I’ll admit, Drunk Elephant has been on a roll. Pounding out hits like Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, which cleverly blends ultra-effective glycolic acid with Millennial-friendly plant extracts, and Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial, which similarly has an amazing blend of AHAs plus all-natural antioxidants, Drunk Elephant has been knocking it out of the park.
But with the Drunk Elephant Lala Retro™ Whipped Cream, I’m less excited, and hoping that the brand isn’t running out of steam. It contains six lackluster African oils and an unproven plantain extract as its masterful ingredients, and only sodium hyaluronate and green tea give it some degree of merit. Although it’s marketed as more of a hydrator than a treatment product, I’m not as enthusiastic about this one as the others. For more ingredient analysis, read on!
The African Oils are Not All That Impressive to Me
There are some skin care oils I recommend, like jojoba (for oily or normal skin types), argan oil (for normal skin types) or pequi (for very dry skin types).
But there are others that are just too new or that don’t have enough substantiated research behind them to use in skincare. The oils in Drunk Elephant Lala Retro™ Whipped Cream are as follows:
- Schinziophyton Rautanenii Kernel Oil – antioxidant, rich in fatty acids, which may provide some hydration and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (South African Journal of Botany, 2011).
- Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil – proven antioxidant (Acta Phytotherapeutica, 2002). Rich in fatty acids, which may provide some hydration and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (South African Journal of Botany, 2011). Has not been compared in efficacy to other skin care oils.
- Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil – antibacterial, antifungal (Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2011). Has not been compared in efficacy to skin care oils or proven to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, etc.
- Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil – antioxidant and anti-glycative when used in foods (Food Chemistry, 2007). Has not been compared in efficacy to skin care oils or proven to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, etc.
- Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil – antifungal (African Journal of Biotechnology, 2011). Has not been compared in efficacy to skin care oils or proven to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, etc.
Again, other than being a potential source of fatty acids and antioxidants, I’m not a huge fan of these oils. There’s simply not enough research backing.
Sodium hyaluronate is famous in skincare because it holds up to 1000x its weight in water.
However, sodium hyaluronate is also an excellent ingredient for skincare product because it works under both high and low humidity conditions. Many moisturizers only work when humidity is high, trapping moisture against the skin, and drying it out otherwise. Sodium hyaluronate is different.
Sodium hyaluronate plumps the skin and temporarily gives the reduced appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and provides a barrier of protection for the skin. In times when the weather is changing, those who experience seasonal dry skin may benefit from adding a sodium hyaluronate-rich product like Drunk Elephant Lala Retro™ Whipped Cream, even if I’m not that crazy about the other ingredients.
Does It Matter if Green Tea is Fermented?
In my opinion, no.
It’s been broadcasted in Korea that fermentation provides probiotics that help the skin break down the active components in green tea, but honestly, I think this is a bunch of hogwash. Green tea is one of the few natural skincare ingredients the skin naturally absorbs quite well, without extra bacteria needing to be added, as demonstrated in studies (Preventive Medicine).
Further, if you want the effects of the active component of green tea, just chemically extract it and put it in skin care! The polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) has been shown to have remarkable preventive effects against photocarcinogenesis and phototoxicity. While EGCG comprises only 50% of “green tea extract” found in most companiees’ skin care and cosmeceuticals (Mukhtar), there is still enough EGCG to demonstrate anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties in most skin care and cosmeceuticals.
In a 2001 study in the journal Carcinogenesis, topical application of EGCG to human skin resulted in decreased oxidative stress and an increase in antioxidant enzymes after UV irradiation. Specifically, catalase and glutathione activity were increased due to the application of EGCG. A further 2003 study in Molecular Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention found that the polyphenols in green tea prevent UVB-induced oxidation of lipids and proteins and prevents against the depletion in antioxidant enzymes experienced after UVB exposure in mouse skin.
So the fact green tea is fermented in Drunk Elephant Lala Retro™ Whipped Cream means nothing to me, honestly, and is kind-of a turn-off.
While I’m a huge fan of other Drunk Elephant products, Drunk Elephant Lala Retro™ Whipped Cream misses the mark for me. The “fermented” green tea and African skin care oils feel like little more than pseudoscience, and the sodium hyaluronate is honestly its only saving grace. I’m hoping the company goes back to its scientific roots soon.
Ingredients in Drunk Elephant Lala Retro™ Whipped Cream
Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Isopropyl Isostearate, Pseudozyma Epicola/Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil/Glucose/Glycine Soja (Soybean) Meal/Malt Extract/Yeast Extract Ferment Filtrate, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetearyl Alcohol, Plantago Lanceolata Leaf Extract, Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Schinziophyton Rautanenii Kernel Oil, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Polyglyceryl-6 Ximenia Americana Seedate, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Ceteareth-20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol.