It's the sellout US skincare brand that's just announced a significant reduction in UK prices. Here's what beauty editors and those in the know are buying and where to get it
If you’ve never heard of Drunk Elephant , a stampede arrived in the UK as of earlier this month. The cult US skincare brand, the quirky name of which will all be explained, is famed for its pared back yet effective product range, brightly accented packaging and avoidance of the ‘suspicious six’ (fragrance and dyes, silicones, drying alcohol, essential oils, chemical screens and SLS ). The product range is also, it must be said, undeniably pricey, which is why this week's news that UK prices will be reduced at British retailers in line with US pricing is tidings of great joy for current and would be Drunk Elephant fans.
Both Space NK and Cult Beauty announced on Tuesday that product prices will be decreased, and it's not an insignificant markdown either - Protini Polypeptide Cream , as described below, has fallen from an original price point of £68 to £57, our favourite light as air B Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum has had a price cut from £52 to £44 and C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream is now £10 cheaper than it was at launch (£54 rather than £64). The most significant saving to be had is on the brightening, exfoliating T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum which has decreased in price by a hefty £21. At £76 it's still no steal, but it's pricing on a par with everywhere else in the world, which is only just given how much we're devouring Drunk Elephant already. Speaking of which, if you filled up your basket pre-price cut, you've not been forgotten either, as both Space NK and Cult Beauty will be refunding the difference on any products purchased at the original cost price, as Cult Beauty co-founder and co-CEO Alexia Inge explained to Instagram beauty collective Estée Laundry:
"At Cult Beauty we will be reducing our pricing as of today and refunding everyone who purchased since we launched on the 2nd October. It’s quite a process after three weeks of sales so please bear with us. We will make sure everyone is refunded the difference in the next month.”
As for why the prices were sky high in the first place, Alexia told us that technical discrepancies played a part and that she worked personally with the Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson to address the problem quickly:
“This was a matter of a new brand embarking on its first foray into a new market and making a mistake with their pricing, this was mostly due to confusion around VAT and worry about the costs of setting up in a new continent.
"Tiffany and I had long conversations about what would be the best thing to do to correct this, working out the logistics as quickly as possible and in fact building new tech to be able to do this. I find it incredibly refreshing to work with a brand that owns their mistake in this way, we all trip up at times, but few will correct them so quickly or publicly. As you can imagine with all of the excitement around this brand finally arriving, the sales have been mega, so we’ve got thousands of refunds to process (we have asked for 28 days grace to get through them all and people have been really understanding).
"I really didn’t know how our customers would react to this as we don’t have any precedent and they’ve been super supportive...but then, who doesn’t love an unexpected rebate!”
Similarly, Space NK issued a statement to customers confirming that as well as readjusting Drunk Elephant skincare pricing the retailer will refund the price difference to anyone who bought a Drunk Elephant product before 23rd October.
View this post on Instagram
Now that we've got fair pricing sorted, back to the products themselves and whether it's worth shelling out to create a neon-lidded Drunk Elephant bathroom shelfie situation. The range has won the acclaim of some of our favourite women and skincare experts from around the world, including the highly discerning Caroline Hirons and Paula Begoun and fitness phenomenon Kayla Itsines to name but a few Drunk Elephant devotees. The company has also recently raised yet more investment from tastemakers such as Leandra Medine of Man Repeller, with future sights set on global cosmetic domination. Given that Sephora can’t keep much of Drunk Elephant’s skincare in stock, big things are predicted for Britain too, so here are your Drunk Elephant pass notes, from what sets it apart from the skincare crowd and what to add to your wishlist. We know where our next pay packet is going…
It’s literally named after drunk elephants
The brand is so called owing to the founder Tiffany Masterson’s love of the fatty acid and antioxidant rich marula oil, found in much of the Drunk Elephant range. According to rumour (and Youtube) elephants love the stuff too, imbibing it via marula fruit straight from the tree and becoming “drunk” due to the fermentation of the fruit in their stomachs. Fun trivia, and a shrewdly memorable name on the shelves- combine it with the neon-lidded packaging and this stuff will never get lost in the skincare aisle.
It combines natural and synthetic ingredients
Masterson calls it “clean-clinical”- harnessing potent and powerful natural actives and combining them with high quality, extensively researched synthetic ingredients at a healthy pH balance and in a way that the skin can readily utilize and absorb (so they’re “bioavailable”). She struggled to find a skincare range that took this approach and addressed the needs of her sensitive, breakout and rosacea prone skin, so the entrepreneur from Houston went there herself, to enormous success both personally (her skin is far more resilient) and business wise.
There are six ingredients you’ll never find in the range
Though commonly sprinkled elsewhere in the skincare market, as mentioned, Drunk Elephant products are free of fragrance and dyes, silicones, drying alcohol, essential oils, chemical sunscreens and SLS , which is in line with the dermatological outlook of many dermatologists and skincare experts ( Paula Begoun in particular on the fragrance front ). Masterson decided to skip these six as they can all irritate and sensitise skin, leading to inflammation and reactivity in both the short and long-term.
Products aren’t categorised by skin type
Putting skin in a box isn’t Drunk Elephant’s vibe- Masterson reckons that when skin gets what it needs, it will be in balance:
“Skin is skin and if we give it what it understands and respect its basic function, it will thrive."
As such, if you’re using high quality products containing ingredients proven to be beneficial, without the “bad guys” getting in the way, skin should respond positively, although using all of the strong stuff at once probably isn’t advisable- working out a routine that’s gentle yet efficient and that suits you is the priority.
There was a huge waiting list
Drunk Elephant launched earlier this month at Space NK and Cult Beauty. Here’s what you can buy now for rather a lot less than when it debuted (we’re still waiting on a few popular products to be approved for sale in the EU)…
Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel, £44
Kayla Itsines’ moisturiser of choice to keep her skin hydrated yet not suffocated when she’s sweating it in the day job, this water-based gel binds moisture to the skin thanks to a hyaluronic acid rich formula, and it feels silky despite containing no silicones.
C Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream, £54
One of the brand’s most recent launches, this barrier strengthening, peptide rich eye cream that also contains five types of vitamin C for a fighting chance at brightening the notoriously tricky under eye area.
Protini Polypeptide Cream, £57
The peptide parade continues- this lotion is loaded with skin firming and hydrating amino acids alongside antioxidant plant extracts and emollient, non irritating plant oils.
Lala Retro Whipped Cream, £50
Rich yet cloud-like in texture, this "rehab + recover" moisturiser combines six nourishing plant oils that bring a truckload of vitamin C to the Retro party to brighten skin over time. It's pefect if you need a bit more hydration now we're going into winter but don't want a thick, greasy finish either.
TLC Framboos Glycolic, £76
An AHA and BHA exfoliating acid based night serum that gives pores a deep down clean alongside smoothing skin texture and evening out skin tone over time. Softening non-fragrant plant oils cushion skin against any potential glycolic acid related reactivity, but this bestseller is definitely one to patch test if you’re on the sensitive side.