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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

@Ispend2much6  Great to hear that. I llove the new B-Hydra (they added niacinaminde about 6 months ago).

Yes, this is my first retinol ever so I might take time to build tolerance.

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

@naturalooks15   I think you're right.  It looks like your skin was burned.

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

@naturalooks15  Hope your skin gets well soon! 

@eshoe @MlleCC 

Yeah, be very careful if you're new to retinols. I've heard many accounts of people on Tretinoin or Accutane who have experienced what you did. 


The key is to start out small and then increase the amount and frequency slowly over time and moisturize a lot. The "pea-sized amount" is waaay too strong to start out with. That's what's missing from the instructions on the DRUNK ELEPHANT - A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream


I use this daily and it has helped decrease my redness. This is how I incorporated it into my routine (you can use whatever moisturizers/products that you already use):


1. Every evening, I started with a tiny amount and mixed it with my moisturizer FIRST AID BEAUTY - Ultra Repair BarriAIR Cream

to help buffer the effects. For extra moisture, just in case it's not enough since it's a light moisturizer, I applied my TO squalane to lock it all in.

2. Sunscreen every morning since retinol increases photosensitivity.  

3. Over time, you can increase the A-passioni amount you add to your moisturizer until you reach the "pea-sized amount". 

4. Once your skin is accustomed to the retinol, you can repeat from step 1 where instead of mixing it with your moisturizer, you apply it before your moisturizer.


I've been able to mix the A-passioni with Framboos and C-Firma with no bad results. Haven't experienced any dryness or peeling. There was some purging (as expected) in the beginning. After a month of usage, my face is less red than it was before.

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

Incredibly helpful info @RNGesusPls, thank you!!!

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

@eshoe Get well soon and hope it works out for you!

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

Thank you @RNGesusPls  I’m very excited to try it, just need at least 2 days to pass without the sun-burnt feeling on my cheeks🙄

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

You over used it. It says in the directions 1-2x a week not morning and night.

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

If you've read my post, I did not overuse it. I don't use a "pea-sized amount" daily but some people are able to tolerate it. I mix a tiny amount into my moisturizer to buffer the effects (like sheering a foundation or mixing sunscreen into moisturizer, which isn't good since you're reducing the effectiveness of sunscreen). Retinol can be used daily once you build up the tolerance. Instructions are like that of prescribed retinoids like Tretinoin. The 1-2x a week is for the "pea-sized amount" when you're starting retinol, which is quite a lot already imo if you're new to using retinols. If you know your skin is irritated, you need to dial it back or maybe stop using it.  


Vitamin C serums can also be used at night; however, AHAs and retinols do increase photosensitivity and are usually used at night time, but they can also be used during the day as long as you remember to apply (and reapply) sunscreen! No matter what time of day you use retinol, sunscreen during the day is important. If you'd like, I can link to some scientific journals.

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

Thank you so much for such a detailed review @naturalooks15

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

@eshoe - did you see this? I know you had difficulty incorporating another retinol product into your routine so this might be helpful.

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

No I did not, @ShortErica -thank you so very much for the tag!!! 

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

Thanks @ShortErica 

@eshoe  I will be happy to learn from your experience as well. Looking forward to your thoughts on this.

I will update this thread as I go along. My skin was so red and peeling that my grandma asked what happened when I was on facetime with her. But I trust DrunkElephant  and Tiffany a lot so I am figuring out how can I make it work for me. It's one of the few products which made my skin glowy, bright, radiant and bit clearer the very next morning. 

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

Thank you @naturalooks15 I just read through your review and have decided I still need to wait a few days as my cheeks still hurt from the previous retinol routine. I am also wondering (and prepping) for a hydrating booster like the Consanant. I have so many oils, just wondering if I can pull from what I already have🤔


ETA: I’ve been using up a DS of OH Truth serum...I wonder if the Vitamin C could be causing pain even though I stopped the retinol.

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

@eshoe  Do you have any Hydrating essence or hyaluronic acid serum (in addition to B-Hydra)? Just the oils were not enough in my case (I tried those first). You need hydration so glycerine or hyaluronic acid serum (make sure no suspicious 6) would help. Adding plain vegetable glycerine would hurt when your face is that raw. Consonant did not hurt and plumped my face up. If you use any hydrating essence already that you know works with your skin that should help too I think.


Just B-Hydra was not enough for me either. I tried upping the frequency of B-Hydra, amount also but it just wasn't enough. Maybe those few days weather here was very cold and maybe extra dry but now I don't want to take that chance. 

I just did Consonant first layer then Bhydra+Lala+Marula for next 3-4 day and nothing else. I did stop Vit C for 3-4 days as well since everything hurt.

I tried to use Ren evercalm mask that did not help at all rather seemed to make it worse.  I had Dr Jart yellow Ceramidine sheet mask in the fridge but I didn’t have courage to try anything that may aggregate things 😀

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

Any hydration and moisturizer will do. The key is to just keep your skin moisturized as much as possible while it's healing! And don't forget sunscreen if it's sunny where you are. Hope your skin gets well soon.  


@eshoe I've also typed out my review as a reply to OP if you'd like to check that out

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

@naturalooks15  Great review. I used a retinol last week and made the mistake of using a vitamin c right after. It did not feel good to say the least.  

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

Wonderful review--thanks!

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

@naturalooks15 , thank you for taking the time to share such a detailed review with the community!  


This will be my fourth week of testing A-Passioni and my experience has been pretty consistent with yours -- that it gives overnight results but needs to be used in conjunction with something more moisturizing.  I started off by mixing A-Passioni into Lala Retro cream once a week, for the first two weeks, and then applying A-Passioni by itself under Lala once a week starting from the third week.  I'm glad I read your review because I have been tempted to use this more than once a week, but based on your experience, it may be too drying for my sensitive, dry-leaning skin.   


The way that I use Drunk Elephant products is similar to yours, but I don't have nearly good enough skin to go without makeup and still look professional for the office.  Would love to know about the rest of your beauty / wellness routine aside from skincare, naturallooks15!  

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

@MlleCC  My skin is not perfect and has lot of pigmentation but I don't wear make-up because growing up it was drilled into my head that make-up is bad for skin. Also my mom didn't use any commercial products and her skin is so much better than mine.

Using DE Umbra with D-Bronzi helps me mask some of the hyper-pigmentation. I might wear a foundation sometimes if I can find one that is suspicious 6 free :-)


My hyper-pigmentation is primarily because I got facials done at few places where they used Glycolic  acid mask for instant glow but did not inform me and sent me out in the sun without any sunscreen. I was pretty ignorant about acids then (15-20 years ago). 


I recently cut out added sugar/ table sugar and dairy from my food 3 weeks ago (owing to tons of life threatening health issues last year and then side effect of medicines, my doctor suggested this) so let's how that goes but I feel more energetic right now.  I do not drink any soda, just water. 


I would be happy to answer any specific questions you have. 

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

@naturalooks15  Great review!  I unfortunately had a severe allergic reaction to DRUNK ELEPHANT - A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream

and had to stop after 1st use. I will say I didn't like the packaging. It felt like if you squeezed the wrong way it could easily be punctured. 

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

I'm not a fan of the packaging too but it does remind me of Tretinoin's, so maybe that's what they were going for?

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