Stores & Services
Find a Sephora

Happening at Sephora

View all


From makeovers to personalized skincare consultations

Free Classes

Get inspired, play with products & learn new skills

Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Post in Skincare Aware

Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

Sharing my experience of introduction to Retinol here and would love to hear  thoughts from this very knowledgeable/ experienced community.


Disclaimer - I bought the product myself. Reviewing this on my own hoping it will help people new to Retinols    


Background - I have been using all DE products (whole line) exclusively for last 2+ years (started with few DE things 4 years ago). Occasionally I try other products (rarely) for few days but make sure those are free of suspicious 6 that DE recommends. I do not wear make-up other than on special occasions, about 4-5 times a years and did not wear any make-up at least 1 month prior to starting the use of Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol.


First Impression - I used it in the night and next morning my skin had the glow from within. This was more instant/dramatic result than I have had from any other DE products (probably because I don’t have acne or other problems and I did not use suspicious-6 laden products plus my issue is hyperpigmentation which is hard to solve with just topical products) though DE has kept my skin soft, made it balanced (earlier it used to be flaky dry in winters).


Texture & Consistency - It is thicker and yellow-er than C-Tango (see the pic for comparing color, texture and consistency of A-Passioni with other DE moisturizers)

DE Color Texture.jpgDE Routine.jpg


I love the A-Passioni.

Having said that it requires precaution. I used it again after 2 nights and then my skin was dry. I Did not use any acids for next 2-3 days to bring it back to normal, just the moisturizers and sunscreen.


Some important DOs if you are new to Retinol -


  • Up your hydration significantly  well outside (up your hydration much more than usual, thin serum or essence will work well. I am cautious of ingradients so I used COnsonant Hydra Extreme which has just two ingredients) and inside (drink lot more water)
  • Start slow, 1x week for first two weeks, 2xweek for next two-four weeks and then 3xweek after that and build from there I am following this and still at 2xweek in my 7th week I think. @eshoe  is also doing similar ramp-up
  • Build Rest days in your routines - In the beginning, after using the passioni on one day, next day just use hydrators and moisturizers (no Glycolic, Lactic or salicylic acids).  Then use those acids after the 1 day gap. This is helpful for first 8 weeks.
  • If Vit C is new to you or irritating you, use a milder form of Vit-C . I used C-Tango and stopped C-Firma for first few days when my skin was too irritated. 

Some important Don'ts -

  • If you are new to Retinoids/ Retinols - Do NOT use it with C-Firma (Any Vitamin C) or TLC Framboos (or any Glycolic Acid) for the first month
  • Do NOT do physical exfoliation before putting on the retinol (at least for first 6-8 weeks). Not so much even as rubbing the skin with your hands to get the dead skin out. If needed, do it on your rest days
  • Do not use it on your neck (totally my fault, I generally take my remaining mix to my neck and did not read that DE does not recommend that). Pic below, it wook 2 weeks to heal 🙂
  • Do not be tempted to use more product (Retinol), let it go waste if you don't have anyone else to share the excess mix with.


My usual morning combo - C-Firma+B-Hydra+Protini+Marula 1 drop, top is off with Umbra+D-Bronzi after few min

My Usual Night Combo - B-Hydra+LaLa Retro +Marula 1 drop (Mix TLC in this 2-3x week)

After my skin came back to normal (after about 4- days), I read DEs post about using it with C-Firma, and felt like a great idea… NOT.. for my skin.


Tue 1/ 15 Morning - C-Firma+A-Passioni+B-Hydra+Protini+Marula 1 drop, top is off with Umbra+D-Bronzi after few min.

Tue Night 1/15 (no Acids)  - B-Hydra+Protini+Marula 1 drop

Wed 1/16 Morning (No Retinol) -  C-Firma+B-Hydra+Protini+Marula 1 drop, top is off with Umbra+D-Bronzi after few min

Wed Night 1/16 - B-Hydra+Protini+Marula 1 drop

Thur 1/17 morning - usual morning combo, as soon as I put the Umbra_D-Bronzi combination, my skin was burning (painful burning sensation not normal tingling that happens with acids)

Thur 1/17 night - Skin is red, super dry, peeling and hurting (pics below)

Healing Combo - For next few days I only use B-Hydra+Lala Retro+Marula and wash once with PeeKee bar and nothing else on my skin (Umbra/D-Bronzi were specially hurting).

Once my skin was ok. I used A passioni again after about 7 days after the last use. 2 nights later I used the TLC Framboos+B-Hydra+Protini+Marula 1 drop in the night. Next morning was fine but morning after that again I had red, super dry, peeling and hurting.


Super Hydration (much needed with Retinol) - I finally added “CONSONANT HydrExtreme Hydration Booster” as first layer to my skin routine and it was great relief. So now my morning routine became - Rinse with water, layer of CONSONANT HydrExtreme Hydration Booster, B-Hydra+Protini+Marula. Added back Vitamin C after 1 week and then also added back Umbra (but no D-Bronzi).




I use A-Passioni twice a week right now. I use it in the night. Next morning I use my usual morning mix (no D-Bronzi). Using TLC after 2 night of using A-Passioni but using the “CONSONANT HydrExtreme Hydration Booster” every morning and night along with DE products and my skin is well hydrated, bright and supple.

I trust Drunk Elephant & Tiffany so much and am sure I can make this work to reap the benefits. I would be all ears if @DrunkElephant  or @TeamBIC  have any additional tips so as to why D-Bronzi hurts or even Umbra hurt or additional tips for increasing hydration since just the DE hydrators & moisturizers were enough until I started on this Retinol A-Passioni but now those are not quite enough and my skin feels tight and pulling. Maybe I should forego the Consonant once or twice and see how it goes but I am worried about getting back to red, painful, peeling state.  


Current Routine -


Sun Night - A passioni + usual night combo

Mon Morning - Usual morning combo

Mon Night - usual night combo

Tue Morning - Usual morning combo

Tue Night - usual night combo with TLC

Wed Morning - Usual morning combo

Wed Night - usual night combo

Thur Morning - Usual morning combo

Thur Night - A passioni + usual night combo

Fri Morning - Usual morning combo

Fri Night - usual night combo

Sat Morning - Usual Morning Combo

Sat Night - usual night combo

Sun Morning - Usual Morning Combo


2/10 Sun  Morning : A-Passioni +morning combo with Consonant

2/10 Sun Night : Night combo with Consonant layer first

2/11 Mon Morning : Morning Combo with Consonant (no D-Bronzi)

2/11 Mon Evening : Night Combo with TLC, with Consonant layer first

2/12 Tue morning : Morning Combo with Consonant Layer (no D-Bronzi)

2/12 Tue Night      : Night Combo with Consonant layer first

2/13 Wed Morning : Morning Combo with Consonant Layer (no D-Bronzi)

2/13 Wed Night    : A Passioni with night combo (Consonant 3 drops +B-Hydra Layer then Retinol mixed with other moisturizers and oil)

2/ 14 Thur Morning : Glowy skin, Morning combo with consonant mixed in 

2/14   Thur Night     : Night combo+Consonant

2/15    Fri Morning  : Morning combo+Consonant

2/ 15   Fri Night       : Night combo+Consonant

2/16    Sat Morning  : Morning Combo

Continued the routine as mentioned above and used babyfacial successfully (mixed marula in it to soften the impact a bit).

Next step it to get rid of the rest days and see how my skin does. 



I will update this as I learn more or get more tolerant to Retinols. This is just my opinion and my skin’s reaction, YMMV but hope this helps because usual DE tips did not help me and what I read. Looks like my skin needs a lot more hydration with using Retinols than my previous DE routine was providing (which was wonderful until I started using this new Retinol).

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

@naturalooks15 Love your thorough review of this skin care routine.  I am passionate about skin care due to years of having issues with my skin.  I understand the importance of using clean natural products on my skin.  I am going to look at this line and try the products. Thank you.

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

Hi! Thanks so much for this very informative review! So good! I just received my DE A- passion I cream and was wondering if I can use it as follow:

1. cleanse with este lauder Perfectly Clean cleanser

2. essence from Tatcha, 

3. Causaliteit vino perfect serum

4. DE retinol mixed with First Aid beauty altar repair cream and DE B hydra Serum. 
It feels a bit much? What are your thoughts. 

Planning on all steps every day of the week but only starting with the DE retinol Addition once a week and after two weeks, twice a week. 

I want to order the DE littles To try all products but first need to finish using my current products. 

Also, I follow the same steps in the morning except I use C E Ferulic acid instead of Caudalie Vino perfect. (I have bad acne scars). Can I still do that the next day or shall I rather skip the serum the next morning after using the retinol? 

any info would be much appreciated;-) 

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

girl u use a lot of stuff on your skin...natural is always better and I love drunk elephant but please be careful on young skin especially if you don’t have acne / any other issues  🌟🌟

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

@naturalooks15 loved your review on the product so now I have a question for you: have you noticed "positive" results now that you've been using it consistently?  Do you feel like the purchase was "worth it" to you?

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

Just thought I’d update. I’ve been plugging away with this now for about two and a half months.


I got a really severe dry patch of skin above my upper lip last week, which so far has been my worst side effect. Even when not using Retinol this is where I struggle with dry skin the most so it wasn’t a big shock. With heavy moisturizing and buffing it away with my Kiehl’s exfoliant I’ve got that spot back to normal. 


Still using every third night and I’ll probably stay at that rate for the time being. My skin is soft and looking good and I’m quite happy. 

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

I've been using prescription strength retinoid for about 6 years now and have worked myself up to being able to vitamin C every morning daily and retin-A nightly without any irritation issues. I started with the lowest strength tretinoin prescription, used until I no longer had irritation, then after a few years, upped the strength by alternating strength every other day until I had no irritation with the higher strength. I will add to what's written above (I apologize if this is already buried somewhere in this long thread):


1) Sun protection is key. Retinols and retinoids make skin very sun sensitive. Any benefits in terms of erasing hyperpigmentation will be lost if you incur sun damage. I SPF daily, even if I do not go out in the sun.


2) Wind burn is a thing. I learned this the hard way. If you live in a super cold climate and it is windy an dry out, the retinoids make your skin more sensitive and I've gotten redness/burnt skin from just walking outside for a while, so cover your face.


3). If you have issues tolerating the retinoid early, you can do "buffering," meaning putting on your moisturizer first. If you wash your face, serum and moisturize. Then wait until your skin is completely dry, 30min-1hr, before putting on the retinoid, it decreases irritation.


4) You can use retinoids on the neck. The neck skin is more sensitive so you have to start really really slow but people use it all the time to help with aging on the neck and chest.


5) I stopped using all AHAs and BHAs altogether with my retinoid per my dermatologist recommendation and never looked back. I'm not sure about OTC retinoids, but if you use retin-A, you really shouldn't need to use an acid.


6) Retinoids will help with hyperpigmentation to some degree, but it really does work better on skin texture and fine lines. For bad hyperpigmentation, really the laser route or hydroquinone will work better.

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

I was told not to use retinol with TLC Framboos or the BabyFacial... Maybe it was because it was from a different brand, but I was told that was a big NO NO.  That could be why you had burning and irritation.  

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

@nik17a Any prescription retinoid, it would be best to stop using Framboos or BabyFacial. For retinol in skincare products in general, you won't have to worry as much about that, and can alternate Framboos or BabyFacial with retinol if needed. Over-irritation is still a risk no matter what.

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge @jhe948, it is so helpful for novices like me. Six years is quite a long time and I learned quite a bit from your info here. May I ask what strength you are currently using?

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

Another update today ....  Been pretty good and steady without any issues (2x Week Retinol, 1 X TLC, 1 break day after using active)..... up until about 5 days ago

Learnt another big lesson, use really tiny amount. Here is the amount shown in pic mixed with Protini & Lala together is enough for whole face. This mix goes after the layer of Consonant serum & B-Hydra



I dispensed bit more amount (probably 1.5 times of shown amount) 5 days ago, didn't want to waste such an expensive product and put it all on my face (mixed with Lala)  and I had drying/ peeling skin and hubby mentioned your skin looks burnt/ sun burnt so it must be pretty bad else he doesn't notice.

@eshoe @missjeanie  My skin is back to super happy after 3+ days of TLC. Texture is my biggest win with this retinol. I used to have few white bumps (1 big one) which wouldn't go away with even 2% BHA are gone with this. ALso some kind of bump had formed (no whitehead, no blackhead but there seemed to be an opening, not hurting or itching, just annoyingly there) are gone or almost gone. 


After 3 days of again just moisturizers and avoid any actives, skin healed again. Today was 5th day and skin was just bright, beautiful, soft and supple. 

So friends....  if you dispense more, share it with your SO, teenagers, young adults or your arms maybe !! DO NOT put it all on your face. 

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

@naturalooks15  I did this one day as well.  It was the only day so far that I've had a bit of that peeling/extra dryness with the APassioni.  I fully blame myself because I've been using a bit more than I see in your hand regularly and probably had a blob about three times the size that I rubbed in not wanting to waste it. 

I'm away from home this week and forgot to pack my Passioni so I'll be jumpig back on the bandwagon next week again!  Glad to hear that a little bit of love got your skin back in shape again!

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

So sorry you had to learn the hard way, @naturalooks15 😱 The amount you have in your palm is the same amount I’ve been using, thank you for the reference. 


Interesting about the small bumps; I have a couple and now I will be paying close attention for signs of reduction, that would be another nice benefit! 

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

Just wanted to add this here @naturalooks15 🙂 

My schedule: 1x week for 2 weeks, then 2x week for 2 weeks, and now I am starting my 3x week for ? weeks. So far, I have not experienced dryness or flaky skin. Most noticeable has been an increased overall sensitivity to wash-off masks. My skin is not sensitive, and it's not a huge deal - both were new masks and not ones in my normal routine.


As far as a difference in my skin: I seem to notice it most the morning after application. My skin seems a bit brighter, my pores maybe a bit smaller. It fades over the day, so I am curious to see what kind of effect upping the dose will have. It does seem to exaggerate some of the texture on my skin, not sure what that is all about but I did notice it when I used TO's Granactive Retinoid.

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

Thank you @eshoe  for the update. Really appreciate it. my last peeling/drying was actually from using bit more quantity. Dispensed more by mistake and then didn't feel like wasting such expensive product so put it all on my face. Wrong move !! 🙂 learnt my lesson.

My biggest benefit remains the texture and brightening (hyperpigmentation still there not seeing much impact there).

Since you have not had any dry/ peeling episodes, you can probably increase the amount but maybe very gradually/ carefully.  

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

Thank you for the recommendation @naturalooks15 , I think every other day now will be my plan unless anything changes with dryness!

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

Ok. I tried the Babyfacial for the first time in last two months after I started A-Passioni. Nice bright skin, just a tiny bit redness on couple of places but that was something else. 

No major irritation. Here are the details -


Used it on 3rd day after A-Passioni (no other exfoliation in between). Mixed Marula oil in it just to be cautious. Initial tingling for about 1-2 min and after that no irritation. Washed off in 16 min to glowing clear skin. Topped it off with Consonant+B-Hydra+Lala with 2 drops of Marula.  Woke-up in the morning with calm nice skin. Yay !!

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

Thank you for the update, I appreciate you sharing your ‘recipes’ @naturalooks15 😊

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

@naturalooks15 my second dose last night:


Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

@eshoe  Great to hear this. That glow next morning is just too awesome, isn’t it !!


I have that Farmacy honey mask, I will try that next time. Assuming you used it before the Retinol. Let me know and I will follow your steps.

My skin is pretty happy and healthy right now I continue to use but less than pea size mixed in moisturizers. I also do the B-Hydra+consonant layer first to provide skin some buffer.

i think I am comfortable enough now to cut down the buffer days and maybe have GAO if just 3 days between applications, almost 2x week

Re: Detailed Review - A-Passioni - Retinol from Drunk Elephant

Yes I used the Honey Potion prior to the Passioni @naturalooks15. I use hydrating/moisturizing masks for the most part, but I’m trying to be extra vigilant to double/triple up on hydration now!

67 Replies
Conversation Stats
  • RetinolSkin1.jpg
  • RetinolSkin2.jpg
  • RetinolSkin3.jpg
  • DE Routine.jpg
  • DE Color Texture.jpg
  • Consonant.jpg
  • 04DBEA8D-3ABB-4BB7-8AC8-7D3DF2131DED.jpeg
  • BF997197-9FFD-4B8C-A354-13932B3A4EB6.jpeg
  • 466ACF5E-7D1C-448C-9E65-E8DF572C7736.jpeg
  • 661B9CBE-34DB-475B-908A-9EA6A7633351.jpeg