Drunk Elephant Hair and Body Collection review: First thoughts and impressions of the cult skincare brand’s new range
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If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting me in person — and for your sake, dear reader, I hope you haven't (jk) — you'll discover that I smell like a baby. Yes, as in, a red-face, squalling infant. It seems strange considering I'm a fully grown 25-year-old with the emotional maturity to match (*snort*), but as I often explain, it has to do with my hair cleanser of choice: Johnson's baby shampoo.
A fixture of my childhood, I elected to stick to all of its soft, powdery-smelling goodness largely thanks to its ultra-gentle formula. Essentially, it's one of the few shampoos that a) doesn't strip my bleached-brittle tresses of much-needed moisture; b) leaves me with an intact vision feeling whenever I (inadvertently) get it in my peepers; and c) is affordable. In fact, I'd go as far to say it's achieved holy-grail status in my books — which brings me to the crux of this piece.
Suffice to say, I had my doubts about giving Drunk Elephant's newly launched hair and body range a go. Would my damaged locks be able to withstand their potent blends of biocompatible proteins and oils? Can their body cleanser give me the soft, nourished skin of a (literal) baby? And would I enjoy smelling of marula and argan oil instead of milk and, uh, newborn? I detail my experience with the full DE hair and body care line-up, below.
Drunk Elephant Cocomino Glossing Shampoo
What it claims to do: Founder, Tiffany Masterson, retains the philosophy from her highly-successful skincare range to the new additions. This means no trace of the "suspicious 6" aka essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances, or SLS. Instead, this cleansing offering comprises coconut-based surfactants that promise to effectively lift dirt, add smoothness and shine, and protect locks from heat styling tools. A tall order, indeed.
What it actually does: A clear, watery texture was about as far as I was expecting from this shampoo. Apprehensive but nonetheless intrigued, I rubbed it between my palms to see if it lathered. It did — and rather nicely, in fact, producing a rich, creamy foam that I proceeded to scrunch through my tresses. A quick rinse-through and blow-dry left me with soft, bouncy locks and volumised roots normally only attainable with a generous amount of dry shampoo.
My only gripe: the scent. According to my reading, it's unscented, which means whatever I'm picking up is a culmination of the natural ingredients within. If I were to sum it up, I'd say what comes to mind upon taking a whiff is the Scott's Cod Liver Emulsion of my childhood; a walk down memory lane I wasn't all that pleased to relive.
Am I a convert? I wish I could look beyond the scent and focus on the many benefits of this shampoo, but my dislike for its (long-lasting) aroma certainly clouds all judgment. In all fairness, my mother found it to be a pleasant scent while my sister found it generally inoffensive, so I'd say it's a personal preference more than anything. It's a no from me on this front, though.
Drunk Elephant Cocomino Marula Cream Conditioner
What it claims to do: Erase all your numerous hair care sins, apparently. Aside from hydration, this moisturising offering comes equipped with an arsenal of plant oils and butters that fortifies and further protects your 'do from pesky heat- and humidity-related hair damage.
What it actually does: Picture a thick, creamy concoction that sinks into each soaked strand, softening it significantly and allowing for detangling with ease. I let the mix sit on my locks for about two minutes before running my fingers through it — and was surprised at how easily the knots unravelled before me. Even better: while it does smell like its shampoo counterpart, it contains an odour that isn't quite as pronounced. Did I give a sigh of relief in the shower? Yes.
Am I a convert? Without question. I'm looking up refill options as we speak because a 240ml bottle is not going to cut it in the long-term. Perhaps DE can consider selling it by the bucket load...?
Drunk Elephant Wild Marula Tangle Spray
What it claims to do: Superfine, weightless, and a (supposed) favourite of the one-and-only Jennifer Aniston, this mist comes with all the goods you'd want in a detangling spray. We're talking anti-static agents, plant oils, and advanced, silicone-free smoothing technology.
What it actually does: This one surpassed my expectations in every way. First things first: a little goes a long way. Two to three spritzes were enough to encompass most of my locks, and I found that giving it a few seconds to "settle" was enough to feel the difference in hair quality. I was able to brush out my hairspray-laden mane without incurring broken-off knots — a rarity — while sustained use (about a week) had my tresses feeling stronger and healthier than before. Miracles will never cease, folks.
Am I a convert? Heck yes. In fact, I'd go as far to say that this is my favourite product of the entire hair collection. Besides, if it's good enough for Jennifer...
Drunk Elephant Kamili Cream Body Cleanser
What it claims to do: It's no baby soap, though it does come close. Think an ultra-gentle solution infused with fatty acid-rich marula, sweet almond, and maracuja oils that promise to calm skin while eradicating all manner of dirt and debris.
What it actually does: I won't deny that my skin felt buttery smooth and soft upon soaping up. Unfortunately, it was all overshadowed by the overwhelming scent identical to the Glossing Shampoo. I attempted holding my breath to see if the smell would abate. Sixteen seconds and a coughing fit later, I concluded: no.
Am I a convert? A part of me wishes I could look beyond how offensive it is to my olfactory senses. Unfortunately, scent plays an important part in my shower experience, and I just can't stomach smelling like the childhood adversary that I would (frequently) spirit off to flush down the toilet.
Drunk Elephant Sweet Pitti Deodorant Cream
What it claims to do: Free of baking soda, aluminium-derived ingredients, and essential oils, Drunk Elephant's first-ever deodorant offering goes beyond absorbing excess moisture from your underarms. This one comes with marula, shea butter, and barrier-supportive ingredients that supposedly soothe dry, dull, and irritable skin.
What it actually does: This is an interesting one. It did keep my pits feeling dry and fresh for most of the day, though I found that it wasn't that effective on the odour front. Ironically enough, a stronger scent would have probably done it more favours as compared to, let's say, the body cleanser. Still, a re-application or two is all you need to keep the B.O. at bay, and it didn't irritate the delicate skin of my underarm in the slightest.
Am I a convert? It's rare to find a natural deodorant that works for me, so I'll be sticking to it — the need for regular re-application be damned.