Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

My most reached for retinols…

Were I to credit a single ingredient for most visibly improving my skin over the years, prescription strength retinol would be it. Tazarotene, to be exact. I first learned about Tazorac from Jean Godfrey-June in her book, ‘Free Gift With Purchase’ circa 2006. Within days, I booked myself a derm visit to score a prescription and I have been raving about it ever since. Eventually two things happened: my insurance no longer covered the potent cream ($300 per tube out of pocket) and a number of brands brought some impressive over the counter options to market.

Today, Drunk Elephant launched A-Passioni Retinol Cream to help us ‘reboot + smooth’ aka recover post holiday debauchery. Using 1% concentration of the key ingredient (which equals to .1% tretinoin more casually referred to as Retin-A), the latest release aims to deliver prescription strength results without causing irritation. If you’ve had experience with Rx only formulas, you will find A-Passioni extremely user friendly in comparison.

What’s in it?

A vegan form of a Vitamin A derivative is the key player here. It works to smooth out the skin’s texture, correct its uneven tone, and deliver overall radiance, which give us that youthful look we’re after. Hugged by a medley or nourishing plant oils such as Maracuja, Avocado, and Jojoba, the active ingredient remains potent and supply nourishment. But wait, there’s more! A triple peptide blend improves elasticity, pore refining Niacinamide and omega-rich Vitamin F (Linoleic Acid) strengthen and plump up the skin. Other delicious sounding ingredient highlights include extracts from pea, broccoli and husk-tomato. It’s an anti-aging salad and I’m here for it.

You can cocktail it with other formulas.

How do you use it?

Drunk Elephant recommends using A-Passioni in the morning or at night. It can also be cocktailed with a face oil, moisturizer or hydrating serum. Since my mixology skills are limited to the martini shaker, I apply it on clean, dry skin and follow with a face oil as part of my bedtime regimen. But really, I’m a minimalist. Intrigued by the encouraging option of daytime use, I tried it under my sunscreen the other day, proving you can teach an old dog new tricks. I am happy to report it wore fabulously well. I would never try that with my Tazorac cream, but A-Passioni is flexible enough to fit into my occasional AM line-up.

There is barely any scent to A-Passioni and its slightly yellow hue is totally natural. It also absorbs in seconds. The metal tube is greatly appreciated as it protects the integrity of retinol by limiting its exposure to air and light.

… or you can layer like I do.
Mix it with B-Hydra for a boost of hydration.

Will you peel?

You shouldn’t and most likely won’t. I used A-Passioni every night for two weeks and it didn’t trigger redness nor irritation in my combination skin. When I wore it solo, however, I woke up with a few flakes around my mouth and on my forehead. I chose not to layer an oil over it so I could experience single variable results, something I like to do whenever I try a new product. As a rule, I always moisturize after a retinol product, especially during colder months.

And always wear sunscreen!

My thoughts

You should try it. I swear by retinol and am thrilled with A-Passioni. A few words of advice. Start slow and build up your tolerance to daily use. Don’t expect overnight results. Be consistent *and* patient. The visible improvement in your skin will be remarkable but it may take a few weeks. My first omg my skin looks so much better moment happened after three months of nightly application. Finally, always wear broad spectrum sunscreen during the day when using retinol, because while Vitamin A does not exfoliate the skin, it encourages the cells to turn over more quickly. You don’t want that freshly revealed glowing skin to get hit with UV damage.

$74 (30ml tube) at Sephora.com and £62.00 at cultbeauty.co.uk



  1. Sydney
    April 30, 2019 / 4:04 pm

    How do you think the A Passioni 1% retinol compares to Paula’s Choice 1% clinical retinol lotion/serum?? They are both yellowy so I feel like they need to be compared!

    • omgbart
      April 30, 2019 / 9:53 pm

      That’s a great question. I personally find the PC to be stronger than A-Passioni so I’d go with what you rskin can handle or needs. If you’re not worried about sensitivity (it’s not like PC is mega powerful but it IS strong), go with PC but if you’re new to retinol, start out with DE. Hope that makes sense!

      • Sydney
        April 30, 2019 / 10:27 pm

        Definitely, thank you so much!! I’ll start with DE and maybe graduate to PC afterwards!

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