Since its launch in 2012, Drunk Elephant has become a firm cult favorite among both beauty insiders and casual-but-informed skin care shoppers alike. But as a prestige brand, its prices can get fairly steep: Their most popular products hover between $40 and $90, though their most expensive offering goes for $134 (more on that $134 offering later). The best Drunk Elephant dupes contain similar or identical ingredients as Drunk Elephant products, and achieve similar or identical results, but they cost well under $40.
Other than its Instagram-worthy packaging, Drunk Elephant’s historic success likely comes down to the brand’s ethos. Every product is free of what founder Tiffany Masterson dubbed the “Suspicious Six,” a collection of potentially irritating ingredients that, once eliminated from her own skin care routine, helped restore her skin to a “clear, balanced, healthy state.” Lots of the remaining ingredients are plant-derived, but Drunk Elephant also works with clean, good-for-skin synthetics. That all takes the guesswork out of researching, testing, and buying skin care products — their products are foolproof, and they work incredibly well for every skin type. For legions of Drunk Elephant fans, that’s enough to justify the price point.
No need to spend that kind of money on skin care, though. These dupes for Drunk Elephant’s best-sellers are as close to one-to-one swaps as you can get, so you can save a ton of cash without sacrificing quality.
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1. The Best Dupe For Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer
The Original: Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer is actually my holy grail moisturizer. It’s rich but lightweight, has an immediate soothing effect, and it’s the least-greasy moisturizer I have ever laid on my face — and if it weren’t $68, I’d stop hoarding the sample-sized pot I snagged for free from Sephora and buy it for real.
The Dupe: In the absence of $70 to spare, I’m trying this $18 Olay Regenerist Whip Moisturizer instead. DE lovers all over the internet confirm that it’s a formidable swap for Protini, thanks to its comparable whipped texture, rapid absorbency, and deep, grease-free hydration. Also like Protini, Olay Regenerist contains amino peptides that boost your skin’s collagen production and provide an immediate firming effect. So while it’s potent enough to use overnight, this is also a great choice for pre-makeup prep.
2. The Best Dupe For C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum
The Original: Vitamin C serums are serious workhorses: They encourage a brighter, more even-looking complexion and protect your skin from free radicals that can cause things like dullness and a loss of elasticity over time. Because they’re so potent, a lot of vitamin C serums on the market are priced to astronomical proportions. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum costs $80 for a 1-ounce bottle. (For more reference, SkinCeuticals’ wildly popular C E Ferulic serum costs $166 for 1 ounce.)
The Dupe: This 1-ounce Belei serum is made up of almost all the same stuff as the DE serum and other prestige serums like it — an antioxidant-rich blend of vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid — but costs literally half the price. Customers say this serum absorbs quickly, improves their skin’s firmness and clarity, and helps even out hyperpigmentation and discoloration with regular use. Reviews aren’t quite as universally enthusiastic as they are for DE’s serum, but considering its fair price point and foolproof formula, you have a lot less to lose by giving this a go.
3. The Best Dupe For A-Passioni Retinol Cream
The Original: Another major workhorse, retinol encourages cellular turnover and collagen production, which means increased elasticity, fewer breakouts, and a generally smoother, clearer complexion overall. Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream ($74) contains 1% retinol, which is a lot, but there are also peptides and vitamin F to counteract retinol’s drying and potentially irritating effects.
The Dupe: The thing is, pretty much any retinol cream on the market can achieve similar results if you use it regularly. A lot of dermatologists recommend this $17 RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream — same power, drugstore price point. In here, hydrating squalane works to soothe dryness and irritation, and in place of DE’s vitamin F (actually a blend of fatty acids), this cream contains nourishing, fatty acid-rich shea butter. If it’s good enough for Kim Kardashian, then it’s probably good enough for us.
4. The Best Dupe For T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum
The Original: T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum is basically a greatest-hits list of non-abrasive chemical exfoliants: glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic acids are all in this potent PM cocktail to sweep away dead skin cells and brighten everything up. It’ll cost you $90 for 1 ounce, or $134 for 1.69 ounces.
The Dupe: This liquid exfoliant from Paula’s Choice isn’t a serum, but it achieves the same results as DE Framboos. The hero ingredient in here is 2% salicylic acid, a BHA that penetrates skin deeply to de-clog pores, brighten the complexion, and prevent future breakouts. Camellia leaf extract works to calm down any redness or tingly feelings that salicylic acid might cause, while green tea offers antioxidant benefits.
5. The Best Dupe For Virgin Marula Antioxidant Face Oil
The Original: Marula oil, which has antimicrobial properties, is incredibly rich in vitamin E and omegas 6 and 9. So it’s super nourishing, doesn’t clog pores, absorbs quickly, and efficiently delivers the protective and brightening powers of antioxidants. The Virgin Marula Antioxidant Face Oil is a Drunk Elephant OG, and the inspiration for the brand’s name (it comes from the myth that elephants can get drunk off fallen marula fruit). A 1-ounce bottle contains unrefined, fair-trade marula oil and nothing else, and it goes for $40.
The Dupe: I’ll keep this short: This 1-ounce bottle of Acure marula oil also contains 100%, unrefined marula oil and nothing else, but it costs $12. Well over 1,000 happy Amazon reviewers confirm that this oil works its miracles with equal aplomb on acne-prone, sensitive, oily, and dry skin. Also, it feels blissfully lightweight and makes you look super glowy. You can massage it into the ends of dry hair, too.
6. The Best Dupe For B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
The Original: Hyaluronic acid serums are effective at counteracting dryness and plumping up skin, and they’re totally safe for the most finicky skin types (see: acneic and reactive). B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum ($48) contains sodium hyaluronate, a hyaluronic acid derivative, plus skin-brightening pineapple ceramides and vitamin B5 to lock in moisture.
The Dupe: Similarly lightweight and super absorbent, this First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum is a water-based gel packed with hyaluronic acid and soluble collagen for plumpness, plus allantoin, aloe, and colloidal oatmeal to further soothe irritated skin. Like Drunk Elephant, First Aid Beauty’s products are 100% vegan, but opting for this same-sized serum will save you ten bucks.