Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is unique in that it combines a primer, moisturizer, and sun protection into a single step. Unfortunately, despite some strong positives, it contains a fairly potent, lingering fragrance that likely poses a strong risk of irritation. See More Info to learn why daily use of highly fragrant products like this is the wrong way to go for healthier, younger-looking skin.
On the plus side, this silky, gel-like primer-textured product smoothes on easily and provides broad spectrum protection that includes stabilized avobenzone. That's a key anti-aging benefit, but we're concerned that you may not apply this liberally enough to get the stated level of sun protection (we explain below), so relying on this as your sole source of protection from UV light may not be the wisest idea.
Applying a thin layer of this works fine, but adding too much more creates a layer that isn't as compatible with makeup as you might expect from a product claiming to function like primer. The possible result? Foundation or powder that peels up and rolls off your face as you blend if you aren't extra careful when applying your makeup.
It's certainly not impossible to apply makeup on top of a liberal application of this product; it just takes more effort—but why bother when you can apply a separate primer and follow with a fragrance-free daytime moisturizer with SPF instead? Yes, that's two products instead of one, but the time you'll save getting through the makeup portion of your routine faster makes that a wash.
Continuing the benefits, this daytime moisturizer with sunscreen's smoothing texture improves skin texture, yet it doesn't have the same "blurring" effect as other types of products sold with that skin-perfecting claim. Still, this does contain a good mix of plant- and vitamin-based antioxidants plus a good amount of antioxidant-rich soybean oil.
Although the balance is tipped in favor of the positives, overall this isn't quite as 3-in-1 as it seems, and the inclusion of fragrance (did we mention it lingers? Wow, does it linger…) is a big blemish on an otherwise commendable product—at least for those looking to try a daytime moisturizer with SPF whose texture and finish are not the same old, same old.
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Strengths: A few good cleansers; a selection of well-formulated AHA products centered on glycolic acid; most of Murad's top-rated products are fragrance-free; the sunscreens go beyond the basics and include several antioxidants for enhanced protection.
Weaknesses: Expensive; no other dermatologist-designed line has more problem products than Murad; irritating ingredients are peppered throughout the selection of products, keeping several of them from earning a recommendation; the skin-lighteners are not well-formulated.
Dr. Murad was one of the first doctors to appear on an infomercial selling his own line of skin-care products, and quite successfully so, at least the second time around. This was largely because the company paid for independent clinical studies to establish the efficacy of Dr. Murad's products. There's no question that AHA products, when well-formulated, can be a powerful ally to create healthier, radiant skin. But in terms of independent clinical studies, we're skeptical, given that there are countless labs that exist solely to perform such studies in strict accordance with how the company wants the results to turn out. Murad certainly wouldn't mention in an infomercial that the clinical studies for his AHA products weren't as impressive as, say, those for Neutrogena's AHA products, or any other line for that matter. And what about BHA products? Clinical studies and testimonials may have prompted consumers to order, but the results from Murad's AHA products are hardly unique to this line.
Although this is a skin-care line to consider for some good AHA options, the majority of the products are nothing more than a problem for skin. Murad may have been one of the first dermatologist-developed skin-care lines, but by today's standards his line is deplorable. This is largely due to a preponderance of irritating ingredients that show up in product after product. Any dermatologist selling products that include lavender, basil, and various citrus oils plus menthol and other irritants doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. The same goes for Murad's overuse of alcohol and his preference for treating acne with sulfur, both factors that keep some of his otherwise well-formulated, efficacious products from earning a recommendation.
Yet what is most objectionable is the endless parade of products claiming they can stop, get rid of, or reduce wrinkles and aging. Regardless of whether dermatologists know best about lotions and potions, no conscientious doctor would or should be selling products using the ludicrous claims Murad makes. Most of the anti-aging products have the same hype, the same unsubstantiated claims, and the same exaggeration about the beneficial effects of ingredients that are often present only in the tiniest amounts, without even a mention of the standard or potentially irritating ingredients that are also present. Dr. Murad’s skin-care philosophy, stated on his Web site, includes the following statement: "Take all the necessary steps to achieve healthy skin—including the right products, the proper nutrients (from both food and supplements) and positive lifestyle choices." That's an excellent piece of advice; the problem is that it is contradicted by Murad’s own products, most of which are far from the "right" options for all skin types.
For more information about Murad, now owned by Unilever, call (888) 996-8723 or visit www.murad.com.
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