Drunk Elephant

We are committed to using only ingredients that either directly benefit the health of the skin or support the integrity of our formulations. We never take into account whether something is synthetic or natural, instead choosing ingredients based on biocompatibility.

Skin Illustration

That’s why we focus on healthy pH levels, formulations the skin recognizes, small molecular structure that’s easily absorbed, and effective active ingredients that also support and maintain the skin’s acid mantle. But what we leave out of our products is just as important as what we put into them, so you will never find what we call the Suspicious 6™ (essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances/dyes, SLS) in our line.

The Suspicious 6

We avoid the 6 ingredients that we believe are at the root of almost every skin issue. They’re not scary; they’re just the things we think have the potential to be troublesome for the skin. When the #suspicious6 are entirely removed from one’s routine (we call that taking a #drunkbreak), skin can reset and return to a healthy, balanced state. That’s our ingredient-elimination philosophy for a total skin reset.

Potentially sensitizing ingredients that are concentrated chemical mixtures of volatile fragrance compounds–like florals and citrus–that smell strongly of the plant from which they were derived.

There are hydrating (“good”) alcohols, and dehydrating (“bad”) alcohols that have the potential to dehydrate and sensitize the skin. Drying alcohols clear the way for actives, but they do it by dissolving skin’s protective lipids, which are the very substances that keep your skin healthy over the long term.

Silicones form a barrier on skin and slow down the penetration of other ingredients, making it harder to get the results that you want.

Many types of chemical sunscreen actives can be sensitizing, especially around the eye area, and can lead to breakouts.

Fragrances and dyes are used to make products look or smell pretty, but they can also sensitize, promote inflammation in skin, and worsen undesirable skin behaviors (dryness, excessive oil production, breakouts). Also, let’s just be honest: Who really wants to smell their face?

Sodium lauryl sulfate is just a little too good at its job. The cleansing agent takes too much from skin, sapping the protective barrier of critical lipids, which are required for skin to function at its happiest, healthiest state.

03 Smoothies


Why We Smoothie

We think of our skincare routines as smoothies. Much like you choose ingredients for your daily smoothie based on your body’s cravings, pick products for a.m. and p.m. smoothies based on how your skin feels. Listen to it—it doesn’t always need the same thing.

Our products are silicone-free and biocompatible with skin, so they mix together easily and are highly absorbable (except for our Umbra sunscreens, whose protective zinc sits on skin's surface). Mix any of our serums, creams, or oils together in the palm of your hand and apply them all at the same time.

Listen to Your Skin

Our skin’s needs change
depending on the day, the
time of year, and where
we are in the world.

What does “listen to your skin” mean?

It means pay attention to what is going on with your skin on a particular day. We can get stuck in the same routine and not question whether the needs of our skin have changed, even subtly. That can lead to greater issues if we aren’t paying attention.

For example…?

If your skin feels tight, it is usually a sign of dehydration. That is a sign that your skin has suffered some water loss, which can be due to weather, cleansing too often, and/or not giving skin enough water-boosting or protective ingredients.

Another for instance: If you have flaky spots? That can be a sign that chronic dehydration has advanced to the next stage, which is a loss of the deeper lipids in skin. This can also be a sign of using too much retinol (or another active ingredient) too often. Only you know the answer to that one.

How often should I listen to my skin?

Every time you reach for a skincare product. The goal is to get into the habit of questioning your routine, understanding that your skin will always behave slightly differently and that a lot of the skin issues we struggle with are a direct result of what we do—and what we don’t do.

Biocompatible Skincare
Why pH Matters

Your skin barrier is made up of lipids, protective substances, and your microbiome. The microbiome is the balance of microorganisms that live on our skin (and in our bodies), and it needs an acidic environment to survive. Anything below 7.0 is acidic; anything above 8.0 is alkaline.

Our Sweet Spot

Drunk Elephant products have
pH levels between 2.5 and 6.8

pH Balance




The skin barrier is also acidic: It has a pH of around 5.5.

Generally, you want skincare products to be close to your skin’s natural pH level. That's what we mean when we talk about biocompatible skincare.

If you use products that are too alkaline or too acidic, you can disrupt the pH balance of skin, which can result in inflammation, redness, and breakouts.

Drunk Break

Head to Toe

With our new hair and body lines, we are applying the Drunk Elephant philosophy from head to toe because skin—whether it’s the scalp or the legs or any other part of the body—can only function at its healthiest when it’s treated with smart, nourishing, biocompatible ingredients.

06 Bare With Us

Once you adopt our ingredient-elimination approach and remove the Suspicious 6 ingredients from your routine, you’ll probably find that you don’t need as much makeup—or any at all. Take a #drunkbreak, let your skin reset itself to its healthiest state, and shoot a selfie to show us your gorgeous, glowing bare face. That’s what we mean when we say #barewithus.