As the holiday season approaches we start to begin our gifting lists, some based on price point, others based on the interest of the recipient, and others based on what feels most appropriate given the context of the unique relationship. Bearing all of this in mind, if you are seeking a splurge gift for a recipient in your life who loves skincare, or even for yourself, Drunk Elephant’s Beauty Trunk may be the perfect option.
Because of the incredible savings to retail value and huge assortment of full sized products, this also makes an excellent option that can be deconstructed into 10 different gifts (no judgment if you opt to save one for yourself). The brand is fully vegan and cruelty-free, and has grown in popularity in recent months for the quality of the ingredients used in the formulation, cheeky packaging, and products that generally live up to initial claims of benefits of use.
Additionally, all of the products are suitable for all skin types, including the most sensitive skin, and none of the products featured in the entire collection were irritating to my sensitive skin or caused any breakouts, even with acne-prone skin. Barring any allergy, they tend to be very soothing and gentle, but also provide effective anti-acne and anti-aging benefits with continual daily use.
This “Trunk” comes with 11 full sized items including a cream, balm, mask, serum, oil, and gel. The company vision lies in a commitment to using only ingredients that either directly benefit the skin’s health or support the integrity and effectiveness of their formulations. They opt to focus on biocompatibility rather than a strictly science You won’t find what Drunk Elephant calls the “Suspicious 6” in their products (essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance/dyes, and SLS,) making them, in their opinion, appropriate for all skin. They believe that these six ubiquitous ingredients are at the root of almost every skin issue we see. When formulating the products, they focus on pH levels and safety, always making sure that the active ingredients are at efficacious levels.
This makes an excellent gift option (or savings for several gifts), or an indulgence for a fan of the brand. This review will cover some main product features, some more concise reviews on the included products in the set, as well as some main positives and negatives to bear in mind prior to purchase.
Drunk Elephant The Trunk: My Review
The first thing I wondered and piqued my interest due to marketing genius, a rare “jingle” type one at that, was the name of the brand. Why drunk? More importantly, why a drunk elephant? The mental picture that ensues is unique to say the least.
The inspiration behind the cheeky name of the brand comes from the skincare benefits of murula oil, and is rooted in a myth that elephants become intoxicated by eating marula fruit. The company CEO wanted to create a skincare line based in simplicity and minimalism, free of any harmful additives, with clean, yet powerful ingredients. One that combines science and nature, and is the highest quality formulation for overall skin health.
Drunk Elephant CEO and founder Tiffany Masterson describes her conceptual approach to brand management and skincare philosophy by saying, ” in developing this line, I wanted to pull the effectiveness from the clinical and the sense of safety from the natural, the result is something people haven’t really tried before.” In other words, effective and clean ingredients that offer skin solutions for our most common concerns without being rooted in an exclusively chemical/clinical-grade or organic approach.
This approach has created a cult-like following of users who claim they will never use another skincare brand after trying Drunk Elephant products, and the skin care brand has developed a loyal millennial following that continues to grow.
Drunk Elephant “The Trunk” & Included Items
1.69 oz/ 50 mL T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial
The Sukari Babyfacial product is a pro-quality AHA/BHA “facial” that resurfaces to reveal greater clarity, treat dullness, and tackle signs of fine lines and wrinkles, it’s also a suitable treatment for the reduction of pore size and evening out skin texture. The product is safe and suitable for all skin types, including the most sensitive skincare (though due to very active ingredients, patch tests are highly recommended). It is vegan and gluten free, and free of any harsh parabens and sulfates. I was initially extremely trepidatious about trying this out with sensitive skin as it does contain many potent ingredients and my fear was a repeat of Sunday Riley Good Genes. The formulation contains .25 percent AHA and two percent BHA, including and a blend of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic acids to gently but efficiently resurface as it exfoliates the pore lining, getting rid of built-up dead skin cells by breaking down the substance that holds them to the surface. Reading this ingredient list was like a nightmare and I spot tested ASAP.
I was shocked and pleased to discover that even with sensitive skin I did not experience reaction or redness, and the product is simply amazing! I noticed softer “baby like” skin, a smoother and younger appearance, a more radiant aesthetic, with smoother and firmer skin. I used a soothing moisturizer afterwards just to be safe, but this is definitely recommended, particularly in comparison to brands in the category that use extremely harsh chemical additives.
5 oz/ 150 mL Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser
This product has multi-use benefits as a cleanser and deep makeup remover in one, without leaving the skin with any dryness or pulling. No residue is left after use, and the product glides on to the skin quite easily, without much slip or oil. The Jelly Cleanser has scored a spots in numerous publications as a favorite product, including Oprah Magazine and Self. It’s incredibly nourishing and gentle, and suitable for all skin types, including the most sensitive. It did not irritate, dry out, or cause any redness or breakouts even with sensitive and acne-prone skin. While it is suitable for all skin, this product seems ideal for combination and oily types due to oil control properties and benefits. It’s free of gluten, vegan, and formulated without any parabens or sulfates. It does not burn the eyes, in case of accidental contact.
The additional benefit of this cleanser is its anti-acne benefits, as it fights the bacteria that causes it and reduces breakouts immediately. I would recommend this to anyone with combination or oily skin looking for oil control and anti-acne benefits. It feels quite refreshing and skin is left clear and soft! It’s also fragrance free, and the texture is never sticky or greasy.
1.69 oz/ 50 mL B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
The Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum is a lovely lightweight gel texture that is packed with vitamin B5 and antioxidants. The serum helps restore radiance to any dull or sallow skin, fully restores any depleted hydration, and helps brighten up the complexion, for a younger looking appearance. The additional benefit is a visible reduction in the appearance of pore size, and more evenness in texture. Skin has a a healthy glow and fully restored radiance, and the overall aesthetic looks and feels soft and smooth to the touch after use, with a more youthful aesthetic.
This makes an ideal product for anyone seeking a lightweight anti-aging serum without any greasy texture or residue after use, or if you’re seeking brightening effects or pore reduction, and the additional benefit is it fully restores moisture to the skin if you’re dry. Great for restoring balance for all skin types, does not cause any breakouts, and is highly absorbing. Those with extremely dry skin may prefer to use this product in conjunction wit a heavier moisturizer, while those with oily or combination complexions may elect to use this as a standalone item, particularly during summer months. It definitely smoothens out the skin and brightens up the complexion, I’d personally prefer to use it with a cream as well though.
1 oz/ 30 mL Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil
This luxury Marula face oil is a potent emulsion of antioxidants that hydrate, while nurturing and soothing the skin. It’s benefits include restoring glow, radiance, and anti-aging benefits, with a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is gentle, non-irritating, and the skin feels softer and smoother immediately after use. It did not cause any redness, irritation, or breakouts even with very sensitive and acne prone skin. The skin has a healthy glow, improved radiance, and is brightened with continual daily use. It feels amazing to put on and doesn’t feel greasy or sticky at all.
For an oil, it’s still lightweight but incredibly rich, and can be mixed with serums and creams. Some reviewers have even found improvements in the appearance of acne scars, and around 90 percent of users notice visible anti-aging effects. This was definitely one of my favorite products included in the set and one of the strongest in terms of combatting the beginning signs of aging. Results are visibly quite quick. If you’re looking for a non-greasy oil product that nourishes the skin and improves the overall aesthetic quite quickly while still being highly breathable, you’ll love this product. As a bonus tip, try adding it to your foundation to extend the shelf-life of both products!
0.5 oz/ 15 mL C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream
This rich and restorative eye cream is good and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and is designed to treat signs of fine lines and wrinkles, and loss of firmness and elasticity. Formulated with a brightening combination of eight peptides, five forms of vitamin C, and cucumber extract for firmer, stronger-looking skin around the eye area. It is also vegan and formulated free of any gluten, parabens, sulfates, or harsh chemical additives. The cream definitely lived up to its claims of restoring hydration, providing moisture, creating a refreshed appearance and dewy glow, and helping in the treatment of dark circles.
As far as more advanced anti-aging, this is not a product one should expect if you’re looking to remove fine lines or circles. Those seeking advanced anti-aging benefits would likely be better with different formulas. However, if you are seeking brightening benefits, refreshed appearance, hydration, and an overall aesthetic improvement that is smoothened and softened, this would be an ideal option.
3 oz/ 90 mL Umra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30
This Umra Sheer Physical Daily Defense cream is gentle, light, and acts as a sun protective block to prevent harm from UVA/UVB radiation and free radical damage during sun exposure. The sunscreen is a physical block rather than chemical formulation, but I still found it sweat-proof and it has great hold for daily use. The only downside is it may cause a slight white cast on the skin without the use of makeup. There are no chemical additives and the blend is simply titanium and dioxide.
Packed filled with vitamins and nutrients, the daily SPF is a perfect daily go to for all times of the year, and feels lightweight and nourishing on the skin. If you’re dry, it’s also quite hydrating. With oily and combination types, it helps to restore balance in the skin. I would recommend this if you’re looking for a soothing and gentle daily SPF.
1.69 oz/ 50 mL Protini Polypeptide Cream
Protinit’s cult-favorite odor-free moisturizer has thousands of positive reviews and is perhaps the bestselling single SKU for the growing brand, so I was extremely excited to try it out and see what it would do for my self proclaimed dry and dull complexion, that’s known to developing patches throughout the winter months. It’s a protein based cream that combines an unprecedented array and concentration of actives for improvement in the appearance of skin’s tone, texture, and firmness.
Protini’s proprietary formula delivers revived, younger-looking skin, almost from the first application, meaning the formulation and ingredients cannot be found under any other brand or line. Lines, wrinkles, and signs of sun-damage appear reduced, while depleted skin feels strengthened and moisturized. Drunk Elephant products are also gluten and vegan free, and never tested on animals, and formulated free of any parabens or chemical additives.
I adore this cream, as it restored radiance, evens out texture, promotes a lovely glow, and leaves the skin feeling moist and rich, without any greasy or sticky texture or any residue left behind. I would compare this to a slightly heavier version of Tatcha’s Water Cream, and a slightly lighter formulation that First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair. It is so soothing and gentle, and feeling amazing to apply. Would absolutely recommend this without any reservations!
1 oz/ 30 mL C-Firma Day Serum
This serum has a 15 percent solution of potent antioxidant complex, l-ascorbic, ferulic acids, and vitamin E in its formulation. I found this to be a really superior product in terms of benefits of use and texture and would recommend the product with no hesitation. It helps neutralize damage from free radicals, pollution, and diminishes signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. Skin was visibly brighter after use, as well as firmer and more radiant. Helps to reduce breakouts, pore size, and improves dull complexions. Skin feels soft and refreshed, with a more radiant complexion and visible glow. I can see why this product is the brand’s bestseller, it really works wonders and delivers on its claims. It’s likely the best Vitamin C containing serum I’ve tried, and while the full size is pricey, a minimal amount of product (i.e. one pump) is needed for full benefits to use.
This was definitely my favorite product included and I would strongly recommend it if you’re in search of a good serum with anti-aging benefits and visible reductions in the appearance of pores. It also works in tandem with all of the other included products in the set to deliver a radiant complexion and restore glow and hydration.
1 oz/ 30 mL T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
This serum has a lightweight gel texture and works to resurface dull skin, lifting dead skin cells, oil and debris away by gently dissolving the binding agents that holds them to the surface. The results are greater clarity and a smoother, more even-looking complexion. It effectively delivers results like any chemical exfoliant without causing irritation or dryness to the skin. Skin is left smoother, softer, more radiant, retexturized and has a visible difference with respect to even tone. Pores are noticeably smaller.
This is definitely an excellent quality product and I notice better skin in the AM after waking up. My favorite feature about this product was visible anti-aging products, the lack of irritation even with sensitive skin to a glycolic product, and the visible reduction in the appearance of pore size. If you’re sensitive but seeking a good anti-aging glycolic formulation and deep exfoliation I would highly recommend this item. Some reviewers did claim the skin was left feeling dry, however use of an SPF containing moisturizer following use is ideal.
0.13 oz/ 3.7 g Lippe Balm
Personally, I felt the size was a bit too small for the price, and while there is nothing wrong with the product and I did feel it was hydrating, I did not notice any plumping or enhancement benefits. It has a buttery texture and great moisture hold so application is not that frequent. Ultimately, this category is just too crowded for it to make sense to overpay for a lip balm when great formulations exist at a fraction of the cost.
The lip balm is designed to be a multi-use product with hydrating benefits and plumping benefits in one. The naturally based formulation is a unique emulsion of a rich blend of avocado, mongongo, cranberry, and marula oils to deeply moisturize, replenish, hydrate, and soften delicate lips, that may be cracked or sore. Enriched with a rare combination of peptides and sea fern algae, the balm promises to plump up the appearance of lips and deliver a better definition to the lip line.
Additionally, the balm is enriched with antioxidant-rich green tea leaf and vitamin C, which helps neutralize free radicals and environmental aggressors which cause premature signs of aging. This buttery, luxurious balm promises to soften and plump the look of rough, parched lips, keeping them in lip-top condition. It is formulated free of any parabens or sulfates.
Positives and Negatives
Considering the overwhelming savings and value of the set, and the benefits of using all of the products with such high quality formulations, this is an expense (an infrequent one at that) that I would truly recommend. The main barrier here is clearly the price sticker, because as much value is added to the set, it is still quite pricey. If you can afford to indulge in skincare I would recommend this “Trunk” as opposed to a single luxury beauty item of the same price. If the cost is more challenging for you, there are some other ideas. You can use this as a gifting option to break up the items (and perhaps save one of your own favorites). If it is still too costly to justify, I would recommend the brands other starter set, “The Littles,” but do bear in mind these products will be trial sizes. So in terms of value/cost ratio, this set offers better value and much more longevity. With that in mind, here are some main pros and cons to consider prior to purchase:
- While the company does add some synthetic ingredients in its formulations, the products included are still free of all Sulfates SLS and SLES, parabens, formaldehydes, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, and triclocarban, making it a very clean line
- Cruelty-free and vegan company: products are never tested on animals, and no animal product is used during any manufacturing process
- Environmentally-friendly company that encourages sustainability and donates to elephant charity to prevent harm to animals via dangerous practices
- All included products are safe and suitable for all skin types, including very sensitive skin (though spot tests are always recommended)
- All included products are full sized, akin to an actual “trunk,” and the packaging and design aesthetic is sleek
- All products included in the set lived up to initial claims of benefits of use, including anti-aging benefits, improved radiance in dull or sallow skin and improvements in the skins texture
- Skin appears both softer and firmer following use, and results continue over time with continual daily use
- Great gifting option for those who have recipients who love skincare or the brand, as a special treat
- Great gifting option that can be broken down into several different gifts, such as smaller stocking stuffers or office treats
- The C-Firma Day Serum produced visible results and brightened skin, even with only 30 days or so of use (both serums were really excellent in quality and seemed to treat skin breakouts and prevent the formation of new breakouts)
- Facial oil is wonderful and produced visible results and hydration benefits very quickly, in under the duration of the month-long supply
- For those seeking oil control or with oily skin, the cleanser included in the set is ideal (dryer types can supplement with other products included in the set)
- The serum and mask included have remarkable anti-aging benefits
- Great option as an introductory splurge item into the brand, bearing in mind the generous money-back guarantee process
- Great option for those who already love the products and see their baskets filling up with items and beginning to cost far more than the set, which has excellent value
- Value: the set offers a $200 savings for all full sized items, if you’re a fan this is your ideal product
- Longevity: very little product is required to really use all over the face and neck, so you can expect months of wonderful benefits
- Drunk Elephant is a supporter of IEF (International Elephant Foundation)
- The product can be used on all complexions, and all skin types, and out of every set I have reviewed, these are the products that work the best together in tandem to product incredible results
- At $425, this is a purchase you may be a bit tipsy making yourself, however it is important to bear in mind that the set in comparison to retail value is an over $200 savings, and this purchase can be used to break up into smaller gifts, and the products will absolutely last months, providing better benefits than a single luxury beauty product in the $400 range
- The lip product is nice, but there are many other in the category that are superior, and for less money, so this is not something I would recommend as a single item purchase (which is not to say it is not a good product from a standalone point)
The manufacturer, Drunk Elephant, has a strong return and exchange policy that honors full refunds upon dissatisfaction or allergy, this policy generally favors the consumer, new and returning included. If you are dissatisfied with the use of the products, or if they do not work for your skin to provide suitable benefits, or you experience any product allergy or reaction to the formulations, you may elect to return the entire set. In this case, you will receive a full refund equal to the entire purchase price of the full kit. You may also wish to exchange the product for an equal and full refund- or opt for a single product you prefer.
One must bear in mind that you will need to return the entire set, as individual items within the kit are not available for return. It may assuage fears to know the product is formulated with safe, natural ingredients, is free of parabens and sulfates, and is hypoallergenic, making it suitable for even the most sensitive skin, barring any specific allergy to an individual ingredient. This policy applies for online purchases, individual store purchases may vary. I did not experience any redness, irritation, or breakouts even with very sensitive skin that is acne prone, however individual spot testing is always recommended.
The Final Verdict
If you’re looking to really splurge this year on a wonderful skincare collection, really akin to a “Trunk” of products, then the Drunk Elephant Trunk Set may be for you. It makes a wonderful gifting option if you know your friend or partner loves the brand, it also makes a great gift to self if you love the products (even as an introductory item, though I’d remember sampling prior to taking the plunge first). All of the included products lived up to claims of initial benefits, if not exceeding them, and worked together harmoniously. There is no need to incorporate any other product into your regimen with this kit, unless desired. Additionally, it’s suitable for all skin types, and I was surprised to be able to use each one free of reaction or irritation or any breakouts, even with sensitive and acne-prone skin. The collection is also all vegan, cruelty-free, and engages in environmentally friendly practices, all which add value and positive brand management. In comparison to other products in the category, I would say in general Drunk Elephant outperforms most, even some competitor products that are even pricier.
The Trunk comes with 11 full sized items, all of which help the skin in terms of anti-aging, anti-acne, restoring radiance for dull skin, reducing the appearance of the size of pores, and promoting softer skin with a more youthful aesthetic. If you’re looking to treat the lucky lady in your life this year, or merely treat yourself, the Drunk Elephant’s Trunk Set is highly recommended!