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 combo 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:

What’s In Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum?


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, 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


Lightweight gel, sinks in immediately.


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

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

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

Who Is This For?

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

Who Is This NOT For?

  • Sensitive skin
  • Severe acne or stubborn blackheads (you may need a higher concentration of salicylic acid)


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.

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

$90.00/£76.00 at Cult BeautySephora and SpaceNK

Do You Need 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


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