products such as the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream offers a strong but effective solution to anti-aging concerns.

With a cutting-edge formula that combines 1.0% vegan retinol with nourishing, superfood-rich ingredients, the Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream (as it’s formally branded) can dramatically diminish the appearance of fine lines, deep wrinkles, and sun damage.

Nonetheless, such potency may also have its risks and side effects, even from award-winning skincare products. As such, let’s first get to know more about the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream, learn how to use Drunk Elephant Retinol, pore over some of the Drunk Elephant Retinol reviews, and look at some of the Drunk Elephant Retinol before and after photos online. 

This way, we’ll help you decide whether the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream deserves a spot in your anti aging skincare routine

The Drunk Elephant Skincare Brand

The Drunk Elephant skincare brand differentiates itself from its competitors by choosing ingredients based on biocompatibility. Rather than being hung up on whether something is synthetic or natural, Drunk Elephant selects ingredients that either directly benefits the health of the skin, or support the integrity of their formulations.

The brand strives to provide skincare products that maintain healthy pH levels and formulations that the skin recognizes. It also focuses on a small molecular structure that’s easily absorbed, and effective active ingredients that support and maintain the skin’s acid mantle. 

That said, Drunk Elephant makes sure to avoid adding what they call the Suspicious 6™ (which they believe are at the root of almost every skin issue) from their product line. These include essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances/dyes, and SLS.

You may also want to read: REVIEW: Why Drunk Elephant Protini Is a Different Level of Moisturising Cream

Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream: How It Works

The retinol and supportive peptides in the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream restore bounce, resilience, and a brighter clarity to the skin. These help to even skin tone and texture—without the associated redness and irritation.

Meanwhile, Vitamin F and a powerhouse blend of passionfruit, apricot, marula, and jojoba oils replenish essential lipids and moisture, while antioxidant-packed kale, winter cherry, and xanthophylls help defend against environmental stressors. This wonder of a product can then reboot your skin back to its healthiest, most youthful state.

The Key Ingredients of Drunk Elephant Retinol

  • 1.0% Retinol –  At a 1.0% concentration, this pure form of vegan retinol can dramatically improve the look and feel of uneven skin tone and texture. It can also ward off the damage done from daily exposure to UV rays, pollution, or other free radicals.
  • Xanthophylls – These are potent carotenoids that form a powerful defence against ageing environmental stressors and electronic-device-emitted blue light.
  • Triple Peptide Blend This potent trio of peptides supports the age-fighting benefits of retinol, helping to firm and strengthen the skin. 
  • Winter Cherry Juice – Coming from the seeds of the physalis fruit (which is not actually a cherry), this ingredient offers more pollution-fighting antioxidant carotenoids than any other fruit or vegetable.
  • Kale Leaf Extract – Loaded with essential vitamins A and E, kale leaf extract supplies the skin with powerful antioxidant compounds like quercetin and beta carotene, along with replenishing plant sterols.
  • Passionfruit, Apricot and Jojoba Oils – These rich oils provide the skin with moisturising and soothing benefits.
  • Virgin Marula Oil – An oil with a high absorption rate, it’s also rich in critical antioxidants and omegas 6 and 9, which help moisturise, nourish, and rejuvenate skin for a youthful glow.
  • Vitamin F – Linolenic and linoleic are soothing fatty acids that work to improve the skin’s texture and suppleness. They also help calm signs of sensitivity.

How to Use Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream

Apply a pea-size amount (about half a pump) or less to a clean, dry face. Make sure to avoid the eye area. The Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream may be mixed with any Drunk Elephant cream or oil.

What You Should Know Before Using the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream

The product can be used in the morning or at night, but as a precaution, it’s best to limit the initial use to once or twice a week. Depending on your skin’s tolerance, you can then gradually increase the frequency to every other night, and then every night.

Keep in mind that sunburn is one of the greatest risks of using retinol. Therefore, make sure to always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen and as much as possible, avoid direct sun exposure.

In addition, retinol products are not recommended for use by pregnant women, as they are known to cause increased risks for birth defects and miscarriage. Always check with your doctor before using any new products while pregnant or nursing.

Lastly, because using retinol may aggravate eczema, avoid using this product you have an active eczema rash.

Drunk Elephant Retinol Reviews

What Beauty Bloggers and Beauty Magazines Say 

To help you get a sense of what industry experts thought about Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream, we’ve summarised the reviews by some of the top beauty bloggers and beauty magazines!

Bella Cacciatore, Glamour

This Drunk Elephant retinol has officially earned a permanent spot in my rotation. I’m hopeful it’ll fade my scars for good, but for now I’ll be enjoying the glow.

For Glamour’s Bella Cacciatore, the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream made her pores look more refined, and her skin more even and glowing. She liked how the creamy texture goes on so nicely (almost oily but in a good way), which she credits to all the hydrating ingredients in the formula. Nonetheless, the most exciting thing for her is that the pigmentation from all her acne scars started to lighten.

Bella did warn though, that Drunk Elephant Retinol might not knock out breakouts entirely at first, as she has still gotten a few spots on her cheeks and chin.

Mara Leighton, Insider

Over a few weeks of usage, I noticed the same effects as my standard retinol: less hyperpigmentation, smaller pores, less acne, a bit of a tighter feel overall, and my fine lines in my forehead seemed less noticeable.

According to Mara Leighton of Insider, the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream is a good, strong retinol formula, and she especially liked its creamy texture. For those new to retinol creams, she recommends starting with a lower retinol percentage and working your way up. 

Aside from the container oozing more product than you’ll need, she believes that the price is not ideal. Therefore, if you don’t care much for the added benefits of antioxidants, peptides, and vitamins, she suggests alternatives like The Ordinary’s Retinol 1% in Squalane.

Rebecca Norris, Hello Giggles

If you’ve been on the fence about trying retinol, take it from a fellow sensitive gal and go right on ahead.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Norris of Hello Giggles says that after a week of zero retinol-related issues at all, she amped up the use of the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream every other night. The result was smoother, brighter, and clearer skin in just four weeks’ time.

Lulu, It’s Lulu, M.D

It’s one of the best retinol creams I have tried. So if you have the money, go ahead and buy it!

On her blog It’s Lulu, M.D., Lulu says that the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream delivers results fast — her skin felt plumper, softer, and younger. She explains that the older packaging (which she had) lets you control how much product you are going to dispense. And while she mentioned that the retinol cream product is worth the price tag, she herself would prefer to wait until there’s a Sephora sale and until Drunk Elephant changes their packaging.

Sophia, Sophia’s Beauty Corner

Photo Credit: Sophia’s Beauty Corner

When I first started with the A-Passioni retinol cream, I completely ignored the instruction at the back of the tube, used it every night for over a week, and woke up one morning to find my skin started peeling.

Blogger Sophia of Sophia’s Beauty Corner may have started out with a peeling incident with the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream, but after understanding how powerful the product was, she tried it again. When she did so, started using it only 3-4 times a week, and her new routine has done wonders for her skin — her pores become visibly smaller, her skin’s texture became smoother, softer, and tighter. She also noticed that her fine lines have significantly diminished.

Sophia agrees that the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream is a pricey item, but she thinks that this tube will last a long time.

Suzanne W. Hale, Cherie

Through a bit of trial and error I have found the best way to use this for my skin.

As for Suzanne of Cherie, she thinks that the packaging sucks — it leaked so much in the beginning. And while she didn’t notice any instant changes, she found that around the 6th week to the 2nd-month mark, her fine lines look less visible and her skin has more of an even tone to it. She feels that this product’s benefits will be seen with longer use.

What the Internet Says

For a more honest and comprehensive review, we’ve scoured the internet to learn what people have to say regarding the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream. Here’s what we’ve found on Reddit and Twitter:

  • 63% were more or less satisfied with the product and agreed that it was effective
  • 45% loved the product and said that Drunk Elephant Retinol is part of their regular skincare routine
  • 8% reported that their skin became even, glowing, healthy and well-hydrated
  • 7% said that this retinol cream helped address their acne and gave them clear skin
  • 40% found that the product was too harsh and that they experienced adverse skin reactions with Drunk Elephant Retinol:
    • 17% experienced breakouts
    • 10% felt varying degrees of burning or stinging sensation on the skin
    • 7% showed peeling or flaking on their skin
    • 3% reported some other signs of irritation
  • That said, 12% explained the need to build a tolerance to the product’s high retinol content, and 5% mentioned that B-Hydra can be helpful with this. 
  • 10% found the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream too expensive and expressed interest in finding cheaper alternatives.

Over to You

Retinol, a powerful anti-aging ingredient, can be the key to younger-looking skin. That said, products with a high concentration (1%) of retinol such as the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream then offer the most potential in making a difference to your skin.

Now that you have discovered how to use Drunk Elephant Retinol, have read all these Drunk Elephant Retinol reviews, and have seen some Drunk Elephant Retinol Before and After photos, it’s time to decide whether you want to indulge and experience this product’s anti-aging benefits for yourself.

Do You Need More than Retinol?
Compared to similar products with 1% retinol, Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream has supportive peptides, botanicals and oils that can contribute to its effectiveness. It’s up to you to decide whether these are worth the higher price tag.
1% retinol concentration
Superfood-rich ingredients that support retinol
Priced higher than most retinol products
Unwanted product oozing due to packaging