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What are the Suspicious 6 and Why You Should Avoid Them

If you are a skincare enthusiast, you might have heard of Drunk Elephant, a cult-favorite brand that has taken the beauty world by storm. Drunk Elephant is known for its clean, biocompatible, and effective formulas that cater to all skin types and concerns. But what makes Drunk Elephant stand out from other brands is its unique philosophy on the Suspicious 6, a group of ingredients that the founder, Tiffany Masterson, believes are the root cause of most skin issues.

In this blog post, we will explain what the Suspicious 6 are, why they are harmful to your skin, and how to avoid them in your skincare routine. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about the Suspicious 6 and Drunk Elephant products.

What are the Suspicious 6?

The Suspicious 6 are six categories of ingredients that Drunk Elephant avoids in all of its products. These are:

  • Essential oils
  • SLS/SLSES (sodium lauryl sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate)
  • Fragrance/dyes
  • Drying alcohols
  • Silicones
  • Chemical screens

According to Masterson, these ingredients are common skin sensitizers, which means they can cause irritation, inflammation, congestion, and sensitization in the skin. These symptoms can lead to various skin problems, such as acne, dryness, redness, enlarged pores, premature aging, and more.

Masterson discovered the Suspicious 6 after struggling with her own skin issues for years. She tried different products and treatments, but nothing seemed to work. She realized that she was using products that contained ingredients that were not compatible with her skin, and that were actually making her skin worse.

She decided to eliminate the Suspicious 6 from her skincare routine, and noticed a dramatic improvement in her skin’s health and appearance. She then created Drunk Elephant, a brand that only uses ingredients that directly benefit the skin or support the integrity of the formulations, regardless of whether they are synthetic or natural.

Why are the Suspicious 6 harmful to your skin?

The Suspicious 6 are harmful to your skin because they can disrupt the skin’s natural balance, function, and barrier. The skin is a complex organ that has its own ecosystem, pH level, and defense mechanisms. When the skin is exposed to ingredients that irritate or inflame it, it becomes more vulnerable to damage, infection, and aging.

Here are some of the ways that the Suspicious 6 can harm your skin:

  • Essential oils: Essential oils are often used in skincare products to add fragrance, soothe, or treat certain skin conditions. However, essential oils are highly concentrated and volatile substances that can cause allergic reactions, photosensitivity, and oxidative stress in the skin. Essential oils can also interfere with the skin’s microbiome, which is the community of beneficial bacteria that live on the skin and protect it from harmful invaders.
  • SLS/SLSES: SLS and SLSES are surfactants that are used in cleansers, shampoos, and toothpastes to create foam and remove dirt and oil. However, SLS and SLSES are also very harsh and stripping, and can remove the natural oils and moisture that the skin needs to stay healthy and hydrated. SLS and SLSES can also alter the skin’s pH level, making it more alkaline and prone to dryness, irritation, and infection.
  • Fragrance/dyes: Fragrance and dyes are added to skincare products to make them smell and look more appealing. However, fragrance and dyes are also the most common causes of contact dermatitis, which is a type of allergic reaction that manifests as redness, itching, swelling, and rashes. Fragrance and dyes can also contain hundreds of different chemicals, some of which are known to be carcinogenic, endocrine-disrupting, or neurotoxic.
  • Drying alcohols: Drying alcohols are alcohols that have a low molecular weight, such as ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, and denatured alcohol. They are used in skincare products to act as solvents, preservatives, or astringents. However, drying alcohols are also very dehydrating and damaging to the skin, as they can break down the skin’s protective barrier, increase transepidermal water loss, and generate free radicals that cause oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • Silicones: Silicones are synthetic polymers that are used in skincare products to create a smooth and silky texture, fill in pores and fine lines, and form a protective layer on the skin. However, silicones can also clog pores, trap dirt and bacteria, and prevent the skin from breathing and absorbing other beneficial ingredients. Silicones can also cause skin congestion, breakouts, and dullness.
  • Chemical screens: Chemical screens are sunscreen ingredients that absorb UV rays and convert them into heat. They are used in skincare products to provide broad-spectrum protection against sun damage and skin cancer. However, chemical screens can also cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, and hormonal imbalances. Some chemical screens, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, are also known to be harmful to the environment, as they can damage coral reefs and marine life.

How to avoid the Suspicious 6 in your skincare routine?

The best way to avoid the Suspicious 6 in your skincare routine is to read the ingredient lists of the products you use or plan to use. Look for the names of the Suspicious 6 ingredients, and avoid products that contain them. You can also use online tools, such as EWG’s Skin Deep Database or INCI Decoder, to check the safety and function of each ingredient in a product.

Another way to avoid the Suspicious 6 in your skincare routine is to use Drunk Elephant products, which are formulated without any of the Suspicious 6 ingredients. Drunk Elephant products are designed to work together and complement each other, creating a simple and effective skincare routine that delivers visible results. Drunk Elephant products are also cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, and eco-friendly.

FAQs about the Suspicious 6 and Drunk Elephant products

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Suspicious 6 and Drunk Elephant products:

  • Q: Do I have to avoid the Suspicious 6 completely, or can I use them occasionally?
  • A: It depends on your skin type, sensitivity, and preference. Some people may be able to tolerate the Suspicious 6 better than others, and some products may contain lower concentrations or safer forms of the Suspicious 6 than others. However, if you want to see the best results from your skincare routine, it is recommended to avoid the Suspicious 6 completely, or at least as much as possible.
  • Q: How long does it take to see the benefits of avoiding the Suspicious 6?
  • A: It varies from person to person, depending on the condition of your skin, the products you use, and your lifestyle factors. Some people may see an improvement in their skin within days or weeks, while others may take months or longer. The key is to be consistent and patient with your skincare routine, and to monitor your skin’s progress and response.
  • Q: Can I mix Drunk Elephant products with other brands that contain the Suspicious 6?
  • A: You can, but you may not get the optimal results from Drunk Elephant products. Drunk Elephant products are formulated to work synergistically with each other, and to avoid any potential interactions or conflicts with the Suspicious 6. Mixing Drunk Elephant products with other brands that contain the Suspicious 6 may compromise the effectiveness, stability, and safety of the products, and may cause unwanted reactions or side effects in your skin.
  • Q: What are some of the best Drunk Elephant products to try if I want to avoid the Suspicious 6?
  • A: Some of the best Drunk Elephant products to try if you want to avoid the Suspicious 6 are:
  • Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser: A gentle and non-stripping cleanser that removes makeup, dirt, and oil without drying out the skin.
  • C-Firma Day Serum: A potent vitamin C serum that brightens, firms, and evens out the skin tone, while providing antioxidant protection and hydration.
  • T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum: A powerful AHA/BHA serum that exfoliates, resurfaces, and refines the skin, while reducing the appearance of pores, fine lines, and dark spots.
  • Protini Polypeptide Cream: A protein-rich moisturizer that strengthens, replenishes, and restores the skin, while improving its texture, tone, and elasticity.
  • Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30: A mineral sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, while nourishing and hydrating the skin.


The Suspicious 6 are six categories of ingredients that Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson believes are the root cause of most skin issues. By avoiding the Suspicious 6 in your skincare routine, you can improve your skin’s health, appearance, and function, and prevent or treat various skin problems. Drunk Elephant products are formulated without any of the Suspicious 6 ingredients, and only use clean, biocompatible, and effective ingredients that benefit the skin. If you want to

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