Premium skin-care brand Murad has added customized serums to its product assortment.

Called Custom Skin Clinic, the $69 serums initially launched in September as a pilot to gauge customer reaction, and it sold out in eight days. (Murad declined to specify how many units were produced.) Set to officially launch via a restock in December, the product is intended to serve two purposes for Unilever-owned Murad: to boost DTC e-commerce sales and to maintain a high-touch approach to skin care that resembles the personal treatment one can find at a dermatologist’s office.

Michelle Shigemasa, Murad CEO, said in a Glossy interview in May that the brand had a goal of achieving 50% DTC sales in the next two years. But now, she said, with the early success of the customized formulas, the brand expects to reach that goal by the end of this year.

The Custom Skin Clinic pays homage to our heritage as a dermatologist- and pharmacist-founded brand [as Dr. Murad creates] custom treatments and regimens of care for [patients’] unique concerns,” said Shigemasa. “It’s this type of bespoke and beyond-corrective care that in today’s times we have grown to expect in nearly every aspect of our lives.”

Customers locate Custom Skin Clinic through the main menu on the brand’s e-commerce site. Users can upload a selfie and answer a five-question quiz, before providing his or her top two skin concerns, their exercise routine, their diet and their stress level. Then, because of the quick sell-out, customers can sign up for a waitlist; Murad declined to state how many people have done so. Kristen Robinson, Murad senior director of product development, said that this type of offering yields significant amounts of customer data that can be helpful to the brand’s future product development.

“It will help guide us on what consumers want and what could be the next pipeline idea for customization,” Robinson said. “For example, do we [see a trend in] acne and start customizing a collection or curation of products for that?”

Murad’s entrance into the customized space occurs when customized brands like Function of Beauty and Prose are starting to further flex their muscles, putting fire under heritage brands. Function of Beauty expanded into body care in July, and Prose has hinted at extending beyond hair care. And more people have adopted a customized beauty regimen amid the pandemic. Traditional brands like Murad — which already offers nine categories that address skin issues like acne and anti-aging — are therefore in a pinch to retain relevancy and adapt to an ever-changing landscape. Other heritage brands are taking a similar approach, such as Clinique with its custom moisturizers, launched in Nov. 2018, and Kendo-backed Bite Beauty, which introduced in-store customized lipsticks in January prior to Covid-19.

Initial marketing for the Custom Skin Clinic was through Facebook and Instagram ads, organic social posts on Murad’s social media accounts, and emails. However, until the brand restocks, these efforts are on pause. Robinson said that, while the customized serum has been positively received, the brand is not going to entirely pivot its business as a result.

“Personalization isn’t for everyone,” she said. “We will definitely continue our traditional methods of approaching problems and solutions with very targeted treatment and color-coded [product navigation].”