When Cassandra first read through these ingredient lists, she was shocked at how much they were charging for these products. Finding these took so much research and obsessive dedication, but here we have this list just for you!
Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Moisturizer - $68
Acure, Radically Rejuvenating Whipped Night Cream, 1.7 fl oz (50 ml) -$19.99
This dupe kind of blew Cassandra’s mind because it seems as if Acure went and just copied the ingredients list and made it cheaper. The Acure Rejuvenating Whipped night cream has almost the exact same ingredients, it also has the same base and vehicle. In every cosmetic product, there is a vehicle and active ingredient. The vehicle is what everything is suspended in. It’s the way the product feels and goes onto the skin. Vehicles are inactive creams, lotions, solutions, and/or ointments that assist the products’ application (Fivenson Dermatology, 2019).
The actives are the ingredients that do the active work. In the case of these two products, the actives are the exfoliating ingredients that help with redness or pigmentation. These two formulas have the exact same vehicle or “the same base.” Both are composed of glycerin, cetyl alcohol, and cetyl oleate. On top of that, the key selling point of both products is the peptides. The formula from Acure has peptides from the same family. We see polypeptides, hexapeptides, and oligopeptides. Additionally, both formulas have lactic acid and vitamin C in the form of ascorable glucoside. The two also include sodium hyaluronate which is a derivative of hyaluronic acid, and on top of that, we have sodium PCA.
You’ll find marula oil in the two as well. Marula is the special ingredient that Drunk Elephant always uses. Acure must have thought the Protini was a good product and decided to make it much cheaper! At the end of both ingredient lists, we also see a culture extract. We see symphytum officinale extract. Essentially, this is comfrey (a flowering plant) extract. The two formulas are extremely similar. Although the Acure one is slightly thicker, they’re pretty much identical.
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil - $68
The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil -$9.90
Drunk elephant is selling their 100% unrefined marula oil for $72 while the Ordinary has theirs with the same active ingredients listed for around $10!
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream -$74
EltaMD Renew Eye Gel - Daily Eye Therapy (0.5 fl. oz.) -$59
This dupe was actually very hard to find. Cassandra spent around 8 hours trying to find a dupe for this product because eye creams that specifically put retinal peptides, niacinamide, and different plant extracts all in the same formula are few in far between. But then, Cassandra found the Elta MD one. Both of them have a glycerin base. So, they do feel very similar when you put them on. One difference is the color. The Drunk Elephant one is a little more yellow, but they both have peptides and retinol. With Drunk Elephant it’s 1% retinol and with Elta MD, it’s retinol palmitate. They both have forms of sodium hyaluronate as well as hydroxide. Both of them have a bunch of different plant extracts, and so Cassandra says she wouldn’t use either of these as a night cream. To her, they both seem like overpriced face moisturizers. Additionally, they both have niacinamide which is excellent for fighting redness and oiliness.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma™ Vitamin C Day Serum - $78
Cleen beauty Vitamin C Papaya Glow Serum, 1 fl oz - $9.97
This Cleen beauty one is almost a replica of the C-firma for nine dollars. They are very similar in the beginning of their ingredient list. So, we know they’re going to work and absorb similarly into the skin. We’ve got water, vitamin C, glycerin, and a lactobacillus extract in both too. Lactobacillus is a bacteria that naturally lives in our guts and our bodies. It’s a probiotic, and these ferment extracts are lysed (not living) bacteria. The difference is that the Drunk Elephant is using a pumpkin one, and this Cleen line is using a papaya one, but these are very similar, and science points to the fact that they both work in the same way. On top of that, both of these formulas have ferulic acid, an amazing ingredient that stabilizes vitamin C.
This pair also has radish ferment filtrate. Within the cosmetic formulators industry, radish ferment filtrate is known to be a natural preservative, and Cassandra thinks that’s what both of these formulas are using this for. The two formulas have licorice extract. Licorice extract is one of those ingredients that you don’t see a lot of, and the fact that both of these contain it makes them even more similar. However, one difference is that the Cleen beauty does have tumeric which is known to have anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum - $90
Farmacy HONEYMOON GLOW AHA Resurfacing Night Serum with Hydrating Honey + Gentle Flower Acids - $58
This is a glycolic type of serum that is meant to refresh the skin, and when Cassandra looks at the ingredient lists of Drunk Elephant products, she’s always surprised at how many ingredients they’re shoving into their products. Although they’re high-quality ingredients, there’s a greater chance that people might be reactive or have irritation to them. Cassandra says that it's better to start off with a small number of ingredients, test it, and then, you can add things like a booster. Because when you have so many variables mixed in together, you don’t know what combination of ingredients might be causing certain issues. Even without Drunk Elephant including “suspicious 6 ingredients” people can still have irritation when combining all of these ingredients.
This isn’t the perfect dupe, but it’s pretty similar. The key ingredient in the Honeymoon Glow and the Babyfacial is the AHA, glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is a really exfoliating ingredient, and given its small molecule size, it penetrates very deeply. In addition to the glycolic acid, the Honeymoon serum has lactic acid just like the Babyfacial from Drunk Elephant. The dupe has willow bark which is not the same as the salicylic acid included in Drunk Elephant’s baby facial. Salicylic acid is oil soluble, and it’s good for acne-prone skin. To compare and contrast willow bark extract with salicylic acid, salicylic acid comes from the willow tree, but it is synthesized, making it different from willow bark extract. Both of them, however, can be great for inflammation.
As a caveat to both of these products, Cassandra would not recommend them because they have honey extract as well as royal jelly which both come from bees. Sourcing these two ingredients is detrimental to bees, and likewise, to our environment. Bees pollinate our fresh food and vegetables.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial™ AHA + BHA Mask - $80
Biossance Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Mask -$48
The two products include sodium hyaluronate, a very hydrating cross polymer. The Biossance dupe one goes on for 10 minutes, and you can apply it around three times a week. Drunk Elephant recommends using theirs for 20 minutes and for once a week.
Drunk Elephant C-Tango™ Vitamin C Eye Cream - $64
Paula's Choice CLINICAL Ceramide-Enriched Firming Eye Cream -$49
Both eye creams have ceramides, vitamin C in the form of ascorbyl glucoside, peptides, and both formulas have a base of cetearyl alcohol, an alcohol that’s very hydrating and applies nicely to the skin. Likewise, they each have a similar texture and feel. Both have niacinamide, sodium hyaluronate, and b5. However, they include mica which is where Cassandra has problems. Therefore, she wouldn’t purchase either since they come across as overpriced moisturizers or highlighter creams with pieces of makeup.
Drunk Elephant B-Hydra™ Intensive Hydration Serum - $48
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum -$38
Although these are not exact dupes, each has glycerin, sodium PCA, and soothing panthenol, b5. Each hydrate and soak into the skin very nicely.
Drunk Elephant Lala Retro™ Whipped Moisturizer with Ceramides - $60
Paula's Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer (1.7 fl. oz.) -$36
Cassandra had to do a lot of digging for this dupe. The key to these products is ceramides. Ceramides are made naturally by our skin. They’re a very fatty substance that really helps us lock in moisture and keep our skin supple and smooth. There are different ceramides such as ceramide np, ceramide ap and ceramide aop. It’s very hard to find all of these within the same formula. However, the Paula’s Choice complex moisturizer has all of them too. The Paula’s Choice Formula has cholesterol which is a very fatty substance. It also has a lot of omega fatty acids. Each have sodium hyaluronate or sodium hyaluronate cross polymer which allows the products to absorb well, but Cassandra would actually prefer the Paula’s Choice one.
Whether you choose the dupe or the original, make sure you apply that SPF!