Bakuchiol (pronounced ba-koo-chee-ol) is an extract derived from the seeds of the plant Psoralea Corylifolia (aka Babchi). For centuries, Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines have been using it for its ability to heal the skin due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Although it appears to be promising, questions surrounding its sustainability have been brought up, as the plant itself is an endangered species.
Bakuchiol is an equally powerful, natural and less-irritating alternative to retinol and can be used by people of all skin types. It’s also considered safe for use for pregnant and nursing women.
What does bakuchiol do?
Bakuchiol is a vegan antioxidant that thickens skin by quickly stimulating new cell growth underneath the dead layers of skin. Thickening of the skin helps in diminishing fine lines and wrinkles and improves skin firmness and elasticity. In addition, bakuchiol can treat acne, protect from free radicals and reduce dark spots.
Bakuchiol vs. retinol
Bakuchiol is considered a safer and natural alternative to retinol in firming your skin and evening out your skin tone because it has the same benefits as retinol without any of the side effects. Bakuchiol doesn't irritate your skin, so people with sensitive skin can use it. Further, it doesn't make your skin more sensitive to the sun like retinol can.
How to use bakuchiol
Bakuchiol is considered safe for all skin types and can be used twice a day. It’s available in serum or lotion form as topicals. Use it in the morning and at night after cleansing your skin and before using a serum or moisturizer. Though it doesn’t make your skin sensitive to the sun, make sure to wear sunscreen after using bakuchiol during the day.
How much does bakuchiol cost?
You can expect to pay from about $15-$100 and up for bakuchiol. Affordable brands make formulas in the $15-$29 price range. You can find premium brands that contain better-quality ingredients for $30-$99. If you don’t mind splurging, you can find luxury brands with bakuchiol for $100 or more.
Retinol or bakuchiol?
A. Bakuchiol and retinol are equally effective. However, bakuchiol has fewer known side effects compared to retinol.
What’s the optimal concentration of bakuchiol in products?
A. Research shows that bakuchiol concentration between 0.5-2% gives you the best results.
Can I use pure bakuchiol on my skin?
A. No, bakuchiol is an active ingredient and the pure form should not be used on your skin because you may have a negative reaction.
Does bakuchiol have side effects?
A. Currently, there are no studies to prove the negative side effects of bakuchiol; it's a new ingredient. It's always best to consult your doctor before adding anything to your skincare routine, especially if you're pregnant, nursing or have sensitive skin.
Best bakuchiol products
Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum: available at Amazon and Sephora This serum helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and reverses sun damage. It has hyaluronic acid to plump the skin and niacinamide to even your skin tone.
Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum: available at Sephora, SpaceNK and Credo Beauty This retinol alternative can hydrate your skin while making it smooth. It has polyhydroxy acids to exfoliate your skin and tremella mushrooms to retain moisture. It's also available in a mini travel size.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Exfoliating Body Treatment Peel: available at Sephora, SpaceNK and Violet Grey This body treatment is a blend of glycolic acid, lactic acid and bakuchiol to help reduce blemishes, support cells and increase collagen production.
GOOPGENES All-in-One Super Nutrient Face Oil: available at Credo Beauty This luxurious face oil has a wholesome blend of bakuchiol, Indian gooseberry and schisandra fruit oils to give you firmer and smoother skin. It can hydrate your skin and make it glow.
Alpyn Beauty Melt Moisturizer with Bakuchiol and Squalane: available at Sephora This vegan moisturizer with bakuchiol has vitamin C for skin brightening and hyaluronic acid for extra hydration.
Kinship Pimple Potion Retinal + Salicylic Acne Treatment: available at Credo Beauty and Ulta Beauty This is a multitasking product that can be used as a spot treatment for pimples or an all-over face treatment for clear skin to prevent acne. It has retinal to improve skin texture and Kinship's plant-based probiotic, kinbiome, for glowing skin.
INNBeauty Project Slushy Serum Moisturizer Crush Infused with Bakuchiol: available at Sephora and Credo Beauty This hydrating serum helps reduce dark spots and large pores. It also has yuzu, which is high in vitamin C, to brighten and protect your skin.
Erno Laszlo Firming Cream: available at Lovely Skin and SkinStore This luxurious cream is a powerful blend of bakuchiol and spirulina maxima (blue-green algae) to plump and firm your skin. It also has chia seed oil, shea butter and olive oil to keep your skin hydrated all day.