This overnight mask is a saviour for parched skin that hates thick, rich creams

Dehydrated skin, be gone

Collage of original image of the Murad Cellular Hydration Barrier Repair Mask
(Image credit: Lucy Abbersteen)

Among other things, beauty editors spend a lot of time testing, comparing and assessing skincare products. As a result, if I’m being totally honest, it’s quite rare that a product blows me away – and very rare that it does so after the first use. So when that happens it feels like something to shout about, which is why I want to talk about Murad’s Cellular Hydration Barrier Repair Mask. 

Along with protecting it with a dedicated sunscreen, maintaining skin's hydration is one of the most important aspects of a strong skincare routine – which is why the best hyaluronic acid serums are often considered one of the essentials. If your skin gets hydrated easily, a treatment that helps to boost hydration is also a good idea to keep it looking and feeling healthy.

My skin is very prone to dehydration and while I experience occasional patches of dryness, it's actually quite oily – which, in a nice full-circle moment, can occur as the skin’s response to dehydration in an attempt to keep itself moisturised. It's also easily congested, meaning that when it needs nourishment, the product that delivers much-needed moisture and hydration needs to balance not being too heavy or rich.

Which brings me to Murad’s nifty mask. Not only was it love at first use, but it successfully pulls off the aforementioned balancing act. Here’s why, in my book, it’s one of the best face masks out there and would probably be a worthy addition to your skincare routine.

Why unhappy, dehydrated skin will love the Murad Cellular Hydration Barrier Repair Mask 

Each of Murad’s skincare ranges, from Blemish Control to Hydration, has its own colourway, so you can clearly identify the target. The purple Cellular Hydration Barrier Repair Mask falls under the latter, housed in a pleasing squeezy tube that makes dispensing the product nice and easy.

The formula is designed to tackle two things while you sleep: supporting the skin barrier and replenishing hydration. Murad also notes that it’s suitable for most skin types, including dry, oily, combination, sensitive and balanced. In other words, it should suit people like me who experience excessive oil production and those with very dry skin. 

Texture-wise, I’d describe it as having a medium thickness with a slightly whipped feel. If ever you’ve used skincare containing colloidal oat, this has a similar scent to it. It glides onto the skin easily, stretching quite far, so you don’t need to dispense a large amount to cover your entire face. It’s soft but not at all sticky – if anything, someone with drier skin might have wondered how well the reasonably thin layer I applied the first time I tried it would actually nourish skin. 

Before I went to bed, my skin didn’t look or feel great, which was ideal for testing a skincare product’s capabilities, at least. It looked lacklustre and sluggish, felt a bit tight and was showing some signs of dehydration (namely fine lines and dullness). Though it wasn’t excessively dry, I think I had a couple of slightly rough-feeling patches and my skin was feeling far from smooth. So when I woke up with skin that looked more even-toned and plump and felt seriously soft from just the one use, you can believe I was impressed. A friend also used it just once while staying over at mine and was similarly hooked, declaring she was going to have to buy it herself. 

Collage of two images showing the Murad Cellular Hydration Barrier Repair Mask packaging and product texture

The Murad Cellular Hydration Barrier Repair Mask packaging and texture

(Image credit: Lucy Abbersteen)

As everybody’s skin is different, I can’t say from my experience alone if it would definitely work on most skin types –  but it doesn’t overwhelm my skin and mean I wake up with an oil-slicked face come morning, nor has it ever resulted in a breakout or bumpy skin texture. It’s really the perfect product that delivers deep nourishment without any heaviness.

Now, the quite hefty downside here – and no doubt one that until now has been a bit of an elephant in the room if you clocked it earlier in this piece – is that this mask costs £55. Even though a little stretches quite far, that is still quite an investment for most people. But if you are the kind of person who likes to save up for skincare products like this one, know that I wouldn’t go out of my way to wax lyrical about a product that costs about the same as a full tank of petrol in a small car. If your skin needs lightweight-yet-effective moisture, this is a little wonder tube that I think you’ll appreciate as much as I do.

Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for titles including Marie Claire, Glamour and OK!, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare advice to beauty trends and reviews of the latest products. During her career she regularly speaks to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists, has covered backstage at London Fashion Week and interviewed many a celeb about their beauty routine.