This Best-Selling Skin Recovery Serum Is the Brainchild of a Derm Who’s Seen It All and Knows What Skin Needs

Even if you have your skin-care routine down to a science, your complexion still undergoes a lot every day. Pollutants and sun exposure aside, the stressors of everyday life take a toll on your body’s largest organ. That’s why Murad Revitalixir Recovery Serum ($89) set out to tackle the dermatological effects of what ails us most: our to-do lists.

The Revitalixir Recovery Serum specifically targets what Murad founder, Howard Murad, MD, deems “cultural stress.” Cultural stress is stress caused by our jobs, families, and life that keeps us up at night and causes us to distance ourselves from the social bonds that make us feel like ourselves. Dr. Murad’s serum acts as a reset for your complexion to ease the visible effects of stress—like under-eye puffiness, dark circles, and expression lines—when you can’t necessarily dial back your workload.

When I get my hands on a bottle of the Revitalixir Recovery Serum, I notice that it looks more like artwork than a skin-care product. Dr. Murad’s team has crafted the formula into eggplant-colored pearls clustered together in a tall glass bottle. This choice is meant to keep the ingredients—which include cannabis sativa for moisture, neuropeptides to decrease the appearance of lines, and caffeine to enliven the skin—concentrated until you’re ready to use them.

After washing and drying my face, I opt for a thin layer of the serum. The instructions advise applying it all over your face and decolletage, and to pat it gently around your eye area. It’s slightly more viscous than other serums, but feels cool and pleasant against my skin. I let it dry completely before layering on my retinol (It’s nighttime! Of course I’m using retinol!) and a thin layer of moisturizer.

Heeding Dr. Murad’s advice about the importance of sleep, I go to bed early and wake up to find that the serum has performed a small magic trick overnight. Now, I say “small” because I’ve still yet to find a product that instantly wipes my complexion clean of the acne scars, fine lines, and puffiness I’ve collected in my adult years. However, the serum does move the needle. It’s something about the tautness of my under eyes. The way my skin looks a little more awake and a little less pale. After a few more days of use, the effects are a ever-so-slightly more stark. The inflammation I tend to wake up to during stressful work periods has eased and my skin looks, well, good!

At $89, this serum isn’t the most affordable option on the market, but you only need a pearl-sized amount to notice a monumental difference. At just under two ounces, it’s also travel-friendly and ready to go wherever you go (and where, *sigh*, your stress may follow).

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