This ‘No Botox’ Anti-Aging Serum Seemed Too Good To Be True—Until I Tried It for Myself

Photo: Getty Images/ Galina Zhigalova
With the Well+Good SHOP, our editors put their years of know-how to work in order to pick products (from skin care to self care and beyond) they’re betting you’ll love. While our editors independently select these products, making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission. Happy shopping! Explore the SHOP

As a beauty journalist in my mid-30s, I’ve tried my share of skin-care products all promising to reduce wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and pretty much any other sign of natural aging. It’s tempting to splurge on a serum, lotion or night cream no matter the price tag with such boastful benefits and gullible guarantees. I’ve also dabbled a bit in the injectables department, having received Botox injections a handful of times.

And then I got pregnant. Instantly, my existing skin-care routine was thrown out the window, with some of my favorite anti-aging skincare products and injectable treatments no longer available due to their not being recommended during pregnancy—or breastfeeding, which I’ve been doing for the last 10 months. Needless to say, I’ve been on the hunt for top-notch skin-care products that actually do what they say they’re going to do in the anti-aging department—while still being safe to use while breastfeeding.

Experts In This Article
  • Brendan Camp, MD, double board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery

So when I stumbled across Clearstem’s Zoom BOUNCEBACK™ "No Botox Serum," my ears perked right up. Although its claim sounded too good to be true, in looking at the product’s hero-worthy list of ingredients, which didn’t include pregnancy- and breastfeeding-banned retinoids or salicylic acid, it started to make sense.

Clearstem, Bounceback 'No Botox' Serum — $98.00


  • Effectively minimizes hyperpigmentation and fine lines
  • Results are noticeable in two weeks
  • Fragrance is pleasant
  • Leaves behind a nice texture
  • Ingredients are less harsh than standard retinol products


  • Isn’t as effective as Botox
  • Expensive

What's in it that's so impressive?

This serum features three peptides that work synergistically to combat signs of aging, including stem cells and natural botanicals like reishi and B5, as well as a blend of growth factors, peptides, and collagen-derived stem cells. “Peptides are the building blocks of proteins so, with the addition of dermal proteins like collagen and elastin, they can provide firmness and rigidity back to the skin,” explains Brendan Camp, M.D., a Manhattan-based dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology. “Argan oil is also featured in this product, which offers antioxidant properties to protect skin from free radicals and significant hydration.”

My honest thoughts

I jumped at the opportunity to give this a try—and was not disappointed. Upon first applying this serum, which can be used both in the morning and at night, I instantly felt my skin relax and tighten. It has a soft, pleasant smell that’s not chemical-like, but also not too fragranc-y. It absorbed super quickly and left a nice shine-free glow on my skin, which is hard to come by for the typically emollient-dense products that fall into the anti-aging category. I immediately loved how it made my skin feel in the present and was eager to see what it could do over time.

I started out using the serum twice daily—once in the morning and once at night. I started noticing some irritation—notably some peeling on my nose—so I decided to cut back to using this product once every other day. This proved to be the right dose for me. After about two weeks I noticed that my skin looked more relaxed, a little brighter and healthier overall. The biggest improvement, however, wasn’t a reduction in actual wrinkles, but rather less hyperpigmentation, an unfortunate side effect of pregnancy that I was hoping to minimize. I was super thrilled with the results this product helped me achieve when it came to a more even skin tone.


before clearstem
Photo: Jenn Sinrich


after clearstem
Photo: Jenn Sinrich

Would I say it can work the wonders of actual Botox? Absolutely not; however, I will say that it achieves what few topical skin care products can achieve and that is a substantial reduction in the look of static wrinkles (the kind that go more deeply into your skin). I also noticed that it provided a collagen boost (my skin felt bouncier and looked more youthful), which makes sense because it does contain both collagen and elastin, two amino acids that we naturally lose as we age.

Overall, I’d recommend this serum to just about anyone, and especially those looking to maintain an anti-aging skin care regimen without the use of more intense treatments, like retinol and injections.

But wait, there's more!
Want to be the first to hear about the latest (and greatest) SHOP product drops, custom collections, discounts, and more? Sign up to have the intel delivered straight to your inbox.
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

Loading More Posts...