I know it’s my job while I’m reviewing skincare to be discerning, but it’s hard to say anything other than the fact that I like Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Cream. It’s a good cream on a lot of different levels.
First, there is a high concentration of proven ingredients. Amino acids are some of the unsung heroes of the skincare world. Small enough to penetrate the skin barrier, amino acids have been shown to fight fine lines and wrinkles (European Journal of Dermatology, 2013); hydrate (Journal of Peptide Science, 2012); promote wound healing (JPEN, 2014); prevent infections (PLoS Pathogens, 2008); and boost protein synthesis within the skin (Minerva Pediatrica, 2014), amongst other things. Some companies will include trace amounts of 1-4 amino acids, like Procter & Gamble in many of its Olay products, but Drunk Elephant actually has a solid number of amino acids in fairly high concentrations in Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Cream.
Secondly, there are several new ingredients with promise in here too, which keeps it exciting, and something you can’t just buy an “ingredient dupe” of on Amazon. Ingredients like sh-Oligopeptide-1, sh-Oligopeptide-2, sh-Polypeptide-1, sh-Polypeptide-9, sh-Polypeptide-11 aren’t all that common in skincare, but are fibroblast growth factors (INCI Decoder), meaning they have been shown to stimulate skin cell growth in vitro (in petri dishes). In other words, promising enough to include in a hip scientific brand like Drunk Elephant, but under-the-radar enough not to qualify as a drug. Cool.
Lastly, the formulation here is beautiful. Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Cream has a pH of 4, which makes it mildly acidic — in that 3.5-4.5 range of skincare where the cream base itself will make the skin turnover and look more radiant. So unless you have extremely sensitive skin, this should be a great cream.
My only caveat here is that I wouldn’t use this after a retinoid — The pH optimal for retinol esterification (activation) is between 5.5-6.0, as mentioned in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. So, on nights you’re using AHA treatments, follow up with Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Cream. On other nights, when you’re using a retinoid, use a different moisturizer.
Ingredients in Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Cream: Water, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Bacillus/Soybean/ Folic Acid Ferment Extract, Nymphaea Alba Root Extract, sh-Oligopeptide-1, sh-Oligopeptide-2, sh-Polypeptide-1, sh-Polypeptide-9, sh-Polypeptide-11, Copper Palmitoyl Heptapeptide-14, Heptapeptide-15 Palmitate, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Alanine, Arginine, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Valine, Acetyl Glutamine, Coconut Alkanes, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Aspartic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Lecithin, Butylene Glycol, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Sodium Lactate, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sorbitan Isostearate, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 60, Lactic Acid/Glycolic Acid Copolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Isomalt, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol, Sodium Benzoate, Phenylpropanol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Symphytum Officinale Callus Culture Extract.