Is Bakuchiol The New Retinol? Plus The BEST Bakuchiol Products To Try

If your skin can't stand retinol, try its botanical counterpart.
BY Sarah Lim
| July, 2021
bakuchiol products

Retinol is like your perfect “golden child” older brother—everyone praises it, and it’s pretty powerful. But that doesn’t mean you two will get along. If your skin prefers the easy-going, laid-back cousin who’s equally as effective, you might want to give bakuchiol a shot. Bakuchiol Products are an alternative to retinol. They are entirely plant-based and people extract them from the seeds and leaves of the Psoralea corylifolia plant. Sometimes called Babchi for short, this plant, which is actually an herb native to India, has been around for a while.

Traditionally, people usually used it as ancient medicinal remedies for skin disorders and other health conditions. But recently, it’s exploded in the beauty community as a less harsh form of retinol.

You may have seen bakuchiol in serums, moisturizers and even masks. This plant-based retinol alternative generally gets along with other ingredients to help plump and soften skin, such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides.

Is bakuchiol the new retinol? How does it compare, and what are the best bakuchiol products to try? We’ve got your answers here!

How Bakuchiol Can Improve Your Skin

How Bakuchiol Can Improve Your Skin

The effects of retinol on the skin have been fairly well documented. But what does the research say about how good bakuchiol is for the skin? Bakuchiol products have a few impressive science-backed benefits.

• It’s Comparable to Retinol

The effects of bakuchiol on the skin are comparable to retinol when it comes to improving the appearance of the skin, especially skin that has become damaged by the sun.

• Shows “Significant Improvement” for Skin

In one study, after just 12 weeks, participants using bakuchiol showed significant improvements in lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and photoaging of the skin.

• Well-Tolerated Even By People With Sensitive Skin

Research has shown that bakuchiol is an effective and generally much better-tolerated ingredient than retinol for people who have sensitive skin.

• Bakuchiol Has Other Beneficial Properties

Bakuchiol isn’t just an antioxidant—it also provides anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties to the skin, which can make it beneficial for people with skin that easily gets irritated or acne-prone.

Bakuchiol Products vs. Retinol Products

Bakuchiol products function similarly to retinol by increasing cellular turnover, boosting collagen production, and overall helping to reduce signs of aging. But these two skincare ingredients are different, and each has its own pros and cons. 

Retinol

Retinol

Pros:

Cons:

  • Retinol isn’t a good choice for people with sensitive skin, as it causes irritation.
  • There’s an adjustment period when first using the product.
  • Can make skin more sensitive to environmental damage such as sun damage.
  • Not safe for use during pregnancy.
  • Not always vegan.

Bakuchiol

Bakuchiol

Pros:

  • More gentle and therefore more tolerable than retinol.
  • Always plant-based.
  • It may be safe for use during pregnancy.
  • Virtually all skin types can use it.

Cons:

  • You may not get the same results as retinol.
  • It may be harder to find in your favorite skincare products.
  • It may take longer to have an effect on your skin than retinol.

Which One Is Right for Me?

Which one is right for me: Bakuchiol or Retinol

Which product is right for you won’t always be crystal clear. However, generally, people who struggle to adapt to retinol or are concerned about getting retinol irritation may benefit from bakuchiol. Some people even use bakuchiol products before using retinol to get their skin ready for retinol’s cellular turnover effects.

YOU can even use bakuchiol with retinol in products. When looking for a formula that combines bakuchiol with retinol, look for those that contain other anti-aging and hydrating ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, or squalene.

Best Bakuchiol Products to Consider

Now that you’ve seen what bakuchiol could have in store for you, it’s time to look at some of the top bakuchiol products that skincare fanatics are loving!

1. Herbivore’s Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum

This plumping serum is designed for even the most sensitive skin types. YOU can use it morning and night for younger-looking skin. Bakuchiol is combined with humectants such as glycerin and aloe in the formula and blueberry, eggplant, and turmeric root extract. Works best for dull, dry, or mature skin.

2. Biossance Squalene + Phyto-Retinol serum

This bakuchiol serum is for those who want to firm their skin, improve their skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. You can use it in the morning and at night. This serum features plant-derived squalene, anti-inflammatory niacinamide and plumping glycerin, and hyaluronic acid to fight signs of aging. As a serum, it’s easy to layer with other skincare products!

3. The Inkey List Bakuchiol Moisturizer

Formulated for normal skin types, this bakuchiol moisturizer from The Inkey List is formulated with plant-derived squalene, glycerin, and Sacha Inchi oil. Sacha Inchi oil is extracted from the fruit of the Plukenetia Volubilis tree and is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. You need to use this moisturizer after serums, both morning and night. Thus it won’t cause sun sensitivity and can help hydrate skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles over time.

4. Cocokind Resurfacing Sleep Mask

You need to leave this sleep mask on your face while you sleep, and it can help you wake up with softer skin. This mask also features cucumber fruit water and jojoba seed oil to nourish skin overnight with ethically sourced bakuchiol, wild indigo extract, and plant-derived squalene. Use the sleep mask as the last step in your skincare routine up to four times a week and leave it on overnight, rinsing off in the morning.

5. Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius® Melt Moisturizer

This moisturizer from Alpyn Beauty is lightweight and combines bakuchiol with vitamin C, aloe, squalene, and hyaluronic acid for ultra-moisturizing and anti-aging effects. The formula also contains glycerin, shea butter, and ceramides, as well as extracts of arnica and calendula for a soothing effect. Apply morning and night after your serums.

6. Peach & Lily Pure Peach Retinoic Eye Cream

Meant for all skin types, this eye cream from Peach & Lily contains bakuchiol combined with rosehip seed oil and foods rich in beta-carotene for skin health and antioxidants. This formula also contains niacinamide, ceramides, green tea, and vitamin E along with ferulic acid to enhance its antioxidant power. Use morning and night for best results.

Have You Tried Bakuchiol?

Have you tried any of these bakuchiol products, or do you have another product that you’re obsessed with? Let us know in the comments below! Also, grab your FREE checklist on the skincare ingredients to avoid when you’re looking for the best bakuchiol products to support your amazing complexion even more!

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