There are always new skincare products promising to improve our skin texture, reduce the signs of aging, leave our skin feeling incredible, and make us look more amazing than ever.
Bakuchiol serum is one of those products.
Much loved as a natural alternative to retinol, bakuchiol serum offers a wide range of benefits. But, like all skincare essentials, it’s always good to know a thing or two about a product before putting it on your face.
Here’s what you need to know about bakuchiol serum, including what it is, what it does, and nine of the best products to consider adding to your skincare routine.
What is Bakuchiol Serum?
Bakuchiol comes from the seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant, better known as the babchi plant, which grows in China, India, and South Africa. The oil from this plant has long been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing treatments to combat skin concerns such as vitiligo, hyperpigmentation, rashes, redness, and skin irritations.
Chemically, it’s nothing like the Vitamin A-based retinol that’s so prevalent in so many beauty routines, but it is considered a plant-based retinol alternative.
Because it offers many of the same benefits as retinol without the side effects that make retinol irritating to certain skin types.
According to Dr. Inessa Fishman, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon based in Atlanta, GA, bakuchiol “affects gene expression almost identically to that of a tretinoin/retinoid.” Dr. Fishman also notes that ” bakuchiol helps improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in the skin, and also improves skin pigment problems and elasticity.”
Bakuchiol can be found in all sorts of skincare products, including moisturizers, eye creams, face masks, and, of course, serums.
Related: What is Mucin Serum and How Can It Boost My Skin?
The Pros of Bakuchiol Serum
Bakuchiol offers many benefits, and it doesn’t really have any downsides. This natural ingredient has no known side effects, making it a great option for anyone looking for a new, natural product to apply to the skin. Here are some of its key benefits:
Boosts Collagen Production
Bakuchiol serum increases cell turnover, which stimulates collagen production. Collagen helps to improve the firmness and elasticity of the skin and reduces sagging by plumping the skin, leading to a more youthful look.
Bakuchiol serum won’t reverse the aging process if you have deep wrinkles, but it does help prevent them from forming. Bakuchiol is an antioxidant that prevents wrinkles by targeting the free radicals that cause them. It also helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines that already exist.
Brightens the Skin
Add bakuchiol serum to your daily routine if you’re looking to reduce dullness, reduce dark spots, and brighten your skin tone. If you suffer from hyperpigmentation, adding this to your skincare routine may be just what you need.
Safe for Use on All Skin Types
Unlike retinol, which can increase dryness in the skin, bakuchiol serum is great (and safe) for use on all skin types. Whether you have dry skin, oily skin, sensitive skin, or acne-prone skin with frequent blemishes and breakouts, bakuchiol oil is a powerful choice if you’re looking to improve the overall look, feel, and texture of your skin.
Related: Why is Retinol Serum So Popular?
When to Use Bakuchiol Serum
There are a few different ways that people incorporate bakuchiol serum into their skincare routine.
One option is to use it morning and night, every day of the week, after you use your facial cleanser and before you apply your moisturizer and sunscreen. This is the best regimen if you’re not already using a retinol-based product.
Another option is to use it in combination with retinol. For example, since retinol makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight, many people opt to use bakuchiol serum in the morning and use their retinol products strictly at night. People that use retinol every other day often opt to use bakuchiol serum on the days when they don’t apply retinol at all.
While retinol and bakuchiol are very different, they have similar effects, so you can use one or the other or a combination of both to see even greater results.
9 Bakuchiol Serums to Try Now
Maybe you’re anti-retinol because you’ve tried it and didn’t like it. Maybe you’re retinol-averse because you’re leery of all its downsides. Either way, you might want to try bakuchiol serum as a safe and natural alternative. Here are nine of the best serums that you can find at almost all of your favorite beauty retailers and online stores.
1. Herbivore Moon Fruit 1% Bakuchiol + Peptides Retinol Alternative Serum
Don’t let the fact that the Herbivore Moon Fruit 1% Bakuchiol + Peptides Retinol Alternative Serum only contains 1% bakuchiol. That’s all you need. Combined with plant peptides and schisandra berry extract proven to tighten the skin, 1% is more powerful than you may think.
This serum combats fine lines and dryness while improving elasticity. Vegan and cruelty-free, all it takes is two pumps of this serum daily to start seeing noticeable results and an improved skin tone in about two weeks.
(Moon Fruit also has a pretty purple hue which just makes it kind of fun to use!)
2. Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum
If you’re hydrating nightly with a hyaluronic acid serum, you might want to consider swapping it out for the Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum. Formulated with bakuchiol, squalane, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, this nourishing serum delivers on multiple levels.
This anti-aging serum is proven to be non-irritating and safe for use on all skin types. Use it twice daily (morning and night) for the best results.
3. InnBeauty Project Slushy Serum Moisturizer Crush
The InnBeauty Project Slushy Serum Moisturizer Crush contains bakuchiol, hyaluronic acid for added hydration, and yuzu, which is high in Vitamin C. In addition to plumping and improving the texture of the skin, this serum also reduces the appearance of pores and reduces breakouts and blemishes.
4. Sephora Collection Targeted Bakuchiol Serum
Along with bakuchiol, the Sephora Collection Targeted Bakuchiol Serum also contains Vitamin E, another nourishing antioxidant to help firm, smooth, and improve the skin. Just apply a few drops twice daily, morning and night, after cleansing your face and before applying your moisturizer or makeup.
Fragrance-free and vegan, this serum is an excellent (and affordable) choice for all skin types.
5. OleHenriksen Glow Cycle Retin-Alt Power Serum
Resurface and brighten your skin with the OleHenriksen Glow Cycle Retin-Alt Power Serum. This product contains bakuchiol, hibiscus flower extract to help smooth the skin, red algae for firming, and edelweiss to improve the look of fine lines. It also includes licorice root, chamomile extract, and other natural ingredients that work together to help soften and hydrate the skin.
6. ISDINCEUTICS MELATONIK 3-in-1 Night Serum
A 2022 InStyle Best Beauty Buy winner, the Isdinceutics Melatonik 3-in-1- Night Serum does more than most bakuchiol serums on the market.
This product is made for use at night, as it includes melatonin, which helps you sleep. It also includes Vitamin C for added brightening and hydration. Designed to boost collagen production and reduce the appearance of fine lines, this serum is much-loved among people with various skin types, including sensitive skin.
It is a bit pricier than most of the other serums on this list, but it does offer added benefits (like improved sleep), which none of the others do.
7. Tula Wrinkle Treatment Drops Retinol Alternative Serum
The Tula Wrinkle Treatment Drops Retinol Alternative Serum contains all sorts of powerful ingredients, including probiotics, prebiotics, squalane, and alfalfa sprouts. In addition to smoothing and firming the skin, it also strengthens the skin barrier, reduces the look of irritation and redness, and hydrates and conditions.
8. Beautycounter Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum
The Beautycounter Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum is super effective with bakuchiol, tripeptides to help plump and hydrate the skin, Swiss Alpine rose for antioxidant defense and amino acids that protect the skin from environmental stressors. This serum gives you a radiant glow and delivers its best results when used twice daily – once in the morning and again at night.
9. Paula’s Choice 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment Serum
If you’re not ready to give up your retinol completely in favor of bakuchiol, Paula’s Choice 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment Serum has them both.
This serum contains a mid-strength retinol of just 0.3% along with 2% bakuchiol which only makes the retinol more powerful. It also includes ceramides, hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, and peptides, which help to boost collagen production and make the skin even firmer.
Because it does contain actual retinol, it’s best to apply it only three times a week to start. If you’ve never used retinol before, be sure to do a patch test to see how your skin reacts.
Does Bakuchiol Serum Work?
As we all know all too well, every skincare and beauty product on the market claims that it works – but most users agree that bakuchiol serum actually does. If you’re a retinol user, you’ll love this natural alternative. If you avoid retinol because it irritates your skin, you’ll want to test it out.
No matter what your skin type is, plant-based bakuchiol serum can improve the tone, texture, and feel of your skin. And if it can do even half of what it promises, we think it’s worth a try.
You may also be interested in: Hyaluronic Acid: Is It Really A Secret Beauty Serum?
The 9 Best Bakuchiol Serums:
- Herbivore Moon Fruit 1% Bakuchiol + Peptides Retinol Alternative Serum
- Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum
- InnBeauty Project Slushy Serum Moisturizer Crush
- Sephora Collection Targeted Bakuchiol Serum
- OleHenriksen Glow Cycle Retin-Alt Power Serum
- ISDINCEUTICS MELATONIK 3-in-1 Night Serum
- Tula Wrinkle Treatment Drops Retinol Alternative Serum
- Beautycounter Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum
- Paula’s Choice 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment Serum