Bakuchiol: The New, Natural Alternative to Retinol

Updated 04/29/19
Product Disclosure

Whilst there’s no arguing that retinol is great, it’s also known that products that contain this ingredient can be irritating to sensitive skin. That’s why we were excited to hear there’s a new, natural alternative to retinol on the beauty block. Enter: bakuchiol, a powerful plant-based ingredient that’s perfect for sensitive skin.

Granted, it might sound like a Pokémon, but bakuchoil (pronounced ba-koo-heel) is an extract derived from the leaves and seeds of the babchi plant. It’s a herb commonly used in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines, as well as Tamil siddha practices, to help heal, calm and soothe the skin, thanks to to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

“Bakuchiol is still a relatively new ingredient on the market,” says Mark Curry, co-founder of Be for Beauty and The Inkey List. “It’s one of the only few retinol-like products to be backed up by clinical trials on effectively speeding up skin cell regeneration.”

Sounds good, right? Well, according to a study in The British Journal of Dermatology, bakuchiol is not only as effective as retinol at targeting fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone; it’s also less irritating. Plus, unlike retinol, which can make skin more sensitive to the sun (always make sure to wear SPF during the day), bakuchiol actually helps to make skin less sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays.

what-is-bakuchiol: oskia
Oskia Skincare

So where can you find bakuchiol, and when should you use it? Turns out it’s already hiding in some of our favourite facial oils. We knew there was a reason we liked them…

Add These Bakuchiol Products to Your Shopping List

Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil
Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil $80

Enriched with a blend of botanical ingredients, including rose-hip and sweet almond oils, Omorovicza’s Miracle Facial Oil has been a firm favourite of ours for a while now. Added bakuchiol works to repair the skin, target wrinkles and encourages natural collagen production. It’s seriously hydrating and leaves the skin soft and supple. This is perfect for people who hate that greasy feel.

Oskia Super 16 Serum
Oskia Super 16 Serum $85

A powerful super serum that targets the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots and fine lines, Oskia’s Super 16 Serum blends (you guessed it) 16 super nutrients, including bakuchiol. The lightweight serum improves elasticity whilst repairing and soothing sun-damaged and irritated skin. Expect a plumper, clearer, more radiant-looking complexion.

Bakuchiol: Nude Progenius Omega Treatment Rescue Oil
Nude Progenius Omega Treatment Rescue Oil $58

Perfect for everyday use, this vitamin-rich oil protects the skin from harmful environmental aggressors, pollutants, dehydration and stress. It uses bakuchiol to help repair and revive the skin. Purifying coleus root extract and clarifying rosemary leaf extract work to improve skin texture and blemishes.

Bioderma Sébium Global Cover Cleanser
Bioderma Sébium Global Cover Cleanser $16

Designed for oily and acne-prone complexions, this clever cleanser uses bakuchiol to retrain the skin in order for it to regulate the quality of its fatty acids. It tricks the skin into producing less sebum, thus preventing pimples and blackheads over time.

But that’s not all. Heading to the U.S. any time soon? You’ll find that bakuchiol is the hero product of Ole Henriksen’s new Transform Plus Retin-ALT duo. Though this isn’t available in the UK, it’s definitely one to add to your Sephora shopping list the next time you head to the States.

However, Curry still advises caution: “I wouldn’t jump to use this ingredient whilst you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, as there still haven’t been bundles of studies surrounding it; it’s still a deeply penetrating leave-on product. The Inkey List exists to make incredible ingredients easy to understand and simple to use. While bakuchiol is an ingredient that’s certainly on our radar, we want to be sure on the pregnancy suitability angle first.”

Related Stories