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It's skincare's hottest ingredient but what is bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is a trending skincare ingredient in the beauty world and for good reason, beauty experts have dubbed it nature’s plant-based alternative to the anti-ageing gold standard, retinol


For decades, retinol has been the go-to anti-ageing ingredient. So why search for an alternative? While retinol offers incredible youth-activating benefits it can irritate the skin, a downside many struggle through for the skin smoothing and radiance-boosting results. But bakuchiol offers the same incredible skin benefits such as more even skin tone, less visible wrinkles and plumper skin without the unwanted irritation, meaning it’s a smart skincare switch to make. 


So sure of bakuchiol’s power, we have added a Bakuchiol Repair Complex to our Clean & Conscious skincare with it making an appearance in our Glow collection. But what is bakuchiol, how does it work and what can it do for your skin? Let’s take a deep dive. 


What is bakuchiol? 

Bakuchiol is an active skincare ingredient extracted from the leaves and seeds of the psoralea corylifolia plant, also known as the babchi. The purple flowering plant has been used for many years in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, bakuchiol is recognised as a highly effective, natural replacement for retinol in anti-ageing products, as it helps to maintain skin elasticity and stimulate skin cell turnover. 


To be clear bakuchiol isn’t a retinol and doesn’t work in the same way, but in recent years the plant extract has been pitted against retinol in studies and has, in many cases, achieved the same anti-ageing results. This is an exciting finding because, whilst retinol (a Vitamin A derivative) is impressive it can often leave skin dry, red and irritated, whereas bakuchiol has proven time and again to be more tolerable. 

It's skincare's hottest ingredient but what is bakuchiol?

What are the skin benefits? 

Retinol’s genius lies in the fact it can speed up collagen production, but one groundbreaking study proved that bakuchiol has the same effect at upregulating type I and II collagen and stimulating type III – what does this mean for your skin? That bakuchiol can reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, improve skin elasticity and firmness, all without irritation.  


Beyond collagen production, bakuchiol also has proven anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant abilities to protect skin from ageing free radicals such as UV rays and pollution. 


Want to reap all those bakuchiol benefits? Rituals has harnessed its power in an innovative Bakuchiol Repair Complex that minimises visible fine lines, whilst improving the skin’s elasticity, luminosity and radiance. 

It's skincare's hottest ingredient but what is bakuchiol?

How to use bakuchiol 

Unlike retinol, that is effective but difficult to use, bakuchiol is much easier to slot into your routine. The irritation from retinol means you have to build up tolerance, plus its photo sensitive meaning sunlight can reduce its efficacy so it has to be used at night. Bakuchiol, however, can be applied every single day which is why we have funneled it into the reformulated Anti-Ageing day cream. The lightweight and hydrating formula revitalises the skin and boosts its radiance. Combining bakuchiol with wild indigo, the complex helps to visibly minimise the appearance of fine lines, improve the skin's elasticity and protect against the negative influence of free radicals. Efficacy test results following a study conducted on a panel of 30 participants after 28 days of use show up to 33% decrease in wrinkle volume and up to 25% increase in firmness. The result? Softer, smoother and younger-looking skin.  

Amy Lawrenson

Amy Lawrenson

Amy Lawrenson is a UK beauty editor with over 13 years of experience writing for magazines and websites including ELLE, Grazia, Women's Health and Byrdie. She has a keen interest in all things beauty and wellness, especially skincare because who doesn't want a clear, glowing complexion?