If You’re Going To Invest in One Serum To Get Your Skin Ready for Winter, This Is It

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Even on my best skin days, my complexion has a tendency to be dry and dull. This means that after the two-week stint I’ve just had—which included a lot of alcohol, six late nights out in a row, multiple marathon training runs, and fall weather that can’t decide how it wants to behave—I should be looking like a shriveled-up raisin. But this morning when I looked in the mirror, I couldn't help but think to myself, "Damn, she's glowy." And it's all because of the new Murad Cellular Hydration Repair Serum ($72).

Thankfully, this whirlwind of a time (... did I mention I casually got engaged in the midst of all that too?) perfectly aligned with when this super-smart serum landed on my desk. After two weeks of swapping it in place of all of the usual treatments in my routine—a risk, for sure—I can confirm that it's helped my skin stand up to every twist, turn, and celebratory tequila shot that's come its way.

How the Murad Cellular Hydration Repair Serum works

The product's powers all come down to its ability to fortify the skin barrier. Any dermatologist will tell you that a having strong skin barrier is the number one most important factor in keeping skin healthy—which is where the formula's stacked (and science-backed) ingredients list comes in.

Experts In This Article
  • Anna Karp, DO, board-certified dermatologist at the Skin Institute of New York

"The skin barrier is the outermost layer of our skin and our skin's main protection from the elements and pathogens—it keeps moisture in and irritants out," says Anna Karp, DO, a board-certified dermatologist. "The peptides in this product, specifically the biomimetic hexapeptide-9, help to restore the skin barrier by emulating barrier-enforcing peptides that reduce water loss."

The formula also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which also contribute to skin barrier strength. "They help create ceramides, which are the main building blocks of the skin barrier and help to keep the skin hydrated and protected from irritants," says Dr. Karp. "Additionally, omega fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties which help the skin."

One of the coolest things about the product, though, is how it works to nourish the skin from the inside out—that is, on a cellular level. "To hydrate the skin on a cellular level means to prevent water loss and [loss of] other essential nutrients to the individual skin cells," says Dr. Karp. "This is important for overall skin health because well-hydrated skin is more plump, resilient, and less prone to dryness, irritation, and other problems."
All of this can be particularly helpful as we head toward the colder, dryer months of the year—even if you aren't challenging your skin with sweat, alcohol, and a lack of sleep the way I have been recently. These types of conditions can weaken the barrier, which means adding a product like this one to your routine can set you (and your skin) up for success this winter.

What happened when I tried it

The first thing I noticed about the Murad Cellular Hydration Repair Serum was, well, the smell. It definitely has a not-so-great odor, but considering some of the best skin-care products on the market literally stink, I chose to convince myself that this was a sign that this stuff is legit (I mean, I've never let the hot-dog water smell of SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic get in the way of my pursuit of brighter skin).

The texture of the product is essentially a milky serum—it's viscous and opaque in a way that makes you think it will feel thick, but it glides easily into the skin and disappears immediately. Right after application, my skin looks plump and hydrated and stays that way throughout the day.

I've been using the serum for two weeks, and have noticed a visible difference in my skin. I can't totally put my finger on what it is, but it just looks healthier overall—less dry and dull, more moist and even. After only five days, I stopped wearing foundation—which is pretty huge for me as a beauty editor... especially considering what my skin's been through recently.

Going forward, I plan to add my usual dark spot treatment back into my routine (while this stuff helps with redness, it doesn't do much for discoloration), but will definitely be keeping the Murad serum in my daily rotation for extra hydration. If it can help me look this good in the face of sweat, no sleep, and champagne, a regular day in the life should be a cinch. Plus, winter is coming, and with this formula, my skin will be ready.

But wait, there's more!
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