Taking the skincare industry by storm with its ingenious take on clean skincare, Drunk Elephant has truly trailblazed through the field and into a league of its own. With many of their products reaching cult status and with users ranging from all ends of the globe, we were so thrilled to see that Drunk Elephant is finally available in Malaysia at Sephora! From selling imported bar cleansers as a full-time mum to founder of clean compatible skincare favourite, Tiffany Masterson, shares how Drunk Elephant came to life and how she invisions the beauty industry in the next five years in an exclusive interview with Marie Claire Malaysia.
Do swipe through to read more about our must-have Drunk Elephant products!
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What was the meaning behind choosing to be known as Clean-Compatible skincare compared to just clean skincare?
“Clean Compatible” is a term that I came up with when I started Drunk Elephant to describe what I wanted as a consumer that I couldn’t find in any other brands. In choosing ingredients, I didn’t care whether they are ‘natural’ or ‘synthetic’, I wanted mine to be safe, backed by clinical studies and biocompatible—meaning skin could recognise them, use them and benefit from them without the common sensitisation and congestion most people experience with skincare products.
I think that today the term ‘clean’ can be confusing to the consumer because every brand and retailer defines it a little differently. Even more important to me is the fact that all of the ingredients that we use are biocompatible. To me “clean” means using only ingredients that if able to get into the blood stream, are safe and not known or thought to be linked to internal disease or disruption. But in my opinion “clean” is not quite enough if you want healthy skin. When I was developing my formulations, I focused solely on safety, skin-friendly pH levels, efficacious levels of actives and biocompatibility, plus I strategically left out certain ingredients, including 6 common skin health disrupters that I call the “Suspicious 6” –sensitising essential oils, fragrance/dyes, silicones, chemical screens, SLS and drying alcohols. I took the great ingredients from the synthetic and natural worlds to create what I think of as a biocompatible line that everyone can use, and that delivers actual results, which is a winning combination. I’m a consumer first and so that is wear my primary focus lies…in making sure the consumer is the number one priority in every decision I make. That’s what I wanted as a consumer, so that’s what my consumer will get.
If you could only live with one Drunk Elephant product what would it be? And why?
I wouldn’t say it’s one product or ingredient. I look at skincare a little backwards. Skin is skin. The skin is an organ that functions a certain way. It has a protective barrier that guards and maintains its function. So, our first order of business is to respect and support the barrier. If we feed the skin only biocompatible ingredients that it can accept, understand, recognise, process and benefit from, while avoiding disruptive ingredients then the skin can do what it’s supposed to do and our skin is happy and healthy. So the one thing I couldn’t live without is my philosophy.
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How did you land upon the name Drunk Elephant?
Well I fell in love at first sight with Marula oil. I could tell it absorbed very easily, and on the surface it made my skin feel great. In an effort to learn more about it, I googled the term “marula” and a video showing elephants appearing tipsy after eating the fallen fruit came up. It’s an adorable video and it felt like a relief from all the seriousness involved in developing a skincare line. I’m no doctor, I’m not French and I’m not a scientist so I couldn’t really name it “Tiffany Masterson” and I didn’t want to anyway. When Drunk Elephant popped into my head, I started asking others what they thought. Not everyone thought I should use it, but everyone thought it was cute. It felt right in my gut, it felt like me, so I went with it. It’s very much representative of my personality. I’m hard-working but I don’t take myself seriously.
What would you say is the Drunk Elephant starter pack, what are the most essential products to get for someone who wishes to delve into Drunk Elephant skincare?
I always recommend that people who are new to the line start with The Littles as it contains a 30 to 45 day supply of 8 sized travel products – when used together they supply all of your skincare needs and allow you to test my philosophy by taking a “Drunk break” from the Suspicious Six. Starting with the Littles gives you the opportunity to see which products work best for your skin depending on what it needs on any given day.
Do you see Drunk Elephant creating colour cosmetics and makeup anytime soon?
It’s an interesting idea and for sure there is a demand for Drunk Elephant-style color. We are open-minded and if we can do our way and deliver something worthwhile, we’ll do it. It just has to make sense with our brand and it has to be good for the health of the skin. We’ll see.
With the landscape of the beauty industry constantly evolving, what direction do you see the realm of skincare and beauty heading to in the next 5 years?
I think more brands will join the “clean” movement. I think there will be more transparency in response to the consumer who is getting more savvy and more demanding every day (in a good way)!