TBN: Retinol Edition- Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Review
Never has a retinol product received as much hype as the A-Passioni. But, then again, Drunk Elephant are masters at creating narrative and hype. Take their 'Suspicious Six' manifesto, for example. They do not include certain ingredients in their products because they do not 'feel' they are right for your skin. They promote their line as 'clean' and, implicitly, safer. That is the definition of pseudoscience, where opinion is considered as legitimate as fact. They also marketed this as 'vegan' retinol. Which is like calling a lettuce vegan because all retinol is vegan. When you receive this retinol product, you get a note explaining that Tiffany, the founder, felt that retinol was a 'no' for the skin, that she was 'confused and scared' and thought it was harmful to the skin. Then, she changed her mind. Oy vey. What a mess.
They don't need to do this. Their products are amazing and I found this to be the case with this retinol as well. I tested it nightly for two and a half months and I can safely conclude that this is exceptional, for more reasons than one.
I was fresh off testing Neostrata's retinol which I loved but it was so poweful that I never managed to use it every night. It was very strong but the results were amazing and I had glass skin for the first time. Read the full review here
When I started the Passioni, I didn't like it because it made me purge: 2-3 new, white acne spots every day. This went on for two weeks; as a long-time acne sufferer, I'm always on high alert for an infection. But I stuck with it and the acne cleared completely. At first I also slightly peeled, then that cleared as well, apart from under my eyes. On the second week, my skin could tolerate it every night, something that I never achieved with Neostrata. During the whole duration of use, my skin was drier and not really as glowy as with Neostrata, but stable, calm and predictable. I had recurrent, minimal peeling but a lot less than Neostrata, more manageable. No irritation. This works, absolutely, it's just milder.
It helps with wrinkles, clarity and tightness of skin. I loved the visible results and how it applies: it's a oily ointment that spreads easily. You end up using a lot less product than Neostrata. At the end of testing, I had used only half the 30ml product, wheras Neostrata was completely used up in the same time period. That's good value for money. Whenever I wanted to soothe the peeling, I mixed it with my cream or antiaging serum and it still gave me results but at a slower pace. The only thing I didn't like was that it wrecked my undereyes, suddenly, after 6 weeks. They were very dry and crepey and bounced back the minute I stopped applying Passioni in the general region. Neostrata's retinol made my undereyes peel just like the rest of my face, but never caused an actual problem such as this.
The two most important things to love about this product? Firstly, while it's strong, it shouldn't give you intense peeling or a reaction, your skin is in a very stable state. Secondly, you can regulate its strength according to your needs by mixing it up with another product. This played along wonderfully with anything I threw at it: thick creams, gels, serums, oils, you name it. Below, a characteristic photo of my skin while using the Passioni: less 'glass skin' but more calm and predictable.
The packaging has received a lot of criticism because it's not air-tight. I think that only comes from people who have not used the product. This sort of tube does not allow for air to enter the main body of product inside. If anything, extra product came out if I pressed ever so slightly more, but I never managed to get it back in.
Would I recommend it? Absolutely. It's a potent formula that gives you results without the downside of heavy retinol use. Neostrata gave me glass skin but that came with a recurring cycle of heavy peeling and irritation. This effectively treats signs of aging without the hassle. The third product in this series is the Sunday Riley A+ which I'm currently using, again for 10 weeks. I wonder which of the three I will like more in the end.
The A-Passioni is available to buy here: https://bit.ly/2t6o2P2
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*photo via https://www.cultbeauty.co.uk