Bakuchiol: the alternative to retinol

Apr 25 2022

Scarlet Spy

3 min read


You may not be able to pronounce it but bakuchiol (ba-koochy-ol) is the new kid on the block. We talk to Dr Mahto, medical and cosmetic consultant, dermatologist and author of The Skincare Bible, to find out more about this natural alternative to retinol. 

So, bakuchiol: what is it? 

Bakuchiol is a compound found in the seeds of the Indian plant Psoralea corylifolia. It is gaining a lot of interest as the demand for plant-based ingredients grows in the beauty and skincare industry. It has been found to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and potentially even anti-acne activity.

How does it work? 

Bakuchiol has been shown to activate a number of chemical pathways in skin cells that ultimately lead to improved collagen production, decreased collagen breakdown and a reduction of melanin (pigment) synthesis. 

What are the benefits? 

The overall net effect seems to be an improvement in fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation which are commonly associated with the natural ageing process of the skin.

Is bakuchiol a good alternative for those with sensitive skin?

Bakuchiol seems to work in a similar manner to retinol but appears to cause less irritation such as peeling, dryness or sensitivity.

Are there any drawbacks to using it?

Retinoids are some of the most widely studied compounds in topical skincare with numerous clinical studies demonstrating benefit. In comparison, bakuchiol is definitely the ‘new kid on the block’, and whilst initial results appear promising, more studies and research are required to see how well the ingredient will stand the test of time.

Pass the bakuchiol… 

Herbivore Botanicals Bakuchiol Serum 
(30ml, £41.43) 

This little glass bottle contains a pretty purple-hued, jelly-like, water-based serum, blended with naturally-derived babchi (bakuchiol), turmeric, holy basil and eggplant extracts; use the dropper to apply two to three drops to clean, toned skin morning and night. Smooth over the skin to leave it silky soft and glow-y. It’s the perfect accompaniment for your favourite facial roller.

OSKIA Super 16 Advanced Nutri-active Collagen Serum 
(30ml, £92)

OSKIA’s Super 16 takes its name from the impressive number of anti-ageing nutrients and bio-actives ingredients inside the teal-hued bottle, including skin-brightening vitamin C, inflammation-soothing MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) and, of course, bakuchiol. Suitable for vegans, this skin-plumping serum promises to hydrate, firm and nourish the skin – leaving it looking radiant and feeling protected.

Try it at: Utopia Spa at Alexander House
Alexander House recently partnered with OSKIA to offer a range of glow-inducing, anti-ageing facials in their Utopia Spa. We love the ultra-hydrating OSKIA Revitalising Facial (55 minutes, £130) for its sculpting and lifting benefits. Hello natural face-lift. 

Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil  
(30ml, £85)

Omorovicza’s legacy is built on the healing, mineral-rich, thermal waters found in their homeland and Miracle Face Oil is one of the Hungarian brand’s bestsellers. Along with collagen-boosting bakuchiol, the oil contains winged kelp extract – a powerful anti-oxidant – and a trio of sea buckthorn berry, rosehip and sweet almond oils. Add a drop or two of this rich, light oil to your serum or moisturiser in the morning, or massage three to four drops directly onto your face and neck at night, prior to your night cream.

Try it at: The Spa at South Lodge 
Designed exclusively for South Lodge – to celebrate its botanical history - The Omorovicza Botanical Treatment (80 minutes, £160) uses sage, chamomile, calendula, edelweiss and jojoba for their soothing anti-ageing properties. After a rose-scented Gold Hydralifting Mask - containing colloidal gold and hyaluronic acid - Miracle Face Oil is applied as a natural retinol alternative. 


Scarlet Spy

25th April 2022

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