Product Review | Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

The Philosophy

The name is hilarious. Drunk Elephant is derived from the behavior of elephants when they eat the marula seed. Apparently they get super whoozy and look like they're intoxicated.

Drunk Elephant really set the bar for giving the customers what they actually need and disregarding the noise of the beauty industry. They don’t care if an ingredient is natural or synthetic, as long as it is clean, safe and effective. D.E. also like to focus on pH levels and percentages of actives that are at clinical levels, ensuring the skin isn't irritated. Lastly, and I love this point, they don't add any fragrance - including natural, deeming this skincare range a great option for sensitive skin types.

The Product

If you haven't heard of the TLC Framboos Serum, where have you been?! If you haven't got your hands on it…well fair enough. Drunk Elephant is a seriously sought after brand and their serum is a cult favourite. With its blend of 12% blend of AHAs, the TLC claims to dramatically resurface the skin, providing smooth texture and even skin tone. Sounds good to me. By the way, its packaged in this cute little airless pump bottle with a pink cap. You totally have to turn the top to get to the nozzle - I feel like a kid again. I must say, I love the packaging. The texture of the cardboard, the copy, the colour scheme, the font… Thumbs up!

The Application


The formula is different to any serum I've tried. It's not the watery, slimely consistency I'm used to. Instead, the serum is in a form of a slightly transparent gel. It looks really similar to the Intensive Hydration Gel from their range. No scent at all (which was to be expected). When applied, I found it had a good slip to it - a little goes a long way, I also didn't have any tingly sensation. It also absorbed very quickly, that's such a bonus if you're like me and prefer layering a multitude of products. After that, I followed with the Intensive Hydration Gel and a few drops of the Marula Oil.

The Result

On the first morning after application, my skin wasn't really glowing like it would with Sunday Riley's Good Genes (a much compared product with D.E's TLC). However, my skin was A LOT more even. I have large spots of hyperpigmentation, the kind that’s white and patchy, it's something that a lot of serums have yet to target. Upon one application, I already noticed a difference. My skin was also ultra smooth. After around 2-3 weeks of using it, I noticed my stubborn acne scars had faded and the slight milia (little white dots that aren't pimples yet) were gone. Fine lines and wrinkles - I haven't used it long enough to notice slash I don't have much to notice in my skin (yet). I did feel my skin was tighter. Because I am used to having my skin glow from all the layers of products, I wasn't keen on this matte look to my skin. I think it's great at targeting hyperpigmentation and dullness, but you need to layer with other products to ensure your skin doesn’t dry out.

The Rundown

This is an ingredients list anyone can read. It's quite refreshing. Just look at it.


Water (Aqua)/ Eau, Glycolic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Cactus) Extract, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (Yeast) Extract, Buddleja Davidii Meristem Cell Culture, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Seed Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Allantoin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Galactoarabinan, Propanediol, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster).

As you can see, the first line of ingredients include the exfoliating acids, meaning they take up a large percentage of the formula. Amazing.

  • The glycolic acid really helps to dissolve any hardened 'glue' that is stuck between the skin cells. It is still fairly gentle and is molecularly smaller than something like lactic acid.

Apart from the amazing mix of amazing acids (glycolic, salicyclic, lactic and citric) you've got a great mix of anti-inflammatories. These include: cactus, aloe grape and horse chestnut.

  • Horse chestnut is also great for increasing circulation and reducing the chance of broken capllaries. Perfect for those suffering with thin, dehydrated skin or acneic skin.
  • Raspberry extract serves as the toner side of the serum. It's the culprit for your tightened pores. The ingredient also slightly exfoliates and delivers some vitamins and acids like citric, malic and vit A, B, C, and E.
  • Marula oil is super lightweight and provides a healthy amount of antioxidants to the skin. 


What I really admired about this product is their attention to detail. Inside the box you get this little handout with precautions and suggested usage instructions. It's not one of those black and white ones either, instead there is just enough information for you to want to read it. I liked how they even mentioned 'for acne prone skin, the use of glycolic acid may increase blemishes for the first few days'. Not a lot of brands know that.

I also thought that their philosophy is very cautious. If there is an ingredient they doubt, then it's not in the formula. Great for skincare junkies who are a bit scared about certain ingredients.

Lastly, the innovative packaging and high percentage of acids really has to constitute the hefty price you have to pay. You do see results and the ingredients back that up. Whether you're looking to invest that much then it is up to you. I know I'll be buying another bottle when this one runs out.