People write love letters to Drunk Elephant skincare products. The millennial-beloved beauty brand's glycolic night serum works miracles for acne scars ($90, sephora.com), while the hydration serum ($52, sephora.com) is a life-saver for anyone who deals with dry, flaky, itchy skin. Despite all the praise, according to customer demands, there's always been one noticeable gap in the range—a retinol. Well, that is, until now.
On January 2, after countless customer requests and even a call from her mother, Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson will finally unveil her first retinol-based skincare product, dubbed A-Passioni Retinol Cream ($74, sephora.com). The cream, which is made with 1 percent vegan retinol and replenishing peptides, is first and foremost an anti-aging solution, designed to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots while brightening and evening out the complexion.
The $74 cream is also enhanced with vitamin F, antioxidant-rich superfoods like kale, winter cherry and xanthophylls, and also nourishing passion fruit and apricot oil. Like all the other products in her collection, it's free of what Masterson calls "the suspicious six," or silicones, essential oils, drying alcohols, fragrances/dyes, SLS and chemical sunscreens.
The multi-use ingredient, best known for its anti-aging benefits, is one that sparks the most confusion and controversy, too. Retinol can be difficult to handle for those with sensitive skin types, as it has the reputation of causing irritation and dryness. However, Masterson says she found a way around that.
"This is a stable formulation made with vegan retinol that is encapsulated and controlled-release, so it’s not such a direct hit to skin," she says. "It is much gentler and more easily tolerated than prescription Retin-A or Tretinoin."
Because it is slightly more gentle, Masterson said it does take a bit longer to see results, but the waiting game might be worth it.
"Retinoic Acid, which is what retinol becomes once in the skin, has the ability to connect with the cells and teach them to behave better and act younger," she says. "For this reason, it is an incredible ingredient for a myriad of issues from teenage and hormonal acne to scarring aging skin to sun damage and all that’s in between."
If you're interested in scooping up a bottle on January 2, Masterson recommends incorporating it into your routine very slowly to allow your skin to build up a tolerance, though the brand claims it can be used morning and night on a clean, dry face.
"It mixes well with all other Drunk Elephant creams and serums, especially B-Hydra, so I’ve included a little B-Hydra in every package of A-Passioni," she says.
"Peeling shouldn’t be part of the picture, but if it is, it’s a sign you may be using too much or diving in too fast. Your cells just need to adjust and they will. Your skin is the best guide if you listen to it. Take a break, use a smaller amount and slowly re-incorporate it into your skincare routine. The results are well worth taking the time to use it right."
This story was originally published on InStyle.com by Victoria Moorhouse.