Ingredient Spotlight

Bakuchiol 101: The Retinoid Alternative You Need ASAP

4 minute read

Nature's alternative for retinol is what everyone's calling it.

A popular trend of including retinol to boost your skin care routine's effectiveness has really started to take off within the last few years. Skin care enthusiasts swear by retinol. If you're new to this realm and don't really know what retinol is, it's no biggie because here's a short introduction for ya!

Retinol is a Vitamin A derived ingredient that is primarily used in skin care to combat acne and protect the skin as it ages. The effectiveness of retinol comes from how it works deep beneath the skin's surface layer to help boost collagen production, also known as the "plumping" effect.

Retinol also acts as a chemical exfoliant, removing dead skin to improve texture and tone. Retinol in skin care products can be brought as an independent serum or in a cream or moisturizer.

So What Is Bakuchiol and What Does It Do?

Bakuchiol is a natural and vegan retinol alternative made from the extract of seeds or leaves of the ayurvedic babchi herb. Babchi is widely known for its ability to help improve skin texture, tone, and firmness.

Similarly to retinol, bakuchiol is great for:

  • Reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reducing the appearance of pores
  • Boosting cellular regeneration
  • Combatting acne
  • Hydrating the skin
BAKUCHIOL: Studies have shown that this east asian plant seed extract has certain properties that are similar to retinol—without the irritation associated with it. Targets the look of fine lines + wrinkles, discoloration, and loss of firmness - Biossance

Because of its gentle nature, bakuchiol is pretty much safe for all skin types and includes the triple-A effect of being antibacterial, antioxidant-rich, and anti-inflammatory.

For proper application of skin care products containing Bakuchiol extract, make sure your face and neck are properly cleansed. Depending on the thinness and thickness of your bakuchiol product (serum, oil, mask, cream), you should apply lighter-weight products before your moisturizer.

Always, ALWAYS follow up by using an SPF of 30 or higher.

Our Top 5 Picks for Bakuchiol Skin Care Products

If you're looking for a place to start your bakuchiol skin care, start right here with some of our top finds for bakuchiol skin care products.

Acure Rejuvenating Dual Phase Bakuchiol Serum, $19.99

This bakuchiol, eggplant, and turmeric age performance serum are perfect for anyone looking to get a 2-for-1 out of a single product. The top layer is an antioxidant-rich essence, and the bottom is a moisturizing serum blend. Shake to make one radically rejuvenating product. This serum is 100% vegan and cruelty-free, in addition to being free of parabens, sulfate, mineral oil, petrolatum, formaldehyde!

cocokind resurfacing sleep mask, $22

Switch things up by using a bakuchiol mask like this one from cocokind. Bakuchiol infused, this sleep mask promotes a smooth, even, and youthful complexion and reduces surface redness, dryness, and sensitivity. Additionally, this mask combats the appearance of dark spots, discoloration, premature wrinkles, and fine lines. Check out cocokind's advice on how to use this sleep mask:

After cleansing, toning, and glow essence, apply an even layer of the mask to clean, dry skin, keeping clear of eyes and lips. Leave on overnight and rinse off in the morning. You can use this up to 3-4x per week.

  • Suggested Nighttime Routine:
  • cleanse
  • tone
  • essence
  • resurfacing sleep mask

Herbivore Botanicals Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum, $54

Got dullness, dryness, fine lines, or wrinkles that you want to tend to? Then this might be the product for you! This bakuchiol serum is gentle enough for all skin types and works to target all the concerns mentioned here. The uniquely bouncy, jelly-textured water-based serum spreads smoothly over the skin, instantly providing hydration and leaving skin silky soft. Pair with your favorite facial roller for a beautiful glow and lifted appearance.

How to use:

  • Apply 2-3 drops to clean, toned skin AM/PM
  • Massage in as a leave-in treatment
  • Follow up with a moisturizer, facial oil, and sunscreen during the daytime
  • Use daily or as often as needed

Store upright in a cool, dry place and out of direct sunlight.

Ole Henriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Creme, $55

I don't know about you, but a good nighttime cream will always grab my attention which is why we've included this sleeping creme by Ole Henriksen in our recommendations for you here. This creme works at night when your skin goes into "repair mode."

Using alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to exfoliate to push for that glow to come through and bakuchiol puts in the time to fight major signs (very normal signs) of aging. This creme's added feature is the Edelweiss stem cell, a delicately beautiful and resilient flower that thrives in harsh conditions. This potent sleeping crème also helps firm and improve elasticity.

How to use: Apply evenly to face and neck nightly after Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum. Gently massage in an upward, circular motion, for external use only. Use as directed. This product contains active ingredients; we suggest testing a small amount on the forearm.

Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum, $72

Anti-aging bakuchiol-based serum with niacinamide targets fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage. The phyto-retinol serum acts like retinol, visibly fighting signs of aging without any sensitizing or irritating effects.

How to use: Massage 1-2 pumps of the squalane serum onto clean face and neck, morning and night.