Drunk Elephant Exfoliating Serum

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Have you had issues with finding a quality, potent exfoliating serum that doesn't break your face? Have you been searching for a way to give yourself a dewy, smooth complexion?

All right. I'm done sounding like an ad, but real talk: I'm obsessed with this exfoliating serum.

Let me start off by saying that I am not a dermatologist; I just like sharing products that have worked wonders for my skin.

All right. Moving on:

If you've read How to Embrace Minimalist Skincare to Save Your Face, then you know that I am a huge fan of selective, high quality products. I believe that you should limit your skincare so that you don't overload your face and feed your inner skincare hoarder (we all have one; it's okay).

That means experimenting and investing in skincare products that do their job, and do them well. Enter: Drunk Elephant T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum.

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This stuff makes your skin feel like a baby's butt (you're welcome for the visual). 

Drunk Elephant Who?

Drunk Elephant is committed to providing high quality skincare products with ingredients that are safe and have a great bio-availability. They don't include nasties like synthetic ingredients or harsh chemicals, and their products are made in the U.S.A.

Best of all: they're cruelty-free!

I had heard of Drunk Elephant about three years ago but gave it a pass. Fast forward through those years. I'd tried what felt like every exfoliant under the sun, and they all left my sensitive skin red and dry, or worse, gave me pizza face.

I decided to give the sample of the night serum a try, and my skin was like where have you been all my life. I love you, let's get married. I bit the bullet and bought the full size night serum, and I don't regret it a single bit.


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Well...your face naturally turns over cells every three to four weeks in your younger years, and can slow the process up to about 90 days as you get older (read this).

When your skin renews itself, sometimes the cells don't slough off the way they're supposed to, which can cause a rough, dull complexion and breakouts. 

Comparing physical exfoliation to chemical exfoliation: physical exfoliation is great in moderation (once or twice a week, especially for sensitive skin). Chemical exfoliation can be used as often as needed, and takes the process a step further: chemical exfoliation sinks into the sink and dissolves the glue that holds those dead cells to the surface of the skin.

Bonus: chemical exfoliants also help to reduce other skin concerns such as acne and hyperpigmentation. 

Ta-da: bright, glowing complexions.

How to use

Apply to clean skin (duh). I'd recommend putting this on after a toner and any serums with a thinner, liquid consistency. I like to leave it on for about a minute to absorb before applying other products.

Use only at night. Do not use with a retinol product on the same night (since the night serum has such a strong dose of acids, both actives cancel each other out). Most importantly, please, please, please remember to apply sunscreen the next morning, on your face and on your hands.

Great sunscreen options are Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 and SuperGoop Unseen Screen.

The good

This serum is powerful with a 12% blend of BHA/AHA acids, including glycolic, salicylic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids. It also contains ingredients like horse chestnut and green tea to soothe the skin. As mentioned earlier, it also doesn't contain any of those gross chemicals or preservatives.

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It's a lovely gel that glides on nice and smooth without leaving that tacky feeling you can get from a lot of other gels. It sinks into the skin quickly. It may at first leave a bit of redness, especially on sensitive skin like mine, but it disappeared for me after just one use. Seriously: I have the most sensitive skin on the planet. If you even say freak out, it will.

I never thought I'd be able to use an exfoliant with such a strong dose, but here I am. Dreams do come true.

The Bad

They're pricey. As in, $90 for a bottle. If you stop reading now, I won't blame you. I tried researching places to get a better deal or a discount, but their pricing is pretty consistent across the web.

A note for sensitive skin and skin prone to dryness: while it probably won't leave you red like it didn't for me, it may leave you dry. I switch between retinol and and the night serum every other night, so it could actually be the retinol that's causing me the dryness (I'm super sensitive to it), but just in case, keep that little caveat in mind.

Also: your skin might purge a bit because your cells are turning over at a faster rate than usual. This might mean breakouts that were cooking under the surface of your skin are popping up now (this is actually a good thing). Mine did along my forehead, but these went away within a week.

What Else?

If you've read my minimalist skincare post, then you also know that I am a proponent of research. Take a look at the T.L.C. Glycolic Night Serum and compare it with others on the market if you're unsure. If you're in my position, though, and you're frustrated with the serums you've used so far, I highly, highly recommend this!

What's more: you can use the night serum on your hands, your neck, your chest, and any areas that you'd like smooth, smooth, and smooth.

You can check out the T.L.C. Framboos Gylcolic Night Serum here


Have you ever used Drunk Elephant? What's your favorite product? Is there any other DE product you'd want me to review?



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