A little while ago (OK 6 months ago) I visited the Murad beauty counter in Debenhams Oxford Street for what was marketed as a Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Express Facial. When I saw this advertised in Stylist I jumped on it: £10 for a 20-minute facial, redeemable against product purchase, it sounded too good to be true. And to some extent it was. My benchmark for good value and effective facials is Clarins’ BeautyBAR (available in select Debenhams and John Lewis stores), where for £25 you get 30 minutes of skin plumping relaxing treatment. So to be talked at for most of the treatment’s duration and with very little massaging is not what I had in mind. The approach was more educational (or a sales pitch depending on how you view it) from a very knowledgeable therapist who listened to my skin concerns, recommended a skincare routine and explained how each product worked. This resulted in the purchase of a cleanser and a goodie bag of samples, so not a bad experience by a long way, but to label it a facial I find misleading. Here is an honest review of the products I came home with.

Murad skincare flatlay including cleanser, exfoliator, serum and moisturiser

Time Release Blemish Cleanser

You’d think that an anti-ageing blemish control cleanser would be an oxymoron: surely you don’t need to tackle spots if your skin needs anti-ageing care? How do you target opposite problems at the same time? With one product? Unfortunately I fall quite neatly into that category, being in my mid-thirties and suffering from hormonal breakouts. With adult acne on the rise Murad’s Time Release Blemish Cleanser sounds like the ideal antidote. The therapist used this during the treatment, specifying that as with all Murad products, only a small amount was needed to work effectively on skin. The formula contains salicylic acid to fight blemishes, the popular hyaluronic acid for hydration and the famous anti-ageing superstar retinol (as discussed in Key Beauty Ingredients: What they do part 2). A word of caution for those of you looking for a traditional anti-blemish cleanser: you may be surprised by the creamy yet gel-like texture which I appreciated it for avoiding that tight feeling which has you reaching for moisturiser the second you dry your face. If your skin can take it then the Clarifying Cleanser may be right up your street. 200ml RRP £30.00

AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Any brand that aims to simplify skincare in my opinion deserves a shout out, and what I love about Murad is that each range is colour coded: navy blue for anti-ageing, sky blue for blemish control, orange for environmental protection. And then there is the number on the front of each product, guiding even the most novice consumer on the order in which to apply them. After a long tiring day starting with a toddler wake up call of 5.45am and ending in one too many glasses of wine this paint-by-numbers approach cannot be underestimated. Murad’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser features a grainy texture (thanks to jojoba beads) that polishes and smoothes skin, ideal for use two to three times a week depending on skin type to get a deeper cleanse and remove dead cells. You may have already come across the much sought-after skincare ingredients Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acid: AHAs gently exfoliate the top layer of your skin (as seen with Natura Siberica’s Gentle Face Peeling) to make way for a smoother surface whereas BHAs penetrate deeper to fight blackheads and whiteheads, with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Packaged in a generous 200ml tube, this exfoliator should last you the best part of a year. 200ml RRP £35.00

Murad skincare line up including cleanser, exfoliator, serum and moisturiser

Retinol Youth Renewal Serum

This is my favourite Murad skincare product from the selection reviewed. Applied after cleansing (the number 2 on the bottle tells me so), the consistency is light yet hydrating and the scent is delicious, quite subtle and a little fruity. Another product packed with anti-ageing retinol and moisturising hyaluronic acid, this serum works to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles for a hydrated and plumped result. At £70.00 for 30ml it’s the priciest product in this post but I’ve been using the 5ml sample every evening for the past 2 weeks so you don’t need to apply much to get results. 30ml RRP £70.00

Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture

The final product in a very simple 3-step skincare routine, Murad’s Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture manages to balance a rich texture that’s quickly absorbed, leaving no greasy residue. Containing coconut extract, shea butter, avocado and sunflower oil, my skin feels like it’s getting just the right amount of hydration without any overload. Coming out of the 20 minute Murad treatment that was the lasting impression it left me: you only need a small amount of each product to get results, and my skin felt great without the ultra-sticky finish you tend to get from facials. Although the directions of use advise to ‘apply liberally to face’, as with the serum a little goes a long way so the 7.5ml sample pot provided me with an application every evening for a couple of weeks. 50ml RRP £60.00

Have you tried Murad products? What is you current skincare routine? Leave a comment below to let me know.

All products photographed in the group shots except the Time Release Blemish Cleanser are samples.


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