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Drunk Elephant: does cute beat science?

As a skin care company, do we need to be cute to be successful?  It is too late to change our name, Skin Actives Scientific to something cute like “troll skin” or “sweet minuet”.  Philosophy is already taken.

What should matter to our customers is whether there are ingredients in other brands that we should envy.  Trust me: this does not happen often because we are so cutting edge.We know what works, we are up-to-date with scientific literature and we can find or make anything that is worth gaving.

Specifically, do I envy any ingredient in Drunk Elephant?  Because if I envied a cute little fridge or a fancy container, I can buy them somewhere.

But remember, what matters to our skin are the ingredients, not the gimmicks. Let’s have a look.

A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Coco-Caprylate, Stearic Acid, Coconut Alkanes, Glyceryl Stearate, Niacinamide, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Pentylene Glycol, Passion flower Seed Oil, Retinol, Jojoba Seed Oil, Marula Seed Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Kale Leaf Extract, Broccoli Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Chrysin, Avocado Oil, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Ceramide NP, Xanthophylls, Phytosphingosine, Phytosterols, Jojoba Esters, Husk tomato Fruit Juice, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Rice Bran Extract, Soybean Oil, Safflower Seed Oil, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12, Cetyl Palmitate, Trehalose, Lauric Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Olive Oil, Glucosamine HCL, Tocopheryl Acetate, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Pea Extract, Tocopherol, Bamboo Leaf and Stem Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Trideceth-6 Phosphate, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Ceteareth-20, Sodium Hydroxide, Laureth-23, Steareth-20, Propanediol, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Chlorphenesin, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin

Envied: nothing.

Silly ingredients? Many, starting with tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a vitamin C derivative that lost its vitamin C activity in the process of chemical modification. And a fancy Latin name does not make kale juice more useful than lettuce juice or spinach juice, they are all useless to your skin.

Skin Active “better than yours” replacement:Vitamin A cream

C-Firma™ Day Serum

Ingredients: Water, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Ascorbic Acid, Laureth-23, Glycerin, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Marula Seed Oil, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Licorice Root Extract, Grape Juice Extract, Amla Fruit juice, Tea Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Lactobacillus/Pomegranate Fruit Ferment Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Phytosterols, Glutamylamidoethyl Imidazole, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Ferulic Acid, Acetyl Glucosamine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Glycine, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sucrose, Maltodextrin, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbitan Isostearate, Propanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Chlorphenesin, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Potassium Sorbate, Sorbic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin

Envied: nothing. What’s good in there, we already use. I like curcuminoid derivatives (Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane) because they are white and more bioavailable than cumin.

Silly ingredients? Many, starting with grape juice extract and sucrose because the skin does not need sugars and the good actives are too diluted to be of use. Remember AGE? Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, a pseudo natural preservative that becomes a preservative when synthetic chemicals are added to it.

Skin Active “better than yours” replacement: Antioxidant day cream.

Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum

Ingredients: Water, Glycolic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Grape Juice, Aloe Leaf Juice, Cactus Extract, Horse Chestnut Seed Extract, Tea Leaf Extract, Raspberry Fruit juice, Yeast Extract, Orange eye meristem Cell Culture, Marula Seed Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Allantoin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Galactoarabinan, Propanediol, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Nitrate, Potassium Sorbate, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Benzoate

Envied: nothing. What’s good here, we use too. I like galactoarabinan.

Silly ingredients? Buddleja Davidii Meristem Cell Culture, please see my article on the use of plant stem extracts. This is the INCI list for orchid stem cells: Water, glycerin, Calanthe Discolor extract, xanthan gum, sodium benzoate, gluconolactone, calcium gluconate

Annoying ingredients? Glycolic acid neutralized to sodium glycolate but calling the product “glycolic”. If what you want if the acidity, please don’t go and use a salt.

Skin Active “better than yours” replacement: alpha beta exfoliator.

 Protini™ Polypeptide Cream

Ingredients: Water, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Marula Seed Oil, Bacillus/Soybean/ Folic Acid Ferment Extract, Water Lily Root Extract, sh-Oligopeptide-1, sh-Oligopeptide-2, sh-Polypeptide-1, sh-Polypeptide-9, sh-Polypeptide-11, Copper Palmitoyl Heptapeptide-14, Heptapeptide-15 Palmitate, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Alanine, Arginine, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Valine, Acetyl Glutamine, Coconut Alkanes, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Aspartic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Lecithin, Butylene Glycol, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Sodium Lactate, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sorbitan Isostearate, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 60, Lactic Acid/Glycolic Acid Copolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Isomaltose, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol, Sodium Benzoate, Phenylpropanol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Comfrey Callus Culture Extract

Envied: nothing. What’s good here, we use too. Epidermal growth factor!

Annoying ingredients? Comfrey Callus Culture Extract. Another “stem cell” juice. And it is a good idea to remind ourselves that plants “were not made to benefit humans”.  Comfrey conttains toxic alkaloids, and using an extract is a bad idea. Extracts from potentially toxic plants should only be used as standardized extracts, making sure that only beneficial chemicals are present in the preparation.

Skin Active “better than yours” replacement: Collagen serum

Definitely a bad idea: using vascular endothelial growth factor, especially for people who suffer from rosacea.

So, here you are. Buying bad skin care is more than a waste of money: choosing cute over science deprives you of proper care of your skin.

For the cuteness I need in my life, I choose watching my grandchildren, and enjoy Pokemon, Halloween costumes, Sesame Street and the Muppets.

Picture: Cuteness does not have to come in a jar.

DISCLAIMER: These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.

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