We sat down with Tiffany Masterson, founder of cult beauty brand Drunk Elephant to learn what she really uses on her skin, her wellness routine in menopause and how she looks fabulous at 53

Tiffany Masterson is the brains behind Drunk Elephant, the skin, body and hair brand that Beauty Editor's rave about. Before she created Drunk Elephant she had no intention of running a global beauty business. She was a stay-at-home mum to her four children in Texas. It was only when she started selling solid beauty bars as a side hustle that her interest in researching skincare ingredients began and not long after that, and we really mean not long after that, Drunk Elephant was born. And if you've ever wondered about the name behind the brand it's because one of the star ingredients in the products is marula oil (often found in facial oils) and it is said that when elephants drink the juice from marula fruit they act as though they are drunk.   

“Part of the reason I created Drunk Elephant was that I didn’t have great skin growing up," she says. "When I was about 14 I started to get breakouts and I just threw loads of product at it and then would use even more products covering it all up. If those products didn’t work I would hop on to a new range and try that instead and I didn’t really understand that I was making my skin more inflamed and more sensitive and just making everything worse.”

Non-negotiable skincare ingredients

“When I was creating Drunk Elephant I knew there were six ingredients that I wasn’t going to include. That’s not that because they’re dangerous - I’m not scaremongering by not including them - in fact, they’re used by lots of other brands to make products smell pretty or feel pretty but they don’t nourish the skin and I didn’t want that. I only wanted to include ingredients that would feed and strengthen the acid mantle and I avoid ingredients that can trigger issues in the skin. If you don’t know what the acid mantle is, because it doesn’t get talked about a lot, it’s the part of the skin that naturally creates acids, lipids and loads of great stuff that your skin needs. Drunk Elephant is very much focused on feeding and supporting the acid mantle rather than stripping it.”

Your skin type may not actually be your skin type

“I think a lot of the time people are using too much on their skin and actually by cutting back and simplifying things you’re skin can actually be exactly as it’s meant to be. When I was younger I thought I had rosacea but actually, I had really red, inflamed reactive skin from what I was putting on it. I think a lot of people don’t know what their skin is really like because they’re dealing with how it is as a result of what they’re putting on it rather than what it’s truly like.

"Of course, there are going to be moments in life when your skin changes, whether that’s teen hormonal changes or in menopause, but again I think if you’re overloading your skin with products then these changes are going to be more dramatic. By keeping things simple and consistent you will have less of a change and it won’t be as traumatic.

"My skin hardly changed at all during menopause but I know it can get drier which is why I recommend using a chemical exfoliator - like TLC Sukari Babyfacial, £67 - more frequently. A lot of people are worried that exfoliation is going to dry out their skin but what it does is then allow oils to sink in better to hydrate it. Drunk Elephant A-Gloei Maretinol Oil, £63 is a great product for menopausal skin.”

Hormone support in menopause

"I have a hormone pellet now [a bioidentical hormone replacement therapy implanted under the skin]. It’s a new thing, I just got it last week. It’s estrogen and a little bit of testosterone. I got a blood test recently and they said 'you are at zero, your estrogen and your testosterone are not there'. I had some concerns about taking too much estrogen but my doctor said, you will get so many benefits from this such as bone density – it will help with everything. [For example] when I wake up and my hands are normally stiff and just in one week that is going away. I feel a lot better."

Tiffany Masterson's morning routine

Morning wellness hit

“Before I do anything else I drink a glass of water with a scoop of a powdered multivitamin called Athletic Greens, £97, in it. It has vitamins, probiotics, adaptogens and everything you need in it. It tastes kind of like pineapple and maybe a bit like dirt, but it’s not awful! It really helps with energy levels and has helped with my concentration and overall strength. Then I wait a while before having my morning coffee and after that, I make a smoothie and put collagen powder in it. I have also been taking Viviscal Healthy Hair Supplements, £29.99, as after having Covid my hair started to fall out. Who knows which one of those elements is helping but I have seen such a difference in the quality of my hair and nails

Zero cleansing zone

“I don’t cleanse my skin in the morning. I feel like the acid mantle of our skin is so protective and gives a dewy effect so I don’t want to wash it off. If I take a shower in the morning and my face gets wet then that’s fine but I always make sure I just pat the skin rather than rub so as not to disturb it.

Product smoothies

"All of my products have been designed to be used together like a cocktail so you can pump them into the palm of your hand, rub them together and apply them. I’m currently using a mixture of my vitamin C serum, C-Firma Fresh Day Serum, £66 with F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial Hydrating Mask, £44 which contains niacinamide, and A-Gloei, £63. a retinol rich oil. I also add a few drops D-Bronzi Antipollution Drops, £30, which adds an instant glow but also contains lots of antioxidants to protect the skin."

All-over eye cream

"Next, it's eye cream. Recently I’ve been using Ceramighty AF Eye Balm, £52 more but I love all three of my eye creams. And you can put them on the eyelid too. I’m 53 and eyelids are a hot topic of conversation right now! The skin on our eyelids is so fragile and delicate and it crepes and wrinkles so that’s why I designed all three of my eye creams to be used all over the eye, not just under."

Finishing touches

"I finish up with my lip balm - Lippe Balm, £15 - and Umbre Tinte SPF30, £30, which is my physical sunscreen that has a lovely tint. I have no issue with chemical sunscreens but some people can find they make their skin reactive which is why I stick with a physical sunscreen."

My evening routine

Complimentary cleanse

"I cleanse in the evening. If I have heavy makeup or SPF on then I’ll use Slaai Makeup Melting Butter Cleanser, £29, as it’s a bit more moisturising, but if I don’t have a tonne on my skin then I grab Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser, £13."

Night-time skincare smoothie

"Then I go in with a cocktail of TLC Fromboos Glycolic Night Serum, £76 with F-Balm, £44 and Protini Polypeptide Cream, £57 and to seal it all in I apply a thick layer of Wonderwild Miracle Butter, £33. I think this product is incredible. It’s inspired by my mum. For years she has slathered petroleum jelly all over her face, hands and feet at night (similar to slugging). I always used to make fun of her for it but she’s 80 and has really dewy, youthful-looking skin. This is a modern-day, more luxurious version of that and gets really easily absorbed by the skin"

In my makeup bag

"I don’t wear foundation but I do use this concealer for touch-ups. I’ll put it under my eyes and wherever else I might need it. It has a really great finish."

Westman Atelier Eye Pods in Rendez Vous, £80

"My friend Gucci Westman created this range and she’s done such an incredible job. I love these eye shadows, they glide on so easily. You can use a brush to apply them but I just use my fingers. eyeshadow trio."

Nars Climax Extreme Mascara, £23.50

"It’s really hard to find a good mascara but I think this one does a great job. It’s not too clumpy and it makes my lashes look fuller at the base as well as longer."

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze, £18.40

"This is a clear gel that you brush through your brows and it keeps mine in place all day."

Nars Instant Line & Pore Perfector, £22

"I use lots of oils on my skin so I tend to be quite shiny which doesn’t work well on camera so when I’m being filmed I put this on to help magnify my skin and it also creates a sort of blurred effect."