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Hit the “Refresh” Button with the Skin-Reviving Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask

My skin has been staging a coup d’état as of late — ironically, just as I’ve reinvented my entire diet (partly because  years of stress and coffee-chugging have led to ulcers), started working out on a semi-regular basis (I’ve never done much in the form of exercise beyond the occasional yoga or Pilates video), and amassed my own stockpile of vitamins and supplements to boost my cantankerous  immune system. Granted: my skin is probably in a state of near-shock and any problems I’m witnessing might be the result of an adjustment period. But, at the same time, I’ve learned that, as I delve deeper into my 30s, my body is starting to behave in strange, unexpected, and mainly unwelcome ways. For instance, I’m starting to break out around my jawline and chin from time to time — a really odd turn since I survived puberty and adolescence with barely a blackhead or whitehead. Yes, folks, plenty of surprises await once you hit 30 and, if my older cousins are right, even more treats await as the days roll by and I inch closer to 40. In any case, because I’m a vain little thing (and yes, I’m admitting that without apology),  I’m not willing to simply accept my skin’s current insolence so I’m trying every tactic I can to continue my anti-aging regimen while also hydrating my often parched skin, eradicating any stubborn dark spot and brightening my complexion, and obliterating any breakouts without exacerbating the problem. One of the best weapons in my skincare arsenal: the Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask ($22.50 at Murad.com). 

I was initially hesitant to try this mask since the packaging makes note of it being designed for normal-to-combination skin and I fall in the dry-to-normal range but, truth be told, I think this product can be enjoyed by women of all skin types. Each mask treatment is packaged inside a small, single-dose packet— similar to the type of packaging we associate with sanitizing hand wipes, albeit slightly larger — which makes the application process a cinch since the amount you need to apply has already been carefully pre-measured and, when finished, you can simply toss the empty packet, so there’s no crust amassing along the mouth of a tube or the rim of jar. Each box, then, contains six packets so that you have six weeks’ worth of treatments for under $25 (talk about a steal!).

So what makes this mask so remarkable? Well, the Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask tackles several problems. It contains pomegranate extract, which is rich in antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. If the concept of free radicals is still murky to you, here’s a brief explanation: free radicals are oxygen molecules that lack an electron and, in their quest to replace that missing electron, they tend to attack molecules within the human body like the lipids and proteins that are fundamental to healthy and radiant skin. Because of this, then, free radicals can lead to premature aging signs (wrinkles, sun spots, etc.). Antioxidants, then, are key to maintaining a radiant, luminous, smooth complexion. But that’s not all. The mask also contains antioxidant-rich gingko bilboa extract, which works as an anti-inflammatory, reducing redness and swelling (including what we experience during and after a breakout), and helping to facilitate the healing process. Alpha Hydroxy Acids derived from the lactic acid found in milk, malic acid from papaya fruit extract, citric acid from lemon extract, and glycolic acid from sugarcane work to loosen the outer layer of the skin so as to promote exfoliation, revealing younger, more radiant, smoother skin. AHAs soften the  muco-polysaccharide “glue” that holds together the cells constituting this outer layer of skin so that, once loose, these dead cells can be washed away to reveal a supple, resilient,  unblemished layer of skin. Sodium PCA, meanwhile, softens and hydrates the skin. 

As with all Murad products, the Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask was developed using the brand’s Science of Cellular Water, which examines the ability of cell membranes to absorb and retain water. Since damaged cells can’t properly absorb and retain water, it’s important to stimulate cellular turnover and constantly ensure that stronger, more resilient cells are brought to the surface level and protected from environmental hazards.

From a sensory perspective, the mask has this clear and gel-like texture that’s positively delicious — not clumpy or cake-y like many a clay mask (and sans the embarrassing green, brown, or red colors that leave you scrambling to hide whenever an unexpected visitor drops by and rings the doorbell at the most inopportune of times). Best of all, when you apply the mask to the skin, you feel this burst of coolness, as if you’d splashed chilled water onto your face but even more intense since the sensation lasts almost the entire time the product remains on your face. It’s one of the few masks I actually look forward to applying, which says a lot about how enjoyable the experience is. It really does help you have a dose of at-home pampering!

Best of all, when you rinse off the mask, you’ll notice that skin looks brighter and healthier. Also, the morning after the treatment, you’ll probably discern a difference in terms of redness being reduced, pores appearing smaller, and skin feeling softer and silkier.

After using all six treatments, I quickly ran to Sephora to replenish my arsenal — and, considering the wealth of skincare products within my reach, that’s something I only do for products I find life-changing. This, one, ladies, is ab absolute revelation!


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