Was Drunk Elephant’s UK launch a flop?

If you spend a lot of time on social media, or are remotely interested in beauty then you’ll have heard of Drunk Elephant. Their colourful packaging make them a beauty blogger favourite, and you’ll often find entire accounts dedicated to their products. Drunk Elephant has only been available in America since its launch in 2014 and has been the object of envy for a whole world of bloggers and beauty aficionados. As a UK based beauty blogger, I have always wanted to be able to get my hands on anything DE. So now it has come to the UK through Cultbeauty and Space NK, I’m left feeling a little cold – and I think a lot of other people are too.

But doesn’t Drunk Elephant have it all? The brand is adored by beauty bloggers around the world, wanted by every skincare addict, has formulas that are lauded by beauty experts and has easily the most instagrammable packaging around. So what is it exactly that has left beauty lovers cold? Well that’s easy – the price.

Even in the states, Drunk Elephant is pricey. The TLC Framboos Glycolic Serum is $90 alone, and DE suggests mixing it with B-Hydra, which is a further $52. That in itself doesn’t sit right with me, as I believe a product should work well on its own and shouldn’t require the consumer to purchase additional product to boost the results or make it softer on the skin. If that’s the case then it should be included from the get go. That’s a whole other story. What has angered beauty lovers in the UK and across Europe is the fact that the prices in dollars are exactly the same as in pounds. So the $90 serum is retailing for £90. Let’s reverse that a second. If this were to be converted back into dollars, that means that this serum is selling at $116 (accurate as of 3/10/18 based on the current market). That is an enormous difference of $26. Where is the justice in this!? My assumption was that prices would come down and not go up once the brand finally arrived in the UK, so imagine my (and the rest of Europe’s) disappointment when they saw the prices on CultBeauty and Space NK’s website. The response has been significant, or rather it hasn’t. All the products are still in stock on both company’s websites (as of midday UK time 3/10/18 when the products launched at 7pm UK time 2/10/18). Even the Littles, which allows you to try the most products for the least amount of money, is still available on both websites. To put it bluntly, they’ve really messed up here.

My own views on Drunk Elephant products are that they aren’t anything special. Since the launch last night (and the horror at the pricing), I have seen more people than ever before labelling the brand as ‘meh’ and not worth the price or the effort to purchase it – and I have to say that I agree.

Above: UK Littles, Below: US Littles

I always felt like I was missing out on the good stuff, so when a work colleague offered to bring me anything back from the US, I asked for the Littles. The Littles is a travel sized kit of 8 DE products – the Beste No. 9 Cleanser, C-Firma, B-Hydra, Virgin Marula oil, Lala Retro Whipped Cream, Shaba Eye Cream and Umbra Sheer Daily Defence. None of the products wow-ed me from the start, and even though I persisted with them, they just didn’t deliver any noticeable results. I was annoyed that I was expected to mix B-Hydra with both C-Firma and TLC Framboos Serum for them to be less harsh on the skin, and yet B-Hydra was not larger in size given how much they expected you to use. The night serum (and B-Hydra) did make my skin feel smooth, but I feel like my Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturising Serum does the job just as well, if not better and it’s only £41. Equally, my Kiehl’s Midnight Concentrate makes my skin feel much more plump and soft over the Marula Oil. The Lala Retro Whipped Cream is a lovely moisturiser… but it stripped the dye from my eyebrows and left me with brown smudges on my face. I have NO idea what on earth is in it to make it do that, but it is the only product to ever do it. The cleanser is pretty nice, but certainly not £34 worth of nice. The Shaba Eye Cream left a massive white cast under my eyes that made me look crazy when I woke up the next morning and the SPF is not worth mentioning. It IS however worth mentioning that the SPF is only included in the Littles for the US, but not for the UK… and yet the kit is still priced at £90. When prices for skincare are so high, people do just naturally expect more because they are paying a premium. However, I honestly don’t believe that the products offer premium results.

Just taking a quick scroll through the comments section on Caroline Hirons’ new video on DE tells you all you need to know. People feel betrayed by the brand and their obscene pricing and feel like they are purposely marking up the prices for British and European consumers. They had a whole host of beauty addicts in the palm of their hand, and alienating a whole continent of consumers perhaps isn’t the ticket to success. I thought this range would sell out in minutes, and yet coming up to 24 hours after launch, both CultBeauty and Space NK are still well stocked – and that in itself speaks absolute volumes. If you are lucky enough that money is no object, then by all means go wild on this one, but I know that I won’t be missing much.

Have you ever tried any Drunk Elephant products, and what do you make of them? Let me know on here or on Instagram!


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25 year old Beauty Writer Instagram - @smalltownbeautyaddict

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