Everything You Need To Know About Drunk Elephant’s A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream

Retinols, retinols, and more retinols. Seems like every brand is coming out with their own huh ? Well if you’ve had your eye on the newest from Drunk Elephant, but maybe you’re not so sure how to use it or maybe you want to learn more.. then look no further – I have some answers for you.


What exactly is Drunk Elephant’s A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream ?
It’s a clean 1.0% vegan retinol with nourishing ingredients like passionfruit, marula oil and jojoba oil… just to name a few. It also contains vitamin F, xanthophyll, kale leaf extract and many other anti-aging, soothing ingredients. Check ’em all out here.


Before we dive into my experience and how exactly you should use the DE retinol cream, let’s first chat about retinoids in general, and the difference between retin-a, retinol and retinoids ! I think this is important, especially understanding how they work. And I know, there’s so many types ! So many ! So let’s chat.

A retinoid is the name of the group, and retin-a & retinol are forms of a retinoid… still with me ? Retin-a is a form of a retinoid that your doctor prescribes you and they come in all sorts of doses, usually higher doses than you can pick up yourself in a beauty store. Retinol is over-the-counter and usually contains a lesser concentration of the retinoid. These you can find at Sephora, Ulta, or any beauty retailer really.

  • Now what exactly do all these forms of retinoids going to do and how do they work ?
    Well lots of things ! It’s going to help battle aging, plump the skin, diminish fine lines, improve texture & dark spots. 
  •  I’m in my early 20s, should I start using retinol?
    YES ! Early twenties, mid-30s or even late 50s & beyond ! I think everyone should try it out – but I’d hold off if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding of course. No matter what your skin type is, you should totally add a retinol to your routine. If you’re unsure, talk to your derm !
  • Are the benefits worth the cons ?
    In my opinion, the benefits totally out weigh the cons by a million bazillion percent. Some side effects people can experience include, but are not limited to… skin sensitivity, peeling, dryness & flakiness, and redness. Yes your skin can feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s totally manageable. (UNLESS your skin is very irritated, pissed-off and EXTREMELY painful, then you should stop and just use a heavy moisturizer for a bit to replenish the skin & should also talk to your derm.) Within a few weeks of usage though, you’re skin should adjust and get used to it with consistent use. 

Alrighty, now let’s chat about my experience. This is the fun part. 

Drunk Elephant states that this this can be used day or night, can be mixed with any of their products including AHAs, (they highlight B-Hydra as a great mixer and their Marula Oil too?), and that you should always be using SPF in the daytime (THIS IS SO IMPORTANT GUYS!).

Not gunna lie.. I was scared at first to use this product. I heard about all the peeling, the sensitivity and I was nervous. But I decided to go for it ! Dare I say it… YOLO. ?

My first initial use, I globbed out a pea-sized amount (as recommended) and I mixed it with a couple pumps of B-Hydra, massaged it into the skin and then just stared at myself in the mirror for a second. ….Nothing happened…. I actually don’t even know what I was expecting to happen, maybe a burning or tingly feeling? WHO KNOWS. But nothing happened, and then I went to bed.

The next day when I woke up, my skin seemed happy, hydrated & was feeling pretty good. I applied my usually skincare, but added in a thicker moisturizer than normal just in case.

A couple days went by and I started noticing a bit of peeling on my chin, around my nose and in the middle of my forehead. My chin felt the most sensitive, but it wasn’t anything crazy or unbearable. After another day I noticed a couple red blotches on my cheeks appearing that worried me, and they were also a bit sensitive, but again it wasn’t anything alarming.

I kept the moisturizer going hard during my first week, and I can’t recommend that enough. ALONG WITH SPF, haha. DON’T FORGET THE DARN SPF !!!

Sunday, almost a week later, I decided to use DE’s BabyFacial to help slaw off all that dead skin that I was accumulating. And after a completed first week, I was ready to go for it again ! Tuesday came around and I applied it again in the same routine with B-Hydra. Barely had any peeling that time around, just a bit on the forehead and chin again.

And now, several weeks later, my skin slowly getting accustom to using this retinol. I still get the tiniest bit of sensitivity on my chin, but not much. I love mixing it with B-Hydra still, along with LaLa Retro Whipped Cream. Sometimes I add a dab of marula oil… but it depends.

I also wanted to quickly talk about the packaging because I noticed a lot of people were upset. They were stating that too much product comes out at once and that they were wasting a lot of it. I haven’t had any issue with the aluminum packaging as of yet. But I can recommend squeezing from the top of the packing instead of the middle of near the opening. That should help.

Honestly, I love this product so far. I can’t wait to see my skin improve overtime or see all of the other benefits I gain from using retinol.

Share your thoughts with me ! I love hearing everyones opinions on new skincare products. Leave ’em in the comments below or find me on Instagram ! Let’s chat !

-Alicia !!