Back in 2013, Tiffany Masterson launched Drunk Elephant, a clean beauty skincare brand that combines results-oriented formulas with aesthetic packaging. The combination of the two quickly earned them a cult-level fame.
True to their philosophy, all products are free from the “Suspicious Six” ingredients that they believe are at the root of almost every skin issue. These ingredients are chemical sunscreens, essential oils, drying alcohols, SLS, fragrances or dyes, and silicones. They believe that these ingredients don’t necessarily support the skin to thrive the way it should. By using an ingredient-elimination philosophy, they finesse their formulas to benefit the health of the skin. Within eight years, celebrities and trusted dermatologists of the like have claimed Drunk Elephant products as their holy grail skincare.
In our latest series Skin Deep, we’re talking to women about their favourite beauty secrets, tips, and techniques. What they put on their faces, hair, and bodies and why. Skin Deep goes beyond the surface and explores the relationship women have with beauty and wellness — and what that means to them today.
How has Covid and the added routine of wearing masks affected your skincare routine? What are your skincare essentials now?
My routine is mostly the same. “Maskne” is a new name for a condition that actually isn’t new — the combination of heat, friction and sweat, trapped between skin and fabric that results in breakouts and irritation. That’s traditionally been something we really only see related to exercise though, but wearing a fabric mask for hours on end creates the same conditions, and going easy on your skin during this time will help to offset the irritation that is symptomatic of this condition.
Thankfully I have not had to change my routine at all! I think because my skin is functioning as it should and is spared from sensitising and irritating ingredients, that it is able to weather the “mask storm” a little better.
I don’t cleanse my face in the morning — I just rinse with water (while I’m in the shower), and apply my routine right after. Washing your face twice daily with traditional lathering cleansers, even with mild formulas, can put your skin into a sensitised state and take away a little too much from the substances that help keep your barrier intact. These protective substances — lipids, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, for example — help fortify your skin against irritation, and maintaining that foundation goes a long way towards reducing friction-related inflammation.
My morning skincare routine is mixing A-Passioni, C-Firma, Lala, D-Bronzi and B-Hydra, followed by Umbra Tinte. This combination helps to soothe, moisturize and protect my skin. At night, I cleanse, either Slaai or Beste, and then a combination of Virgin Marula, B-Hydra, T.L.C. Framboos and Protini, topped off with F-Balm. That’s such a moisturising + hydrating routine, which you can’t get enough of at my age. My eye cream goes on last (C-Tango) and that’s all.
Can you share any beauty secrets or tips that you’ve learned from your experience in the industry?
Sunscreen is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Follow your gut and the research, not fads or what the industry is telling you to believe. Also, no beauty routine can hide a cruel heart — be kind to others and yourself.
What is your relationship with beauty now? How has it changed over the years?
Before I came up with the philosophy behind Drunk Elephant, I believed that you could “problem-solve” your way out of skin issues, which is an approach that has definitely evolved, because it just isn’t true. You truly need to see your skin, and how you treat it, holistically.
It’s the whole picture, which is very different than what the beauty industry has told us is true. So many temporary fixes that never address the root causes — if you’re breaking out, you need aggressive acne treatments. If your skin is oily, you must dry it all up. If your skin is dry or sensitive, you need to buy this new moisturiser.
What I know now, and what Drunk Elephant is built on, is that most of the skin issues we battle are the result of accumulative inflammation, a compromised skin barrier and products that aren’t formulated for the health of the skin. That may be due to an improper pH level, or irritating ingredients that worse inflammation in the skin.
The most important thing you need to know for healthy skin, aside from sunscreen every day, is that anything that increases inflammation worsens conditions such as acne, irregular texture, and can be at the root cause of many of the skin behaviours we identify as skin types.
No product, no matter how well formulated, can make a difference in the health of your skin if you’re using something else that is actively harming the skin. Your skin just doesn’t work that way. You can’t smoke a cigarette and then eat kale and hope the two balance out. Your body doesn’t work that way, so why would that approach work for your skin? There are no shortcuts to healthy skin.
Beauty tips you’d share with your younger self?
You’re not wearing sunscreen as much as you should!