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Drunk Elephant Bora Barrier Cream for Dry Skin

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Fun fact: Right now, I have at least 47 different moisturizers stuffed into my bathroom—partially because I’m a beauty editor, and it’s my job to test products, but mostly because I have dry skin that refuses to stay hydrated throughout the day. No matter how many creams, lotions, and overnight masks I layer on, I’ve yet to find a formula that moisturizes my face without feeling like a goopy, greasy mess. At least, that was the case until I reviewed the new Drunk Elephant Bora Barrier Cream.

According to Drunk Elephant, the Bora Barrier Cream is supposed to be a “heavy hitter for chronically dry skin” filled with barrier-restoring lipids and ceramides. Still, I was skeptical about how it would compare to the 46 other rejects that came before. But after slathering it on every day for six super-cold winter weeks, I can truthfully say that it’s like a warm, cozy hug for my dry face.

Drunk Elephant, Bora Barrier Cream — $69.00

  • Designed to treat chronically-dry complexions
  • Strengthens the skin barrier with a 6 butter-lipid complex
  • Soothes skin and balances oil production with zinc and copper
  • Hydrates using “super ceramides”
  • May be too greasy for those with oily skin

The formula

Bora is considered a barrier cream, which is basically a thicker, richer cream designed to help heal your skin barrier (the thing responsible for keeping your face looking healthy, happy, and moisturized). Barrier creams tend to be thicker, so they’re usually ideal if your skin is drier, which is especially good during colder seasons.

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The formula works to boost your skin’s hydration levels in a few ways: by drawing moisture into your skin with a mix of humectants (see: glycerin and hyaluronic acid), by soothing your dehydrated skin barrier with fatty acids and lipids, and then by trapping in all of these moisturizing ingredients with seven different plant oils.

As with most Drunk Elephant products, the ingredients list is long, but it’s stacked with stuff your skin needs to stay healthy, like its cocktail of lipids and ceramides. “Lipids fill in the cracks in the outer skin layer, helping to repair the barrier,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. At the same time, ceramides act like the glue in your skin barrier, keeping your skin cells strong and protected. The cream is also formulated with zinc and copper gluconates, which helps calm irritation and potentially balance oil production. “Be cautious if you have oil or acne-prone skin,” says Dr. Zeichner. This formula is incredibly rich and made to act like a type of seal on your skin, which “may leave you feeling heavy and can potentially trigger a breakout,” he says.

My Bora Barrier Cream review

Don’t get me wrong: Among the zillions of moisturizers I’ve tried over the years, there certainly have been a few that get the job done in keeping my dry skin hydrated. What sets the Drunk Elephant Bora Barrier Cream apart is that it does so without feeling like my face is coated in a layer of thick grease.

Despite how rich the formula is, it melts seamlessly into the skin in a way that genuinely impressed me the first time I experienced it. Though this easy application initially got me hooked on the formula, the long-term benefits have kept me coming back to it for the past month and a half. It leaves my skin soft and smooth for hours after I put it on—which is great for someone who’s accustomed to thinking, “holy shit, my face is so dry it hurts.” When I apply it at night, I don’t wake up with my face feeling greasy —it feels just as hydrated as before my head hit the pillow.

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Over time, I’ve noticed that my skin looks brighter and less irritated, and my usual winter breakouts are nonexistent. This is likely because the formula keeps my skin barrier working to its maximum potential to keep environmental irritants out and active ingredients in. My skin and I tend to be snobs about moisturizers, but the Drunk Elephant Bora Barrier Cream has humbled us once and for all.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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