Retinol State of Mind – Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream Review

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What is it?

A-Passioni is the latest Drunk Elephant edition. Cream with 1% retinol to smooth out skin and to enhance skin appearance in general.

Finally, we in Europe can enjoy Drunk Elephant products! This American brand was on my wish list for so long, actually, since Tiffany Masterson found this brand. But it was available only in USA. Again, finally, since 2018 it is available in some UK online beauty shops. It didn’t take long I had it in my hands.

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream Review

Drunk Elephant is in higher price range, USA or Europe. It is famous for their clean-clinical, no ‘Suspicious 6’ (essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrance/dyes and SLS) skin care philosophy.

They even suggest using only their products to cut clean of all those ‘Suspicious 6’ for best results. Although I managed to collect a decent number of their products (read: almost all available in Europe) I must admit I am not that devoted to this brand to neglect my other favourites in my stash that are amazing.

Now to the point. Retinol.

Everybody is talking about it, it is very popular skincare ingredient. Some love it, some are scared of it, some swear by it, some wouldn’t touch it.

What is retinol anyway?

It is Vitamin A. Nothing more, nothing less. The best anti-aging ingredient today in skin care. A golden standard to any serious anti-wrinkle and anti-aging skin care brand.

How does it work?

Vitamin A was first used as an anti-acne medication (think Tretinoin – all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) or Adapalene  retinoid), and it was noticed that this prescription topical medication had one beautiful side effect. It made skin go smooth and almost wrinkle free in 12 weeks’ time.

Since than (year 1971), retinol is everything from acne cure to resurfacing skin.

Retinol is not an exfoliator. It doesn’t work that way. It boosts collagen production and enhances natural skin functions. Peeling that might occur is actually irritation that everyone is afraid of. To avoid this, just buffer any retinol product with any hydrator and/or facial oil. Buffering means mix retinol product together with any hydrating product (serum or cream) and/or facial oil.

To do more to avoid irritation, apply retinol product on toned skin, not straight to cleansed and dried. Toner first and then buffered retinol cocktail. This should completely cancel out any possible retinol irritation.

Retinol and Retinoid

The hottest player in this vitamin A field is actually retinoic acid. That acid is what is actually doing nice things to skin. It makes skin cells work together as a team and behave.

Retinol is ester form of vitamin A and it needs to be converted into retinoic acid to be understood and accepted by skin. More conversions, weaker the effect.

Retinoid is a vitamin A form with much higher concentration of retinoic acid so it needs fewer conversions to reach skin cells.

Both retinol and retinoid will get you to results, only retinoid will do it faster. But, retinol in higher concentrations (1% or  even more) will do it better, equally fast and with less irritation. And it penetrates skin better and goes deeper. So when in dilemma of tretinoin or retinol, my vote would always go to retinol.

Always start slow, with lesser concentrations and applying it to skin only 1-2 times per week. Then slowly upgrade to 2-3 times per week and then when skin gets used to retinoids go up with concentration. And then again go slowly with it.

A whole lotta of this intro got us finally to Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream. Here is what Drunk Elephant claims it to be:

‘Retinol reimagined. A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream is a clean, cutting-edge formula that combines 1.0% vegan retinol with nourishing, superfood-rich ingredients to dramatically diminish the appearance of fine lines, deep wrinkles and sun damage revealing a vibrant, younger-looking complexion.

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream Review

Retinol and supportive peptides restore bounce, resilience and a brighter clarity to  skin while helping to even skin tone and texture … without the associated redness and irritation. Vitamin F, along with a curated blend of comforting passionfruit, apricot, marula and jojoba oils replenish essential lipids and moisture while antioxidant packed kale, winter cherry and xanthophylls defend against environmental stressors. It’s like a reboot for your skin back to its most healthy, youthful state.

A-Passioni™ is packaged to protect the stability and potency of its light and air-sensitive ingredients. 100% Free of essential oils, silicones and fragrance. A-Passioni is not recommended for use while pregnant or breastfeeding.’ /Drunk Elephant/

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream Review

It comes in slightly messy, absolutely non-photogenic 30 ml / 1 fl.oz. metal tube container. Be prepared to chase the leaking product with the screw cap (very much like NIOD Sanskrit Saponins thing).

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream Review

It is of vivid yellow colour and that glue scent typical of all Drunk Elephant products.

The package also contains tiny little 3 ml / 0.1 fl.oz. B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum.

How to use it?

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream Review

Morning or night, apply a pea-size amount or less to clean, dry face, avoiding the eye area. May be mixed with any Drunk Elephant cream or oil. Limit initial use to once or twice a week, gradually increasing frequency to every other night, and then every night as tolerated. Always use a broad spectrum sunscreen. TIP: Mix with B-Hydra™ for an extra shot of hydration and vitamin B.

Retinol products are not recommended for use by pregnant or nursing mothers. Always check with your doctor before using any new products while pregnant or nursing. /Drunk Elephant/

I use it both mornings and evenings (not both) maybe 2-3 times a week. Works fine under any makeup. Actually, it just sinks into skin.

My skin is used to retinol and retinoid, but still, I always use this cream after toner and with hydrator (B-Hydra).


Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream Ingredients

Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Coco-Caprylate, Stearic Acid, Coconut Alkanes, Glyceryl Stearate, Niacinamide, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Pentylene Glycol, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Retinol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Brassica Oleracea Acephala Leaf Extract, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Chrysin, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Ceramide NP, Xanthophylls, Phytosphingosine, Phytosterols, Jojoba Esters, Physalis Pubescens Fruit Juice, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Oryza Sativa (Rice Bran) Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Carthamus Tinctorium (Safflower) Seed Oil, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12, Cetyl Palmitate, Trehalose, Lauric Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Glucosamine HCL, Tocopheryl Acetate, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Tocopherol, Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf/Stem Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Trideceth-6 Phosphate, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Ceteareth-20, Sodium Hydroxide, Laureth-23, Steareth-20, Propanediol, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Chlorphenesin, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin

Except retinol, here on this list there are beautiful oils cocktail – see buffering mentioned above 😉

Tripeptides and tetrapeptides are nice extra to skin reviving action.

Practically combo of retinol, botanical extract, oils and peptides. Very nice!

Rosacea safe?

It should be. Patch test and buffering mandatory. Go nice and slow.

Who is it for?

All skin types

Does it work?

Yes it does. Simple as that. I must say that my skin loves vitamin A derivatives and is very much used to them. I have never had any adverse reaction to retinol or retinoid, and it actually worked excellent for my skin in any form.

Retinol, retinoid in cream, oil, you name it my skin loves it. This is why I assumed this cream would also do what it was supposed to do. And it did.

My skin is totally in state of calm. No breakouts, no blackheads, nothing. Old scars are less visible and skin looks better overall.

I use this cream mostly as it turned out to be as a morning treatment. I use stronger acids in my night skin care regimen so I just switched to morning retinol. Always on toned skin and with hydrator. I also layer other skin care products over and sun protection at the end of the morning session. And this works perfectly fine for me. My skin seems to be very content lately. In its retinol state of mind.

After a long years wait, my encounter with Drunk Elephant wasn’t disappointing at all. It is all I imagined it would be.

I do however resent that price range. I wouldn’t say I would buy any Drunk Elephant product, I would actually invest in them. An arm and a leg for a face. Ahem…

Thumbs up?


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