Drunk elephant enough is enough!

« You won’t find what we call the “Suspicious 6” in our products (Essential Oils, Drying Alcohols, Silicones, Chemical Sunscreens, Fragrances/Dyes, SLS) making them, in our opinion, appropriate for all skin. We believe that these six ubiquitous ingredients are at the root of almost every skin issue we see and when entirely removed from one’s routine (“a clean break”), skin can reset and return to a healthy, balanced state. » 

Drunk Elephant is not new to controversies. I barely read any marketing claims and how to use it. I focus on the ingredients and my own experience to it. Solely based on the formula I have purchased and reviewed A Passioni retinol cream (here), LaLa retro and Protini (here) and like them. There are expensive but well formulated. Are they for all skin types? NO. 

Drunk elephant are not for everyone

They contain many ingredients from plants, Physalis Pubescens fruit juice in Passioni for example. Hence someone can be allergic to one those and contain preservatives that are known skin sensitizers: chlorhexidine digluconate (known since the 80’s), chlorphenesin for example. 

All the « drama » around DE have pushed to look and read their philosophy and make me go their social account to witness how their answer to their consumers. 

My issue with Drunk elephant 

DE is a brand build on fear-mongering that manipulate science to their advantage and relate inaccurate scientific facts that are potentially dangerous for your skin health.  

When you go to their website under the list of ingredients you have « what is formulated without » making consumers believe that their products are safe and suitable for everyone. 

According to their philosophy, « six ubiquitous ingredients are at the root of almost every skin issues, and when entirely removed from one’s routine, skin can reset and return to a healthy, balanced state. »

Hence on social media DE social team makes consumers believe that their breakouts are due to the suspicious 6… With the same rational their explain that their retinol is not a skin sensitizing but that the suspicious 6 are, or that Lala retro and Protini are suitable for everybody for the same reasons, forgetting that a dry skin type has not the same need as an oilier skin type and that retinol, in the beginning, is an irritant. 

All of this is a bunch of non-sense that creates fears build on smoke. 

Let’s have a look at the suspicious 6 

Essential Oils, Fragrances, and Dyes

I always advise to avoid them are there are known skin sensitizing. If a sunscreen formulation is outstanding but contains an essential oil or perfume I don’t discard it as it is so hard to find excellent protection with amazing texture. 

Drying Alcohols

I have made a post about it. I encourage you to avoid any skincare with ethanol unless it is a sunscreen because it makes them more elegant as long as it is not too concentrated. Alcohol versus UV: UV-damaged win. 


There is no scientific evidence to show that silicones (or siloxanes) are problematic for the skin. They are incredibly useful in sunscreen formulation and very safe. Silicones are a vast family with different properties. All silicones are not the same. DE don’t use silicone per se, but use in their sunscreen a silane (triethoxycaprylylsilane). Several silanes linked together formed a silicone… SO why discard all silicones and not silane? Because of this people are now afraid of them. 

Chemical Sunscreens

this infuriates me the most. Fear-mongering about sunscreen filters is extremely dangerous for the health especially for a brand that only offers an SPF30. I don’t recommend to go below SPF50+ because UV protects twice more than SPF30 against UVB. UVB is the main contributor to mutations in the DNA. The name « chemical » sunscreen is incorrect, they should be named organic filters. The zinc that they use in Umbra is coated with silane (hi chemistry). Organic sunscreens are a big family and are all different. When well-formulated they offer superior UVA protection than mineral-based sunscreens. Tinorsb S, M, Uvinul T150, Uvinul A plus are very safe much more than chlorphenesin from A passioni for example. Using a high protection sunscreen prevent skin cancer and slow down the process of aging.  

SLS: Sodium Laureth sulfate

It has a bad reputation. It all depends on the formulation and the pH of the formula. Soap is far worth in comparaiosn.

My conclusion

The concept that skincare free of suspicious ingredients are better is simply stupid. What makes a good product are: a blend of ingredients tailored for a skin issue and skin type without irritants. It is a shame that DE is so adamant about their « philosophy » because their retinol and moisturizers are excellent but yet not suitable for everyone. 

Thank you for your time,


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