Full disclosure: I'm not what you'd call a novice when it comes to the world of injectables and lasers. I'll try just about anything once, especially if the end result promises glowy skin and makes me feel hot, but I prefer a somewhat untouched look—meaning, I still want to look like myself, but ideally myself after a two-week vacation venturing from one Swiss spa to the next. One area where I'm a little hesitant? Filler. While I've had a lot of good experiences (and one extremely bad one), I bruise like an apple and limit my appointments to certain areas, timed strategically so that I have a full week to heal and not see anyone.
Imagine my surprise and delight when I came across the Ourself HA+ Replenishing Serum ($145), which claims to act as "filler in a bottle." The formula utilizes the brand's subtopical firming technology in conjunction with a new peptide—called an intide—created by the brand's team of scientists to do heavy lifting below the surface of the skin. "The technologies are truly a game changer in their ability to address aesthetic concerns with the same precision as needles and lasers, but through a topical application," says Lauren Otsuki, the brand's co-founder, executive vice president, and chief innovation officer.
The premise certainly sounds promising—in-office treatments can be costly and time-consuming, not to mention, intense for those uncomfortable or new to the idea. A high-performance topical solution can be a happy middle ground for addressing the issue at hand without any downtime.
So, did the Ourself HA+ Replenishing Serum really live up to its claims of being like filler in a bottle? Read my review to find out.
According to Otsuki, the proprietary HA+ Complex and the firming intides are two particular ingredients in the blend doing a lot of the heavy lifting, backed up by a side of niacinamide and Vitamin C. "The HA+ Complex is a blend of two molecular weights of both hyaluronic acid, which hydrate and contribute to a more smooth, supple appearance, and are known to support the skin’s own ability to produce hyaluronic acid while slowing down the loss of hyaluronic acid," she says. "The Firming Intides are bioengineered intelligent peptides that are designed to uniquely target the specific pathways within the skin, and help support skin’s natural barrier to give the appearance of smoother and firmer skin." Additionally, the brand's Multiphasic Vesicle delivery system allows the active ingredients to penetrate the deeper layers of skin and target the specific areas that need more love, addressing the issue at the source.
While all skin types play well with this formula Otsuki notes that those experiencing dryness or dehydration, fine lines and wrinkles, and loss of volume, elasticity, or firmness will benefit most from this product. Users in their clinical trials experienced visible results within two weeks of using the serum, noting a smoother texture, restored volume, and a more supple appearance.
Despite being 34, my complexion still thinks I'm 15 in terms of the breakouts and clogged pores I'm usually battling. While I don't have many super severe lines (humble brag), the laugh lines around my mouth bother me—I've tried filler in the area but didn't love the result, so I kind of leave them as is. I'm half-Filipino, so hyperpigmentation from post-breakout marks, sun exposure, or general signs of aging is an issue. As it stands, I use an enzyme cleanser twice a day, Vitamin C serum and SPF for daytime, and at night, I'll use a brightening toner, retinol, and moisturizer. The Ourself HA+ Replenishing Serum was easy to sandwich between the vitamin C serum and SPF during the day, and at night, I replaced my usual moisturizer with the serum. I started testing the product on a week where my skin was in need of a lot of help, and I was weirdly dealing with dry, irritated areas around my nose and under my chin.
The Ourself HA+ Replenishing Serum has a smooth, creamy consistency that made it easy to spread across my skin. My skin absorbed the formula quickly, so it didn't leave behind a heavy, sticky texture, and most importantly, it didn't trigger a breakout. Immediately, my skin felt smoother and more hydrated, and within a few days, I noticed the irritation around my nose and chin had become less intense.
After two weeks of continued use, the dry, irritated patches had completely disappeared, and my skin felt softer. My laugh lines, while still present, had softened significantly, and weirdly, the darkness around my under eye area seemed less severe, at least to me. The week prior, I was coming off of a really intense hormonal breakout, so while there was a fair amount of post-breakout hyperpigmentation around my chin, the spots didn't linger as long as they typically did. This could be thanks in part to the Vitamin C and niacinamide cocktail in the Ourself serum, which work in tandem to help brighten and strengthen the skin's barrier, Otsuki notes.
If I remember correctly, the going rate for a syringe of filler from the one injector I trust with my face is roughly $500, whereas the going rate for the Ourself HA+ Replenishing Serum is $145. While the bottle is pretty compact, a little bit of the serum goes a long way and you wouldn't need to restock it frequently. It's certainly easier on the wallet than filler, and a great option for those who are needle-shy. According to Otsuki, with continued use, you can expect to see a visibly firmer appearance, restored volume, and a strengthened skin barrier, so like a fine wine, the results just get better and better with time.
The only caveat? If you stop using the product, the results you'll get from the Ourself serum will go back to baseline. "If you discontinue use, you will begin to notice a feel of loss of hydration in the following 2-3 days depending upon the environmental conditions," Otsuki says. "The return of the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles will depend to some extent on the severity of the wrinkles at baseline, but likely you will notice a return within a week or so." Of course, the same could be said about filler—more often than not, the treated area will return to its natural state if the injections aren't maintained.
I'll definitely keep this product as a permanent staple in my skincare routine, and I'm excited to see how my laugh lines evolve (and hopefully disappear) with continued use. "Over time, the formula reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the forehead, nasolabial, perioral, or marionette for a smoother, firmer look," Otsuki told me.