The most exciting part of Drunk Elephant to me is product development. After identifying a specific need in the line, I begin to do research on what's out there and what the top selling, top-rated products are in the category. From there, I review customer comments, what people like, what they don't and how a product could be improved. I always take into account what I prefer personally, what would work for me functionally and what I would want and wish for a product to do.
Then the fun begins...ingredients. Studying ingredients and what they do both individually and synergistically is just fascinating to me. First you have to look at similar products to see what makes a product work and the different components it has to have to be effective, stable and safe. It's always surprising to find a product that contains absolutely incredible key ingredients, but then also contains toxins and fillers that are there to either save money or for some purpose that in no way benefits our skin.
If you really ask yourself what you are using any given product for specifically, then it's easy to identify what the formulation should contain. For me, again, I don't believe the product needs to smell flowery or fruity, I just want it to work. I want it to be good for me. I want to get my money's worth. I find it really curious that we have issues such as rosacea, allergic contact dermatitis, skin sensitivities, inflammation, eczema, chronic acne, premature aging, etc., yet companies still add ingredients that make these very issues worse, and label them as combatants on top of that! It makes you wonder.
So, our formula is a simple one. Choose effective, high-quality, beneficial, low-hazard ingredients. Add safe, non-toxic preservatives where absolutely necessary, without regard to their natural or synthetic status. To work, products need to be preserved effectively and sometimes a natural preservative just doesn't cut it. Not all synthetic ingredients are toxic and bad. Not all natural ingredients are non-toxic and good. Which would you prefer to have on your skin?
Lastly, I take the list to my chemist. We go back and forth until we are satisfied on both sides that the combination of ingredients will yield a product that is effective, non-irritating, outstanding and cutting edge. Then samples are produced and we test them out on ourselves and volunteers. The lab technicians tweak the formulation until we are ready to approve it.
I am super picky and I feel like I am representing each and every customer as I develop these products. I promise, we, as cosmetic companies, do NOT need to reveal everything to you. There are loopholes and things that can easily be swept under the rug. We don't want to do that at Drunk Elephant. You can always just remember that if I wouldn't put it on my own skin, I wouldn't expect or assume you would put it on yours.