Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream Review

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream

I have been using the new Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream for a few weeks now, and while it is too soon to write a proper review, I have had a lot of interest and questions on IG about it so I thought I would do a sort of First Impressions post. That way anyone interested in purchasing or learning more about DE’s new product can arm themselves with a little more info before making a big purchase like Protini..because it isn’t cheap!

What is Protini?

“A breakthrough protein moisturizer that combines an unprecedented array and concentration of actives for improvement in the appearance of skin’s tone, texture, and firmness.” Protini is housed in an innovative, air tight pump style jar that dispenses the perfect amount of product for face and neck. It contains 50 mL of product and costs $68 USD. I believe the only retailers to carry the new product right now are Sephora and the Drunk Elephant website. I have heard rumors that DE will be sold soon overseas at SpaceNK, but I cannot confirm that for sure! That sure would be exciting!

Protini is a powerhouse, water-based moisturizer that packs a punch and combats signs of sun damage, loss of hydration, fine lines and wrinkles and strengthens the skin barrier. It is a moisturizer that goes beyond just moisturizing your skin for anyone who wants to step up their skincare game!

Skincare Routine using Drunk Elephant's new Protini Polypeptide Cream
Acid/Retinol Night! Jordan Samuel Skin Balm, Biossance Cleansing Oil, Naturallogic Mist & Peptide Serum, The Ordinary Buffet, AnteAge GF Serum, Protini, then SkinBetter Intensive AlphaRet Treatment.

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream


The Ingredients

Protini is an innovative formula that has a very interesting backstory. Made as a punch of protein for your face, much like you would add protein powder to your smoothie! The lovely gel-cream texture of Protini contains 9 Signal Peptide Complex. In short it is a collection of nine peptide complexes, which each have their own specific function. Several of these peptides are synthetic growth factors that can increase the production of collagen, support collagen production, decrease fine lines and wrinkles, even out skin tone, and increase the rate of skin healing and renewal. In time these peptides work to make skin stronger, more resilient, replenish hydration levels, calm any sensitization, and allow a greater delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the extracellular matrix that surround cells. In my experience with growth factor serums (non-synthetic) they are very pricey and consistency is key, but I have garnered very promising results.

Drunk Elephant lists Pygmy Waterlily Extract (Nymphaea Alba Root Extract) as one of its main ingredients to smooth, calm, and replenish skin. This plant extract was previously used to treat boils, inflammations, tumors, and ulcers. ¹ It certainly is a powerful antioxidant with hydrating properties and a welcome addition to the formula, but definitely not all Protini has going for it! Another excellent addition is Folic Acid derived from Soybean Extract. Folic Acid, Vitamin B9, I have read multiple (non-scientific) articles stating the benefits of this ingredient such as improving firmness of skin, which is exactly what DE claims. Soybean itself is said to help with uneven skin texture and overall skin aging.

Protini also includes a whole host of amino acids, Serine, Arginine, Glycine, Proline, to name a few. What is intriguing to me about this is when several amino acids are present in a formulation, the texture tends to be heavier than Protini. Think Stratia Liquid Gold or Paula’s Choice Omega + ComplexThe fact that Drunk Elephant included all of these amazing amino acids to restore and fortify the skin barrier while maintaining the light texture, is incredible!

An ingredient that Drunk Elephant doesn’t highlight but is included pretty high on the inci list is their famous Marula Oil. (The 7th ingredient) I have tried many times to see if I could feel the oil in the formulation, but I cannot. As many lovers of Drunk Elephant may know the benefits of Marula oil are plenty. Marula is high in Omegas 6 & 9, flavonoids, and Vitamin E that restore skin’s younger, elastic bounce and glow.  I am happy Marula is included, and it makes a lovely emulsion leaving no greasy feeling on skin at all.

Full Ingredients List: Water/Aqua/Eau, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Bacillus/Soybean/ Folic Acid Ferment Extract, Nymphaea Alba Root Extract, sh-Oligopeptide-1, sh-Oligopeptide-2, sh-Polypeptide-1, sh-Polypeptide-9, sh-Polypeptide-11, Copper Palmitoyl Heptapeptide-14, Heptapeptide-15 Palmitate, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Alanine, Arginine, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Valine, Acetyl Glutamine, Coconut Alkanes, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Aspartic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Lecithin, Butylene Glycol, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Sodium Lactate, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sorbitan Isostearate, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 60, Lactic Acid/Glycolic Acid Copolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Isomalt, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol, Sodium Benzoate, Phenylpropanol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Symphytum Officinale Callus Culture Extract

Texture of Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream

The Texture

The attribute I find so compelling about Protini is its light, gelatinous texture that can literally be used for all skin types. It is light, and oh so refreshing. It can be layered if your skin needs more hydration, and does layer beautifully with other serums and treatments. However if you like your moisturizer light, especially if you have oily or combo skin, you will definitely appreciate Protini’s weightless texture, for day or night. If you have tried the TATCHA The Water Creamthe texture is very similar. Of course they are completely different ingredient wise and The Water Cream is less hydrating, however the texture is similar.

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream vs. Lala Retro Whipped Cream

Comparison to Lala

In comparison to Drunk Elephant’s other moisturizer, Protini is day and Lala is night. Quite literally. I personally can only use Lala at night because it is too much hydration for my combo skin during the day, even during these dry, cold Winter months. Protini layers perfectly under my makeup whereas I could never use Lala under foundation or I would be a shiny mess mid day! I have read a lot of people cannot use Lala during the day, or at all, because it is too rich and emollient. If that is the case for you, Protini should definitely be considered!

Lala Retro Whipped Cream is a lovely moisturizer that is better suited for normal to dry skin types. It is a thicker cream that is more emollient with six “rare African oils.” It doesn’t feel particularly greasy to me, but there is a residue left on skin after application and it is heavier than Protini.

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream vs. Lala Retro Whipped Cream
Drunk Elephant Protini (Left) vs. Lala (Right)
Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream vs. Lala Retro Whipped Cream
Drunk Elephant Protini (Left) vs. Lala (Right)

My Experience with Protini

My entire family, including eventually me, was battling “the plague” for literally two very long weeks. I was taking care of sick kids, battling the very cold temperatures here in Oklahoma, and trying to feel better myself for the entire first half of January! I didn’t have the will (or want) to perform my sometimes extensive skincare routines every night. Some days I didn’t even perform my morning routine…at all. I know, I know. You would think my skin would be suffering from the lack of care, but it’s not. Thanks to Protini and my beloved Paula’s Choice 4% BHA that keeps my pores looking exactly how I like them…teeny tiny!(Read my review here.) My skin felt smooth, looked glowing and healthy even though I felt like absolute s**t. Like I had really put in a lot of effort. Systematically applying a 12 step skincare routine every night, but I hadn’t!

Most routines during this time were minimal products with often only one cleanse at night, a facial mist, hyaluronic acid serum and Protini. I cannot even tell you how amazingly refreshing it was to apply Protini during this time period, I would look forward to the next application. At this point in my skincare journey I have tried so many amazing, new products that it takes a lot for me to rant and rave about a new release. Most products I trial have similar products that I can make recommendations for, but there honestly is nothing I have tried this far that is similar in texture and ingredients to Protini and I cannot sing its praises loud enough!

February 12, 2018- Since I originally posted this review I have had more time to play with this new product…and fall in love! It is everything I need for daytime and a great addition to my nighttime treatments. The most outstanding, but not the only, benefit I have noticed thus far is its calming and soothing properties. I had a minor skin reaction to a new product that caused some swelling and itchy, red patches on my face and neck. Once this started I reached for products that are gentle and effective. This was one of those products. It made my irritated skin feel like it was covered in a soothing blanket. I feel like alongside Bioderma Matricium, Protini helped my skin recover faster.

I also love using this cream before any type of Retinol treatment. I have been loving the SkinBetter Intensive AlphaRet Overnight Treatment which contains 1% Retinol, 18% Glycolic Acid and 5% Lactic Acid. A real heavy hitter! However AlphaRet isn’t very hydrating. I have been using Protini before applying AlphaRet with excellent results. My skin is definitely more plump and hydrated the next morning when I use Protini versus whenever I use AlphaRet alone.  I think Protini is an excellent formula that makes my skin hydrated, smooth and glowing. I have no regrets adding it to my collection and would recommend it for all skin types. I also feel like this needs to be said: it does not clog pores. Yay!

Another note. The pump style packaging has been a real joy to use. I wish all jars had these type of pumps! I use one pump and it is enough to cover my entire face and neck. The formula has really nice slip that is easily spread. Also whenever I had that lovely rash I would reapply Protini sometimes during the day, just to patches of my neck. It was also easy to dispense only half a pump instead of a whole pump and waste product. Job well done, Drunk Elephant!

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream


Am I Too Young for this product?!

A comment I read quite frequently, especially when it comes to peptides is that ‘anti-aging isn’t really my concern, am I too young to use a product like this?’ My personal theory, which every skincare decision we make for ourselves is very personal, is that when it comes to overall skin health it is never too young to start! Obviously it depends on which ingredient we are talking about, but with something such as peptides, they are for long term skin health. If you are 21 you may not see dramatic results like someone in their 30s, but my personal two cents is that you are extending that youthful skin by caring for it early. I had a few comments when I started using Retinol at 28, but I didn’t let it get to me and honestly my skin is in a better place at 33 then when I was 18! So, you do you!

Using Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream, a skincare routine


My suggestion to anyone interested in Protini, definitely try it out! Sephora will make you a sample if you go in store. It is definitely worth consideration if you are looking for a lightweight moisturizer that packs a punch! I told myself that Protini would be my new daytime moisturizer, but I can’t stop using it at night also. I am really glad that I added Protini to my skincare arsenal and will update everyone after I have used it for a while longer about the longer term benefits. Thank you for reading. Hope everyone has a happy, glowing day!

Until Next Time,







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**I purchased the product myself, however this post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase via one of my links, at no additional cost to you, I am very grateful! My opinions, experiences and review of the product are completely unbiased and unrelated to any affiliate relationship that I have. Thank you for your support!
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