Cleanse with Drunk Elephant: Juju, Pekee or Beste?

In case you can’t tell, I’m on a Drunk Elephant binge this month. I covered all the serums and moisturizers in the last post, so now let’s talk about cleansers! They recently came out with Beste Jelly Cleanser, so I decided to give all the cleansers a try. One of the highlight about Drunk Elephant cleansers is that they are pH balanced for your skin. The pH scale is 1-14 with 7 being neutral, 1 being most acidic and 14 the most alkaline (basic). Why should you care even though you are not a chemist? Because it has to do with your acid mantle.

The acid mantle is a layer of amino/lactic acids and oils protecting skin from environmental factors (bacteria, pollutants) that contribute to premature aging and irritation. Usually it has a pH of 5.5, which is the optimal pH for healthy skin. However, some soap can be very basic with pH of 9 or 10, which dries out the skin and causes it to be more susceptible to wrinkles and premature aging. If you overdose on acidic products with very low pH like peels or DIYs with lemon juice (which has a pH of 2! yikes), then your skin will appear red, irritated and may be more prone to breakouts. That’s why many cleansers and toners often mention being “pH balanced”. Even if they don’t, your skin will let you know if the products you use are too basic/acidic. For reference, pure water has a pH of 7, which is neutral. Drunk Elephant Beste has a pH of 6.1, Pekee has a pH of 6.51, and Juju has a pH of 6.34. That’s that for the science part, let’s try them out!

Drunk Elephant Beste Jelly Cleanser

Beste is a clear gel cleanser that lathers slightly but does not produce a rich foam. It didn’t have a scent and rinsed off easily.  It did not irritate even near the eye area. After patting dry, my skin feels clean, not dried out or moisturized. I have combination skin and enjoy this very much. If you are looking for a cleanser that moisturizes or helps with oil-control, this is not it. But if you have combination skin and want a cleanser with good basic ingredients great for sensitive skin, give this a try. The only thing I’m not a fan of is the dispensing cap. You are supposed to twist it and squeeze, but it seems so unsanitary since the opening is touching the counter, and if you twist too much you end up twisting off the cap.

It is comparable to First Aid Beauty cleanser, Skin Laundry Gentle Foaming Face Wash and Kielh’s Ultra Facial cleanser. However, it seems to be slightly better than those at taking off makeup. If it comes in a pump, it would be perfect.

Drunk Elephant Pekee Bar

It is a white soap that produces a rich lather. It has no scent, is very gentle and slightly moisturizing. However, it does leave a bit of residue on the skin unless I spend extra time to make sure to rinse off thoroughly. If I’m not careful with rinsing it off, I end up with an itchy pimple or two. If you have dry skin then give this a try, but I prefer the other two cleansers more. There are plenty of great cleansers for dry skin, but if you prefer the soap style, then Su:m37 Rose Cleansing Stick is another great choice.

Ingredients: Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheatgerm) Starch, Cetearyl Alcohol, Paraffin, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Kernel Oil, Water, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Honey, Glycerin, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract.

Drunk Elephant Juju Bar

Exfoliating cleansers are usually too harsh and abrasive for me. However, this soap lathers well with very fine grain. It does not have any scent and gently cleanses as well as exfoliates, just as it promised. It is pretty easy to rinse off, leaving the skin feeling clean but not sensitive. When I use it daily, it does make my skin feel a little dry after a few days. I would recommend it for oily/combination skin, or use it every 2-3 days instead.

If you want an exfoliating cleanser, Clarins One Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser is great but contains parabens, fragrance and other junk ingredients that Drunk Elephant don’t use.

Ingredients: Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheatgerm) Starch (gluten-free), Cetearyl Alcohol, Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf/Stem Extract, Paraffin, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Kernel Oil, Heilmoor Clay, Water, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract

Since they mentioned being great makeup removers as well as cleansers, I decided to put that to test with Marc Jacob Highliner, Kat von D Tattoo Liquid Liner, MUFE Rouge Artist Lipstick and Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation. The cleansers used, from left to right, are Beste, Juju and Pekee.

While they managed to remove the foundation (without primer) and liquid eyeliner within 30 seconds, faint hints of lipstick and most of the Marc Jacob Highliner remains on the skin. Juju removed more makeup probably because it’s exfoliating. However, all three cleansers were able to remove all the makeup after 60-90 seconds of cleansing. So if you are using primers or wearing a full face of long-lasting makeup, use a good makeup remover before cleansing with Drunk Elephant.

I like Beste Jelly Cleanser the best for my combination skin. The mild exfoliation from Pekee is a great compliment to the chemical exfoliation from peels (I use peels 1-2 times a week, and Pekee inbetween when my skin feels a little flaky).


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