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The 15 Best Bakuchiol Products for Retinol-Like Results Without the Irritation

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Photo by Anna Gorbacheva/Getty Images

When it comes to anti-aging in skincare, retinol has long reigned supreme. But the side effects make it prohibitive for many to use, not only during the initial skin “purging” period, but long after as well. In the last few years, skincare science has narrowed in on a few natural alternatives to retinol, including bakuchiol. What is bakuchiol, you ask? “Bakuchiol is a powerhouse ingredient that gives similar results to retinol without the irritation. It is naturally found in the environment—it comes from a plant called babchi,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky. And it’s garnered so much attention because the two ingredients have very similar results. “It increases cell turnover, boosts collagen production, and improves tone and texture of skin,” explains the derm. “It is thought to induce a similar gene expression and affect similar cell pathways as those of retinol.”

But the key difference between the two active ingredients is how they affect the skin—or in this case, don’t affect it. “The way bakuchiol works varies a bit from the exact mechanism of retinol because it does not cause as much irritation,” explains Zubritsky. “In fact one study published in the British Journal of Dermatology in 2019 compared twice daily application of bakuchiol compared to retinol. The results showed that both ingredients decreased wrinkles and hyperpigmentation equally, however, retinol showed more scaling and stinging compared to bakuchiol.”


About the Expert:

Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky is a board certified dermatologist based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Skincare brands have been quick to adopt the ingredient, and it’s now available in dozens of products. “Bakuchiol is most effective in creams, serums, or oils,” says the derm, who adds, “I personally like to apply my bakuchiol at night time, as this is when skincare is most effective.” Ready to add the anti-aging powerhouse to your skincare regimen? Here are 15 bakuchiol skincare products we recommend, and why they’re worth trying.

1. Best Multi-Action Bakuchiol Serum:

BIOSSANCE Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum

BIOSSANCE Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum
Courtesy of BIOSSANCE

This creamy serum blends bakuchiol, niacinamide, and squalane to soften the appearance of fine lines, lighten dark spots, and leave skin feeling hydrated. Plus, it’s gentle enough to use in the morning and at night.

2. Best Bakuchiol Eye Cream:

OLE HENRIKSEN Wrinkle Blur™ Bakuchiol Eye Gel Crème

OLE HENRIKSEN Wrinkle Blur™ Bakuchiol Eye Gel Crème
Courtesy of OLE HENRIKSEN

It looks like some sort of dessert-like treat, but the swirls in this gel-cream formula are actually a blend of active ingredients. The purple streaks are bakuchiol, while the clear gel is a blend of peptides, proteins, and orchid stem cells that helps firm and plump skin.

3. Best Affordable Bakuchiol Moisturizer:

THE INKEY LIST Bakuchiol Moisturizer

THE INKEY LIST Bakuchiol Moisturizer
Courtesy of THE INKEY LIST

With 1% bakuchiol as well as sacha inchi oil (a good source of omega-3) and squalane, this formula has everything you’re looking for in an anti-aging moisturizer—and clocks in at just under $10.

4. Best Smoothing Bakuchiol Serum:

HERBIVORE BOTANICALS Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum

HERBIVORE BOTANICALS Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum
Courtesy of HERBIVORE BOTANICALS

If the pretty lilac dropper bottle doesn’t get you, what’s inside will: In addition to babchi extract (the source of bakuchiol), it also contains polyhydroxy acid to gently resurface skin texture, tremella mushroom to hydrate, and blueberry stem cells for an antioxidant boost. Use daily for a smoother, softer, and all-around renewed complexion.

5. Dermatologist’s Pick:

BYBI BEAUTY Bakuchiol Skin Restore

BYBI BEAUTY Bakuchiol Skin Restore
Courtesy of BYBI BEAUTY

This lightweight, skin-plumping night cream is Dr. Lindsey’s pick. “I love using the new BYBI Bakuchiol Skin Restore,” says the derm. “It's super hydrating and a great product to use at bedtime.”

6. Best Retinol Combination Treatment:

PAULA’S CHOICE 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment

PAULA’S CHOICE 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment
Courtesy of PAULA’S CHOICE

If you just can’t quit retinol, this treatment combines 0.3% of the active with 2% bakuchiol, so you can enjoy the benefits of both. And they might even be more effective together, because bakuchiol is thought to help stabilize retinol. Use it a few times a week to help fade the appearance of signs of aging, and then increase usage as skin becomes more tolerant.

7. Best Bakuchiol Facial Oil:

GOOPGENES All-in-One Super Nutrient Face Oil

GOOPGENES All-in-One Super Nutrient Face Oil
Courtesy of GOOPGENES

It makes sense why this oil has “all-in-one” in the name: Bakuchiol is just one of the many skincare ingredients in this face oil. It also contains omega-rich evening primrose oil, rosehip oil (another natural retinol alternative), squalane, and amla, a vitamin C superfood—just to name a few. In other words: Just a few drops, and you’ll be glowing, day or night.

8. Best Bakuchiol Face Cream for Dry Skin:

KEYS SOULCARE Skin Transformation Cream With Bakuchiol

KEYS SOULCARE Skin Transformation Cream With Bakuchiol
Courtesy of KEYS SOULCARE

From Alicia Keys’s skincare line comes this facial moisturizer that may just help you get her glow. The cushiony cream contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid to fight dryness and support the skin barrier, plus the all-important bakuchiol. For a cool, calming bonus, it also contains malachite, a stone that may help soothe the skin (and the rest of you) when you use it, too.

9. Best Bakuchiol Booster Serum:

BEEKMAN 1802 Dream Booster Bakuchiol Beta-Retinol Better Aging Serum

BEEKMAN 1802 Dream Booster Bakuchiol Beta-Retinol Better Aging Serum
Courtesy of BEEKMAN 1802

Like a traditional serum, this ultra-gentle, botanical-filled formula can be used as a solo step in your skincare routine. Or, add a few drops into your moisturizer for an extra boost of active ingredients.

10. Best Bakuchiol Serum for Deep Wrinkles:

TULA Wrinkle Treatment Drops

TULA Wrinkle Treatment Drops
Courtesy of TULA

Three different retinol alternatives—bakuchiol, alfalfa sprouts, and stevia—make this dry-oil serum extra effective at firming skin and smoothing the look of wrinkles. But thanks to the probiotic extracts, goji berry prebiotics, and olive-derived squalane, it’s still remarkably nourishing as well.

11. Best Overnight Bakuchiol Treatment:

LANCER Advanced Retinol Treatment

LANCER Advanced Retinol Treatment
Courtesy of LANCER

Not only does this potent treatment combine retinol with bakuchiol for maximum results, but it also contains marine-sourced collagen and prickly pear extract to hydrate and plump skin. Apply before bed to wake up to glowing, more even-toned, and all-around more youthful-looking skin.

12. Best for First-Time Retinol Users:

VERSED Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum

VERSED Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum
Courtesy of VERSED

Another great thing about bakuchiol is that it can help ease skin into using retinol, thanks to the similar benefits and combination treatments. This lotion-like serum contains both ingredients, and is gentle enough to use daily (even on sensitive skin).

13. Best Bakuchiol Cleanser:

BEAUTYCOUNTER Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil

BEAUTYCOUNTER Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil
Courtesy of BEAUTYCOUNTER

It’s easy to disregard cleansing when it comes to anti-aging—cleanser is cleanser, right?—but ingredients matter in this step, too. This luxe cleansing oil removes makeup, dirt, and other impurities while also infusing skin with a nourishing boost of bakuchiol, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids.

14. Best Bakuchiol Sleep Mask:

COCOKIND Resurfacing Sleep Mask

COCOKIND Resurfacing Sleep Mask
Courtesy of COCOKIND

Sleep masks are an amazing way for skin to get the most out of active ingredients, and bakuchiol is no exception. Apply this moisturizing mask—packed with bakuchiol, squalane, and brightening wild indigo extract—instead of a night cream to wake up with brighter and more hydrated skin.

15. Best Bakuchiol Moisturizer for Oily Skin:

ALPYN BEAUTY PlantGenius® Melt Moisturizer

ALPYN BEAUTY PlantGenius® Melt Moisturizer
Courtesy of ALPYN BEAUTY

This lightweight moisturizer has an addictive gel-cream texture and matte finish, yet is still hydrating courtesy of hyaluronic acid and skin-barrier-supporting ceramides (making it great for all skin types). And of course, it still has all the bakuchiol benefits you’re looking for.

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About the author
lindy-segal-headshot
Lindy Segal
Lindy is a contributor at IPSY, a beauty and lifestyle writer, and Real Housewives aficionado. She was an editor at People and Glamour, and her freelance work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Who What Wear, and Cosmopolitan, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated July 24, 2023 12:00 AM