Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 and Advanced Active Radiance Serum review

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I’ve definitely done my fair share of UV damage to my skin. Although my grandma always insisted that I put on sunscreen, during much of my teenage years I tried to get away with the minimum (tanning oil with SPF 8) and in college I spent a little time in the tanning beds.

While overall I would say that my skin habits were better than some, there was definitely room for improvement. This year, I’ve really started to reevaluate how well I’m protecting my skin. There are many factors: I’ll be turning 30 this October, I’ve spent a good deal of money on getting a full sleeve tattooed onto my right arm, I’m spending a ton of time in the sun running races, and sadly, seeing friends and family affected by skin cancer. Skin cancer is serious, and even for people that tan easily, sun protection should still be a daily habit.


The lovely skincare fairies at we heart this must have known that my skin needed some armor and some lovin’, because they sent me Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 and Advanced Active Radiance Serum to test out. This hard-working combo was a fantastic treat, and I love that all of Murad’s products are developed by dermatologists, and are never tested on animals.


Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($60) protects skin from both UVA and UVB rays, and keeps skin moisturized without being heavy or greasy. It’s a fantastic everyday sunscreen–my temperamental, sometimes-oily, sometimes-dry, acne-prone skin loved it.

It contains Ectoines, which are molecules that bind water to their membrane, which is intended to “support” your skin as it copes with environmental factors. It has a faint sunscreen smell to it, and may feel like regular sunscreen right after being applied, but quickly becomes weightless, without any residue or heaviness. I applied foundation on top of it, and had no issues whatsoever with shine, or with my foundation changing color, even after a long day and a run in the sun.

Just an FYI, if you’re really serious about your sunscreen, the Environmental Working Group is a good resource for thoroughly evaluating your sunscreen. They gave Murad Essential-C a moderate rating of 6 (on a scale of 0-10, with 0 being the best).

I really like this sunscreen and was impressed with how well it held up on my skin–I find myself reaching for it every morning!


I was especially curious about Murad’s Advanced Active Radiance Serum ($90). It was named “Best Serum – Doctor Brands” by SHAPE magazine and it earned the Good Housekeeping Seal in 2011. The Advanced Active Radiance Serum, like the Essential-C sunscreen, also contains Ectoines, plus something they call Resilient-C Complex™.

In a study sponsored by Murad, 60% of participants saw their skin become brighter and more radiant in just one week–would I be able to see results that quickly? Since I didn’t know how frequently the study subjects applied the serum or when, I changed it up by applying daily for a few days, then every other day, sometimes at night and sometimes in the morning. After about two weeks, I do feel that my skin has started to become brighter and clearer.

Murad-Advanced-Active-Radiance-Serum-swatches-5Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 and Advanced Active Radiance Serum

While these higher-end skincare products also have a higher-end price tag, the quality is higher as well. It’s not common for me to find skincare products that I love enough to use every single day, and remember to pack when I went on vacation (totally forgot my foundation though!) But I have now.

we heartsters – how do you keep your skin protected and rejuvenated during the summer months?


  • Marilyn

    Marilyn is a makeup maniac and slow but stubborn runner. She loves color coding her day planner, reading celebrity gossip and drinking good wine. skin tone: NC25 Skin type: oily, acne-prone Favorite beauty product: eyeshadow

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  1. I love Murad and I’m always up for trying anything they have…I’m glad to hear the sunscreen worked well for oil prone skin and under foundation.

  2. Good stuff! I love Murad too.. They have just about anything your skin could ever need. Sometimes we forget just how important is to protect our skin. Trust me, as we age, any damage from not caring for will surface, and it isn’t pretty! This is a great way to keep your face happy!

  3. I am a big Murad fan — although I have not tried C Radiance. I have liked just about everything from this line I have tried! (That is a big compliment to this skincare line as my skin is very sensitive.)

  4. Murad can do no wrong as far as my skin is concerned. Their products are always simple and effective, and always worth the higher price. I can’t wait to try C Radiance!

    I didn’t know about the Environmental Working Group. Thanks, @lipglossandspandex!

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