She's so Cult

15 minutes with Drunk Elephant’s founder, Tiffany Masterson

Tiffany Masterson’s brand was borne out of her own beauty bugbears. A lot like Cult Beauty’s co-founders – Alexia and Jessica – both of whom felt disillusioned by the host of hollow promises and disappointing products, Tiffany started {Drunk Elephant} after becoming bewildered by potions that promised the earth and then failed to deliver. Oozing warmth and loveliness, we caught up with the brains behind the industry’s bestselling brand… prepare to fall totally #DrunkInLove

{Cult Beauty} Hey Tiffany! First thing’s first, the name is adorable (plus, a little bit… bonkers?). For those who haven’t heard the famous fable, can you share the hilarious tale that inspired the title?

{Tiffany Masterson} Well, when I was first experimenting with ingredients I fell head-over-heels for marula oil – it absorbed really easily and made my skin feel great so, in an effort to learn more it I ‘Googled’ the term “marula” and discovered a video showing some elephants seemingly drunk from devouring fallen marula fruit. It’s adorable footage and felt like a welcome relief from the seriousness that surround high-end skin care. When {Drunk Elephant} entered my head I just knew it felt ‘right’. It’s very much representative of my personality.

{CB} The range is also infinitely ‘Instagrammable’. Did you know from the start how you wanted the products to look?

{TM} Yes, just like my dream house if I could have afforded it. White and clean with bright, happy pops of colour.

{CB} Everything’s ‘biocompatible’. Could you talk us through what the term means?

{TM} It’s actually pretty self-explanatory… we use biocompatible actives – a mix of synthetics and plant-derived extracts – that skin recognises and knows what to do with. It’s all very well being ‘clean’ but your skin has to utilise what you put on it – otherwise, what’s the point?

“We all have livers, lungs, hearts and kidneys and we all know that when we put healthy, safe ingredients in our bodies that those organs will function as they should and it’s no different with out largest organ, the skin.”

{CB} You’re a little allergic to ‘skin types’ – talk us through your ‘skin is skin’ philosophy?

{TM} Well, skin is skin. When I say I don’t believe in skin ‘types’, I’m referring to the ‘types’ that have been created by the disruptive ingredients that are in almost every product on the market today. I call these ingredients the ‘Suspicious 6’ because I strongly suspect that they are at the root of almost every skin issue I know of. I call skin ‘types’ (oily, combination, sensitive, acne-prone etc.) skin ‘behaviours’ because they are something we can fix very easily by eliminating bad ingredients from our routines.

{CB} Your Desert Island product?

{TM} {The Littles} of course! It’s the whole routine in one cute little day-to-night bag.

{CB} You’re famed for making ‘mixing’ the new ‘layering’. What’s your favourite Drunk Elephant smoothie (Tiffany’s term for a cocktail of products)?

{TM} Oh, I love them all! When you only formulate with biocompatible ingredients (NO silicones, heavy oils and waxes) then you know the formulations can be mixed (and that they’ll benefit the skin). This eliminates the need to layer, allow to dry, wait… which frankly, nobody has time to do. I do love the {C-Firma}, {B-Hydra} and {D-Bronzi} in the morning – it wakes up my face, even before I have my coffee!

{CB} For those who’re brand new to the range, what’s the product guaranteed to trigger an addiction?

{TM} I think it’s my philosophy that triggers the addiction really. Once you feel and see your skin after using only ‘Suspicious 6-free’ products that have great, nourishing ingredients, there is NO going back.

{CB} And what’s on your ‘blue sky’ Drunk Elephant wishlist? Is there a product that you dream of formulating?

{TM} I always dreamed of doing {Drunk Elephant} top-to-toe so I could live my life by my skin care principles and… that box was recently ticked!

{CB} The best piece of skin care wisdom you’ve ever been given?

{TM} Skip the foundation. My mom never allowed me to wear it when I was growing up and I believe that’s a big part of why I never had to.

{CB} And finally, is there a motto or a mantra that you always strive to live be? Which ‘life lesson’ are you always passing on?

{TM} Use your manners, tell the truth, be kind, own your mistakes, put yourself in other’s shoes and always, always leave things better than you found them.

Thank you so much Tiffany!


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Verity is our Content Editor and a Cult Beauty veteran. Currently on maternity leave, raising Cult Beauty’s honorary ‘word nerd’, Tabitha, she speaks fluent ‘beauty’ and loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm (and cleanser and candles… ad infinitum). Nothing can stop her from quoting Nancy Mitford, treating herself to yet another Bella Freud candle for her desk or buying that pilgrim-esque collared or heavily fringed outfit she’s been eyeing. You can trust her to debunk widespread beauty myths and dispense invaluable advice with ease…