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
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....
SaleBestseller No. 2
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. 3
Absolute Collagen Boosting Serum With Bakuchiol & Hyaluronic Acid- The Ultimate Serum for Youthful,...
140 Reviews
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.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Malibu Organics Bakuchiol Serum Natural Collagen Boosting Face Serum Vegan Squalane, Organic...
  • Uncover Your True Beauty: The Malibu Organics retinol for skin is an all-natural alternative to the heavy retinol serums you may be used to. With a vegan and gentle formula, this vegan anti-aging...
  • Natural Ingredients: This vegan retinol serum uses the power of bakuchiol, a natural ingredient that may help to smoothen your skin and make it appear more youthful. Bakuchiol is a naturally derived...
  • Feel Great in Your Skin: The smoothing serum can help to boost the natural production of collagen, which improves skin elasticity and makes it more luminous and vibrant. This serum vegan can help you...
Bestseller No. 5
LimberLux Bakuchiol Face Oil Serum - Advanced Anti-Aging Skincare With Argan Oil, Vitamin E,...
  • REVERSE SIGNS OF AGING: Reverse the signs of aging skin with incredible bakuchiol face oil! Traditionally used in ancient Indian and Chinese medicine, bakuchiol plant extract delivers visible results...
  • LOCKS IN MOISTURE: Suffering from dry skin? Fear not, for our blend of argan, macadamia and shea oil creates an effective preventative barrier against dehydration. Treat your dry skin with the love it...
  • KIND TO SKIN: Bakuchiol oil produces similar results to anti-aging retinol treatments, but promises to be kinder to your delicate skin. Soft but effective ingredients ensure that our product is gentle...

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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