Every time we open our TikTok app, we’re inundated with a new beauty trend users can’t stop raving about. While many aren’t worth a second thought, the “Botox in a bottle” videos left us wanting to know more. Though we’re in full support of people heading to an expert for whatever cosmetic treatments suit their fancy, we’re intrigued that there might be a needle-free method right at home. So, we tapped three dermatologists to weigh in.
Meet the Experts
- Dr. Dendy Engelman is a New York City–based board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon who specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology.
- Dr. Tiffany Libby is a board-certified dermatologist and dual-fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon and cosmetic surgeon.
- Dr. Azadeh Shirazi is a California-based board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology.
What Is “Botox in a Bottle”?
“The phrase ‘Botox in a bottle’ is a term popularized on TikTok for topical products with antiaging properties that aim to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face,” Libby explains. Essentially, these promote wrinkle-reducing, plumping, and firming benefits to reveal smooth, radiant skin. According to Shirazi, topicals work at the cellular level to enhance skin’s natural biology. “They boost vital structures like collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid as well as hydrating skin cells, enhancing cell turnover, and supporting the skin barrier,” she says.
What Ingredients Should You Look For?
To start, Engelman suggests that maintaining skin barrier hydration is essential to retaining plump, bouncy skin, as dehydrated skin exaggerates signs of aging. “Hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalane, and niacinamide are key, as are ingredients that improve the skin’s ability to hold onto moisture, like ceramides and peptides,” she instructs.
Aside from hydrators, our experts emphasize the importance of utilizing ingredients that spur the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, as well as agents that protect and repair skin damage. Retinol, retinol alternatives, matrixyl, argireline, peptides, exfoliants, and antioxidants should be incorporated to see lasting results. And if it’s not said enough, Shirazi shares again the importance of daily sun protection.
With this guidance in mind, discover an edit of skin care products that work like “Botox in a bottle.” Use them as a preventative treatment or to prolong results in between injections. “We lose approximately 1% of our collagen production in our skin each year starting in our 20s, so generally, I recommend starting to add in preventative skin care products with retinols and peptides around [that age],” Libby says. Read on for expert-recommended products to shop.
The Viral Find
The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10% and Matrixyl* 10% + HA
- Key Ingredients: We discovered this duo by The Ordinary in our TikTok scrolling, which pairs matrixyl and argireline. Of the latter, Libby explains that it works similarly to Botox injections for “its ability to reduce facial muscle contractions and help reduce wrinkles and line formation.”
- Skin Benefits: TikTok users share that this duo helps soften facial creases and inhibit facial muscle movement, particularly atop the forehead and crow’s feet, just like Botox.
- When to Apply: According to The Ordinary, a few drops of these can be applied twice daily—just avoid pairing them with acids, vitamin C, and resveratrol.
The Growth Factor Blend
SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum
- Key Ingredients: SkinMedica’s serum is infused with a growth factor blend, peptide complex, and marine extracts to wave goodbye to sagging skin.
- Skin Benefits: While you can expect to see the smoothing of fine lines and wrinkles, this works beneath the skin’s surface too to promote healthy skin function, boost collagen and elastin levels, and hydrate.
- When to Apply: According to SkinMedica, this can be applied morning and night post-cleansing and toning.
The Clean Hydrator
Biossance Squalane + Copper Peptide Rapid Plumping Serum
- Key Ingredients: “Copper peptides play a role in supporting skin structures by stimulating collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid in the skin,” Dendy explains of the ingredient that powers this Biossance serum.
- Skin Benefits: So, paired with squalane, this formula promises long-lasting moisture to visibly plump skin.
- When to Apply: According to Biossance, apply this serum morning and night to cleansed skin.
RoC Derm Correxion Fill + Treat Serum
- Key Ingredients: Shirazi calls this a “high-value serum with retinol and multiweight hyaluronic acid that spreads nicely and absorbs quickly.”
- Skin Benefits: This promises to visibly fill fine lines and wrinkles, while promoting a firm, supple complexion.
- When to Apply: According to Shirazi, this is best applied under moisturizer at bedtime.
The Smoothing Mask
Chantecaille Bio Lifting Mask+
- Key Ingredients: Chantecaille’s mask is enriched with plant stem cells, four peptides, tensing agents, and nourishers to smooth and lift the skin.
- Skin Benefits: This well-loved mask is known for its instant tightening effect, particularly targeting expression wrinkles, frown lines, and crow’s feet.
- When to Apply: According to Chantecaille, this mask is best applied two to three times per week. Rinse off after 10 minutes, or leave on overnight for an intensive treatment.
The Skin Plumper
Heraux Molecular Anti-Inflammaging Serum
- Key Ingredients: “This luxurious serum glides over skin and delivers a proprietary anti-inflammaging molecule, HX-1, that works to protect stem cells in the skin from environmental stressors, and contains hyaluronic acid and peptides to help hydrate and minimize appearance of lines,” Libby explains.
- Skin Benefits: Heraux’s serum promotes an all-around radiant appearance by plumping, smoothing, and brightening.
- When to Apply: According to Heraux, this serum should be applied morning and night.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum
- Key Ingredients: “Formulated with an AHA glycolic acid blend to renew and resurface the skin for a smoother complexion,” Shirazi says. “Salicylic acid helps loosen sebum and unclog pores, while antioxidant-rich fruit extract helps hydrate and soothe the skin.”
- Skin Benefits: Expect smooth, luminous skin with consistent use of this Drunk Elephant serum.
- When to Apply: Shirazi recommends applying this serum once per week.
Glo Skin Beauty Bio-Renew EGF Cream
- Key Ingredients: “Formulated with vegan EGF, bio-recovery peptides, and a blend of three phyto-retinols, it hydrates and repairs, so you wake up with plumper, healthier, and more youthful skin,” Dendy says.
- Skin Benefits: “With consistent use over time, it also strengthens the skin barrier, providing longer-term benefits,” Dendy says.
- When to Apply: After cleansing and toning, apply this cream up to twice daily to see results.
The Décolleté Salve
Reserveage Beauty Firming Neck Cream
- Key Ingredients: “Reserveage’s Firming Neck Cream is a velvety, hydrating antiaging cream that harnesses the power of microencapsulated copper peptides,” Libby says. “The exclusive microencapsulated copper peptide technology helps penetrate the skin to help maintain the look of collagen-rich skin, and reduces sagging.”
- Skin Benefits: According to Libby, this promises “to help improve skin’s tone and elasticity and minimize the appearance of fine lines.”
- When to Apply: According to Reserveage Beauty, apply morning and night for best results.