The thought of an at-home cosmetic procedure is enough to make most people (particularly dermatologists and plastic surgeons) rightfully wary. When it comes to needles and invasive injections, a practiced hand is absolutely required. Topical products, on the other hand, are much more DIY-friendly. Unfortunately, like most DIY projects, the end result is rarely exactly what you want.
When it comes to beauty, the missing link between in-office cosmetic procedures and at-home topical treatments has always seemed close to insurmountable. Ourself, a new biotech skincare brand, is aiming to change that.
"Until now, there have been two extremes when it comes to undoing or preventing signs of aging: topical skincare products that make bold claims yet don’t deliver visible results and cosmetic treatments that are costly, require downtime, and can lead to unnatural looking results," Lauren Otsuki and Vimla Black-Gupta, Ourself's co-founders, explain to Byrdie. "With this launch, we are defining a completely new category, subtopical skincare, that bridges the gap between these two extremes and gives consumers the ability to achieve controllable clinical-level results from their own homes," they add.
Launched in February 2022, Ourself's product lineup combines effective formulas and patented delivery systems to fill a gap in the beauty market: the void between what at-home anti-aging products promise and what they actually deliver. The ultimate goal? Developing effective formulas and innovative delivery systems that empower people to age with confidence.
About The Brand
From its inception, Ourself was designed differently. Instead of using the available tech to solve a skincare problem, they chose to identify the most common beauty goals and then develop the tech to make meeting those objectives possible. And that's just how Otsuki and Black-Gupta like it. "While many industry experts discover a technology and then try to find a market application, our team works differently by first identifying an unmet need and then developing the technology that can deliver a solution," they explain to Byrdie.
For this launch, in particular, the co-founders decided to address the need for at-home topical treatments that were effective in all the best ways, yielding "controllable, natural-looking results." Essentially, Ourself is offering "an alternative to more invasive cosmetic procedures and allows us to look and feel like the best version of ourself," per Otsuki and Black-Gupta.
In true biotech fashion, advanced technology is what makes this all possible. "The technology is truly a game-changer in its ability to address aesthetic concerns with the same precision as needles and lasers, but through a topical application," Otsuki and Black-Gupta add. Specifically, Ourself's "multiphasic vesicle delivery system" has riddled out the best way to deliver peptides through the skin barrier to actually target the structure of the skin where change happens—hence the before-and-after-photo-worthy results.
The Product Lineup
For its first launch, Ourself devoted their attention to the "most prevalent skincare concerns, starting with hyperpigmentation and loss of volume in the lips." These targeted products include the Lip Filler ($145), Brightening Peel ($110), and Dark Spot Peel ($140).
According to Otsuki and Black-Gupta, the Lip Filler, which utilizes the brand's patented Subtopical Plumping Technology, "infuses lips with hyaluronic acid to restore volume, suppleness, and definition." You can pair it with Ourself's Lip Conditioner ($45) to nourish the lips and restore moisture.
The Hyperpigmentation Treatments, aka the Brightening and Dark Spot Peels, are just as innovative. "Our Brightening Peel, which contains 34% glycolic acid, can be used on the whole face every two weeks to maintain even, glowing skin, while our Dark Spot Peel with 13.6% TCA is a highly targeted treatment for use on stubborn dark spots," the co-founders explain.
Ourself also launched the Daily Skincare Regimen, including the Daily Renewal Cream ($175), Daily Dark Spot Intercept ($260), and Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 ($75). "We believe the best results from Ourself’s targeted treatments come when skin is at its best overall," Otsuki and Black-Gupta explain. In other words, these particular products are made to optimize your results.
I was immediately excited about Ourself's launch. As someone with criminally thin lips, the premise of the skincare line—particularly the Lip Filler pen—sounded almost too good to be true. But immediate results aren't an exaggeration. The alpha hyalorunic acid acts as a lip filler, adding noticeable volume. The Lip Filler's vitamin B3-derived lip color enhance gives your lips a deeper pink hue instantly. making it a great substitute or trial run for anyone considering getting a lip blush (a form of permanent makeup that changes the color of your lips). One heads up: you may need to play around with the pen a bit before it starts working. If you're having trouble, check the cartridge at the bottom and make sure it's securely in place.
I was only slightly less eager to try the other Ourself products. Although I don't have dark spots yet (shoutout to my love of sunscreen), my skin could use a little brightening. Every winter, I notice it start to look duller around late December, and it usually doesn't pep up until springtime. For the Brightening Peel, the peel instructions were significantly more involved than the Lip Filler. For one, before applying the peel, Ourself recommends you devote at least a week to prepping your skin with their daily regimen.
Although this meant taking a brief break from my one true love, Tretinoin, I was game to try. Fortunately, the results were drastic enough that I didn't regret my decision—even though I noticed my skin was slightly more breakout-prone. The peel is pretty customizable. You apply as much as you want, constantly gauging your skin's reaction. Since I'm on the more sensitive sign, I only did two layers (you can go up to seven). Still, the next morning, I woke up with noticeably brighter skin though we're still months away from spring.
Board-certified dermatologist Michele Farber, MD, FAAD, recommends consulting with a dermatologist before using the Lip Filler Pen or Brightening Peel. "While these products are a great alternative for at home use, they need to be used properly to avoid issues like post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation," she says.
Sarkar R, Garg V, Bansal S, Sethi S, Gupta C. Comparative evaluation of efficacy and tolerability of glycolic acid, salicylic mandelic acid, and phytic acid combination peels in melasma. Dermatol Surg. 2016;42(3):384-391.