If you’ve been around the cosmeceutical (that’s cosmetics/skincare with a pharmaceutical mentality) world for the past few years, you’ve likely heard of Skinceuticals’ C E Ferulic serum. Newer to the game is Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma serum, which leaves a girl to ask – who does it better?
A little background.
Skinceuticals, a subsidiary under the L’Oréal parent company, was one of the first to bring skincare + science to the masses and in ’94 brought their revolutionary skincare technology closer to the consumer by partnering with physicians to bring medical-grade ingredients to those like you and me. Launched around 2012, the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic was a serum ahead of it’s time, incorporating proven and new ingredients with promising results. It boasts winning 24 beauty awards and quickly grew to beauty care cult status…for those who could afford it.
New to the skin care game and bringing with it a loud voice and a big stick, Drunk Elephant has exploded in the industry and quickly gained loyal followers. Created by Tiffany Masterson and based off the promise of effective products that leave behind the known irritation triggers, Drunk Elephant’s unique ingredients (including it’s signature Marula oil) are both high-grade and effective while leaving those who are a bit more cause or source-conscious like a happy pachyderm.
A lone star for many years, Skinceuticals C E Ferulic continues to grow in popularity but people can’t help but wonder if the Drunk Elephant C-Firma is a true dupe (meaning duplicate) for the high-end serum and half the cost.
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic
- Cost: $165 USD
- Size: 1 oz.
- Packaging: No frills dark glass bottle with a dropper. It’s straight forward and looks clean + clinical
- Application: 3-4 drops to face and neck. Smells like typical vitamin C and ferulic acid – like hotdogs.
- Consistency: very watery and clear
- 15% pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) provides visible anti-aging benefits, brightens skin and helps protect against oxidative stress
- 1% vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) neutralizes free radicals and replenishes lipids
- 0.5% ferulic acid enhances the antioxidant benefits of vitamins C
- Shows improvement in the appearance of lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness and brightening your complexion
- This vitamin C serum remains effective for a minimum of 72 hours
- Evens skin tone and diminishes discoloration
- The pH of the SkinCeuticals is patented, so no other product on the market has a pH between 2.5 and 3.0. This is what keeps other companies from copying their serum verbatim.
Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Ascorbic Acid, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Laureth-23, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol, Triethanolamine, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate
Drunk Elephant C-Firma
- Cost: $80 USD
- Size: 1 oz
- Packaging: Opaque plastic pump with a twist top. It’s bright and fun with a pop of orange on top of it’s oatmeal-colored earthy beige, and highlights it’s signature elephant logo
- Application: 3-4 pumps for face and neck. Newer versions have toned down the smell to be more earthy vs. hotdogs
- Consistency: orange and a watery, viscous gel-like formulation.
- Potent Antioxidant Complex (L-Ascorbic Acid 15%, Ferulic Acid, Vitamin E 1%): Works to firm and brighten the look and feel of skin while defending against the signs of photo aging, pollution, and other environmental stressors
- Chronocyclin: An antiaging chronopeptide that provides the antioxidant benefits of vitamin D to skin.
- Pumpkin Ferment Extract and Pomegranate Enzyme: Work to enzymatically digest surface dead skin cells.
- Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer: Hydrates and plumps the appearance of fine lines while acting as a free-radical scavenger.
- Has a pH level of 3.3 to 3.5, which Drunk Elephant believes is the key to a non-irritating, clinically-effective formulation that delivers real results
*Duplicated ingredients from Skinceuticals are in orange
Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Ascorbic Acid, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Tocopherol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Acetyl Glucosamine, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Glutamylamidoethyl Imidazole, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Glycine, Sucrose, Maltodextrin, Propanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 60.
And the winner is
I have been a Drunk Elephant fan-girl since this product came out, and have turned my nose up at purchasing something twice the price. Especially since Drunk Elephant has produced results and has lots of great ingredients.
It was only after I received a great promotion on Skinceuticals that I decided to give it a go and I have to say that for my acne-prone skin, it is the winner.
Why you ask?
Skinceuticals had the least amount of ingredients, which my finicky skin appreciated. It was not greasy and sunk in quickly. The smell, although not my favorite, comes with the territory of medical-grade ingredients. It seemed to perform the best on me by showing results and keeping my skin clear.
Although Drunk Elephant has a lot of great antioxidants and moisturizers in their product, the reason this doesn’t win overall is that my skin just does not do well with oils. It performed on me, but it caused me to have clogged pores (which are already craters) continuously due to the Marula oil. It also had a tendency to oxidize a bit at times and show a bit of an orangeish hue which could cause issues for the very fair skinned. It does excel in engaging packaging and providing additional benefits with more antioxidants. Also, THAT PRICE. You can’t argue with that.
So when it comes to the question on if C-Firma is a complete dupe, I have to say no. However, I can’t say I don’t struggle with the price of Skinceuticals, and if I ran out and there wasn’t a sale, I’d be OK with DE. Drunk Elephant still performs really well and those that have dry skin or aren’t prone to clogging may really dig this one.
Have you tried either? Do you agree? Drop us a line in the comments.