Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

Describe the brand in three words.
Clean. Trendy. American.

Who is it for?
Anyone and everyone. But you will need to modify how you use it accordingly if you are on the dry skin spectrum.

What’s in it?
Water, Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Buddleja Davidii Meristem Cell Culture, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (Yeast) Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Cactus) Extract, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Seed Oil, Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Propanediol, Xanthan Gum, Galactoarabinan, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium EDTA, Hexylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjustor), Phenoxyethanol

What's not in it?
Animal Fats/Oils/Musks, Benzalkonium Chloride, Benzophenone, Bisphenol A (BPA), Butoxyethanol, BHA, BHT, Chemical Sunscreens, Coal Tar Dyes, -Cones, Detergent, Essential Oils, Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA), Formaldehyde, Fragrance, Hydroquinone, Liquid Petrolatum, Methyl Cellosolve, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Mercury, Mercury Compounds, Mineral Oil, Oxybenzone, Parabens, Paraffin Oil, Phthalates, Polyethylene Glycol (PEGs), Resorcinol, Retinyl Palmitate, Retinol, Siloxanes, Sulfates, Thimerosal, Toluene, Triclosan, Triclocarban
That's quite a list!

Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?
The brand says that they have made it for every skin and that you shouldn't have a problem, but anyone can be allergic to anything.

Suitable for pregnancy?
It doesn't say, but I would say yes, despite the salicylic content.

Natural? Organic? Synthetic? Vegan?
Natural and Synthetic

Tested on animals in home country/EU/sold in territories that require testing?

How does it smell?

How do you use it?
Apply to a clean, dry face in the evenings. Shake before use*, use one pump and apply.

Can it be taken around the eyes?

Best for winter or summer?
Either, just don't forget your SPF in either case.

How long did I test it for?
On and off since June

How much is it? /Size/Approximate cost per usage?
$90.00 for 30ml

Works well with?
They recommend the Marula Oil to follow.

What's the packaging like?
My favourite thing about the brand, the packaging is brilliant. Airtight, opaque, the lid locks for travel, the colours are lovely. I have the newer packaging with the click and close lid, not the removable cap and pump.

What’s the website like?
Good. All ingredients are listed, it warmed me to the brand, but I could do without the liberal use of the word 'toxic'. (See all previous ranting posts)

How’s the distribution? Available freely or limited?
In Sephora and online in the States, not here yet.

What’s good about it?
The ethos, the packaging, the line-up of skus, that's all good. This absolutely should work like a charm. It has a high level of mixed acids at 12% and a PH of 3.8-4.0, low enough to work, not too low that you're in danger of doing damage. Drunk Elephant is a brand causing a lot of industry stir at the moment: wwd.com/drunk-elephant-estee-lauder-acquisition with talk of selling to a larger corporation. It's just talk at the moment, but is perhaps inevitable.
It's a good formula, with a lot of thought put into it. It's also one of my most requested product reviews ever, which makes me slightly nervous to say....

What’s not so good about it?
Maybe it's because I've been doing acids for years but this didn't really do much for me. I'm sure, having read a ton of reviews, that it absolutely works very well for a lot of people, but for me it was a tad drying, and I didn't see a big difference. I give total kudos to DE for listing their PH, so often avoided by brands, like Coca-Cola's 'X' ingredient. It has all the right ingredients for all the right reasons. I just didn't see a big difference. I think you would however, see a difference if you are fairly new to acids or have previously only used milder products like Glow Tonic or First Aid Beauty Pads.
If you are on the dry side, I would stick to liquid exfoliants or add a good hydrating moisturiser after using this.
I like this brand, I think I would like their other products. I just happen to need stronger acids than this is all.

Would I purchase/repurchase?
I wouldn't, but lots of you would, which says a lot.

Do you need it?
Yes, if you don't particularly like liquid acids, or want a mixture of acids in one easy pump. No if you already use a ton of individual acids or are very dry.

Similar products?
Bravura Glycolic
Paula's Choice
Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid

Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum is $90.00 and available from Sephora.com or DrunkElephant.com

*This post contains some affiliate links. If you are happy to click on them and support the blog, thank you very much. If you would rather not, just google the product. It's all good. See my full disclaimer here: http://bit.ly/1rpEmSq The views expressed on this site are the author's own and are provided for informational purposes only. The author makes no warranties about the suitability of any product or treatment referenced or reviewed here for any person other than herself and any reliance placed on these reviews or references by you is done so solely at your own risk. Nothing on this site shall be construed as providing dermatological, medical or other such advice and you are always advised to seek the advice of a suitable professional should you have any such concerns.


  1. Thanks for the post, Caroline, ibreally enjoyed. Could you please post a vit c serum post? I am looking for one but am overwhelmed by the conflicting information around. Tks!! X

  2. I tried a sample of this and didn't get excited either. It has all the making of a great product but somehow fell flat. I found it harsh and kinda drying. Maybe irritating with continued use? I don't know. I'll stick with Good Genes for leave on acid treatment.

  3. Caroline have you found acid-containing serums like this one to be more or less effective than an acid toner? I've used quite a few serums but they don't seem to be doing much! Do you think toners might work better? My skin is sensitive, congested and tends to be oily. Thanks so much! Xx

  4. I just picked up a sample of this in Sephora today - well timed! Glad I didn't buy it; I'm a hardcore, twice-daily acid user so probably won't have much joy with this. I have recommended DE to friends in NZ, because it's very affordable there and in Australia.

    1. Hi Jackie. I'm from nz. Where do u buy the DE peroducts from?
      Many thanks :)

    2. Not sure, ask Google! 😆 I live in NYC.

    3. Not Jackie but Mecca now carries DE in AU/NZ

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  6. Hi! How does this compare to Luna? I got this to potentially replace Luna so would really appreciate your opinion! Thanks!

  7. What is your opinion on Drunk Elephant's cleansing bars (they have the Pekee bar and the JuJu bar)? I am curious about them for travelling with.

  8. Thank you for the review, especially the 'What's not good about it' part:as I am fairly new to acid (absolutely love the Pixi Glow Tonic, the First Aid Beauty pads were too drying whilst not doing much for my skin) and quite afraid of strong ones, I might try this one!


  9. Hi Caroline,
    I have been very curious about this serum for a while and it is now available in NZ! I already use Pixi Glow Tonic and Paula's Choice 2%BHA Liquid, and alternate them with the Indie Lee COQ10 Toner. Do you think this would still be of use at nighttime? And if so, should I skip the liquid acid beforehand?
    Thank you very much!
    Laura xx

    1. Where do u buy the products from in nz laura?

  10. Hi Caroline, thanks for the review :)
    would you say that this is similar to the liquid gold, obs liquid gold has Glycolic only!
    i just hate how much alcohol there is in liquid gold, it does brighten the complexion, but i still feel it makes my combination skin slightly more oily, and i don't feel like it does much for breakouts!

  11. I've been using this for the last 4 months, and after all the glowing reviews I'd read, I too didn't notice much of a difference! My acid use is mostly limited to FAB pads, Pixi Glow, and (once or twice a week) a Dennis Gross pad. So, despite that I'm not a longtime strong acid user, I agree that the effect was pretty subtle. My skin doesn't look WORSE, but it doesn't look improved. For $90, I was hoping for more, so I won't repurchase. Kind of relieved to know that I'm not the only one who was a bit underwhelmed! Agree that the bottle is a delight though.

  12. Hi Caroline, could you recommend a good product for fading stubborn acne marks? Would this serum be suitable for that? Please help!

  13. Thank you Caroline! I thought I was the lone dissenter on this one who thought it was too drying!

  14. Do you think good genes is a better option. I liked that one but just bought the de to try something new, having regret now. I'm dry/dehydrated so worried.

    1. I have the same question! I was debating whether getting this or good genes, but it sounds like you prefer good genes?

      I've been using paula's choice BHA but am interested in investing in a different type of acid to switch up my skincare a little.

    2. I have dry skin all year round, but especially in winter, and I'm a Good Genes lover - it polishes so well without drying me out at all. I've tried a lot of acids (Radical, Pixi, Dr Gross, etc.) and it knocks the socks off them all for results with zero irritation.
      I use about three quarters of a pump every night (preceded by Luna or UFO, followed by Tidal). Hope this helps

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  16. Hi Caroline,
    I've seen a preview of a double strength acid to be released from drunk elephant. It looks great sitting at 25%AHA and 2%BHA, I believe it's to be called TLC baby facial!

  17. Id love to also hear your thoughts on Drunk Elephant's vitamin c serum...

    1. Ditto! It was recommended to me at Sephora when I was buying the Ole Henriksen vitamin C serum so now I'm curious how it compares.

    2. I am just finishing my first drunk elephant Vit C, compared with other less expensive vit C, it didnt perform. Just so so. I would not repurchase. Not sure what all the hoopla is about DE? for me anyway.

  18. I do use a lot of acids already, so I think I'll look into the other products. The Vitamin C serum sounds really interesting.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  19. I think Drunk Elephant has excellent branding but I've been underwhelmed with what I've tried. I think it's all quite overpriced for the results delivered...

  20. Thank you for this informative review. I hadn't heard of this brand before but sounds like an interesting product x


  21. I have used the entire Drunk Elephant range, including both soaps. I'm 40, with an oily t-zone and dry eyes, cheeks and chin.

    The Glycolic is just as Caroline says: strangely over-drying and ineffective. It works well for a bottle, then seems to stop. Same with Paula's Choice--works for a while, then stops. Dr. Dennis Gross pads are the bomb!

    The Vitamin C Serum is lovely and doesn't cause the over-shininess of the Skinceuticals serum or liquid. The Peekee soap is beautiful for my kind of skin--cleans without drying, and takes everything off. I love the moisturizer, though it gets marked down for the jar packaging. It's not too heavy and it layers beautifully with other brands, like the Zelens Vitamin D Drops and Goop's eye cream.

    The Marula Facial Oil works decently well in the winter, but I've yet to find my oil "Holy Grail," despite trying this one, Rodin Olio Lusso, Sisley Black Rose...maybe I expect too much from them. The sunscreen is a bit heavy for everyday use under make-up and is very greasy. And the eye cream is not good at all.

    1. Very helpful! I was trying to decide which items from the line to try, and I think I will go for the vit C serum

  22. i have oily hair.please give me suggest best shampoo?

  23. I'm not Caroline, but I'm not sure of your thinking there? This is nothing like Luna. If anything, it's closer to Good Genes.