is drunk elephant cruelty free

Is Drunk Elephant Cruelty-Free? Everything You Should Know

We know Drunk Elephant for its innovative and effective skincare products. But as we become more aware of the horrors of animal testing in the cosmetics industry, we have to ask — Is Drunk Elephant cruelty-free?

Let’s take a closer look at the brand, its principles, practices, and commitment to animal welfare. This article will examine the evidence and help you make an informed decision about the products you support and use daily. 

Drunk Elephant: Company Background

Drunk Elephant was founded in 2012 by Tiffany Masterson, a Texas-based entrepreneur. The company became popular for its unique approach to skincare, using minimal yet effective ingredients.

Drunk Elephant’s parent company is Shiseido, a popular Japanese cosmetic group that isn’t cruelty-free. The deal was struck back in 2019. It’s interesting to explore whether that has influenced Drunk Elephant’s principles and values since then.

Drunk Elephant is known for its distinctive philosophy of avoiding the “Suspicious 6” ingredients that are often used in cosmetics but can cause irritation and inflammation  — essential oils, alcohol, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrance & dyes, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Aside from being strict about product ingredients; the brand claims a commitment to animal welfare. We’ll explore that further below. 

Where Is Drunk Elephant Made?

All Drunk Elephant’s products are formulated and tested in the US. The company focuses on quality and efficacy, and they have their own state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Houston, Texas. This allows them to closely monitor the production process and maintain strict quality control over their skincare products.

Where Is Drunk Elephant Sold?

Drunk Elephant is sold in the US, Canada, the UK, Europe, Australia, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Germany, Mexico, and the Middle East.

If you live in the US you can order its products via the official website. Alternatively, you can find the brand at Sephora and various department and specialty beauty stores.

Is Drunk Elephant Cruelty-Free?

Drunk Elephant is cruelty-free. Here’s the evidence:

  • The company has stated so in their FAQ page:

But wait, if Drunk Elephant is sold in China, how can it be cruelty-free? 

They offer their products only in Hong Kong, where animal testing isn’t required. In mainland China, they use cross-border ecommerce to sell their products that doesn’t need animal testing. 

So, why don’t other skincare companies use the same approach instead of animal suffering? The process is more complicated but, if they truly stand behind the cause, that’s no reason to choose the alternative. 

Drunk Elephant Ingredients Sourcing

Drunk Elephant source their ingredients from various locations around the world. Their products include a mix of both natural and synthetic ingredients, all carefully chosen to be effective and safe for your skin. The brand uses clean, non-toxic ingredients. 

Is Drunk Elephant vegan?

Drunk Elephant is not an entirely vegan brand. They do offer vegan products, but others may contain animal-derived ingredients. The fact that the brand is cruelty-free doesn’t make it vegan. 

Here’s a list of Drunk Elephant products that are both cruelty-free and vegan:

  • A-Passioni Retinol Cream
  • Baby Bar Travel Duo with Case
  • Shaba Complex Firming Eye Serum
  • C-Tango Vitamin C Eye Cream
  • B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
  • Sili Body Lotion
  • D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops
  • T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
  • E-Rase Milki Micellar Water
  • Juju Bar
  • Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser
  • Sweet Pitti Deodorant Cream
  • Lala Retro Whipped Moisturizer with Ceramides
  • NightBright Duo
  • Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil
  • Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer
  • Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser
  • T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

If the product you like isn’t on this list, it’s best to check the Drunk Elephant ingredient list to make sure it’s vegan.

Drunk Elephant Controversy & Concerns

Drunk Elephant has been associated with several controversies over the years. Although none of them relate to their cruelty-free status, it’s important for us to present the full picture so that you can decide for yourself whether to support the brand or not. Here are some notable controversies with Drunk Elephant:

  • Black Lives Matter: Drunk Elephant faced controversy during the 2020 protests for not revealing the diversity statistics of their team despite participating in the movement and making donation claims. They deleted comments from customers asking for transparency, and when they eventually addressed the issue, their response was evasive.
  • Product Sensitivity: One of the main Drunk Elephant controversies has been the potential for skin sensitivity and reactions to some of their products. While the brand’s products are supposed to be free of common irritants, some users have reported experiencing adverse reactions, such as redness, stinging, or peeling. This has sparked discussions and debates about the brand’s efficacy and suitability for different skin types.
  • Drunk Elephant Acquisition: In 2019, Drunk Elephant was acquired by the multinational beauty conglomerate Shiseido. This acquisition raised concerns about whether the brand’s commitment to cruelty-free and clean beauty practices would be maintained under new ownership. But as we pointed out above, Drunk Elephant’s stance against animal testing is unshakeable. 

Controversies and criticisms are common in the beauty and skincare industry, as personal preferences, skin types, and ethical concerns can vary widely among consumers. It’s up to you to decide whether any of the abovementioned controversies affect your attitude towards Drunk Elephant.


Why is Drunk Elephant bad?

Whether Drunk Elephant is “bad” or “good” is a matter of your own judgment. Still, there have been quite a few complaints about the brand over the years. Some customers have experienced bad customer service and many have reported skin sensitivity and adverse reactions. Also, Drunk Elephant’s parent company Shiseido isn’t cruelty-free. 

Is Drunk Elephant clean?

No, Drunk Elephant is not a clean beauty brand as they still use some strong chemicals and synthetic ingredients in their products. Still, they’ve excluded the most common irritants from their products, so they are a cleanish brand. 

Is Drunk Elephant non-toxic?

Yes, Drunk Elephant is a non-toxic skincare brand. They’ve committed to eliminating potentially harmful ingredients from their products, but you should still check the product labels and consider your personal skincare needs to ensure compatibility.

Is Drunk Elephant Sustainable?

Drunk Elephant isn’t the most sustainable skincare brand, but they’ve made some strides. Many of their products are refillable and recyclable. Some also come in airless pumps that help to minimize waste and extend product shelf life.

Is Drunk Elephant gluten-free?

Drunk Elephant isn’t gluten-free. To be more precise, the brand doesn’t claim to be as its products aren’t produced in gluten-free facilities. If you have a gluten intolerance, it’s best to go over the ingredient list with a specialist. 

Is Drunk Elephant organic?

No, Drunk Elephant is not certified organic.

Is Drunk Elephant non-comedogenic?

The brand statement is that its product line has undergone clinical trials and none of the participants have experience irritation or breakouts. 

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