Tested on animals:No
Murad's Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence may be on the pricey side, but this silky "moisture enhancing treatment" has a lot going for it in terms of its hydrating, anti-aging benefits and a luxe feel! Those with normal to combination skin will especially appreciate the lightweight consistency, which offers just enough hydration for slightly dry areas, yet absorbs imperceptibly into skin, leaving no greasy feel. The only snag is the inclusion of potentially irritating fragrant ingredients, but at least the scent quickly dissipates, lessening the concern.
By the way, if you're not exactly sure what an "essence" is, you're not alone. Some essences have toner-like consistencies, while others have more of a serum feel, and their intended purpose varies from brand to brand. What they tend to have in common is their lightweight feel which makes them optimal for layering alongside other moisturizing and/or anti-aging treatments. In the case of Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence, it's a weightless, fluid, velvety-gel essence texture that makes skin feel remarkably soft on contact.
Right off the bat, Murad scores brownie points for packaging Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence in an air-restrictive, opaque, pump-top bottle to keep its antioxidants and other air/light-sensitive ingredients stable. We love it when companies know how to package their formulas for maximum effectiveness!
Speaking of antioxidants, there are several that boost this essence's ability to prevent and reverse the signs of aging. It also contains an excellent blend of skin-identical ingredients and water-binding agents to improve skin's texture, enhance barrier function, and retain moisture. Helllloooo, supple skin!
We are also happy to report that the formula's pH is in the appropriate range for the glycolic acid to function as an exfoliant. Unfortunately, we can't confirm the percentage being used (even the Murad rep we contacted didn't know), but judging by where it falls on the ingredient list, we suspect it's somewhere between two and five percent. What does that mean for skin? Potentially smoother, more radiant-looking skin + a softening of fine lines and, over time, stimulation of healthy collagen production. However, without knowing the exact percentage we can't say this is enough to replace your regular AHA exfoliant altogether.
As for the Mexican Blue Agave Leaf Extract that Murad calls out as one of this formula's hero ingredients, we had to do some detective work to find out that it correlates to "yeast extract" on the ingredient list. Research is scant on what exactly yeast can do for skin, but certain forms show promise for wound healing, as well as warding off environmental damage via its antioxidant component (Nature Genetics, 2001 & Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2014). In short, yeast extract's potential isn't yet fully known, but we're intrigued.
So what's holding this back from our best rating? Despite the fact that scent fades away subtly, it starts out strongly enough to give us slight hesitation. Because the combination of fragrant ingredients are found at the end of the ingredient list it's a bit less concerning, but still something to consider, particularly for those with sensitive skin. (Get the scoop on how fragrance hurts skin under More Info).
That aside, Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence earns our praise for its heavenly feel and skin-smoothing, softening, hydration-enhancing, anti-aging formula! While this lightweight essence isn't likely to be moisturizing enough for dry skin on its own, it's meant to be layered before moisturizer, so in truth it really is workable for any skin type.
- Incredibly silky, lightweight texture layers well for any skin type.
- Beneficial blend of hydration-enhancing and anti-aging ingredients.
- pH appropriate formula for the glycolic acid to work its exfoliating magic.
- Leaves skin feeling remarkably soft and smooth.
- Fragranced formula poses a potential risk of irritation, particularly for those with sensitive skin.
Irritation from High Amounts of Fragrance: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin’s ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don’t always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).