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We're positive you've heard of Drunk Elephant and Sundary Riley before; particularly their wide range of cult-favorite serums at the very least. But which one should you choose?

Today, we will be comparing Drunk Elephant vs Sunday Riley to help you figure out which brand better suits you and your skin!

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Skip to "Serums" section

> Facial Oil comparison

> Vitamin C comparison

> Retinol comparison

> Glycolic/Lactic Acid comparison

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About the brands

Before we dive into the side-by-side product comparisons, let's find out a little more about the brands themselves.

Drunk Elephant

Biocompatible Skincare is founded on the Drunk Elephant myth, which tells of how elephants love to eat the fruit that has fallen from Marula trees and the natural alcohol content from the fermented marula fruit gets the elephants drunk. You will find Marula Oil in most Drunk Elephant products, including the cult favorite Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil.

Drunk Elephant was created to provide a skincare line that avoids the suspicious six ingredients known to irritate sensitive skin, including:

  • Essential oils
  • Drying alcohols
  • Silicones
  • Chemical Sunscreens
  • Fragrances/Dyes
  • SLS

According to Drunk Elephant, “there are six culprits that are at the root of almost all skin problems. If you take a break from the Suspicious 6, your skin can reset to its happiest, healthiest state.”

In 2019, Drunk Elephant was acquired by Shiseido for a staggering $845 million and the name frequently makes the top-10 skincare best-sellers list at Sephora.

Find the best Drunk Elephant prices on Amazon

Sunday Riley

Consistently a best seller at Sephora, Sunday Riley has been a skincare line with a loyal following since it appeared on the scene with luxury packaging and scientifically backed formulas. If you are unfamiliar with the brands incredible reputation, here are just a few of the reasons why consumers shop Sunday Riley:

  • Green Lab Certified
  • Clinically proven ingredients blended with balancing botanicals
  • Clean formulas
  • Produced in small batches
  • Flower and plant extracts and oils, instead of artificial fragrances

Sunday Riley is a B Corp Certified company. It has passed strict standards for sustainability and equality, ensuring that the production and manufacturing of its skincare products do not harm the planet. Furthermore, Sunday Riley is a women-owned and women-founded company.

Each product is formulated with its signature Green Technology which uses gentle chemical-free ingredients to replace synthetic and mineral oils. If you are searching for a vegan skincare line, Sunday Riley offers a mostly vegan range. All products are 100% vegetarian, and only a few products contain honey or beeswax.

Find the best Sunday Riley prices on Amazon

Drunk Elephant vs Sunday Riley Serums

When it comes to attaining that coveted, radiant glow, active ingredients are key. In this section, we'll be comparing some of Drunk Elephant's and Sunday Riley's best-selling treatments packed with premium active ingredients, side-by-side.

Facial Oil comparison

Let's begin by comparing two of the most popular Facial Oils side-by-side; Sunday Riley Juno Facial Oil vs Drunk Elephant Marula Oil.

Drunk Elephant Marula oil is a single ingredient formula derived from 100% Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil (Marula oil). Free of essential oils, silicones, and fragrance, the Drunk Elephant Marula Luxury Facial Oil is suitable for sensitive skin and acne-prone skin types.

Packed with vitamin C and vitamin E, Marula oil is fantastic at locking in moisture, softening the skin, and keeping it hydrated throughout the day. In addition, Marula oil works wonders for oily skin because it is non-greasy and fast-absorbing.

Sunday Riley Juno is a luxurious face oil that gives an instant glow to your skin thanks to the blend of unique superfood seed oils. You won’t believe how much Sunday Riley has packed into this one bottle!

Formulated with 100% plant extracts, there is no need for synthetic fragrance or essential oils meaning it is suitable for even the most sensitive skin types. In addition, this face oil is vegan and free from gluten, soy, sulfate, and preservatives.

So, exactly what superfoods are in the Juno Antioxidant & Superfood Face Oil?

  • Blackberry Seed Oil (antioxidant vitamin C)
  • Blueberry Seed Oil (Vitamin E, Omega 3’s)
  • Cranberry Seed Oil (Omega 3-6-9)
  • Red Raspberry Seed Oil (Omega 3 & 6)
  • Black Cumin Seed Oil (helps congested skin)
  • Wild Carrot Seed Oil (improves complexion)
  • Broccoli Seed Oil (Vitamin A & Omega 9)

With both on offer for around the same price, and with both offering equally luxurious benefits, they make for a very tough choice. For us, though, the Sunday Riley Juno Antioxidant & Superfood Face Oil just about clinches our vote, primarily due to its slightly wider range of benefits (as well as the crazy number of rave reviews it has that simply can't be ignored).

Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil by Drunk Elephant, nourishes and balances while restoring a youthful glow.

Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil by Drunk Elephant

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Nourishes and balances while restoring a youthful glow.

What makes it special? Straight from the pip of the marula fruit, Drunk Elephant's pure, unrefined oil is virtually untouched by any chemical or fragrance, natural or synthetic. This super-absorbable oil will quickly sink in and diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Appropriate for all skin, including the most sensitive. This marula oil contains greater concentrations of polyphenols than dark chocolate or green or black teas, which means a powerful antioxidant defense against pollution and damaging environmental free radicals.

Which skin types? For all skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

Juno Antioxidant & Superfood Face Oil by Sunday Riley, restore a healthy-looking radiance immediately.

Juno Antioxidant & Superfood Face Oil by Sunday Riley

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Restore a healthy-looking radiance immediately.

What makes it special? An obsession-worthy face oil, Juno gives an instant glow to dehydrated skin by restoring and rehydrating the skin’s natural moisture barrier with a blend of organic, cold-pressed, antioxidant-rich, superfood seed oils. Healthy-looking radiance is immediately restored, as the skin is fortified with critical antioxidants, vitamins, essential amino acids, Omegas 3-6-9, and skin soothing botanicals.

Which skin types? For all skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

Vitamin C Serum comparison

Vitamin C helps with collagen production, treats hyperpigmentation, hydrates the skin, reduces redness, smoothes the complexion, and reduces the appearance of fine lines. In addition, vitamin C can dramatically improve skin texture with consistent use and offer a healthy glow that will have you going make-up free!

Two of the best vitamin C serums available on the market are Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum vs Sunday Riley CEO.

The Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum is possibly the most exciting Vitamin C formula you can find as it has been packaged and designed to be mixed at home by you! Yes, you read that correctly - you have to mix the formula before its first use; this keeps the ingredients fresh and powerful.

It contains 15% l-ascorbic acid, 0.5% ferulic acid, and 1% vitamin E. Together, these ingredients, along with pumpkin ferment extract will gently dissolve dead skin cells and exfoliate the skin. The result is a radiant and healthy glow.

What else makes this Vitamin C serum so effective?

  • Pumpkin Ferment Extract (exfoliation)
  • Pomegranate Extract (exfoliation)
  • Chronocyclin (Vitamin D)
  • Grape Juice Extract (antioxidants)
  • Indian Gooseberry (antioxidants)

Drunk Elephant recommends wearing this serum under your daily SPF. This serum is free from essential oils, silicones, colorants, and fragrance, plus it is 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

The Sunday Riley CEO 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum uses a form of Vitamin C called Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate or THD ascorbate. This formula rapidly absorbs into the skin, ensuring it won’t feel heavy or greasy throughout the day. There are a number of benefits that you can expect when adding this serum into your daily routine such as the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, a reduction in dark spots, plus an overall brightening and firming of the skin.

The good news is that the C.E.O serum is free from sulfates, parabens, gluten, soy, and fragrance so it is ideal for sensitive skin. Apply this serum each morning before your SPF or in the evening so you can wake up with that fresh glow. In addition to Vitamin C, Sunday Riley have also included 3 key ingredients:

  • Phytosterols Complex (reduce redness and skin sensitivity)
  • Saccharide Isomerate Extract (reduces the appearance of pores)
  • Glycolic Acid (AHA that helps smooth out the skin texture)

Drunk Elephant's vitamin C serum gets a bad rap because of its DIY nature (i.e. having to mix the ingredients for yourself doesn't exactly match the luxurious expectations that come with the price). It's not bad per se, in fact it's really very good once you get used to the process, but for around the same price we much prefer Sunday Riley's CEO serum, and consumers seem to agree with us judging from consumer reviews.

C-Firma Fresh Day Serum by Drunk Elephant, a super-potent 15% vitamin C day serum.

C-Firma Fresh Day Serum by Drunk Elephant

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A super-potent 15% vitamin C day serum.

What makes it special? C-Firma™ Fresh Day Serum is designed to be mixed by you before its first use, which maximizes the potency of its delicate (but powerful) ingredients while keeping the formula fresh. This revolutionary vitamin C serum is packed with a powerful antioxidant complex of 15% l-ascorbic acid, 0.5% ferulic acid, and 1% vitamin E to reveal a brighter, firmer, and more even-looking complexion. The result is a noticeably diminished appearance of signs of aging and photodamage—replaced by incredible radiance and luminosity.

Which skin types? For all skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

CEO 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum by Sunday Riley, targeted to quickly fight the look of dullness, dark spots, and discoloration.

CEO 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum by Sunday Riley

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Targeted to quickly fight the look of dullness, dark spots, and discoloration.

What makes it special? This hydrating antioxidant formula instantly illuminates the complexion with bright radiance, while phytosterols help to reduce the signs of skin sensitivity. Saccharide Isomerate extract diminishes the appearance of pores and reinforces the skin’s moisture barrier for a skin-smoothing glow. Rapidly brighten the appearance of the skin and boost vital skin bounce, in a flash!

Which skin types? For all skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

Retinol comparison

Retinol comes from two sources; animal sources called retinoids and carotenoids from plants. A range of prescription medications used to treat various skin conditions, including acne, contain retinoids (synthetic Vitamin A) such as Isotretinoin (Accutane). Vitamin A supplements are also available over the counter.

Retinol is, in fact, an antioxidant that encourages the skin to produce collagen. As a cosmetic ingredient, Retinol (Vitamin A) will be found in the ingredient list as retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, or retinaldehyde.

Retinol is typically found in a range of acne/blemish-prone or anti-aging products in skincare. Retinol works to treat both of these conditions by increasing cell renewal and exfoliating the skin. In addition, Retinol can be used to treat age spots, soften rough patches, reduce blemishes, and stimulate the production of new blood vessels in the skin.

Let's compare two of the most popular retinol products side-by-side; Drunk Elephant Retinol vs Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum.

Vegan retinol is here to stay and this one is going to be worth a moment of your time. Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol is 100% plant-based with rich, superfood ingredients that will leave your skin feeling incredibly soft and renewed. This serum contains 1.0% Retinol which works by fighting the damage from external environemtal factors such as pollution or UV rays.

A-Passioni retinol contains a triple peptide blend to compliment the retinol, plus the addition of xanthophylls, a carotenoid that helps defend against electronic-device-emitted energy also known as blue light. And that’s not all, you will also find kale leaf extract, passionfruit, apricot, apple, jojoba oil, and the brands signature Virgin Marula oil.

The Sunday Riley retinoid serum doesnt mess around. With a high dose retinol, it will be sure to provide lasting results. If you are new to Retinol in your beauty routine, however, this is probably not the first product we would recommend.

That said, if you are looking for a high-quality advanced serum then take a look at the Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum. It contains a 6.5% solution of retinoid blends combined with 5% retinoid ester, 1% liposomal-encapsulated retinol and 0.5% blue-green algae all of which work to improve the appearance of the skin.

Sunday Riley have also add encapsulated CoQ10, Hawaiian white honey, bisabolol, cactus extract, and ginger to balance the complexion. The formula is vegan, sulfate-free, paraben-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and fragrance-free.

Honestly, unlike the other comparisons in this article, it's impossible to split these two apart by any metric or quality. Both options offer the same high standard of quality and the same jaw-dropping results, so feel free to pick whichever takes your fancy.

A-Passioni Retinol by Drunk Elephant, like a reboot of your skin back to its healthiest, most youthful state.

A-Passioni Retinol by Drunk Elephant

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Like a reboot of your skin back to its healthiest, most youthful state.

What makes it special? Retinol and supportive peptides restore bounce, resilience, and a brighter clarity to skin while helping to even skin tone and texture—without the associated redness and irritation. Vitamin F and a blend of comforting passionfruit, apricot, marula, and jojoba oils replenish essential lipids and moisture, while antioxidant-packed kale, winter cherry, and xanthophylls help defend against environmental stressors.

Which skin types? For all skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum by Sunday Riley, an advanced-strength retinoid serum.

A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum by Sunday Riley

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

An advanced-strength retinoid serum.

What makes it special? Combining 5% retinoid ester blend, 1% liposomal-encapsulated retinol blend, and 0.5% blue-green algae with natural, retinoid-alternative activity, this serum fights the signs of aging and improves the look of congested and UV damaged skin. Encapsulated CoQ10 helps to improve the appearance of aging or damaged skin, while rare, Hawaiian white honey, bisabolol, cactus extract, and ginger balance and soothe the skin for the appearance of a calmer, even-toned complexion.

Which skin types? For all skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

AHA Serum comparison

AHAs such as Lactic acid and Glycolic acid work to boost the skin's renewal process and improve skin texture. The result is brighter, softer, glowing skin that is achieved through gentle exfoliation.

Lactic acid can cause further irritation and redness even though it is considered to be gentler than Glycolic acid; too much of anything is never a good idea. Be sure to follow the product’s instructions and don’t exceed the recommended daily use.

With the right strength and other active ingredients, Lactic acid and Glycolic acid can treat acne, psoriasis, eczema, and moderate skin conditions. However, if you suffer from sensitive or hyper-reactive skin, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist before introducing acids into your skincare routine.

Let's compare two of the most popular AHA products side-by-side; Drunk Elephant Framboos Glycolic Night Serum vs Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment.

Combining a blend of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic acids the T.L.C Framboos works to deliver a chemical exfoliation and repair a dull, damaged complexion. With the addition of raspberry extract and horse chestnut, the results are visible overnight.

Start by applying the product in the evening to the desired area and let the ingredients do the rest of the work. It is recommended that SPF is worn throughout the day when using a chemical exfoliant as your skin may be more sensitive to the sun.

This night serum is designed to gently exfoliate the skin as you sleep without the irritation and sensitivity that chemical exfoliants are known for.

The Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment by Sunday Riley will exfoliate the skin’s surface while reducing dark spots, the appearance of fine lines, reducing blemishes, and improving skin tone. This is a beautiful multitasking treatment that can unclog blocked pores, clarify, and clear the skin with lactic acid exfoliation. The treatment takes just 3 minutes to work and will leave your skin feeling brand new.

Even better, the treatment is suitable for sensitive skin and is formulated without harsh chemicals, preservatives, or fragrance. In addition, it is vegan and cruelty-free, making it an ideal choice if you search for effective lactic acid treatments.

TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum by Drunk Elephant, a high-tech AHA/BHA gel that resurfaces dull, congested skin.

TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum by Drunk Elephant

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A high-tech AHA/BHA gel that resurfaces dull, congested skin.

What makes it special? Formulated with the dream team of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic acids and blended with raspberry extract and horse chestnut, TLC Framboos curbs excess oiliness as it reveals greater clarity and luminosity. It also enhances the performance of other products by clearing the way for maximum absorption. TLC Framboos sinks in easily and delivers an effective level of chemical exfoliation without harsh side effects, like dryness or sensitization. Go from a drab complexion to an absolutely luminous one, practically overnight.

Which skin types? For all skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment by Sunday Riley, deeply exfoliates the dull surface of the skin for instant glow and radiance.

Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment by Sunday Riley

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Deeply exfoliates the dull surface of the skin for instant glow and radiance.

What makes it special? Multi-tasking, targeted lactic acid treatment rapidly exfoliates and boosts naturally youthful radiance, while visibly reducing the look of lines, wrinkles and dark spots. High potency, purified grade lactic acid exfoliates dull, pore-clogging dead skin cells, to instantly clarify and reveal smoother, clearer skin. Together with skin brightening licorice, this super-concentrated treatment visually reduces the look of dark spots and discoloration caused by exposure to the sun, for naturally brighter, even-toned skin.

Which skin types? For all skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

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