Drunk Elephant Bora Barrier Repair Cream review: Dry skin savior


This winter, my skin took a trip.

With harsh weather came what I considered to be brutal conditions for my skin (and I’m the type to freak out over a little bump or mark on my face). The wintertime chill brought upon dryness that bordered on flakiness around my jaw and chin area, partial redness and a dehydrated feeling for what felt like way too long.

Then, I heard word that Drunk Elephant was launching a new cream that’s specially designed for dry skin. Talk about great timing! I was hesitant to try any new product given the state of my seemingly moisture-less skin, but because I can’t stay away from Drunk Elephant (read our full brand review for proof), I caved and dolloped the new cream onto my skin.

I. Was. Amazed.

The new Bora Barrier Repair Cream launched on Dec. 12 and is what I call a heaven-sent product for dry skin. My skin is also sensitive, and this product completely revamped my skin instantly, so much so that I canceled an appointment with a dermatologist after using this softening and easily absorbable formula.

The cream that rocked my *dry skin* world

Drunk Elephant Bora Barrier Repair Cream

Drunk Elephant Bora Barrier Repair Cream
Drunk Elephant


  • Incredibly moisturizing — the most nourishing among all Drunk Elephant creams we tested
  • Helps give your skin a bit of radiance


  • May be too heavy for some who don’t have *very* dry skin, especially if used twice daily

Meet Drunk Elephant’s richest, thickest cream yet. The Drunk Elephant Bora Barrier Repair Cream is housed in the same aesthetically pleasing, white-yet-colorful packaging — but its formulation is the star of the show.

It’s a buttery, incredibly hydrating product that helps deliver deep, 24-hour hydration (which I can attest to!). Quite literally, it drenches my skin with a barrier-replenishing blend of ceramides, lipids, minerals and potent antioxidant compounds.

Disclaimer: I’ve had this moisturizer for about a week or two and have been product-testing it behind the scenes. Even better, I met the founder of Drunk Elephant, Tiffany Masterson, in NYC’s Greenwich Village to discuss the product drop IRL (I know, a real “pinch me” moment).

On that day, Masterson and I sat down one-on-one to discuss the new launch — a now-closed gap in Drunk Elephant’s repertoire. When I asked, her what makes this moisturizer different from the two others the brand has to offer, it wasn’t long before Masterson said, “There’s nothing like Bora Barrier for dry skin.”

I took her word for it, and completely understood what she meant after I applied it atop my skin in a cross formation that evening. It’s the brand’s heaviest consistency — similar to Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream ($290) — but with a far more reachable price point.

Not to mention, it offers your skin a touch of radiance — a bonus, in addition to its rich moisturizing properties.

“I initially designed Bora Barrier for my own skin,” Masterson exclusively told the New York Post. “I can get dry pretty easily these days. What worked even five years ago doesn’t work quite as well now because I’m older.”

However, after formulating the product and receiving the clinical trials back, she soon learned that this product meets a variety of needs (of which she shared): “it’s for any skin that is chronically dry, exposed to harsh elements, stripped from harsh actives, struggling from hormonal changes (i.e. menopause of postpartum), recently lasered, and/or has a compromised or damaged barrier.” 

How the Bora Barrier Repair Cream compares to other products

Drunk Elephant Bora Barrier Repair Cream
Victoria Giardina

The new Bora Barrier Repair Cream doesn’t take the light away from its two predecessors, the Protini Polypeptide Cream ($68) and the Lala Retro Whipped Cream (which is currently OOS everywhere). But it is noticeably more nourishing than Protini and Lala.

What I didn’t know was that Protini is a peptides blend, while the new Bora Barrier Repair Cream is an ultra-lipid blend. Therefore, its proprietary six-butter lipid complex — along with ceramides, zinc and vitamin F — helps soothe my skin and has been developed to support my skin’s natural hyaluronic acid production.

“Bora is our thickest, richest cream yet and is formulated to repair a damaged skin barrier,” Masterson explains. “Lala is made of whipped oils and is light and airy, designed to deliver everyday moisture maintenance while supplying the barrier with ceramides to help sustain it. Protini Polypeptide Cream is more of a gel-cream that is packed with skin-firming peptides and amino acids.”

I’m completely out of my cherised Lala Retro Whipped Cream (and am crying with the rest of the population who desperately need for it to come back in stock), so I could only swatch and compare Protini with Bora.

Drunk Elephant Bora Barrier Repair Cream
Pictured: Bora Barrier Repair Cream (left) and Protini Polypeptide Cream (right). Victoria Giardina

When I first snapped the photo of both of them side by side, I could hardly spot a difference. Both blend beautifully into the skin (a true testament to Drunk Elephant’s quality), but you can spot how much more emollient the new Bora Barrier Repair Cream is. I applied each cream and then swiped downward, across my hand, and the Bora Barrier’s thickness is more apparent at the top, prior to blending. Protini, however, sank into my skin a bit more quickly.

Where Protini strengthens and moisturizes, Bora rebuilds and restores. They’re both nice to use interchangeably, but in full transparency, I’ll be using the new Bora Barrier Repair Cream until further notice to conquer #dryskinseason.

More, the brand’s B-Goldi Bright Drops that we reviewed are a nice addition to incorporate and mix into either of these moisturizers for the ultimate skincare smoothie.

Side note: when I swatched both creams on my hand, the first thing I thought was, “Wow, this really is making my hand soft!”

How I use the Bora Barrier Repair Cream

As a full-time commerce reporter who also tests the best in beauty for a living, it doesn’t come as a surprise that I swap out my products often.

As of the past week or so, I’ve been applying the Bora Barrier Cream twice daily — morning and evening — and along the drier parts of my face (my jawline, my chin, around my ears) whenever I feel like it throughout the day. The new launch also doubles as an effective hand cream, which I find myself rubbing into my hands every few hours.

My current routine is as follows: the ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm ($68), the Glossier Super Glow Vitamin C + Magnesium Serum ($29) and the Drunk Elephant Bora Barrier Cream. It’s the trio I’ve been swearing by recently — with the cream being the first agent to dramatically alter the barrier of my skin, pretty much overnight.

Of course, consult with your dermatologist for further guidance if needed. Everyone’s skin is different and reacts to products in different ways. However, when I tell you my skin has been both chronically dry and always sensitive — and, the Bora Barrier Cream seemed to remedy it quickly — it’s worth the pick-me-up before the masses order it first.

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