Skincare junkies have long raved about the transformative effects of vitamin A derivative retinol, how a nightly application of a supercharged serum can work wonders on your complexion.

Now, there’s a new kid on the beauty block said to rival retinol in the quest for clear skin, and it’s called bakuchiol. Fans are raving about how they get the same results – but with less irritation – with this plant-derived antioxidant.


But is bakuchiol really as good as – or even better than – retinol? We asked an expert to explain…

What is bakuchiol?

Babchi seeds (Alamy/PA)

“Psoralea corylifolia (Babchi) is a medicinal plant originating from India and China. Bakuchiol occurs in the babchi seeds and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries,” says Dr Richard Blackburn, co-founder and director of skincare brand Dr. Craft.

“This natural active has become known as a gentle and effective anti-ageing active, that mimics the behaviour of retinol, without the same kind of irritation. It’s a potent antioxidant that is vegan friendly.”

What are the benefits of using bakuchiol?

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If tackling the signs of ageing and sun damage are a priority for you, this antioxidant could really help.

“Bakuchiol has been clinically proven through research published in the British Journal of Dermatology to significantly decrease wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and UV-related skin damage, with fewer side effects than retinol,” says Dr Blackburn.

The transformation won’t happen overnight, however, he adds: “Research shows 12 weeks of application can result in smoother, firmer, and all-around more youthful-appearing skin.”

Why do some people say it’s better than retinol?


While retinol is undoubtedly a powerful anti-ageing ingredient, not all skin types can tolerate it.

Dr Blackburn says: “Unfortunately for many users, retinol has significant undesired side effects, such as itching, burning and even skin peeling. It is often recommended to be introduced into a skincare routine slowly, due to these issues, but for those with very dry or sensitive skin, retinol is often simply unsuitable.”

Bakuchiol, on the other hand, is “great for all skin types, particularly those with dry and sensitive skin, who may be prone to irritation from retinoids. It is a gentle active that is adaptable for different regimes, and safe to use twice a day. It’s also completely safe to use in the sun, as it does not increase sensitivity to UV”.

Plus, whereas retinol can’t be used with alpha or beta hydroxy acids (chemical exfoliants) bakuchiol doesn’t negatively interact with any other skincare ingredients.

How should bakuchiol be used as part of a skincare routine?

woman applying face serum.

Another benefit of bakuchiol is its versatility. You’ll find it in everything, from cleansers and masks to BB creams and facial oils, but the most common format is serum.

“Bakuchiol can be incorporated into both your day and night skincare regime, but by adding it into your night regime, you are allowing the active time to work hard overnight,” says Dr Blackburn.

“Skincare products containing bakuchiol extract should be applied to a cleansed face and neck, in order of thinnest to thickest. Allow a few minutes for the product to sink into your skin before applying the next step.”

Bakuchiol buys: 7 products to try now

1. Dr Craft Bio-Bakuchiol Eye Cream

Dr Craft Bio Bakunchiol
(Dr Craft/PA)

No products found.

2. Trilogy Bakuchiol + Booster Treatment, £29.50

Trilogy Bakunchiol Booster

3. Typology Blemish Serum 1% Bakuchiol, £14.90

Bakunchiol Typology Blemish

4. Mii Cosmetics Skin Loving BB Cream

Bakuchiol Mii Cosmetics
(Mii Cosmetics/PA)

No products found.

5. J’Tanicals Floral Collagen Magic CBD Face Oil, £79.95

Bakuchiol JTanicals Floral Collagen Oil

6. Scientia Dusk Elixir, £32

Bakuchiol Scientia Dusk Elixir

7. Skin Proud Recharge Serum, £13.95, Boots

Bakuchiol Skin Recharge Serum
(Skin Proud/PA)

Best-selling bakuchiol serums

Need more inspiration? Check out our list of best-selling Amazon products!

Bestseller No. 1
Bakuchiol Oil Serum Eclat
  • ✅ 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗧𝗛-𝗕𝗢𝗢𝗦𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗕𝗔𝗞𝗨𝗖𝗛𝗜𝗢𝗟 𝗢𝗜𝗟: Most brands formulate with high bakuchiol oil concentrations, but research has shown that...
  • ✅ 𝟯𝗫 𝗠𝗢𝗥𝗘 𝗛𝗬𝗗𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡 𝗪𝗜𝗧𝗛 𝗕-𝗔𝗤𝗨𝗔: Bakuchiol oil helps transfer water across cells, so it works synergistically with our...
  • ✅ 𝟱𝟬% 𝗠𝗢𝗥𝗘 𝗕𝗜𝗢𝗔𝗩𝗔𝗜𝗟𝗔𝗕𝗟𝗘: We’ve formulated with bioavailability boosters. Capric triglycerides help bakuchiol oil to penetrate the skin, while...
SaleBestseller No. 2
Bielenda Bakuchiol BioRetinol Rebuilding Anti-wrinkle Face Serum Day/Nigh 30ml
  • Bielenda Bakuchiol BioRetinol Rebuilding Anti-wrinkle Face Serum Day/Nigh 30ml
  • Rich in natural plant extracts serum has the strength and power of nature, closed in a glass, ecological bottle. The almost 100% content of ingredients of natural origin makes the demanding mature...
  • It contains Bakuchiol a natural plant ingredient, called Bio Retinol by experts, due to its high efficiency in regenerating and rebuilding skin cells, comparable to Retinol, valued in cosmetology....
Bestseller No. 3
Absolute Collagen Boosting Serum With Bakuchiol & Hyaluronic Acid- The Ultimate Serum for Youthful,...
  • COLLAGEN SERUM: Our 30ml bottle contains beauty must haves Matrixyl 3000, Matrixyl Synthe 6, bakuchiol and hyaluronic acid. proven to boost collagen and fill wrinkles, Matrixyl 3000 will help you on...
  • ANTI AGING: With Matrixyl 3000 Aging skin actually starts to behave like young skin delaying photo induced aging of the skin naturally
  • SMOOTHS WRINKLES AWAY: Matrixyl Synthe 6 evens out our skin and smooths wrinkles away by rebuilding the skin from the inside out.
Bestseller No. 4
Balance Me Bakuchiol Smoothing Serum – Gentle Retinol Alternative – Anti-Ageing Face Serum –...
  • smooths and improves skin texture, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. with blue light and anti-pollution protection.
  • Number of items: 1
  • Directions: Directions: Smooth one pump of serum onto a cleansed face, neck and chest, day or night. Follow with an SPF in the morning. If product enters eyes, rinse well with cool water.
Bestseller No. 5
Amphora Aromatics Frankincense & Rose Bakuchiol Face Serum 25ml
  • helps smooth fine lines & wrinkles.
  • skin firming, vitamin, and antioxidant-rich.
  • light, non-greasy and hydrating.

Last update on 2022-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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