The Cream We’ve Been Smuggling Into Australia for Years Is Finally Available Here

Ruby Feneley reviews Drunk Elephant, Protini Polypeptide Cream

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream has launched today via MECCA. It’s the kind of product my beauty friends have been smuggling back from the US for years, and finally, it’s available to Australian skincare fanatics everywhere. After all, what is an international trip for if you’re not dabbling in unavailable products?

I had a chance to trial Protini, and I’m about to tell you why it’s worth the hype, the smuggling and the racing to pick it up now (before it sells out). But first, here’s why it’s a unique and lusted-after product.

Why Is Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream So Lusted After?

@valerieyork7 goodbye dry skin and hello healthy skin!! #drunkelephant #drunksmoothie #grwm #nightroutine #skincare #hydratedskin #fyp ♬ Luxury fashion (no vocals) – TimTaj

Drunk Elephant’s Protini Polypeptide Cream launched in 2018. At the time, Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson told Bustle, “It reminds me of the protein powder I add to my smoothie every day for muscle support.” She also referred to it as her “get sh*t done moisturiser.” 

As you’d expect, it’s peptide packed. You can read all about peptides here, but in short, they’re designed to strengthen proteins in our skin like collagen and elastin. These proteins keep us smooth, hydrated, and bouncy, like the castle at your fifth birthday party. Sadly, no skincare product will give you the collagen and elastin your skin had on your fifth birthday — but peptides come close. Protini also contains growth factors and amino acids that support skin resilience.

This beauty editor happened to be living in the US the year Protini launched, and managed to scavenge some sample pots. Why was I reduced to scavenging? Protini sold out everywhere during one of NYC’s coldest, hardest winters. New Yorkers were feeling the chill, and braved blizzards to get their hands on Protini. Within a week of launch, Protini had over 6,000 likes on the Sephora website and was sold out everywhere.

In 2023, it’s clocked a cool 395k likes, and #protinicream has 1.8 million views on TikTok.

In search of Drunk Elephant, Protini™ Polypeptide Cream is launching at MECCA Tuesday, 28th of February. Read our editor's review.
In search of a better face cream, NYC 2018 Image Credit: Supplied

Why Haven’t We Had Access to Drunk Elephant, Protini Polypeptide Magic Before Now?

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration often errs on the side of caution. This can cause frustration for Australian beauty lovers, and people who like to spread the word about essential health products like… sunscreen.

The peptides used in the original Protini Polypeptide Cream are considered prescription-strength in Australia and New Zealand. Basically? They’re not allowed. So, the Drunk Elephant team have been researching and testing a combination of peptides that provide the same benefits as the internationally renowned cream. Finally, it’s here.

So, How Does the New Australian Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Perform?

Like bloody magic.

I’ve been using the Protini Polypeptide Cream day and night for several weeks now. My skin is dry, dehydrated, and prone to irritation (I trial skincare products for a living). Recently, I’ve stopped taking the pill, and oil has started to creep back into my T-zone. It’s been accompanied by congestion, blackheads and the odd spot I frankly haven’t had to deal with in years. As a result, I’ve found that a lot of the thick, emollient creams and oils I’ve reached for daily have started to weigh down my skin.

Protini’s sell-out appeal lies in its texture and consistency, as much as its performance. It’s a barrier cream with none of the traditional greasiness or globbiness. I have dry skin and love a barrier cream, but I typically reserve them for night. Protini doesn’t mess with my makeup or sunscreen, or feel heavy on humid days.

It’s also fragrance-free, which is perfect for easily sensitised complexions like mine. This means it doesn’t scream “luxury” when you pump it out of a hygienic and practical turquoise pot. But, it works a treat.

After several weeks of use, something I hadn’t been able to do with my sample pots in the US, I’ve found my skin less reactive, brighter and more hydrated. Plus, I’ve had none of those pesky spots I associate with heavy-weight lotions.

Basically, I’d recommend picking it up before it sells out, because it will.

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