Drunk Elephant Relaunched Its Beloved Umbra Sunscreens and Added a New Shade

Drunk Elephant Relaunched Its Beloved Umbra Sunscreens and Added a New Shade featured image
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When the Drunk Elephant team pinged me a few months ago to share news that the Umbra sunscreen franchise was being relaunched, I was ecstatic. It made sense that Tiffany Masterson, brand founder and chief creative officer, would want to invest in such a big upgrade. Mineral sunscreen formulations have a come a long way since 2013. “We started this project back in 2018, with the goal of updating and improving the texture” she says. “We also wanted to take advantage of the newer sunscreen technologies that have become available since I first launched our original Umbra Sheer.”

When my lab samples arrived, I slathered them on right away. I also saw a new shade in the mix. Here, details about the new and improved SPF trio from Drunk Elephant, with inside intel from Masterson herself. “Sunscreen is incredibly important,” she says. “There is no excuse not to wear it daily. We wanted to make it fun and something that people look forward to using! The skin looks so glowy and gorgeous that it becomes a ‘want to,’ and not a ‘have to.'”

How the Original Drunk Elephant Sunscreen Has Changed

“Umbra was one of my first formulas, launched back in 2013,” says Masterson. “And since it first launched, there have been some incredible advances in the industry’s ability to formulate with mineral sunscreen actives. These include improvements in how zinc oxide blends and its transparency on skin. And, most importantly, the degree of protection it offers, particularly where UVA rays are concerned. UVB—visible sun rays—and UVA—invisible to the eye—both have their damaging effects on skin. However, UVA radiation is responsible for most signs of photoaging, including fine lines, wrinkles, sagging and brown spots. It’s also responsible for most skin cancers. So, it’s so important to have a sunscreen that protects equally against both UVB and UVA. We were able to increase that quality in our new Umbras, earning a high UVA protection rating—that’s the PA+++ on the label.”

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sunscreen
My Drunk Elephant Umbra Sunscreen samples

The brand also added a wider range of plant extracts and vitamins to the formula, including astaxanthin, vitamin C (tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate), ubiquinone and green tea seed oil. “Each one has an affinity for helping to boost the skin’s defenses against UV damage,” says Masterson. “Not only do these improve the effectiveness of sunscreen actives when formulated together, but they also help defend against the impact of environmental blue light.” 

For me personally, the original Umbra Sheer formula pilled a bit on my skin when I applied it on top of serum and moisturizer. I appreciated the 20-percent zinc oxide for sun protection, but the pilling made it a little difficult to wear. However, I’ve been using the new Sheer and Tinte formulas on and off for a couple months now and haven’t had issues. It still contains 20-percent zinc oxide, but goes on smooth and blends well. I’ve also used the Sheer on my daughter (2.5 years old; light skin) and it’s kept her skin protected with no irritation.

The 3 Umbra Shades

The original Umbra Sheer was white, but the new one has a light pink tint, which minimizes white cast. There’s also a golden, medium-tinted version—Tinte—and a new, deeper, warmer shade called Cocoa. “We created three skin-compatible tints,” says Masterson. “These are shades that look beautiful on skin, even things out just a bit, and leave a natural-looking glow behind. We formulated them so they can be blended together, so you can create a custom tint!” For my skin tone—I usually wear light-medium foundation shades—I like Sheer and Tinte. The finish on all three is dewy and natural.

The three shades swatched, left to right: Umbra Cocoa, Umbra Tinte and Umbra Sheer




Masterson says her “goal with Umbra from day one was to have a gorgeous mineral sunscreen that flattered every skin tone.” As a beauty editor, I know how challenging this can be for brands to achieve. “We added a color that can be easily worn on darker skin tones,” she explains.” But, it can also be added to the two other colors to offer a customizable option. This casts a wider net to make sure we have something for every person out there.”

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