#QuickChatWithPamper: Tiffany Masterson, the Founder of Drunk Elephant Reveals the Story Behind Her Quirky Brand Name, and All that You Need to Know about this Skincare Brand

Drunk Elephant is a clean skincare brand that was launched in 2013 by Tiffany Masterson, a stay-at-home mom in Houston after doing extensive research searching for solutions to her own skincare concerns. The brand, which just landed in Malaysia early this year through Sephora’s physical stores and online at Sephora.My, is relatively new to the Malaysian market but is already enjoying popularity among local beauty enthusiasts.

We have to admit that it was by their quirky name – “Drunk Elephant” that this brand first caught our attention. To satisfy our curiosity about the meaning behind the brand, as well as the brand’s overall offerings, we had a chat over email with Tiffany Masterson, the founder of Drunk Elephant.

Tiffany Masterson, the founder of Drunk Elephant

Continue to read on to discover the story behind the quirky brand name of Drunk Elephant, and all that you need to know about this skincare brand.

1How did the idea for Drunk Elephant begin?

I was a stay-at-home mom before I developed Drunk Elephant and I had all sorts of skin issues.  I searched for solutions to my “combination, sensitive skin”, but nothing ever seemed to solve the problem for long.  I began to research the ingredients in the products I was using and noted what role each played and more importantly, how my skin reacted to them.  I realized that it was the “marketing” ingredients that had to go. By that I mean ingredients that were there to make the formulas look or smell or feel better but had no benefit for the skin itself. I suspected 6 ingredients of being at the root of my skin issues and today I call them the “Suspicious 6” (essential oils, fragrance/dyes, silicones, sodium lauryl sulfate, drying alcohols and chemical screens).  My skin was completely transformed after eliminating them…it went from confused and moody to clean, balanced and healthy.   Trying to find products free of the “Suspicious 6” wasn’t easy, so I created Drunk Elephant.

My philosophy is that “skin is skin”, all skin functions the same, no need to label it with a type.  Your skin has a barrier or acid mantle that protects it, when we strip that or disturb it, chaos ensues.  The many products we use each day can contain disruptors, sensitizers, allergens and other irritants that can build up and leave skin in a congested, reactive state.   Acne, dryness, oiliness and sensitivity are often quite simply the skin’s way of reacting to these trigger ingredients, as it cannot handle them.

Drunk Elephant is my way of resetting reactive skin by not using the very ingredients that created it in the first place. I have isolated both safe naturals and safe synthetics and my formulas contain the right percentages of actives at the ideal pH levels, making the ingredients easy for your skin to recognize, absorb and use. Drunk Elephant is in a category of its own that I call Biocompatible.

2Your brand name is interesting. Why did you name your brand “Drunk Elephant”?

I fell in love with Marula Oil, so I googled it and found videos of elephants appearing to get tipsy off of marula fruit.  I thought about the name “Drunk Elephant” and I ran it by a few people. Their reactions were all over the map. Some said no way, some said why not?  I felt it was memorable and that people would want to know the story behind it, they would ask, and it would create enough curiosity that it might just work to my benefit. It was a risk, but I think it ended up paying off.  I’m not a totally serious person, or a doctor or chemist.  I think the line needed a little bit of light-heartedness because the formulations are so serious.

3How and where are the products formulated and produced?

I’ve spent a good deal of time teaching myself about ingredients and the roles they each play in a formulation. When I started Drunk Elephant I didn’t consult with anyone while I was developing the first ingredient decks… I was very clear about what I wanted and what I didn’t. At the time, and even today, not many people in the industry necessarily agree with my theory.  Once I have my ingredient decks ready, I turn them in to my chemist, who makes the necessary tweaks and brings the formulations to life. The final formulations are a true representation of what I wanted from the beginning…. clinically effective, non-toxic formulations that contain high percentages of actives and are totally non-irritating. Safe skincare that works and is compatible with the skin organ itself.

4We understand that Drunk Elephant is a clean beauty brand. What sets Drunk Elephant apart from other clean beauty brands?

There were no other “clean” brands out there when I launched Drunk Elephant. Drunk Elephant is clean, as all brands should be, but in my opinion, “clean” is not nearly enough when it comes to caring for skin and hair. We are committed to using only ingredients that either directly benefit the health of the skin or support the integrity of our formulations. We never take into account whether something is synthetic or natural, instead choosing ingredients based on biocompatibility. That’s why we focus on healthy pH levels, formulations the skin recognizes, small molecular structure that’s easily absorbed, and effective active ingredients that also support and maintain the skin’s acid mantle.

But what we leave out of our products is just as important as what we put into them, so you will never find the Suspicious 6 in our line. We believe that these six ubiquitous ingredients are at the root of almost every skin issue, and when they’re removed entirely from your routine — that is, when you take a “Drunk break” — skin can reset and return to its healthiest, most balanced state. This ingredient-elimination diet benefits all skin types and inspired the #barewithus🐘 Instagram movement, a collection of bare-faced selfies that chronicles the Drunk Elephant journeys of people who have found not only healthier skin but more importantly, healthier self-confidence.

5How many products does Drunk Elephant have so far?

Drunk Elephant skincare range (Photo: Business Wire)

We have 20 skincare products, 4 hair care and 3 body care, so 27 altogether. It’s a tightly edited line and I don’t introduce new products until I see that something is missing from my own skincare routine.

Drunk Elephant Body Care range – Kamili Cream Body Cleanser (RM88), Sili Body Lotion (RM88) and Sweet Pitti Deodorant Cream (RM69)

6What are Drunk Elephant’s star products and why?

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil (RM313)

We don’t really have star products… they have all been very popular. C-Firma, TLC Framboos, Protini, C-Tango and Marula Oil have all taken turns at the top. I don’t have a hero product, which is not typical for a brand. I really think the most popular thing about my line is the philosophy, which all of the products fall under. I credit the popularity of the line to one simple fact: it works.

7Would you consider extending your products range into makeup in future?

We’ll see! There are no immediate plans in the works but I’m absolutely open to it if we find a way that’s right for the brand and good for the health of the skin.

8What would you advise our readers who want to make the most of Drunk Elephant’s skincare line?

Drunk Elephant The Littles Kit (RM392) consists of 8 skincare essentials which will help to reset your skin to a healthy, balanced + glowing state.

We recommend taking a Drunk Break and only using Drunk Elephant for 30 days to see how your skin reacts. The Littles is a great way to start as it contains a 30 to 45 day supply of a full skincare routine for day and night.

9What can we expect from Drunk Elephant for the rest of 2020 and beyond?

New products of course! I’m also working on an anti-bullying initiative that’s very dear to my heart and hope to bring my brand and philosophy to more international markets. It’s an exciting time and we can’t wait to see what’s next.


Drunk Elephant’s skin care and body care ranges are already available at Sephora stores nationwide and online at Sephora.My/Brands/Drunk-Elephant. Sephora is offering 15% off for first-time online purchases on Sephora.My from April 9 to 13, 2020, it’s the perfect time to check out the beauty essentials that you need to stock up on.

For more information on Drunk Elephant, visit their official website at drunkelephant.com.

Read also: #QuickChatWithPamper: All About Gallinée, An Innovative Skincare Brand That Takes Care of Skin’s Microbiome – With Its Founder Marie Drago