It’s a new day in skincare as Drunk Elephant goes head-to-head with big-name brands—and comes out on top.
Drunk Elephant gets its name from the marula tree in Africa, the oil of which founder Tiffany Masterson cold-presses for use in every product in her best-selling line. It’s said that when elephants eat from the trees, the fruit ferments in their stomachs and causes them to become “drunk.”
It’s not every day that a cult brand emerges to win shelf space and bring in the bucks to back its following. But that’s exactly what Drunk Elephant (drunkelephant. com) is doing. The skincare line, which recently took home the Women’s Wear Daily Indie Beauty Award, has opened shiny new headquarters in Newport Beach, Calif., under the watchful eye of CEO Tim Warner, who left his 12-year post as Urban Decay’s CEO last summer to join forces with Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson. “I have always been attracted to differentiated brands that are authentic, creative and totally unexpected in the beauty space, [which is often] dominated by the big guns of Estée Lauder, L’Oréal and Shiseido,” says Warner. And Masterson is certainly suited to take them on. She introduced her brand in 2014 with six products and disrupted the industry with a category she dubbed “clean clinical.”
FROM LEFT: “I love Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser because it doesn’t strip my skin, and I feel balanced and clean. I also love that it removes my eye makeup in one shot. Double cleanse not required.” $34
“I keep both Umbra Sheer and Umbra Tinte Physical Defense SPF 30 in my purse at all times. I apply to my face, neck, chest, hands and forearms, and I feel moisturized and protected without the whitening effect most zinc sunscreens have.” Umbra Sheer, $34, and Umbra Tinte, $36
“T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum melts the dead skin cells and dullness right off the surface of my skin, and keeps the blackheads away. It is the daily version of T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, which is the once-a-week at-home [mask] that is much stronger. The two together keep my skin totally clear at all times.” Night serum, $90, and Babyfacial, $80
“Protini Polypeptide Cream feels a little like it has some voodoo [in it]. My face feels hydrated, moisturized, tighter and healthier. I think of it as a pump of protein—fuel for my collagen that I wish I had in my arsenal 25 years ago.” $80
“C-Firma Day Serum makes my skin feel firmer, and the brown spots I have from sitting in the sun [have] faded. It soaks in immediately and smells like medicine, which [lets] me know I’m doing something seriously good for my face.” $80
Says Masterson: “I wanted to develop a line that didn’t contain common marketing ingredients that I now refer to as the ‘Suspicious Six.’” Those include essential oils, silicones, fragrance and dyes, SLS, chemical sunscreens and drying alcohol. In 2015, DE launched on Sephora’s website, and by February 2017 had arrived in all 360 stores. The result? Pure pandemonium—its T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial mask was the retailer’s best-selling skincare product last year, bringing the company’s valuation to a cool $30 million. Looking ahead, Warner and Masterson are gearing up for three more debuts this year—a cleanser, an eye product and their first venture into color with an item that promises to have “exciting skin benefits,” she says. They’re also adding the U.K. and Singapore to their list of international retailers. “Watch out: We have only just begun,” boasts Warner. Yes, the future is certainly bright—some might even say… intoxicating.