Masterson’s eureka moment and cult favorite brand revolutionized skincare. Now, it’s revolutionizing the Philippine market.
Tiffany Masterson, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of cult favorite skincare brand Drunk Elephant, is on a mission to revamp the skincare game. And the buzzy label’s exponential rise to the top amidst countless rave reviews, is proof enough that her clean-beauty credo is really taking over.
Having started in 2013 with just six products, the American company is now an international powerhouse with body and haircare lines, constantly sold-out favorites, and tons of celebrity and beauty insider fans. It’s considered one of the fastest-growing prestige skincare brands in history and was recently brought under the Shiseido umbrella to the tune of $845 million.
In a saturated market, there is something about the brand’s eye-catching packaging, as well as its catchy name that’s instantly refreshing. As with a lot of things about Drunk Elephant (like how Masterson drew the quirky logo in just 30 seconds), the fun moniker also came about quite organically. When Masterson was researching ingredients, she had been inspired by a tale that African elephants would get drunk after eating the fallen marula fruit. And although that story is but a myth, what is true are all the nourishing benefits of the marula oil, which is found in all of the brand’s products.
Its arrival on our shores this October has been met with welcoming arms, and the beauty mogul herself couldn’t be more pleased. “I’m so excited to be able to share my philosophy and build awareness in order to help people address their skin concerns,” she tells Vogue Philippines.
Like many entrepreneurs, Masterson’s journey began with an epiphany. Having experienced problem skin herself, the Houston, Texas native and mom-of-four tried to find long-term and also healthy solutions to no avail. But it was when she started selling bar cleanser on the side that she had really leaned into learning about the components that went into skincare, thus identifying those that had no business in it.
“My philosophy is to avoid certain ingredients that I find to be disruptive and inflammatory for the skin, like essential oils, drying alcohols, and silicones,” she notes. These, along with fragrances and dyes, sodium lauryl sulfate, as well as chemical sunscreens, are what the brand has dubbed the ‘Suspicious 6,’ which are ubiquitous in the market but are left out of all Drunk Elephant’s formulations.
By omitting these out of one’s routine, called taking a “drunk break,” Masterson believes that the skin can function as normal and thrive. “[People] realize that the whole time it was just the unnecessary ingredients found in their products that were triggering their skin issues. Less is more when it comes to our skin,” she elaborates.
She’s also keen on debunking our traditional notion of skin “types,” be they oily, combination, sensitive, or acne-prone. She instead wishes to see these as skin “behaviors,” again created as a result of cumulative exposure to irritants that leave skin in a reactive mode. “We all know that when we put healthy, safe ingredients in our bodies, [our] organs will function as they should. It’s no different with our largest organ, the skin,” Masterson declares.
Her ingredient-elimination mantra is simple enough, but one that necessitates a small leap of faith and a stringent product detox. But it’s something Masterson feels strongly about, and one countless people have attested to, posting barefaced selfies on social media of their clearer skin after giving Drunk Elephant’s goodies a try. “The thing that has made me happiest while building my brand—and still makes me the happiest—is hearing from people who have discovered newfound confidence in their skin after using Drunk Elephant,” Masterson shares.
For brand novices, she highly recommends the Littles, a travel-sized set of beloved basics enough for a month-long reset, and the perfect intro into their philosophy. “A skincare routine doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to be effective,” she says, believing that the positive effects of self-care and balanced, healthy skin is always a worthy investment.
But it’s not just about the ingredients that one leaves out, but also the ingredients that the brand puts in, focusing on those that are biocompatible. “Biocompatible means not harmful to living tissue, including the skin itself,” Masterson elaborates. Aside from leaving out the “nasties,” Drunk Elephant’s nourishing products are filled with beneficial components, ingredients with small molecular structures the are easy to absorb, and effective actives that support and maintain the skin’s acid mantle.
And once one has gone as far as committing to Drunk Elephant’s skincare makeover, one might as well subscribe to their iconic beauty hack, which involves synergistically mixing their products together. One pump of this, with two squeezes of that, a dollop of this, and you get yourself a “Skincare Smoothie” that addresses your particular concerns, or whatever your skin might be craving at the moment.
Brand loyalists each have their own favorite recipes, and naturally, one has to ask the master mixologist what her current potion is. “These days, I’m mixing C-Firma, B-Hydra, and A-Gloei topped with a mixture of Umbra Tinte and O-Bloos in the morning. At night, I mix the T.L.C Framboos or Protini Serum, with Protini, F-Balm, Marula, and then I slug (cover my whole face) with Wonderwild Marula Butter. This has been a dream for my skin!” Masterson says. She also loves the Liquid Gold Smoothie for day, and the Butter Days Ahead Smoothie for night.
Having once been a skincare user herself, there’s something about Masterson and her brand’s entire ethos that has resonated with people, who like her sought honest results over hype. She credits her label’s success to their philosophy, the company’s happy vibe, as well as their transparency and consumer-centric spirit. “It’s an approachable, easy to understand brand, that offers hope,” says Masterson about Drunk Elephant’s, simple yet radical approach to skincare. And in whatever form it may come in, hope is something the world could definitely use a little more of.