Drunk Elephant F-Balm Makes My Hungover Skin Look And Feel Better

As a self-proclaimed skincare junkie, I’ve been jonesing for a product launch to blow me away. Marketing aside (the almost month long instagram teasers were pretty clever), the brand new Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial grabbed my attention with its intriguing claims. Hungover skin? Where do I sign? In my twenties, a bottle of Gatorade was all that was needed. I stepped up my game by subbing the suspiciously hued drink with organic coconut water in my thirties. Well, I’m about to turn forty. Trying to appear well-rested when I’ve actually been out and am still up requires a whole new set of skills. Or an impressive overnight hydrator. My fix is here. 

WTF is Vit F anyways?

Technically, Vitamin F is the stage name for Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA) and Linoleic Acid (LA) in order to fit in with the Vitamin circuit. Classified as essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6 respectively), they provide structure to cells and ensure proper growth and development. Since our bodies cannot produce ‘Vitamin F,’ we are often encouraged to include salmon or walnuts in our diets. Afterall, cardiovascular health is extremely important, but these essential fatty acids also prove beneficial to our skin. 


In addition to hefty servings of both ALA and LA, the moisturizing formula delivers an impressive dose of hydration via a blend of 4 electrolytes — coconut water, sodium PCA, magnesium PCA, and prickly pear extract. This night cap of a treatment is topped off with niacinamide to deliver the ultimate anti-aging boost. Coincidentally, the latter is my all time favorite ingredient and addresses a wide range of issues from loss of firmness to uneven skin tone and overall dullness — not necessarily related to overindulging in one too many adult beverages. 

How / When To Apply

Drunk Elephant recommends F-Balm as the final step in your evening routine. This is great since my daytime line-up has been super minimal, of late. I have noticed consistent results and have tracked progress after a few overnight applications. Since the texture of F-Balm is quite lightweight (nowhere near a balm if that’s what you’re expecting), it layers very well over a treatment serum, particularly one with exfoliating or resurfacing properties (or both). Which is why a box of F-Balm includes a travel-sized mini sidekick of T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum. 

If you enjoy Glycolic Acid as much as I do, you will love layering a couple of pumps of F-Balm over it. It is also an excellent cocktail of moisture and hydration to indulge in post-Babyfacial. Personally, I am currently using a new retinal cream and re-discovering prescription strength Tazorac so F-Balm has become almost a nightly addition to my routine. And speaking of frequency, there are hardly any rules. You can use this new moisture magnet once per week (or a few nights) but it’s totally ok if you want to reach for it every night. Not a bad idea this time of year. How many pumps? I find 3 to be my sweet spot. 

Why do I love it?

The texture is airy, creamy, and studded with soft capsule-like spheres that burst on contact. It looks neat but I am sure there is a significantly more important benefit. I am guessing this delivery system ensures that ingredients remain as active as possible while at the same time preventing undesirable separation? I’m into it. Spreadability and absorption rank as high requirements for me. The Waterfacial is completely non-greasy and sinks in fairly quickly. If there were the tiniest trace left behind on my pillow case, I wouldn’t be posting right now.

Finally, my skin feels and looks great when I wake up. It’s soft, bouncy and both nourished and hydrated. Is it a life changing miracle? No. It is however, my go-to solution on nights I want to avoid waking up like a bona fide wreck. One piece of advice: don’t feel obligated to use F-Balm exclusively as a cozy moisture blanket to follow a hardcore exfoliant. When my skin needs a breather, I’ll sometimes use it on its own as a soothing overnight treatment. It delivers a stellar solo performance. 

$52 (50ml) at Sephora.com


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