Retinol may be the gold standard anti-aging ingredient, but not everyone can tolerate it. Plus, it’s advised not to use it while pregnant. So, it’s no surprise beauty brands are looking for gentler alternatives that still offer the wrinkle-smoothing, dark spot–squashing benefits we need and love.
Enter: bakuchiol, a plant-based alternative to retinol that has demonstrated impressive results in clinical testing when compared to the real deal. Not only is it a great option for those with sensitive skin, but it’s also pregnancy-safe (however, always check with your dermatologist to make sure the other ingredients in the product are safe too before slathering it on).
Sounds pretty great right? I’m definitely on the bandwagon, and so are many of the dermatologists and aestheticians I’ve spoken to lately. Here are nine different product types that feature the buzzy ingredient so you can find the perfect fit for your routine.
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SERUM: BiossanceSqualane + Phyto-Retinol Serum ($72)
I’m a fan of just about everything Biossance makes, and this serum is no exception. It’s creamy, nonsticky and layers easily with other skin care and makeup, making it a perfect pick for everyday use. Plus, it’s mixed with squalane, so you get a moisture boost in addition to wrinkle smoothing.
MOISTURIZER: Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer ($60)
Exactly as its name suggests, this velvety moisturizer melts right into your skin without any greasy residue, working to stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and bakuchiol share the stage for plant-based anti-aging power at its finest.
DAY CREAM: REN Bio Retinoid Anti-Ageing Cream ($69)When tested on 30 women over age 35, all of them reported an improvement in wrinkles after using this cream twice daily for six weeks. It’s a bit thicker in texture—it’s all those heavy-hitting actives including bakuchiol and other radiance boosters—so the brand recommends warming it up in your hands before applying so it goes on evenly.
SHEET MASK: Miss Spa Bakuchiol Repairing Sheet Mask ($4)
Throw this botanical-infused, travel-friendly sheet mask in your carry-on to get a skin-perfecting dose of bakuchiol on the go. Wear it for 20 minutes, then take it off and rub any excess serum into your skin for maximum hydration, less visible lines and a softer feel.
FACE OIL: Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil ($120)Ultra-nourishing sea buckthorn berry, rose hip and sweet almond oils mixed with collagen-stimulating bakuchiol make this the perfect elixir for achieving that fresh, dewy, healthy look.
EYE CREAM: Beautycounter Countertime Ultra Renewal Eye Cream ($69)The skin around the eyes is the some of the thinnest skin on the entire body, so crow’s-feet and crepiness in that area usually materialize earlier than other signs of aging. This bakuchiol-packed cream helps keep them at bay—it’s also clinically proven to reduce puffiness, brighten the under-eyes and increase firmness. Talk about a multitasker.
LIP BALM: Whish Watermelon Lip Balm ($20)
Fine lines aren’t reserved for the skin on your face—they often appear on the lip line as a result of age or sun damage, and they’re typically more prevalent for those who smoke. This yummy lip balm fights pesky lip lines as it quenches dryness, and does it all using natural ingredients.
NIGHT SERUM: ISDIN ISDINCEUTICS Melatonik 3-in-1 Night Serum ($160)
A derm favorite (we love it too), this silky serum packs a powerful punch thanks to the trio of bakuchiol, vitamin C and melatonin. After 12 weeks of use (nighttime only), it’s clinically proven to reduce the appearance of deep and superficial wrinkles, as well as increase skin firmness and improve overall skin quality.
NIGHT CREAM: OleHenriksen Transform PLUS Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème ($55)
Let your skin soak up all the bakuchiol goodness while you sleep with this skin-transforming cream. It not only contains the retinol alt, but also alphahydroxy acids and Edelweiss stem cell extracts, which combine to repair damage incurred during the day.
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