Welcome to Beauty Boss, a reoccurring series in which we spotlight the power players driving the beauty world forward. Consider this your chance to steal their get-ahead secrets, and grow from the real-life lessons they’ve learned on the job.
When shopping for beauty products in 2019, dermatologist-backed skincare brands are as ubiquitous as celebrity makeup lines. In fact, in the skincare world, these doctors are idolized by beauty bloggers and editors for creating effective, game-changing products that transform skin. However, in 1989, there was only one dermatologist with their own namesake skincare brand: Dr. Howard Murad.
Along with paving the way for future dermatologists who dreamed of having their lines stocked in Sephora, Dr. Murad's approach to making products was also trailblazing. He disrupted the standard skincare routine by creating "treat" products that address specific concerns (like acne, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation) meant to be used in conjunction with cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. Now, 30 years later, these researched-based, clinical studies-backed formulas are still staples in medicine cabinets across the country.
Here, we caught up with Dr. Murad to find out the one mistake that gets in the way of perfect skin, why wellness has always been his focus for his brand, and how he's celebrating Murad's milestone anniversary.
Tell me how you got your start in the beauty industry.
Ever since I can remember, I was always interested in helping people. It’s what led me to pharmacy school, then medical school, and ultimately, into the world of dermatology. Once I was a dermatologist, I realized I could help people with topical products that were generally not available at the time.
How do you approach making skincare products and the various lines within your brand? Does the ingredient or purpose come first?
The purpose always comes first. To approach the initial ideation of a new skincare product it was never what I was reading, or thought about what the market needed, it was seeing my patients and looking into their concerns — did they have drier skin, more pigmentation, acne, etc. Once I was able to identify the concern, then it was addressing the apparent needs and finding a solve.
Why has wellness always been important to you and your brand, and what’s it been like to see it turn into such a trend when it's always been a focus for you?
My idea of wellness is the act of returning to your youth. When you bring out your inner child, no matter your age, you’re happy, carefree and stress-free – just as you were as a child. I was always fascinated with how happy young children were, and that’s where my core belief of wellness originated from.
Our approach to wellness has always been unique and inclusive relating to a person’s overall health at the pinnacle – a type of wellness that goes way beyond just health. A fully encompassing idea of wellness relating to the body, mind and soul. This idea is brought to life through my four pillars of wellness: eat your water, awaken your body, be kind to your mind and nourish your skin.
What was it like being the first doctor-based brand? What sets your brand apart from all the ones that are now on the market?
Well, to be honest, I didn’t realize at the time that I was the first! But I think what sets me apart is that I take a whole person approach when it comes to Murad’s products and formulas, instead of focusing on just one concern or area. When creating a product, it’s important to me to address the whole body, and then focus on the issue and how we can create a solve that betters the entire body, while still targeting a specific concern. This is why we add antioxidants, amino acids, fatty lipids, and more to most of our products as these types of ingredients improve your overall skin health. We want what’s best for you and your body.
What are some of the biggest mistakes or misconceptions people have when approaching anti-aging skincare, and what should they be doing?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you are the beholder. The more critical you are, the less happy you’ll be. Appreciate yourself and your skin, or as I like to say, always be kind to your mind!
Something I also tend to see is what I call “over-processed skin.” Everyone knows what over-processed hair means but rarely hear this when it comes to skin. It means exactly what you think it would — too much product that is not right for their skin, resulting in additional damage and zero desired results.
VIDEO: Top 5 Anti-Aging Skincare Dupes
What products are your most proud of creating?
I always say: I haven’t created it yet! Everyone houses so much potential — it’s just up to you whether you’re going to fuel your potential, or not. But if I have to pick, the most memorable will always be my first three products that I launched. These products embraced what was missing in the skincare world – they were: Age Spot Pigment Lightening Gel (for hyperpigmentation), Skin Smoothing Cream (for wrinkles) and the Oily Prone Treatment (for acne). With these three products, we developed “treat” – a new category within the traditional skincare regimen. Skincare was only ever cleanse, tone, moisturize.
The brand just celebrated its 30th year. What’s next?
To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we produced a traveling wellness vault that popped up in three cities throughout California. The pop-up spoke to the four pillars of wellness I mentioned earlier, and this created a moment for us to connect with our customers on a personal level — to provide education when it comes to skin health and full body wellness while building authentic relationships. When you’re happy and healthy, so is your skin. So this was the first step for us in the experiential real,m and is something we will be prioritizing moving forward to connect with even more people. We’re also working on a few new exciting innovations for 2020 that we can’t wait to release.