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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

@GG84  sad to hear that it did not work for you. I was bit surprised to see the packaging not to be one of their signature airless pump. I did ask 'why not airless pump' on their IG and got a response. They said it's quoted aluminium tube if I remember it right, and good for this kind of product. Also it is much thicker than any of their other products so not sure if airless pump would work. Maybe they will change it in future the way they did for Lala Retro (it was initially regular screw lid jar). 

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