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Fact: Sunscreen is the most important part of your morning skincare routine. Yes, more important than a moisturizer or toner; your sunscreen is the protective agent that has the greatest impact on how your skin looks and feels in the long term. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that sunscreen comes with a plethora of issues. At its best, the texture is thick and sticky; at worst, it leaves a white cast that makes you look ghostly in photos. That’s where Murad’s brand-new Correct & Protect Serum Broad Spectrum SPF 45 (opens in new tab)comes in. The sunscreen-serum hybrid is the latest launch from the skincare brand and works to correct discoloration and prevent future hyperpigmentation in addition to protecting against sun damage.
“With Correct & Protect, we wanted to create a product that wasn’t just a sunscreen and wasn’t just a serum,” Murad’s founder, Dr. Howard Murad, tells Marie Claire over email. “We wanted a powerful 2-in-1 product that corrected discoloration and protected against hyperpigmentation.”
The mineral zinc sunscreen is designed to correct and prevent irregular areas where there are changes in skin color; at the same time, it protects your skin from harmful UV rays, blue light, and pollution. Think of it as a one-stop-shop in your morning skincare routine that offers an all-encompassing kind of protection in the form of a satiny-smooth serum that can leave your skin looking brighter and more hydrated.
The corrective aspects come down to the inclusion of hero ingredients, like beet root extract and the use of carotenoid technology from a blend of responsibly-sourced tomato fruit extract. According to the brand, the use of beet root extract makes the skin feel more hydrated over time while actually stimulating vitamin D production within the skin itself.
Kristen Robinson, Murad’s Senior Director of New Product Development, told Marie Claire that this works because vitamin D “plays a role in the processes in the skin [that are] vital for water binding, barrier function, and skin hydration” and that it “has been shown to be an important initiator of filaggrin, an important material for making natural moisturizing factors in our skin.”
Skin cells have the ability to convert Vitamin D into an active form within the epidermis, otherwise known as Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 regulates your skin cell’s ability to multiply. In short, your skin looks its healthiest after this occurs. “Healthy skin cells retain hydration,” says Dr. Vivian Bucay, a San Antonio, Texas-based dermatologist. “A healthy skin barrier will decrease inflammation, and the changes that lead to signs of sun damage like dullness, dryness, roughness, and uneven skin tone and discoloration.”
According to the brand, the plant-derived beet root extract aims to address both short and long-term skin hydration while aiming for a higher level of hydration within the outer layers of your skin. A clinical study on users using the Fitzpatricks skin typing scale, a scientific skin type classification, found that 91 percent of users said their skin felt hydrated, with 80 percent of users seeing an improvement in the radiance of their skin after two weeks of using the serum. The majority of users—91 percent, to be exact—also said that the serum had a sheer, invisible finish, meaning that they didn’t notice a white cast, which is a rarity for mineral sunscreens.
While that sounds like a bunch of scientific jargon (read: too good to be true), trust us that it actually works. Our beauty team has been secretly using and testing Murad’s sunscreen-serum for weeks and we found that there was no detectable white cast. Don’t let the word “serum” confuse you: Unlike a traditional serum that’s applied before a moisturizer, this serum can be swapped with your go-to moisturizer. If you have a dry skin type like I do, simply layer it over your day cream.
“We tested this beyond just ensuring that it had sunscreen protection, [we] looked at it subjectively and with expert grading on how it would help improve or correct,” says Robinson. The serum has “all the sunscreen aspects to protect and correct for the ‘protect’, and the treatment aspects to “correct” the signs of hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, and dullness or lack of radiance and luminosity,” she said.
The bottom line: I love that the serum finish provided a smooth, evened-out base for the rest of my makeup. Plus, in terms of re-application, the featherweight texture allowed me to press the product into my skin (and on top of my makeup) throughout the day. Even on days when I wore makeup, I found that reapplying the product didn’t alter my foundation or concealer, and when you’re on Zoom calls all day, that’s a pretty big deal. To be fair, I haven't sampled it on a sweltering hot beach day, which to me is the real test of any SPF formulation, but in the meantime, I’m okay knowing that my skin is “future-proofed” and that’s something that we can all get behind in 2022.
Shop the Protect & Correct Serum Broad Spectrum SPF 45 ($69) on Murad.com.
Julia Marzovilla is an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire covering all things fashion, beauty, and entertainment. Offline, she’s most likely browsing the web for another pair of black boots or listening to music too loudly—often at the same time.
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