Drunk Elephant, the colourful ‘clean-compatible’ skincare brand founded by Tiffany Masterson in 2012, is fast dominating beauty shelves across Hong Kong since its launch in the region last year. After its acquisition in 2019 by Shiseido group, one of the brand’s latest highlighted launches is its first foray into body and haircare.
These two expanded ranges continue Masterson’s fascination with healthy skin — with products that work to improve the skin’s integrity by eliminating the ‘suspicious six’ in its products, namely: potentially harmful sulfates, silicones, essential oils, fragrance, dyes and drying alcohols.
“I developed my hair line for many reasons, the main one being, that I wanted to apply my unique skincare philosophy to the scalp—because the scalp is skin, too,” says Masterson. Indeed, the scalp is probably the most overlooked part of the body that gets washed on a regular basis, yet typically doesn’t get as much love as the rest of it.
Masterson has tapped childhood friend and celebrity hair stylist Chris McMilian to collaborate for the hair range. The goal was to formulate something that would work on all kinds of hair, and they’ve developed four products: a shampoo, conditioner, a scalp scrub and a tangle spray.
Then, to really give your skin the Drunk Elephant pampering from head to toe, Masterson also added three products to a new body care range, featuring a body wash, body lotion and deodorant.
We took the plunge and recently tried every product on the list before they’re available from Sephora on 9 April, 2020. Here’s what we think:
Using the same coconut amino acid blend as the conditioner as its base surfactant (to create the creamy, foaming texture), this shampoo lathers up with silky, fine bubbles, so if you, like me, like the “clean” feeling from lathering up your hair in the shower, you’ll be pleased. It doesn’t leave it squeaky, dryingly so, either. It’s also sulfate-free and colour-safe, not to mention works to strengthen and act as a heat protectant for hair. This is apparent even after one wash, where each strand of hair already feels plumper and shinier. It also has a slight marzipan aroma, which is nice.
HK$200 from Sephora
Perhaps with the addition of Marula cream — an iteration of Drunk Elephant’s ultra-moisturising hero product, the Virgin Marula Oil — this conditioner is like a nourishing buttercream frosting for dry, dead locks. It’s a little hard to squeeze out of the bottle because of its thick consistency, and for long hair you’ll need quite a bit of product for the suggested usage of combing it through from scalp to tips. But already in the second wash you can tell it’s worked its magic to help detangle and revive fried and frizzy hair — by my third wash, I had no breakages and fallout when I ran my comb through my now way-more-manageable hair. At a scalp-compatible pH 3.6, it also means my scalp wasn’t overreacting with extra grease, so I could spend longer between proper washes, too.
HK$200 from Sephora
Again adopting marula oil, this detangling and heat protecting spray is just what my long frizzy locks need, in theory. Sprayed on damp, towel-dried hair, I could see that the difference between using this and going without was a very palpable shine and bounce after blow-drying. The only caveat? The spritz comes out in a fine mist, so if you have a lot of hair, it’s quite a bit of effort to apply. I personally prefer using hair oil applied with my fingers, though if you prefer something completely weightless, this tangle spray would do the trick.
HK$200 from Sephora
Trust Drunk Elephant to come up with exfoliating acids for the scalp. With an AHA/BHA acid blend (with a hot pink bottlecap reminiscent of the TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum), this gentle scalp scrub is meant to be left on for 10 minutes before you wash your hair. Featuring plant cellulose exfoliating beads, it leaves a light cooling sensation as it does its work, and I can notice that any scalp irritation or loose dandruff that I might get once in a while is nicely reduced after twice a week usage. At HK$285/6 fl.oz, this is the priciest item of the new release.
HK$285 from Sephora
Featuring passion fruit oil and a host of non-fragrant plant oils, this body wash again reprises that naturally nutty, marzipan scent that was common across the other hair products (but even then, it’s incredibly subtle, which kind of takes away the joy of the shower itself). It’s gentle, pH 5.0, and barely lathers — much like the Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser for the face. I can feel it nicely unclogging my pores and gently whisking away dirt during the shower, but as far as I can tell, it works slow to prevent your skin from getting clogged in all the other 23.5 hours of the day.
HK$160 from Sephora
Again with that almond-y scent — but once you apply it, you won’t notice a smell at all (so it does its job, I guess?). It’s interesting to see how Drunk Elephant came up with a deodorant, with the bad rep that deodorants get — some say that aluminiums or other harmful substances can even lead to breast cancer. This innovative deodorant cream decidedly contains no aluminiums, working to eliminate odor-causing bacteria from the skin with mandelic acid and arrowroot. The twist tube pushes out the creamy grey formula through a few holes at the top, which you can apply directly to your sweatiest bits, and dries clear. It’s completely unnoticeable afterwards. I’d be interested to see how this fares when the weather gets much warmer in Hong Kong summers, when people would actually need deodorant.
HK$125 from Sephora
This ultra-soothing body cream doesn’t carry any noticeable scent after it’s applied. You have to wait a bit for it to fully absorb (particularly on the hands, where you can still feel a thin layer of slickness after a while), but you can instantly feel the improvement on dry, crinkled backs of hands, heels, and other parched body parts. The formula contains a blend of nourishing plant oils and butters, squalane, amino acids, a repairing ceramide blend and barrier-supporting sodium PCA. Your skin is supposed to improve the more you use it, with the cream even helping to protect from environmental aggressors and lock in moisture — it’s even better if you apply it on wet skin after the shower.
HK$160 from Sephora