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Move Over, Retinol – Bakuchiol Oil is Having a Moment

Everyone says that retinol is a miracle cream for pimples, but maybe it’s never worked for you – your skin gets too dry, it gives you a rash, or you feel like it makes your pores look more prominent. Luckily, there’s a little-known natural alternative with many of the same effects as retinol. Meet bakuchiol oil.

What Is Bakuchiol Oil?

Bakuchiol, the best ingredient you’ve never heard of, is a natural, plant-derived alternative to retinol known for its anti-aging properties. Bakuchiol is a byproduct of babchi plant seeds (Psoralea corylifolia), a plant native to India and Sri Lanka. Ayurvedic medicine has used bakuchiol for hundreds of years in different forms. These days, it’s most commonly found in skincare products.

Bakuchiol oil has similar benefits to retinol, including stimulating collagen production. This increased collagen ultimately reduces fine lines and wrinkles while improving skin texture and tone. However, unlike retinol, which can cause irritation, dryness, and sensitivity, bakuchiol is generally well-tolerated by all skin types, including sensitive skin. It also doesn’t render your skin photosensitive, so you can go out without being concerned about an imminent burn.

Is Bakuchiol the New Retinol?

While bakuchiol has some of the same effects as a retinol cream, they’re by no means twins. Bakuchiol can serve as an alternative to retinol for those with delicate skin, and also pairs with retinol for those who tolerate the latter well. Particularly because of its non-photosensitive properties, bakuchiol is recommended as a daytime cream or serum, while retinol is for nighttime.

“[Bakuchiol] behaves on the skin in a similar way to retinol, which is very well established and a skincare superstar. But chemically, they are not similar at all,” Dr. Shereene Idriss, founder of Idriss Dermatology in New York City, told CNN. “Bakuchiol can help stabilize retinol, which can be very unstable and hard to formulate.”

Does It Really Work?

While it usually takes me a while to notice changes in a skincare regimen, I can firmly say that starting bakuchiol has been nothing short of a blessing for my skin texture. I use bakuchiol oil twice a day, every day. I’ve used retinol in the past and found it to be painfully drying in the wintertime. But this bakuchiol serum is gentle, doesn’t have a strong odor, and makes my skin feel soft and luscious. 

Acure’s particular vegan and sulfate-free blend (which I personally use) includes eggplant, basil, and turmeric, and it separates into two beautiful colors that you have to shake to combine. Their formula is one of the most inexpensive compared to what luxury brands charge. My one critique is that you don’t get that much bang for your buck – the most you can get at once is one ounce. However, their bakuchiol overnight cream is a bit bigger, so I might try that out for size instead.

Reviews for Acure’s serum are just as effusive in their praise. “This one works for balling on a budget,” says Bri. Alejandro adds that bakuchiol oil is “liquid gold” and works well for those with eczema or skin issues that prevent retinol use. Usually, it takes about six to twelve weeks to notice a difference. So, if you’ve just started and you’re not seeing any startling changes yet, hang in there – they’ll happen.

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