drunk elephant beste no.9 jelly cleanser review

Milky and cheap. These are my criteria for cleanser shopping. The reason is simple: cleansers simply remove dirt and excess oil, but don’t have any anti-aging properties to justify a higher price tag. The milky texture is because I have dry skin since I moved to London and need something that moisturises while cleansing.

Drunk Elephant Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser is a gel with a high price tag. Kinda the opposite of what I tend to go for. And yet, it won over my heart. What happened? How did it manage to become one of my fave cleansers? Here’s everything you need to know about it:

Key Ingredients In Drunk Elephant Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser: What Makes It Work?


Surfactants are a family of ingredients that allow water to mix with oils and dirt, so they can be rinsed away. Drunk Elephant Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser uses quite a few:

  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • Coco-Glucoside
  • Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate
  • Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine
  • Sodium Methyl Oleoyl Taurate

They all have one thing in common: they’re incredibly gentle. That’s why they’re so many. If the cleanser contained only one or two, it wouldn’t remove anything. The strength each surfactant lacks individually is made up in numbers.


It doesn’t matter how gentle a cleanser is, the cleansing process always has the potential to be traumatic for skin. That’s where glycerin comes in. This moisture magnet attracts moisture from the environment into the skin, keeping it soft and hydrated during the cleansing process.

Related: Why Is Glycerin In ALL Your Skincare Products?

The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients

NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.

  • Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
  • Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
  • Red: What is this doing here?!
  • Water/Aqua/Eau: The main solvent of the product, it helps other ingredients dissolve in it too.
  • Propanediol: It has humectant properties that draw moisture into the skin to keep it hydrated during the cleansing process. It’s also a solvent that helps dissolve other ingredients.
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract: Made up mostly of water, it’s super hydrating. It also has soothing properties that reduce irritations.
  • Glycolipids: Natural components of your skin’s protective barrier, it makes sure your skin stays healthy and intact during the cleansing process.
  • Linoleic Acid: The most abundant fatty acid found in skin’s upper layers, it strengthens your skin’s protective barrier, moisturises skin, and reduces irritations.
  • Linolenic Acid: An omega-3 fatty acid, it moisturises skin and makes it softer and smoother.
  • Lauryl Glucoside: Its job is to foam and generate lather.
  • Cucumis Melo Cantalupensis Fruit Extract: A fruit rich in vitamins A and C and other antioxidants. Sadly, they just end up down the drain and do nothing for your skin.
  • Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil: A.k.a. Marula oil, the key ingredients in Drunk Elephant products, it has powerful moisturising properties that leave skin softer and smoother after cleansing.
  • Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate: The active ingredients in licorice that gives it its powerful soothing properties.
  • Tocopherol: A form of Vitamin E, an antioxidant with preservative-like properties that helps the cleanser last longer.
  • Citric Acid: It adjusts the pH of products.
  • Phenoxyethanol: A preservative that prevents bacterial contamination, keeping your skincare products safer for longer.
  • Sodium Hydroxide: It balances the pH of skincare products.
  • Sodium Benzoate: A preservative that kills bacteria and fungi that should find their way into your skincare products, helping to keep them safe.
  • Sodium Chloride: It enhances the texture of skincare products.
  • Polylysine: A preservative that helps skincare products stay safe and effective for longer.


This cleanser has a lightweight gel that barely foams when you mix it with water. I personally like it. It’s the foam that makes so many foaming cleansers harsh and irritating. A little foam doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. It means it does the job without stripping your skin bare.


It’s fragrance-free. I like that. Fragrance is one of the most irritating ingredients found in skincare products. I know it makes products smell good. But what’s the point of making something smell good if then you can’t use it because it irritates your skin?

How To Use It

It’s cleanser, so it’s the first step of your skincare routine both in the morning and at night. If you’re double cleansing, this would be your second step. Gently massage it over wet or dry skin. Add water to lather. Rinse well and pat dry.


Drunk Elephant Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser comes in a white and orange tube that looks pretty in your bathroom cabinet. In case you’re wondering, I have a deluxe sample size. To open it, simply screw the cap around. It’ll reveal the opening.

Performance & Personal Opinion

I’ll be honest: I didn’t expect to like Drunk Elephant Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser as much as I do. I prefer milk or oil-based cleansers because they do a better job at removing makeup without drying out skin. Plus, I don’t like the idea of spending more than $20 on a cleanser (I’d rather splurge on a retinol serum, you know what I mean?).

But when I put it to the test, I was impressed. It took off every trace of makeup – including longlasting concealer – without drying out or irritating my combination skin. Keep in mind, I don’t wear too much makeup. Here in Europe, we still prefer a more minimalistic style of makeup. The Kardashian look is way too much for me.

But I do wear a dab of concealer, a dusting of blush, a little eyeshadow, a sprinkle of contouring powder on my cheekbones… on special occasions I’ll even apply a sheer layer of foundation. The cleanser takes everything off quickly. My skin digs this cleanser (my wallet, not so much). But I also know women who find it a little too drying for their skin type.

This is a wonderful option for oily, sensitive skin. But if yours is dry, you’re better off with a cream or oil-based cleanser, like CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. Fun fact: lots of people compare Drunk Elephant Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser with CeraVe Foaming Cleanser. The formulas are different, but the performance is similar: they both remove grime and makeup from oily skin well, but are a little too drying for dry skin.

Related: My Review Of CeraVe Foaming Cleanser

drunk elephant beste no9 jelly cleanser

What I Like About Drunk Elephant Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser

  • Lightweight, lightly foaming gel texture
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Removes dirt and makeup.
  • Leaves skin softer and smoother.
  • Beautiful packaging.

What I DON’T Like About Drunk Elephant Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser

  • May be a little drying for dry skin.

Who Should Use This?

This cleanser is more suitable for oily skin that’s also sensitive. It helps you remove dirt and excess oil without disrupting the skin’s protective barrier and making sensitivities worse.

Does Drunk Elephant Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser Live Up To Its Claims?

An innovative jelly cleanser that removes all traces of makeup, excess oil, pollution and any other grime from the day. True.
Free of SLS, fragrance and essential oils, Beste™ No. 9 is totally non-irritating, non-sensitizing and appropriate for every skin type. Mostly true. But it’s more suitable for oily than dry skin.
With a unique blend of mild surfactants and makeup dissolving emollients, this gentle formula rinses away without an ounce of residue, leaving skin clean and soft. True again.

Is Drunk Elephant Cruelty-Free?

Yes, Drunk Elephant is truly cruelty-free. They don’t test on animals and don’t sell in countries that require it.

Price & Availability

$32.00/£27.00 at Cult Beauty, Sephora and SpaceNK

The Verdict: Should You Buy It?

Let’s put it this way: if have oily skin and you’re looking for a cleanser that removes dirt and makeup without irritating it, you won’t be disappointed.

Dupes & Alternatives


Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Coco-Glucoside, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Methyl Oleoyl Taurate, Propanediol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Glycolipids, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Lauryl Glucoside, Cucumis Melo Cantalupensis Fruit Extract, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopherol, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Chloride, Polylysine