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Retinol Vs. Bakuchiol

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

Tried and true or something new? Discover which ingredient is right for you.

Retinol has long been the holy grail when it comes to age defying skincare. Touted by dermatologists and skin enthusiasts as the superior ingredient to stimulate collagen and elastin production, smooth fine lines and wrinkles and brighten hyperpigmentation. It's no wonder why so many trust retinol as their go-to for maintaining youthful skin.


Enter bakuchiol: a plant-based alternative to retinol. Boasting shockingly similar results as our beloved retinol, but without the potential side effects.


Sound too good to be true? Naturally, with the skincare industry buzzing about this hot new ingredient, we are curious: Is a botanical option really better? Should we stick with the tried and true or make the switch?


Read on to reveal comparative insights to discover which ingredient is right for you.


Retinol and bakuchiol both offer similar benefits but they are chemically and structurally different.

Different Sources


Marketing implies bakuchiol is a "natural form of retinol". This can be a bit confusing for the already confusing world of retinol. It's important to note, while the two molecules behave similarly in cosmetic applications they are indeed different.


The root of the differences stem from their source. Retinols and retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A, sometimes from an animal source (but not always). In contrast, bakuchiol is an extract from the leaves and seeds of an herb called babchi, making it vegan. This plant has been used for centuries in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine to remedy a variety of skin conditions. Although it produces the same effects as retinol, it does not contain vitamin A. These differences make bakuchiol overall less irritating and therefore more tolerable for a wider variety of skin conditions and lifestyles.

Bakuchiol offers similar effects as retinol such as stimulating collagen, plumping fine lines, brightening tone and boosting cellular turnover. But without potential side effects.


3 Advantages of Bakuchiol

  • Gentle and non-irritating The gentle nature of bakuchiol make it an ideal match for those who shy away from retinol because they feel they are too sensitive. While retinol is tolerated by many people, it is not for everyone. Prolonged red, flaky and irritated skin are signs that it may not be the right match. Overuse of retinol is common, resulting in the skin's surface becoming waxy or shiny. Bakuchiol has no adverse side effects, creating all the same benefits but without potential irritation.

  • Daytime use is encouraged Unlike retinol, bakuchiol is safe to use in the daytime. Being a potent antioxidant, it actually makes the skin less sensitive to the sun's rays. There is a peace of mind knowing you won't overdo bakuchiol, it is safe to use in both morning and evening routines.

  • Maternity safe Taking a long break from superstar products is not ideal. From pregnancy through breastfeeding it is advised to skip retinol products. Luckily, bakuchiol is maternity safe so you can still maintain your youthful glow even in the early days of motherhood.

Ultimately, both ingredients offer stellar support for maintaining youthful skin. Choose based on what is suitable for your skin type, preferences and beauty ritual. You may even discover when paired, they can be exceptionally amazing.

Using retinol and bakuchiol together


Alas, maybe we don't have to choose after all. Why not double down on these brilliant ingredients and maximize benefits 24/7. You may be surprised to learn, retinol and bakuchiol combine powers quite harmoniously for an over-achieving duo in a skincare routine.

  • Complimentary dynamics Gentle and nourishing bakuchiol balances potential retinol irritation when paired in the same routine. Bakuchiol also stabilizes retinol, increasing it's efficacy. The best of both worlds.

  • Extended benefits Safe application of bakuchiol day or night, allows for the skin to be consistently receiving benefits. When retinol breaks down with UV, bakuchiol picks up the pace.

  • Dual-power antioxidants Enjoy the added bonus of nutrients which increase the cells ability to fight free radicals and thrive beautifully.


The bottom line


Retinol for now, is still one of most well researched ingredient in skincare, it's hard to match that! Dermatologists across the board consistently recommend retinol based products as the gold standard for firmer & plumper skin.


It is still unclear whether bakuchiol delivers the exact same level of results, but so far the studies show it works similar magic.


If you use retinol with no problems, then there may be no reason to switch unless you desire to try something new or would like to add in a daytime or gentle version into your routine.


Bakuchiol will be a perfect match if you have sensitive skin, are new to retinol, tend to get a lot of sun or prefer to use vegan skincare products. It's really about aligning with what is right for you and your skin.


Either way, it is best to move slowly and gently when integrating ingredients. Notice how your skin looks and feels. Use your skintuition and refrain from overusing products that causes extended irritation.

If you desire to be proactive in your aging process, having either of these ingredients in your arsenal will be a saving grace. Or dare I say...both?


Let me know, have you tried bakuchiol and how do you like it?




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