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
Key Benefits & Ingredients:
- 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.
Key Benefits & Ingredients:
- 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.
9 thoughts on “ReadHead 2 Head: Skinceuticals C E Ferulic vs. Drunk Elephant C-Firma”
I have tried both. I prefer CE ferulic. I kept the DE packaging, disassembled it, cleaned it, and transferred CE ferulic into it. It’s now the best possible scenario for me… Superior product in a very good pump 🙂
Thanks for your post! And that’s a great idea with the DE packaging. I went without the CE Ferulic for a bit and as soon as I came back my skin was like…”thank you!!”
I love your reusing the DE packaging! I pulled my hair out… to think how did you do that? would you please share? I find it is very hard to disassemble it (?).
Hi, I’d like to try ce ferulic buuuuuut the price is like WoW!!!!!!
You said you got a really good deal,,,,,,,,,how and where can I get a really good deal!!!??!?
I have uneven/dark spots 😦 HeLp!
SKINCEUTICALS PLEASE HELP US LESS FORTUNATES!!!!!!!!!!! 😉
Hi Nina! Thanks for the note. Yes, the price is certainly up there. I found a really good deal because LovelySkin had a great promotion going on at the time. Check them out as they have promotions around the holidays, etc, that really help. I think the highest I’ve seen is maybe 20% off, but every little bit helps 🙂 Thanks for reading!
I have hormonal acne and I am afraid to use anything oily. So, base on your comments I can say Skinceuticals is the best? Please help!!
Hi Paula, hormonal acne is typically cause from below the surface. Products that clog you and cause breakouts are a different type of issue. I would suggest getting a sample of both and seeing which one you like better (especially since the price points are so different). This will allow you to try it out and see what you like best. In general, vitamin C and ferulic acid are a bit oily, so that is to be expected! Let us know how it goes. Good luck!