We're positive you've heard of Paula's Choice and Drunk Elephant before; maybe you've even been eyeing up their best-selling vitamin C serums recently (I know I have!). But which one should you choose?
Today, we will be comparing Paula's Choice vs Drunk Elephant to help you figure out which brand better suits you and your skin!
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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.
Smart, safe beauty; this is the philosophy behind Paula’s Choice. The ingredients need to be good for the skin with no exceptions and the products are to be backed by science. The company has been on the beauty scene since 1995 when Paula Begoun, the company Founder launched the skincare line in Seattle USA.
Paula’s Choice skincare products are verified by extensive research. Each product is formulated with active ingredients that have proven results. In addition, all products are tested to ensure they are non-irritating and fragrance-free.
If you are worried about the ingredients in your skincare range, which may be harmful to your health or the environment, Paula’s Choice products are free from a number of ingredients including but not limited to abrasive particles, alcohol, essential oils, nanoparticles, fragrant plant extracts, talc, synthetic dyes, and synthetic fragrance.
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
- Chemical Sunscreens
Paula's Choice vs Drunk Elephant Serum
Vitamin C helps with collagen production, treats hyperpigmentation, hydrates the skin, reduces redness, smoothes the complexion, and reduces the appearance of fine lines. With consistent use, Vitamin C can dramatically improve skin texture and offer a healthy glow that will have you going make-up free!
The skin is a multi-functional organ and is the body’s first line of defense for the environment. The skin is subjected to much more than we give it credit for, and as a result often shows the first signs of aging and sun damage. Vitamin C can help to reduce the damage we take from external elements.
Give skin a boost with 15% Vitamin C with the Paula’s Choice C15 Booster.
The C15 Booster serum reduces the visible signs of aging, leaving the skin firm, bright, and radiant. With consistent use, stabilized vitamin C has skin-smoothing abilities when combined with vitamin E and ferulic acid. It has a lightweight texture,
- Vitamin C (improves multiple signs of aging)
- Vitamin E (antioxidant-rich & defends skin against UV)
- Ferulic Acid (enhances the vitamin C and E in skincare products)
This serum contains many ingredients, including preservatives acids, that may irritate sensitive skin types. If you try this product and find your skin stings, develops redness or irritation, discontinue use. Paula’s Choice does not test on animals and is PETA + Leaping Bunny Certified.
The Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Day Serum is possibly the most exciting Vitamin C formula you can find as it has been packaged and designed to be mixed together at home by you! Yes, that is true - you have to mix the formula together before its first use, this keeps the ingredients fresh and powerful.
C-Firma Fresh Day Serum 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. If you want to add even more protection, try mixing C-Firma with the A-Passioni for glow-boosting benefits.
This serum is free from essential oils, silicones, colorants, and fragrance plus it is 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Paula’s Choice and Drunk Elephant both offer a powerful Vitamin C serum that works to improve the visible signs of aging.
If you are looking for a cruelty-free, vegan option you can select from either the C15 Booster or the C-Firma, knowing these products are not tested on animals.
In addition, both serums contain Ferulic acid, an antioxidant that boosts the benefits of Vitamin C and helps it to work better. If you prefer a hydrating serum, the Paula's Choice serum contains additional humectants such as glycerin to keep moisture locked in and the skin feeling plump all day long.
Drunk Elephant's serum relies on Marula Oil and additional superfood plant extracts that may not agree with all skin types. So, this may be a matter of trial and error to see which Vitamin C serum your skin loves.
C15 Super Booster by Paula's Choice
Our rating: ★★★★★
A healthy dose of vitamin C for brighter, more radiant skin.
What makes it special? The C15 Super Booster diminishes visible signs of ageing for smoother, brighter, and firmer-feeling skin. The formula contains a blend of 15% stabilised vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid) at a pH of 3.0, potent antioxidants including vitamin E and ferulic acid, and skin-smoothing peptides. Skin is protected from environmental damage and you'll see dramatically younger-looking and more radiant skin day after day.
Which skin types? For all skin types.
C-Firma Fresh Day Serum by Drunk Elephant
Our rating: ★★★★★
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.
This article was originally published on March 7th 2022, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on January 25th 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.
Calum Torrington is the founder of FemmeNordic. He has worked as a beauty editor since 2020 and employs his analytical background in mathematics to thoroughly scrutinize complex INCI lists. Now, he helps over 1 million people per year to find the best beauty products.