Bakuchiol – the plant-based retinol alternative for glowing skin

Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine, this phytochemical offers the advantages of retinol, with a lower risk of irritation

Clockwise from top left: Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil, £82 for 30ml. Ole Henriksen Transform Plus Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème, £46 for 50ml, and Transform Plus Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum, £50 for 30ml. Oskia Super 16 Advanced Nutri-Active Collagen Serum, £88 for 30ml
Clockwise from top left: Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil, £82 for 30ml. Ole Henriksen Transform Plus Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème, £46 for 50ml, and Transform Plus Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum, £50 for 30ml. Oskia Super 16 Advanced Nutri-Active Collagen Serum, £88 for 30ml

Retinol has proved its worth in the skincare arena, speeding up cell renewal for more glowing, radiant skin. It’s becoming ever more user-friendly as formulations improve, but can still be too harsh for more delicate complexions. So, the beauty community is getting excited about plant-derived bakuchiol (pronounced “back-uh-heel”), hailed as a credible alternative to retinol, with a lower risk of irritation.

A phytochemical from the seeds of Psoralea corylifolia (the babchi plant), bakuchiol has shown very similar results to retinol in a report published in the British Journal of Dermatology. Studies found that while it has different physical components to retinol, bakuchiol diminished fine lines, improved skin firmness and reduced sun damage (it suppresses the effects of melanin-producing cells) over a 12-week period. But its main attraction as a skincare ingredient is bakuchiol’s ability to increase cell turnover (which in turn stimulates collagen), crucial to glowing, plump skin. It also offers the advantage of being a vegan ingredient.

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Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, it has also had some early adopters among western skincare brands. Oskia Super 16 Advanced Nutri-Active Collagen Serum (£88 for 30ml) fuses 16 nutrients, with bakuchiol as the star ingredient, while Hungarian brand Omorovicza utilises it in its Miracle Facial Oil (£82 for 30ml). And recently launched is Ole Henriksen’s bakuchiol-led Transform Plus Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum (£50 for 30ml) and Transform Plus Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème (£46 for 50ml).

Jane Cunningham is a beauty journalist and blogger. An early adopter of beauty blogging, she has been posting on her website britishbeautyblogger.com for 10 years, providing (sometimes brutally) honest product reviews and beauty news. Cunningham collaborated with Marks & Spencer to produce a limited edition make-up range and is currently working with Makeup Revolution on an eyeshadow palette. She is also a creative consultant to beauty brands. @britbeautyblog.

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