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By Shanan Kelley

Brand Ambassador


After a 2019 study in the British Journal of Dermatology compared Bakuchiol favorably to retinol as a cleaner anti-aging skin treatment with fewer side effects, it’s been no surprise to see Bakuchiol crop up in dozens of high-end skin-care products seemingly overnight. To help you sift through all the information and options and make an informed choice about whether Bakuchiol is right for you, we dove into the research and tried a few of the most popular Bakuchiol-based products.

Retinol vs. Bakuchiol
As the go-to in anti-aging, anti-acne topical skin treatments, retinol has had the market cornered for as long as we can remember. With numerous benefits backed by data, it has become the gold standard for boosting collagen and elastin production, encouraging cell turnover and promoting a dewy, youthful complexion. Almost every skin-care line on the market has a retinol product. Additionally, there are several prescription-strength retinoids that provide seemingly too-good-to-be-true benefits like lessening the appearance of hyperpigmentation and decreasing pore size. The drawback? Unfortunately, retinol doesn’t work for everyone. For some, retinol-based products cause irritation, flaking and extreme redness. Additionally, because retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, retinols should be avoided when pregnant and breastfeeding.

We love a clean beauty swap, so when Bakuchiol began appearing in serums, moisturizers, eye creams and the like, we wanted to know more. Bakuchiol is a derivative of the plant Psoralea corylifolia, or babchi, an herb traditionally used in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine to treat a variety of diseases. And though it does have similar cosmetic applications, it is completely different structurally and chemically from retinol. Bakuchiol acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, while retinol actually changes the rate of skin cell turnover. In the British Journal of Dermatology 12-week, double-blind clinical trial on human subjects comparing Bakuchiol to retinol, Bakuchiol delivered comparable — and even slightly favorable — results with far less irritation to users.

Who Is It For?
Bakuchiol is a great choice for those who are new to the anti-aging game, those with sensitive skin who cannot tolerate retinol and those who are pregnant or considering getting pregnant. It is a highly effective yet gentle treatment that promotes a youthful appearance to the skin and can be used by anyone looking to boost the efficacy of their current skin-care regimen. Because Bakuchiol is not a retinol, it can also be used in tandem with retinol to help decrease the occurrence of side effects and irritation. If you are using a prescription-based retinol product, make sure to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your current regime.

Try It for Yourself
In addition to the studies done by the British Journal of Dermatology and a 2014 study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, many skin-care companies have conducted their own independent studies of the effects of Bakuchiol on the skin. Bakuchiol continues to show overwhelmingly positive results in lessening the depth of wrinkles, smoothing skin texture, decreasing the appearance of hyperpigmentation and generally improving skin tone for a vast majority of users. In light of this, we feel confident in recommending you give it a try for yourself. Here are a few of our favorite Bakuchiol-based treatments.

Best Multi-Tasker
For an all-around anti-aging powerhouse serum, try Herbivore Botanicals MOON FRUIT 1% Bakuchiol + Peptides Retinol Alternative Serum. We love its silky texture and light, fruity scent, and the fact that it can be used in combination with a traditional retinol product to maintain results but minimize side effects and irritation.

Best Plant-Based Formula
We love Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer for its weightless matte finish and superior skin barrier-protecting ingredients like hyaluronic acid and squalane. We also love Alpyn Beauty’s commitment to 1% for the Planet and being Certified Plastic Neutral.

Best Facial Oil
For those who prefer a facial oil to a cream, GOOPGENES All-in-One Super Nutrient Face Oil is hands down the most luxurious, glow-boosting oil we’ve ever tried. With nine powerful nutrient-dense oils — Bakuchiol being only one — this nourishing treatment is leading the pack. After four weeks of use, 100% of users reported significant improvement in skin texture.

Best Bang for Your Buck
UK-based BYBI Beauty has become extremely popular for its pro-planet formulations and packaging, and with products like BYBI Beauty Bakuchiol Booster, it’s easy to see why. This nighttime face serum adds a high concentration of smoothing and softening Bakuchiol to your existing moisturizers at an affordable price.

Best Body Cream
For dull, dry skin on the body, try Fitglow Beauty Bakuchiol Body Cream. The light, super-hydrating formula combines Bakuchiol, glutathione, hyaluronic acid and shea butter to rejuvenate and restore plumpness and bounce to the skin and is appropriate for everyday use.

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