drunk elephant tlc framboos glycolic night serum review

So, you want to use all the exfoliating acids (glycolic, lactic, salicylic) to get ALL the benefits, but don’t know how to fit them all in your skincare routine? Or maybe you’ve got combination skin and wondering whether you should use salicylic acid to get rid of blackheads on your nose or glycolic acid to brighten your dull cheeks?

Meet Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum. It has all the exfoliating acids your little heart (and skin) desires in a lightweight formula that layers well with anything. What else could you ask for? Read on on to find out if it lives up to the hype:

Key Ingredients In Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum: What Makes IT Work?


Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum contains a whopping 4 exfoliating acids. They all have one thing in common: they dissolve the glue that holds skin cells together, so they can slough off and reveal the brighter, smoother, and more even-toned skin hiding underneath. This alone is enough to soften your skin’s texture, make it glow, and reduce the look of dark spots and fine lines.

But every acid (well, almost every acid) in here goes the extra mile:

  • Glycolic Acid: The smallest member of the Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) family, it penetrates deeper into the skin, providing better and faster results. It’s the best of the lot at reducing dark spots and hydrates skin to boot.
  • Salicylic Acid: A.k.a. BHA, it penetrates deep inside your pores, where it dissolves all the clogs that are giving you whiteheads, blackheads and pimples (and keeps them from coming back). It also has soothing properties that calm down redness and inflammation.
  • Lactic Acid: Another member of the AHAs family. It’s a bigger molecule than Glycolic Acid, so it works more slowly. But, it’s more gentle on the skin. Plus, it hydrates skin, too.
  • Citric Acid: A weaker member of the AHAs family. It’s just a supporting act to its more powerful siblings.

All together, this exfoliant has a 12% acid concentration at a pH of 3.8-4.0. That’s enough for the acids to do their exfoliating jobs well, but not so low it’ll do some serious damage to your skin.

Related: AHAs VS BHA: Which One Should You Choose?


Hyaluronic Acid has one thing in common with glycolic and lactic acids. No, it doesn’t exfoliate skin, too. It hydrates it. Like the other two acids, Hyaluronic Acid draws moisture from the air into the skin and binds it there. The technical term for this is humectant. Hyaluronic Acid is the best humectant out there: it holds up to 1000 times its weight in water! All that extra moisture makes your skin softer and smoother.

Related: Why You Need Hyaluronic Acid, No Matter Your Skin Type


Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum has its fair share of antioxidants to fight free radicals and prevent premature wrinkles, too. They include grape extract, horse chestnut, and cactus. But my fave is green tea. Derived from the evergreen shrub Camellia Sinensis plant, it’s loaded with polyphenols, a group of antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies show that “green tea polyphenols are photoprotective” and that applying them to your skin can help reduce inflammation and redness caused by sun exposure. In particular, polyophenols prevent UVB-induced oxidative stress (the kind that causes wrinkles and cancer) and the depletion of your skin’s natural antioxidant force. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate goes the extra mile: it also prevents collagen breakdown.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Green Tea In Skincare

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 in the product, it helps to dissolve other ingredients.
  • Butylene Glycol: A humectant that draws moisture into the skin while enhancing the penetration of active ingredients.
  • Glycerin: One of the most common humectants found in skincare products, it attracts and binds water to the skin to make it softer and plumper.
  • Sodium Hydroxide: It balances the pH of skincare products.
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice: Made up of 99% water, it’s super hydrating and soothes irritations, too.
  • Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract: A powerful antioxidants that fights free radicals to prevent wrinkles.
  • Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract: The fancy name for common baker’s yeast, it hydrates skin.
  • Buddleja Davidii Meristem Cell Culture: The extract of summer lilac, it has antioxidant and hydrating properties for skin.
  • Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil: The fancy name for Marula oil. It strengthens the skin’s protective barrier and makes it softer and smoother.
  • Allantoin: A soothing agent that reduces redness and irritations.
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose: It helps thicken the texture of skincare products.
  • Galactoarabinan: It creates a film on the skin that prevents water loss.
  • Propanediol: It enhances the penetration of skincare actives, so they can work better and faster.
  • Disodium EDTA: A chelating agent. IT neutralises the metal ions found in water that would otherwise spoil the formula.
  • Xanthan Gum: Another texture thickener.
  • Hexylene Glycol: It makes texture smoother and easier to spread.
  • Phenoxyethanol: A preservative that inhibits bacterial growth in your skincare products.
  • Caprylyl Glycol: A humectant that hydrates skin.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin: It hydrates skin and has mild preservative properties too.
  • Sodium Nitrate: It thickens the texture of skincare products.
  • Potassium Sorbate: Another preservative that prevents bacteria from growing in your skincare products.
  • Pentylene Glycol: A humectant that attracts and binds water to the skin to increase its moisture level.
  • Sodium Benzoate: Another preservative that prevents bacteria from growing in your skincare products.


Lightweight gel, sinks in immediately. Unlike other Drunk Elephant products, it doesn’t feel sticky or tacky at all. It’s just a pleasure to use.


It’s fragrance-free. I like that. Fragrance-free products may have a neutral scent, but they don’t irritate sensitive skin like scented serums and exfoliants do. Exfoliants always have the potential to be a little drying if you overuse them, so leaving common irritants out is even more of a good idea.

How To Use It

Like all exfoliants, this too is best used at night, right after cleansing. How often depends on your skin type:

  • Dry skin: twice a week
  • Combination skin: two or three times a week
  • Oily skin: every other day

Do not use it with retinol. If that’s part of your routine, exfoliate on non-retinol nights.

Related: The Complete Guide To Retinol: What It Is, What It Does, And How To Use It


Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum comes in a sleek white and bright pink tube with a blue pump dispenser. It’s beautiful and practical.

Performance & Personal Opinion

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum is truly a pleasure to use. I’ve tried other gel exfoliants with both AHAs and BHA before, but they didn’t always play around well with the other products in my routine. Let’s say they left my skin covered in tiny little white flakes. And nope, they weren’t dead cells coming off. They were bits of the exfoliant balling up on my skin.

I eventually got around that by skipping serums and moisturises, and just using an oil afterwards. Worked like a charm. But I’d like something less fussy, if you know what I mean. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum is less fussy (for the price, it’d better be). You can layer it with pretty much anything and it never balls up. Phew!

I alternate it with retinol at night. Despite the addition of hyaluronic acid, I don’t find it hydrating. But it does a great job at exfoliating skin. It leaves it softer, smoother, and brighter. It does a better job at brightening my complexion than removing blackheads or fighting pimples. I find that 2% salicylic acid is more effective at this. Drunk Elephant has a smaller dose, so it works more slowly.

But if you need both salicylic and glycolic acids in your routine, Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum is hard to beat.

drunk elephant tlc framboos glycolic night serum

How Does Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum Compare To Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial?

 Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial contains a whooping 25% AHA / 2% BHA, so that makes it much better than Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, which has a much smaller dose, right?

Wrong. The higher the concentration of exfoliating acids, the higher the risk of dryness and irritation – especially if you use them a few times a week. I personally recommend you don’t use them at home.

But if you must, use Babyfacial no more than once every 10 days. Leave it on for only 10-15 minutes. If you experience any stinging, dryness, or burning, wash it off immediately. Even then, I recommend it only to women (and men) who have resistant skin and are used to higher concentrations.

In other words, if you’ve never used exfoliating acids before, this should NOT be your first choice!! Start with Framboos Glycolic Night Serum and build tolerance from there. When you’re ready to switch to Babyfacial ($80.00), you can grab a bottle at Boots, Cult Beauty, Drunk Elephant, Look Fantastic, Sephora, SpaceNK, and Ulta.

What I Like Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

  • Lightweight, non-sticky texture
  • Exfoliates skin and makes it softer and smoother
  • Brightens the complexion and helps fade dark spots
  • Helps prevent and treat acne
  • Slightly hydrating
  • Fragrance-free
  • Suitable for all skin types, bar sensitive
  • Practical packaging

What I DON’T Like Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

  • If you have stubborn acne or blackheads, you’re better off with an exfoliant with a higher concentration of salicylic acid
  • If you use it too much/too often, it can dry out and irritate skin (like all other exfoliants)

Who Should Use This?

  • Combination skin
  • Dry skin with acne/blackheads
  • Oily and dehydrated skin
  • Anyone who’s dealing with both hyperpigmentation and blackheads

P.S. I have the mini size. Drunk Elephant has some cute sets that allow you to try their products at a fraction of the cost.

Does Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum Live Up To Its Claims?

An AHA/BHA night serum that refines and resurfaces skin to reveal a smoother and more radiant complexion. True.
T.L.C. Framboos™ enhances the performance of other products by clearing the way for maximum absorption. Again, true.
T.L.C. Framboos™ sinks in easily and delivers an effective level of chemical exfoliation without the harsh side effects like dryness or sensitization. It is formulated to be gentle, but it can still irritate skin if it’s sensitive or you use it often (this is not an everyday product!)
Fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration, along with excess oiliness and the appearance of pores, will appear dramatically diminished.  It can definitely help reduce them. But not everyone will get dramatic results.

Price & Availability

$134 at Boots, Cult Beauty, Drunk Elephant, Look Fantastic, Sephora, SpaceNK, and Ulta

The Verdict: Should You Buy It?

If you can’t decide between glycolic acid or salicylic acid, or need more than exfoliating acid in your routine, yes. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Exfoliant is definitely worth the splurge.

Dupes & Alternatives

  • Paula’s Choice Resist Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA ($39.00): This lightweight, milky exfoliant has 10% of a AHA blend with a sprinkle of salicylic acid to brighten skin, smoothen away visible sun damage, and prevent acne. Available at Cult Beauty, Paula’s Choice, and SpaceNK


Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycolic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Hydroxide,Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Extract, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Buddleja Davidii Meristem Cell Culture, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Allantoin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Galactoarabinan, Propanediol, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Nitrate, Potassium Sorbate, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Benzoate