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- Best retinol treatment: Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum
- Best cleanser: Murad Essential-C Cleanser
- Best sunscreen: Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifier Broad Spectrum SPF 45
- Best exfoliant: Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
- Best moisturizer: Murad Clarifying Water Gel
- Best toner: Murad Clarifying Toner
- Best serum: Murad Vita-C Glycolic Brightening Serum
- Best peel treatment: Murad AHA/BHA/Retinol Daily Clarifying Peel
Murad Skin Care is a company that specializes in “clinical skin care” products. Founded by Dr. Howard Murad in 1989, the brand initially aimed to bridge the gap between skin and healthcare. Upon the birth of the brand, Murad hired skin care professionals to use scientifically proven formulas and technologies to produce effective products that delivered healthy, glowing skin.
Now, Murad is one of the most popular skin care brands on the market. The company still uses its founder’s mission statement as inspiration to create innovative and reliable products, ranging from moisturizers to toners to retinol treatments.
Generally, Murad’s goal is to produce and sell skin care products that are rooted in science.
Additionally, Dr. Murad’s four main pillars of wellness (“eat your water”, “awaken your body”, “be kind to your mind,” and “nourish your skin”) provide an innovative approach to the company’s main belief that skin care is healthcare and self-care.
According to the company, “when you have beautiful skin, it is a sign that you have a healthy body and mind.”
Murad sells a plethora of different types of products for a variety of skin types, concerns, and ages. Some of the most popular include:
- serums and treatments
- masks and peels
- eye creams
Murad also has a few different skin care lines such as:
- Acne Control
- Environmental Shield
In choosing the best Murad products to test, I took a few things into account:
- Price point. Murad skin care products range from less than $20 to over $100. I wanted to try out a variety of items at different price points to ensure the quality was maintained across the board, regardless of how much the product costs.
- Customer ratings and reviews. I chose to review some of the most popular Murad products. To meet the criteria, the item had to have at least a 4.2-star rating and generally positive customer reviews.
- Skin type. I personally have oily to combination skin so I often opted for products that are more in line with those skin care concerns. However, all items in our roundup can be used on different skin types.
- Variety. I also picked products from Murad’s array of product lines.
- $ = under $30
- $$ = $30–$60
- $$$ = over $60
Best retinol treatment
Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum
- Price: $$$
- Active ingredients: retinol, swertia flower extract, hyaluronic acid
- Best for: normal, dry, combination, and oily skin
- Use: reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, uneven texture, and loss of firmness and elasticity
It’s never too early to start using retinol, aka an over-the-counter (OTC) type of retinoid derived from vitamin A that’s been found to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores. Hence, why I began implementing retinol into my skin care routine last year — and with this serum from Murad’s Resurgence line, I haven’t looked back.
Although I haven’t seen the drastic results the brand promised (they claim that after 2 weeks of usage, 93 percent of users saw a reduction of fines lines), I have noticed that my skin feels much smoother. I also have quite large pores but noted that they appear to look somewhat smaller, though still noticeable.
If you’re interested in buying this product, I would suggest starting out with the 1-ounce trial-size bottle since the full-size option is on the pricier side.
- Great reviews, with 84 percent of Sephora buyers recommending the purchase.
- It works for all ages.
- It has hydrating ingredients to combat common side effects of retinol like redness and peeling.
- Expensive price point.
- The product doesn’t specify how much retinol is in the formula.
- It isn’t for everyone (people who are pregnant or have eczema or rosacea should opt out of this buy).
Murad Essential-C Cleanser
- Price: $$
- Active ingredients: vitamins A, C, and E, butylene glycol (a hydrating agent), allantoin (a moisturizing ingredient)
- Best for: dry, combination, oily, and normal skin
If you’re in the market to spend a bit more cash on a cleanser, I would say that the Murad Essential-C Cleanser is a good option. It’s pretty hydrating, which can often be hard to find in a cleanser. However, thanks to moisturizing ingredients found in the formula, the product is able to cleanse the skin without stripping it of all hydration.
Murad claims that it also includes ingredients that shield the skin from environmental stressors, along with protecting it from free radical damage. Even when used regularly, I don’t necessarily feel that my skin has improved all that much, but I haven’t experienced any breakouts, redness, or irritation, either.
- It’s formulated without parabens and phthalate.
- It’s designed to cleanse and hydrate the skin (which, based on my experience, is pretty spot-on).
- It’s a little too expensive to use as a daily cleanser. I think there are other more affordable options on the market that provide similar results.
- Some users reported breakouts and irritability after trying this product.
Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifier Broad Spectrum SPF 45
- Price: $$
- Active ingredients: avocado and African yellow wood bark extracts (natural ingredients that help control oil)
- Best for: normal, combination, and oily skin
If you have oily skin, you should absolutely try out this sunscreen. (Likewise, if you have dry skin, this product isn’t for you.) This SPF 45 feels really silky and smooth when applied to the face and carries out on its claim of mattifying pores. Better yet, it didn’t clog my pores either, so there were no signs of breakouts or trouble spots.
Bonus: It’s a broad spectrum sunscreen, which means it protects the face against UVA and UVB sun rays.
- The product feels great on the skin when applied on top of a moisturizer.
- It sits nicely underneath makeup.
- It’s a lightweight formula.
- Some users found that the formula pilled on the skin.
- Other reviewers with very oily skin wrote that it didn’t work well for oil control.
Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
- Price: $$
- Active ingredients: salicylic acid, glycolic acid, jojoba beads
- Best for: normal, dry, oily, and combination skin
I tend to use an exfoliator 2 to 3 times during the week so I don’t strip my skin too much of its natural oils. Enter: Murad’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser which, despite having cleansing properties that gently remove dull skin cells, still manages to make my face feel smooth and soft after use.
Although the formula contains super hydrating ingredients like jojoba beads and sodium PCA, I definitely still needed to apply a moisturizer and eye cream afterward.
Murad claims that this exfoliant is particularly good for uneven texture, dullness, and dark circles, but I didn’t really see any differences there. Additionally, like other Murad products, this cleanser lands at $42 for 6.75 ounces. While it shouldn’t be used every single day, it’s still a bit pricey for bi- or tri-weekly use.
- The product left my skin feeling soft.
- It isn’t too harsh.
- It has hydrating ingredients.
- Reviewers with sensitive and acne-prone skin love it.
- A moisturizer was still needed afterward to really lock in hydration.
- It didn’t make my skin seem less dull.
Murad Clarifying Water Gel
- Price: $$
- Active ingredients: hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, ginger root
- Best for: normal, combination, and oily skin
I really love this gel for the warmer months. It’s a noncomedogenic formula geared toward oily and acne-prone skin types that’s really great for morning skin care routines. I love the way it makes my skin feel — hydrated and even a bit glowy — and it sits nicely underneath my favorite sunscreen.
However, as someone who has oily skin but still manages to get dry in the winter, this gel isn’t heavy enough to get me through chillier weather. Murad also says that it can work as a nighttime moisturizer, but the same problem exists for me. If your skin isn’t as dry, it may be a good option for you.
- The product provides a healthy, hydrated look.
- In the summer, it keeps my skin moisturized all day.
- It’s good for acne-prone skin.
- The product isn’t moisturizing enough to get me through colder climates.
- It has a scent (some reviewers described it as a “strong smell”, but I wasn’t super bothered by it).
- A few users found that it dried out their face.
Murad Clarifying Toner
- Price: $
- Active ingredients: witch hazel, grapeseed extract, vitamin E
- Best for: all skin types, but especially oily and acne-prone skin
An often overlooked skin care step, toner can provide a deeper cleanse, exfoliation, and support the rest of the products you apply in your regimen. Murad’s Clarifying Toner, in particular, works to fight oil and refresh and purify acne-prone skin.
In my experience, I’ve found that toners can be really drying and strip my naturally oily skin of its essential hydration. While this product does its job, it contains witch hazel (a natural ingredient Native American populations have used for centuries for skin care ailments).
Although witch hazel can work for some people, it may not be useful for those who have eczema, acne, or dryness. Given that, the witch hazel in this toner is balanced out by grapeseed extract and vitamin E, which protect the skin from free radical damage.
- It’s a good product, especially for the price point.
- It’s best for oily and acne-prone skin.
- The product may not be for everyone.
- Some reviewers reported feeling an initial burning sensation upon application that goes away.
- Users complain about the packaging and say that it’s easy to spill.
Murad Vita-C Glycolic Brightening Serum
- Price: $$$
- Active ingredients: vitamin C, glycolic acid
- Best for: normal, dry, combination, and oil skin
This product is certainly on the more expensive side (it’s priced around $80 for 1 ounce), but I will say it’s for good reason. I’ve been testing this serum for 2 weeks, and I’ve already seen a difference in the appearance of my skin. It feels smoother and looks more radiant and glowy.
I use it once a day in the morning underneath my moisturizer and sunscreen. The company notes that you may feel a slight tingling sensation upon initial application, but in my experience, it’s nothing too noticeable. I’ve especially enjoyed using this serum in the winter months when my skin feels especially dry and dull.
If you’re on the fence about this purchase, I would recommend opting for the trial size, which is priced at just under $30 for 10 milliliters (mL), to see if your skin reacts well to it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t dub this product a must-have, although it’s definitely a nice addition to my routine.
- The product delivers on its claims of delivering more hydrated, brighter skin.
- It helps with the appearance of dark spots.
- The product has an expensive price point.
- Some users noted that it didn’t work for their skin.
Best peel treatment
Murad AHA/BHA Daily Clarifying Peel
- Price: $$
- Active ingredients: salicylic acid, glycolic acid, retinoid
- Best for: normal, dry, combination, and oily skin types
Despite the scary-sounding name, this daily-use peel from Murad is 100 percent safe — and even pledges to smooth the appearance of skin texture and pores with regular use. It’s made of several ingredients, including retinoid, AHA, and BHA which work together to gently clarify the pores and encourage cell turnover.
The brand instructs users to apply this product using a cotton round after cleansing. You should put it on your face, neck, and chest without rinsing, and then follow up with a moisturizer (you should also apply SPF if you use it during the day).
A whopping 97 percent of Sephora buyers recommend purchasing this clarifying peel, finding that it’s quite effective. Some users with more sensitive skin lowered their usage, using it 2 to 3 times a week, but still had great results.
- The product contains great ingredients at a mid-range price point.
- It has fantastic customer reviews and ratings.
- It can be used for a variety of different skin types.
- The product may not be great for sensitive skin.
- Some reviewers reported breaking out from the product.
Murad’s philosophy lies within using scientifically backed ingredients and methods. As a result, many of the products use clinical-strength ingredients along with naturally derived ones, too.
Murad also uses a lot of antioxidants such as pomegranates, green tea, and vitamin C. Other commonly found additives include salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, and glycolic acid.
Not all Murad products are vegan, but many of them are free from parabens and fragrances. Murad is also a cruelty-free company.
While I didn’t test every single product in Murad’s skin care line, I felt that the products I did test worked well for me. Murad offers a variety of items that are intended to work for all different skin types and ages, ranging from those on the younger side to those who have more mature-looking skin.
Reviews of the brand are generally positive. Users primarily include young adults, middle-aged people, and those who are older.
Most negative reviews depend on the product and the person using them.
Not every product I tested delivered on its claims.
For instance, Murad’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser worked pretty well — it did, in fact, leave my skin feeling clean and free from the day’s makeup, oils, and grime.
However, Murad also asserts that it’ll visibly brighten and reveal smoother, younger-looking skin. Personally, this wasn’t my experience, but it really depends on the user’s skin type and how the product reacts with it.
I would generally say that Murad products do work. Most items have pretty positive reviews across the board at beauty retailers like Sephora and Ulta Beauty.
Murad products are sold at a variety of retailers including the brand’s website and Amazon. Other spots to shop include:
For the most part, Murad tends to have largely positive reviews from its customers. However, their products aren’t for everyone. Like most skin care items, they’re not suitable for all skin types and can cause irritability, redness, or breakouts if the ingredients upset the skin.
A frequent criticism of Murad is its price point. Products tend to skew on the more expensive end of the spectrum, which makes it difficult for people to feel like they can try them out without spending a ton of money.
Murad has an A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation. There are some customer complaints about issues with coupon codes, refunds, returns, and order cancelations.
In 2020, there was a class action lawsuit against Murad for including oil in its Clarifying Oil-Free Water Gel.
Although Murad carries many effective products, some items are pricey or unavailable to all shoppers. A few alternatives to Murad are:
cocokind is a conscious skin care brand that carries vegan and cruelty-free products. cocokind is a woman-owned business that can be shopped at Target and Amazon. Most products are priced at around $25 or less.
CeraVe is a company with products that dermatologists have developed. CeraVe specializes in products that are friendly to people who have skin care conditions like eczema, rosacea, acne, and psoriasis. According to the brand, it’s also the No. 1 recommended skin care brand dermatologists recommend.
You can shop CeraVe products at Amazon, Target, Walmart, and other retailers.
Fresh is a sustainable skin care brand that prioritizes producing safe and effective products. While still on the pricey side, all products are formulated without parabens, phthalates, and other harmful chemicals and additives. They also conduct efficacy tests to ensure products deliver on their claims.
You can shop Fresh products on the brand’s website or other beauty retailers like Amazon and Sephora.
Are Murad’s products worth the money?
Everyone has a different budget when it comes to skin care products, so the value really depends on how much money you’re willing to spend.
I would say that the more expensive Murad items definitely have a more high quality feel than other skin care products you’d find at the drugstore. However, I don’t see myself as someone who would continuously shell out roughly $80 to $100 whenever I need a refill. Instead, I would be more likely to find a product or method that’s more in line with my budget.
With that being said, if you’re willing to spend the money, Murad has some genuinely great products that feel really luxurious and nice on the skin.
Do you recommend Murad?
Based on the price points, I can’t say that I recommend everything I tried, even though everything I tested worked well.
Should you have a looser budget and are interested in testing some things out, I would recommend trying one or two items (and possibly opting for a trial size) before making any big purchases.
Are there any Murad products you wouldn’t recommend?
Out of the products I tested, there wasn’t necessarily anything that I wouldn’t recommend. However, I only tried out a few Murad products. There are still a ton of others that I’ve yet to even purchase.
Additionally, just because a product worked my skin does not mean that it’ll work for everyone.
Murad is a great skin care line with a lot of effective products for people with a variety of skin types. While its items generally receive positive reviews, the price points don’t always make them the most accessible.
Although I enjoyed everything that I tried, I would also say that you can use products from other skin care lines like CeraVe and cocokind for effective results.