Retinol is clinically proven to reduce the signs of aging. While other ingredients may brighten or protect your skin (looking at you vitamin C and mineral sunscreen), they aren’t as effective as retinol at reversing issues like wrinkles or sun damage. Sadly, though, retinol and other retinoids are not safe for everyone.
Retinol, which is derived from vitamin A, comes with potential side effects, like increased risk of sun exposure or excessively dry skin. And dermatologists recommend women who are pregnant or breastfeeding avoid them.
Here’s the good news: there is one powerful and natural retinol alternative backed by science. It’s called bakuchiol. And it’s safe, including for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Bakuchiol Has Clinically Proven Anti-aging Effects
Bakuchiol is a plant-based retinol alternative and an ingredient you’re sure to hear more about. One clinical study found that bakuchiol improved wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness, and photo-damage after 12 weeks of use. Michelle Connelly, director of merchandising at clean-beauty retailer Credo, told me that demand for products with bakuchiol is increasing among Credo’s customers. Savvy skincare users want to get the benefits of retinol without the downsides.
Bakuchiol improved wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness, and photo-damage after 12 weeks of use.
I’ve been using BYBI Beauty 1% Bakuchiol in Olive Squalane Oil Booster and Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer for more than five months and notice an improvement in my skin. I mostly use the oil booster at night and notice it makes my skin glow from within.
The Melt Moisturizer is my go-to for daytime. It firms my skin and leaves it looking smooth, almost like a makeup primer. After adding these two products to my routine, I feel more confident about not wearing any makeup at all. Below, let’s look further into what these products have to offer.
Skin Care Products With Retinol Alternative Bakuchiol
BYBI Beauty 1% Bakuchiol in Olive Squalane Oil Booster
This is currently my favorite product in my skincare routine. At less than $20, it’s affordable! The serum can be added to other products or used on its own. I add about two drops of the bakuchiol booster to my unscented almond oil at night for a deep moisturizing effect. I swear I wake up looking younger. During the day, if I want an extra glow, I will apply a small drop before I put on my makeup. While it’s meant for nighttime due to its heavier consistency, I use it whenever I need a skincare pick me up. I also love that it only has two ingredients: squalane (olive) oil, bakuchiol.
Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer
While the booster is on the heavier side, this high-end moisturizer provides lightweight hydration with the power of bakuchiol. I like to put it on right after the shower and let it work its way into my skin while I drink my coffee. Once settled in, my skin feels firm and smooth. Then I’ll go back and apply my makeup (if I’m wearing any that day). The moisturizer has a natural scent that reminds me of pine trees, and I feel like I’m pampering myself when I use it. Alpyn also makes a bakuchiol-backed PlantGenius Line-Filling Eye Balm, if you want to focus on fine-lines in that area.
HERBIVORE Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum
This serum can also address dullness and fine lines. If you already have a moisturizer you love, you can use this before it to add bakuchiol to your routine. It absorbs and works well with other products.
Even if you already have a clean retinol you love, it might be time to add bakuchiol to your routine on alternate days. Its gentle anti-aging powers are backed by science.