You might have heard murmurings of a ‘natural retinol’ over the past few months and the word bakuchiol dropped in here and there. Bakuchiol (pronounced buh-koo-chee-all) has caused quite a stir in skincare circles and some have gone as far as to say it’s a natural alternative to retinol. But is it worth the hype?
Well, Paula Begoun, the founder of Paula’s Choice is notoriously sceptical of any beauty industry trend or fad, and this month the brand has unveiled 0.3% Retinol and 2% Bakuchiol Treatment. This in itself was enough to pique our interest, so we decided to take a closer look into this so-called wonder skincare ingredient.
What Is Bakuchiol?
Bakuchiol is found in the seeds and leaves of a planet called psoralea corylifolia, which is commonly found in India. The vegan-friendly skincare ingredient has a long history of being used in herbal remedies to soothe inflammation and is known for its antioxidant properties.
What Are The Skincare Benefits?
Beauty chemist Ni’Kita Wilson describes bakuchiol as a natural retinol replacement. “The beauty of bakuchiol is that you get many of the great retinoid benefits without the drawbacks,” says Ni’Kita. Before you throw out your retinol and load up on bakuchiol, it’s worth noting that Ni’Kita says ‘many’ rather than all of the benefits.
“While retinol is a cell communicating ingredient, which means it ‘tells’ cells to act like younger, healthy cells, bakuchiol is not,” explains Paula Begoun. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its merits. “Bakuchiol is a potent anti-inflammatory ingredient, a powerful antioxidant and it can improve skin discolouration,” says Paula. It can also help to boost collagen production and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. Rather than swapping one for the other, Paula suggests using them in unison. Research has shown that as much as 0.5% bakuchiol can help to brighten and boost skin without causing scaling or irritation.
Should All Skin Types Use Bakuchiol?
Another huge benefit is that bakuchiol can be used by all skin types, including dry, sensitive or oily skin. A lot of experts tend to recommend bakuchiol for those who find retinol too harsh. Unlike retinol, it is generally deemed safe to use throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, however we would always recommend checking with your health practitioner.
How Should You Use Bakuchiol?
Bakuchiol doesn’t make your skin photo-sensitive, so you can apply it in the morning or evening. The order in which you use it depends on whether you’re using a serum or cream – we suggest starting with the lightest formula.
In terms of what you should be cocktailing it with, “It pairs well with hydrating ingredients like trumella and hyaluronic acid, as well as vitamin C,” explains Ni’Kita.
While bakuchiol has some impressive skincare benefits, there is no miracle ingredient that will solve all your problems. Fortunately, a handful of brands have already incorporated bakuchiol into their formulas…
Ease The Appearance Of Pigmentation With…
Mandelic acid is somewhat of an unsung hero when it comes to treating dark spots and pigmentation. Unlike other ingredients, it doesn’t lighten your skin so it is a good option for those with darker skin tones. The inclusion of bakuchiol helps to even out skin tone further.
Plump And Firm With…
Collagen and elastin help to give your skin that youthful suppleness. Bakuchiol is one of 16 bioactive ingredients in this serum, alongside retinol and vitamin C, to help boost your collagen production and leave your skin with a plumper bounce.
Top Up Hydration Levels With…
Dry skin types will love this rich, replenishing oil. Fusing bakuchiol with sweet almond and rosehip oil, we highly recommend massaging two-to-three drops into freshly washed skin in the evening. You can expect to wake up with softer, smoother, more radiant skin come the morning.