When it comes to skincare, retinol is pretty much regarded the holy grail. A fantastic source of vitamin A, the skin superstar does everything from reducing the signs of ageing, improving acne and fading age spots. From bloggers and YouTubers to the beauty pages of magazines, you’d be hardpressed to find a beauty authority who isn’t singing the praises of this powerful product.
But that’s just the thing, it is powerful—too powerful, in fact, for many people’s skin. Some redness in the first weeks of using retinol is normal, as it turbocharges skin cell production. However, people with sensitive skin have reported a range of reactions from an extremely red, irritated and itchy face to dry and peeling skin. Not fun!
The good news is, you don’t have to miss out on the magical benefits of retinol just because you have dry or sensitive skin. A gentler, natural alternative has emerged and its said to be just as effective. Enter, bakuchiol.
What is bakuchiol?
Pronounced ‘back-uh-heel’, bakuchiol is being called the plant-based retinol. Pinterest predicted it as one of the biggest beauty trends of 2019 so you know it’s going to be huge. It’s derived from the seeds and leaves of the babchi plant and has long been used in Chinese medicine to heal cuts and soothe rashes and redness. “Bakuchiol, like retinol, works by increasing cell turnover, thereby stimulating collagen production and diminishing wrinkles, skin laxity, and overall photodamage,” dermatologist Ellen Mamur tells Allure.
The International Journal of Cosmetic Science published a study comparing retinol and bakuchiol and found that the latter showed “significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and overall reduction in photo-damage,” without the side effects of retinol. Win! The best part is, it’s suitable for all skin types—even those with sensitive complexions, due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Like retinol, bakuchiol is the ingredient, not the product itself—so not all versions of it are created equal. Read on for the 5 best bakuchiol products to add to your routine.
Ole Henriksen Transform Plus Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum
If soft, glowing skin is the name of the game for you, give this serum a go—it fuses the benefits of bakuchiol with the brightening properties of AHAs.
Biossance Squalane and Phyto-Retinol Serum
This serum is one of the most potent doses of bakuchiol you can get and has been clinically tested to deliver anti-ageing benefits without irritating the skin.
Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil
Bakuchiol is the starring ingredient in this indulgent serum, which also contains a range of other natural oils to smooth fine lines and protect the skin for accelerated ageing.
Shop the Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil.
Ren Bio Retinoid Anti-Ageing Cream
Combining bakuchiol with other soothing ingredients like jojoba and olive oil, this anti-ageing day cream is as gentle as they come.
Shop the Ren Bio Retinoid Anti-Ageing Cream.
PCA Skin Intensive Clarity Treatment 0.5% Pure Retinol Night
If you’re after something a little more potent, this night cream contains both bakuchiol and 0.5 per cent retinol into a powerful anti-ageing elixir.