How this over 30-year-old skin care brand changed its innovation strategy for the TikTok age

Leaning into TikTok before-and-afters has lifted Murad’s sales at Sephora and Ulta
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· 3 min read

TikTok subculture DermTok has given makeovers a makeover, ditching frizzy hair-straightening and bushy eyebrow-plucking for the clearing of severe acne, wrinkles, or eczema.

Murad, the over 30-year-old Unilever-owned skin care brand, has found a new life on TikTok by leaning into this “real explosion and interest in dermatologist-based services,” according to CEO Paul Schiraldi, a beauty industry vet who spent 17+ years at L’Oréal and joined Murad from fellow Unilever brand Dermalogica in 2021.

  • The company was founded in 1989 by pharmacist and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Howard Murad.

Its recent product launches have lent themselves to a more visual before-and-after experience that its previous skin care products didn’t always offer. Its Targeted Wrinkle Corrector (TWC)—an “instant filler” for wrinkles that the company claims creates an effect similar to Botox “without being so invasive,” according to Schiraldi, debuted in December—followed by a cystic acne treatment called Deep Relief Acne Treatment in July.

  • TikToks featuring TWC garnered 17.2 million views, including 2.5 million from a paid partnership with influencer @EdwardZO in March, while Deep Relief videos scored 21.3 million views, with 7 million of those from an organic @LaLaLuvBeauty video chronicling her experience with the Deep Relief product.

“We had an opportunity to think about how to bring some of those most popular derm services to consumers in a more accessible way,” Schiraldi told us. “When [TWC] went viral….we also realized the importance of ensuring that we had product innovation that also could come to life, visually and on video.”

Under the skin: Murad works on new product concepts about three years before they debut, with three to five products scheduled per year, Schiraldi said. But it always keeps an eye on what’s trending throughout the process, both on social media and through Google Analytics, and can tweak products about 15–18 months pre-launch.

  • The brand has already released a new Eczema Control line this year, with a new entry in its Resurgence anti-aging line slated for April.

The visual focus isn’t always easy (“Skin care isn’t always that immediate,” Schiraldi noted), but the strategy is paying off. @EdwardZO’s TWC video lifted its sales 30% across national channels like Sephora and Ulta for TWC, while @LaLaLuvBeauty’s boosted sales for Deep Relief by 1,000%, and those products continue to be its top-selling SKUs in those channels, Schiraldi noted.

  • Those new products even saw a sales lift on Amazon, which often serves as a “replenishment” channel for returning customers, he said.
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See for yourself: The potential for a product to go viral has begun to creep into conversations with retailers “in a real understated way,” Schiraldi said. Retailers are asking about how Murad “can demonstrate the effectiveness of the product or how we plan to bring it to life in a visual way.”

To make the most of viral moments when views taper off, Murad has paid for usage rights to include the videos on product pages on its own website and, while point-of-sale in stores features a QR code that links to the TikToks.

“The authentic content creation that really resonates with consumers is much more powerful than a brand message,” Schiraldi said.

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