Is This Drunk Elephant Classic a Brightening Under Eye Hero?
Main Image – @drunkelephant/@nickknackkitkat/Instagram
As the owner of some naturally pretty tired-looking undereyes (you win this round genetics!), I’m continually hunting for magical products to stop me from looking like I haven’t slept since 1996.
Unless you’ve been absent from social media or you’re new to skincare, you’ll have heard of the *insanely* popular skincare brand Drunk Elephant, founded by Tiffany Masterson after she became frustrated with the lack of skincare products that didn’t contain harsh and toxic ingredients that irritate her skin.
A confused and self-confessed “brand hopper”, Masterson developed her own bar cleanser while educating herself on the world of skincare ingredients, how skin reacts to them, and the roles they play in a formulation.
Discovering six ingredients – now dubbed the “suspicious six” – that are particularly irritating to the skin and yet included in most products, Masterson developed Drunk Elephant around gentle acids and actives at skin-friendly pH levels.
Their offerings feature science-backed actives such as Vit C and retinol – renowned for their efficacy in combatting wrinkles, hydrating the skin, and diminishing dark spots. The star ingredient, marula oil, boasts exceptional moisturizing properties.
Fun fact: Myth would have it that elephants might get intoxicated from consuming the fruits of the marula plant (hence the name of the brand.)
And given my general enthusiasm for Drunk Elephant, paired with my perpetually tired-looking undereyes, it was only a matter of time before I tried out the brand’s C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream.
This is new, up-to-date information. This article was originally published in 2020 and updated in October 2023 to add further thoughts on Drunk Elephant’s C-Tango and updated prices.
Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream
The sister product to Drunk Elephant’s Shaba’s Eye Complex, C-Tango is aimed mostly at brightening- thanks to its not one, not two, but five forms of vitamin C.
Beyond brightening, C-Tango promises to hydrate and moisturise, courtesy of skin-nourishing ingredients like glycerin, cucumber extract and avocado oil.
This scentless lotion also contains eight peptides (one of my favourite skincare ingredients) for both an immediate and long-term plumping and firming effect.
Peptides are great for the skin and help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and, according to Healthline, “Adding peptides can stimulate your skin to make collagen. More collagen can lead to firmer, younger-looking skin” – perfect!
The best way to apply C-Tango is in between your face serum and moisturiser, using your ring finger to gently dab the product around your eyes. Don’t rub! The skin around our eyes is very delicate, and rubbing can cause premature lines and wrinkles – the very thing you are trying to target!
Out of the bottle, this isn’t quite as light as you might expect a depuffing product to be and instead has a nourishing-feeling, creamy texture.
And customers on the Drunk Elephant website agree on the texture, with nicks108 saying “I love the way it comes out creamy but not greasy. It’s got the perfect texture and feels like a dream on your face.
“It keeps me pretty moisturized throughout the whole day so I rarely need to apply it more than twice a day. This is definitely an eye cream worth checking out.”
Happily, even though the consistency is thicker, it still absorbs impressively quickly (on my skin anyway)- much like a serum might. So there is very little downtime before getting to concealer (another must for my panda eyes and lack of time getting ready in the mornings).
Using this for around six months I’ve noticed both some short and long-term benefits- including a simultaneous depuffing of under eyes as well as a plumping effect (thanks peptides) which helps fill my tear troughs slightly.
Because this is completely unscented (no, not even a hint of orange that the bright packaging somewhat hints at), I can also use this even when my skin is at its most sensitive.
The result is an overall smoother, firmer under-eye area, as well as a hit of moisture that my slightly on-the-dry-side skin appreciates.
I’m not convinced I’ve seen anything *too* noticeable in the way of brightening, however, with my circles still looking fairly sleep-deprived.
Some reviews tell a similar tale, and many are put off by the high price tag. Vincents13 says “Not amazing, but not horrible, when I started using it, sure it helped with dark circles a little bit but not much else. I think you could probably find a better alternative for a very lower price”.
While Ally3 writes “This dried out my eye area so badly and made my skin crepey. Do not recommend. Way overpriced.” Although I haven’t experienced any adverse reactions, it seems those with particularly sensitive skin will need to use this product with caution and observe how their skin behaves.
@cjdarmas says on Instagram “I got a sample of this and it ravaged the skin around my eyes… they swelled up at first and it’s been 5 days now since I last used it and the skin is sensitive to the touch and so dry.”
You can get a good idea of the texture of C-Tango, as well as how to apply it, on this reel from @drunkelephant:
View this post on Instagram
Where to buy (and try)
For a slightly cheaper dupe, Kiehl’s Creamy Avocado Eye Cream offers similar moisturising benefits. Meanwhile, The Inkey List’s excellent (and wonderfully cheap) Brighten-I Eye Cream also offers the same depuffing power.
Equally, for anyone who wants to check out C-Tango without committing to a full bottle, the mini or travel size of this (coming in at 5 ml- a third of the full size) is available in Drunk Elephant’s The Littles 4.0, an assortment of 8 travel sized DE goodies (plus a wash bag).
This little kit represents (somewhat randomly) quite a lot better for value than buying any of the products separately, while giving a pretty thorough introduction to the brand’s most popular products.
It includes Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser (30 ml), Protini Polypeptide Cream (15 ml), Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 (15 ml), Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil (8 ml), C-Firma Day Serum (8 ml), T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (8 ml), B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum (8 ml), and of course the C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream. It’s a bit of a no-brainer.
So, given my own positive results from C-Tango, would I recommend it?
Since most experts agree a separate eye cream isn’t usually necessary (“skin is skin” after all, as Dr Sam Bunting says), I’m slightly hesitant to buy (or recommend) a separate product this expensive for anyone who didn’t have specific concerns about the tightness or puffiness of their eye area.
Having said that, this is one of the few eye creams effective enough at treating my (sadly) multiple under-eye issues that I will happily repurchase- I’m just not certain it’s a necessity for anyone not troubled by dark circles etc.
- Great for: People like me whose dark circles are slightly on the vampire side. Sensitive skin types who still want the brightening benefits of vitamin C without irritation.
- Not-so-great for: Um, the price. In a cost of living crisis and at £56 for 15 ml, it’s pretty steep- still, possibly worth the investment for anyone (like me) whose under eyes look permanently un-slept.