Remember Drunk Elephant Sunscreen? It’s Back — & Better Than Ever

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Photo: Courtesy of Drunk Elephant
Drunk Elephant might be one of the hottest beauty brands among Gen Z, but the brand’s newest product is one that actually launched eleven years ago. Huh? Allow me to explain: You may have even forgotten that Drunk Elephant made sunscreen, but if you’re familiar with the brand history, you were probably wondering why the heck it wasn’t a bigger hit; that’s all about to change, because the SPF lotions are back and better than ever. 
Quick history lesson: Drunk Elephant’s OG Umbra Sheer sunscreen was one of the six (!) products founder and CCO Tiffany Masterson debuted when the brand originally launched in August 2013. A tinted version, Umbra Tinte, followed in 2017, but according to Masterson, had room for improvement. “We are always asking questions and looking at how we can do things better—whether that is in our ingredients, formulas, or packaging,” Masterson exclusively tells Refinery29. “It’s a constant process of searching and remaining curious and listening to the feedback of our customers.”
Some of that feedback? The mineral lotions left a white cast, weren’t seamlessly blendable, and didn’t feel as weightless on skin. “In the case of our Umbras, we’ve been working on these for some time now. We started this project around 2018, with the goal of improving their texture, blendability, and also to take advantage of newer technology for sunscreens,” Masterson explains. “The technology for sunscreen actives, particularly mineral-based, has come a long way in the last few years, which allowed us to improve upon how zinc oxide looks on skin, how it blends, and the degree of protection it offers.”
(Re-)introducing, Drunk Elephant’s “renovated” (as Masterson likes to say) lineup of Umbra SPF 30 sunscreens, which include 2.0 versions of the sheer and tinted lotions, and most notably (and long-awaited), a darker tinted lotion, Umbra Cocoa, for deep skin tones. “[This] is a shade I’ve been wanting to do for years, ever since we started developing a new Umbra formula,” she says. Whereas Umbra Tinte is a neutral, medium-neutral hue, Umbra Cocoa is a rich, warm-toned mineral lotion that blends beautifully into tan, dark, and deep skin of color. I’m somewhere in between both shades, so I plan on using Cocoa during the summer when I’m naturally a little more tan, and Tinte during my more sun-deprived months. 
Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa
Swatch party with Drunk Elephant sunscreens (from top to bottom: Umbra Cocoa, Umbra Tinte, and Umbra Sheer).
In addition to the shade extension, Drunk Elephant has revamped Umbra to include more good-for-your-skin ingredients, including astaxanthin (a seaweed-derived antioxidant), vitamin C, ubiquinone (also known as coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10, a naturally occurring biochemical cofactor that also provides antioxidant benefits to the skin) and green tea seed oil. 
I tried Drunk Elephant’s OG sunscreens around the time they first debuted, and while not terrible by any means, they truthfully, weren’t my favorite. I found the texture a little heavy for my oily, then-extremely acne-prone skin, and it had the tendency to separate when left unused for a while. The reformulated Umbras, in comparison, couldn’t be more different — and in the best way possible. The shades are warm and luminous, with no chalky cast in sight, and the lotion itself is uniform and disappears into skin. At $36 for a two-ounce tube, it is an expensive formula, but one that I lowkey think is worth the price: It’s great for both face and body — the tinted shades make my legs look like a supermodel’s, just saying — and it has a sophisticated, luminous finish that isn’t shimmery. Take it from this non-Sephora tween: If you’re going to splurge on a luxury sunscreen that keeps you glowy and protected this summer, make it this one.

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