Murad was founded in 1989 by Dr. Howard Murad, a self-proclaimed pioneer of the clinical skincare movement, and has since become a favorite among women’s magazines such as Allure and Self. Murad based his eponymous line on a theory of aging dubbed ‘The Science of Cellular Water’, which is founded on the premise that the key measure of health is in the cell’s ability to hold water. He claims the products in his line optimize cell health by supporting and enhancing the skin’s barrier function to protect cells from environmental damage and dehydration, while promoting turnover.

Murad currently has 89 consumer and 45 professional products that range from concealer to cleansers to shaving lotions; the brand is sold at various stores including Sephora and Ulta and in 46 countries.

Though the brand first used monotone packaging in the form of solid black containers, it underwent a redesign in 2002 to amass broader appeal; the resulting translucent bottles and colored fonts aimed to give a clean doctor’s office feel.

In December 2009, Murad’s acne complex kit reached the 3 million sales mark.

Murad’s infomercials feature celebrities such as former Melrose Place star Josie Bisett and singer Deborah Gibson. A range of products ‘guest starred’ in an episode of the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy in 2008.

The Good:

Murad makes a host of product from sunblock to acne wash. The brand has also gained some good reviews from readers.

The Bad:

Murads’s ingredients are not the best for your body. In their products you’ll find linalool, phenoxyethanol, and parabens. Their ingredients also seem to fall short, in the Resurgence Age Diffusing Serum, they try to sell Florentina Root Extract as some kind of exotic ingredient. However, it goes by the name of ottis and is an ingredient used in chewing gum. As for it’s benefits, there really aren’t any which we don’t understand why they use it.

The Truth:

At TIA, we’ve tried many a Murad product – and they’ve proven to be a mixed bag in terms of results. Jimmy reviewed and recommended the Murad Waterproof Sunblock SPF 30 with pomegranate extract for including antioxidants that enhanced protection, but Copley could only dub her reaction to several irritating ingredients in the Essential C Eye Cream as tear jerking.  Marta initially liked the Acne products like the Acne Body Wash and Clarifying Spray, but they stopped working after consistent use. Some of the main ingredients in Murad products are also hazy in terms of safety. For example, Triclosan is an antibacterial in the Acne Complex Clarifying Cleanser that is found in liquid soaps and has been linked to endocrine system disruption, cancer and increased dermal sensitization. And Marta was perplexed by the ineffectiveness of the Murad Recovery Treatment Gel – which she thought contained the ingredients that should do the deed, but perhaps contained too little of them to really work.

In all, Murad’s inclusion of irritating ingredients and perhaps not enough of a concentration of the good ones gives us the indication that the brand doesn’t live up to its clinical standards.