Drunk Elephant is one of those brands that is a bit hit-or-miss for me. On the one hand, products like their Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Acid Serum and Drunk Elephant TLC Babyfacial Mask are amazing, because they combine old-school scientific skin care principles like high concentrations of proven ingredients together with new-age natural skin care tenants, like using lots of soothing plant extracts and antioxidant complexes. (Plus fun names. Can’t forget the fun names that appeal to Millennials!)
On the other hand, a few products from Drunk Elephant, like their Drunk Elephant B-Hydra and Marula Oil Duo, were nothing short of disappointing. That said, I feel like Drunk Elephant has made a comeback of sorts with this new Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. With a reported 15% L-ascorbic acid, and what I estimate to be about 1% vitamin E and 0.5% ferulic acid in a fast-absorbing ethoxydiglycol base, this is a product that seems at first glance to be playing off the fact that the patent expired on cult-favorite (and ultra-effective, might I add) vitamin C serum Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. But then, in true “Drunk Elephant at its best” fashion, the brand adds in a few Millennial-friendly favorites, such as pumpkin extract and brightening licorice extract. The result? A serum that is friendly, fun, and effective. For more, read on!
15% L-ascorbic acid, vitamin E, and ferulic acid
As you age and undergo stress, your body produces toxic free radicals. These toxic free radicals are capable of causing nearly every sign of damage there is, including DNA damage within your cells. Antioxidants work by stabilizing free radicals.
After stabilizing toxic free radicals, the antioxidants are usually less effective. This is because antioxidants donate electrons to stabilize free radicals. But after donating the electrons, the antioxidants are depleted of electrons themselves!
Vitamins C and E combat this problem. Vitamins C and E are what are known as “network antioxidants.” When vitamin C donates an electron to stabilize a toxic free radical, vitamin E can donate an electron and replenish vitamin C. Which is awesome, because then you’re getting extra antioxidant strength!
In addition, in research studies, vitamin C has been reported to enhance UVA protection, whereas vitamin E is more effective against UVB radiation. So together, there is strengthened UVA/UVB protection when worn under sunscreen. That’s why I only tend to recommend vitamin C serums with a high concentration of vitamin C and vitamin E.
Unfortunately, I think Drunk Elephant got “pumpkin” and “papaya/pineapple” confused, as the company claims that pumpkin extract will “enzymatically dissolve dead skin cells.” However, while papaya and pineapple extracts not in C-Firma Day Serum are proven to do this, pumpkin extract has never been shown in any peer-reviewed studies to do this — at least not to the best of my knowledge.
However, that’s not to say that pumpkin doesn’t have some degree of promise. In the limited studies it is featured in, pumpkin extract has been shown to have some effects in preventing melanoma (American Journal of Chinese Medicine).
More research clearly needs to be done before pumpkin is an ingredient I’ll regularly recommend. There are, however, enough positive ingredients in C-Firma Day Serum that I’ll move on!
Chronocyclin is a rather new type of peptide. Whereas most peptides claim to work to repair skin in some way, whether through signaling collagen-producing skin cell activation, pigment skin cell deactivation, or something of that sort, Chronocyclin promises to mimic the patterns of sun exposure on the circadian genes (UL Prospector). Specifically, Chronocyclin activates vitamin D within the skin in a time-oriented, cyclical fashion that is designed to “wake up” your skin at the right times, and strengthen its immunity and cellular defenses (Circadia).
How much chronopeptides like Chronocyclin really matter for your skin remains to be seen. Honestly, I tend to look at ingredients like this as “nice to haves” rather than “must haves” at this time, because while you need to bolster your skin’s natural supplies of antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, fatty acids, and structural proteins as you age, I’m not all that convinced your skin loses its sense of time in a cyclical sense as it ages. So, at this time, I’m on the fence and would call this a “nice to have.”
.Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum is a sign this brand is back on the right track, with vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid, plus a bunch of fun ingredients that may help the skin as well, such as sodium hyaluronate, green tea, soothing probiotics, and other antioxidants.
Ingredients in Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Ascorbic Acid, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Tocopherol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Acetyl Glucosamine, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Glutamylamidoethyl Imidazole, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Glycine, Sucrose, Maltodextrin, Propanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan gum, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 60.