Late last year, Drunk Elephant launched their first ever Retinol product: A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream. This came as a surprise to many who are loyal to the brand as founder Tiffany Masterson previously denounced this ingredient. With the product’s launch, however, she released this statement:
“When I first launched Drunk Elephant, I put retinol (vitamin A) on my ‘no’ list. Like many, I was confused and scared by the ingredient. I thought that retinol exfoliated skin. It doesn’t. I thought you couldn’t mix it with AHAs. You can. I now know it’s a powerhouse of an antioxidant that teaches skin cells to act younger… and I can’t imagine my line without it.”
I can’t say that I disagree. Retinol is certainly a game-changer, and I’ll go into a little more of why that is so below.
A potent anti-aging ingredient, Retinol deactivates the matrix metalloproteinases that break down collagen, increases cell turnover, and improves skin’s moisture retention.
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream contains 1.0% Retinol, so if you’re not used to this strength, you’ll may want to gradually introduce your skin to this product (i.e. start with a once or twice per week application, increase to every other day, and finally increase to every day).
I don’t care that the Retinol is vegan — vitamin A usually comes from fish oil or liver oil. And I am not a vegan. There is no skincare benefit to sourcing from plants.
Triple Peptide Blend
This product also contains a “potent trio of peptides that helps firm and strengthen, boosting the age-fighting benefits of retinol (drunkelephant.com).” Peptides have been shown to increase collagen production and enhance ingredient penetration in research studies. However, peptides are too large to penetrate the skin, so while it’s clear they work, researchers don’t know quite how this is possible.
Niacinamide, a water-soluble component of the vitamin B complex group, is a pretty amazing ingredient. It reduces fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowing), and increases elasticity. Niacinamide may also help alleviate some of the symptoms of rosacea by increasing hydration and barrier function of the stratum corneum (uppermost layer of the skin), and may have some anti-tumor characteristics as well (source).
Jojoba oil is actually a wax with a chemical composition mimics your skin’s sebum more closely than any other oil. Because jojoba is so similar to our skin’s natural oil, it is thought that jojoba oil can “trick” the skin into thinking it’s producing enough oil, which helps balance oil production. Jojoba oil can also help to increase the penetration of other ingredients into the skin.
Bottom Line on Drunk Elephant A-Passioni™
This is a solid Retinol product. While I don’t think it’s a necessary feature the Retinol is vegan-sourced and don’t like combining Retinol with vitamin C (here, the pH is higher than 5.5, so the Retinol is more likely to be activated within the skin, whereas the THA form of vitamin C is best activated at a pH below 4.5), I’m ok with it as a source of Retinol.
Ingredients in Drunk Elephant A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream: Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Coco-Caprylate, Stearic Acid, Coconut Alkanes, Glyceryl Stearate, Niacinamide, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Pentylene Glycol, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Retinol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Brassica Oleracea Acephala Leaf Extract, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Chrysin, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Ceramide NP, Xanthophylls, Phytosphingosine, Phytosterols, Jojoba Esters, Physalis Pubescens Fruit Juice, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Oryza Sativa (Rice Bran) Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Carthamus Tinctorium (Safflower) Seed Oil, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12, Cetyl Palmitate, Trehalose, Lauric Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Glucosamine HCL, Tocopheryl Acetate, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Tocopherol, Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf/Stem Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Trideceth-6 Phosphate, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Ceteareth-20, Sodium Hydroxide, Laureth-23, Steareth-20, Propanediol, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Chlorphenesin, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin.