What is bakuchiol?
I know skincare trends change as fast as the weather, but we're talking bakuchiol, so hear me out because it's pretty great. Bakuchiol comes from the seeds of Psoralea corylifolia, also known as the babchi plant.
Like many of the hot "new" ingredients we enjoy in the West, bakuchiol has been used in the East as part of an Ayurvedic tradition for centuries. Natural skincare experts are excited about bakuchiol because it has properties similar to retinoid-based products, cellular turnover, and collagen stimulation, potentially reducing signs of aging like dullness and fine lines.
Is bakuchiol better than retinol/retinoids?
If you are getting vitamin A cream via prescription at the dermatologist, you are using retinoids—over the counter, and we're talking retinol. Retinols are a weaker version of retinoids; however, both can cause dryness, irritation, peeling, and an uncomfortable burning sensation.
We all suffer a little bit for beauty, but bakuchiol asks, "Why?"
What does the science say about bakuchiol?
Of course, one must always keep in mind the skincare industry sponsors most ingredient studies. That said, the results look promising. For example, in a two-year-old paper comparing the effectiveness of retinoids with bakuchiol, researchers found that bakuchiol stood firm against retinoids sans irritating side effects:
Bakuchiol and retinol both significantly decreased wrinkle surface area and hyperpigmentation, with no statistical difference between the compounds. The retinol users reported more facial skin scaling and stinging. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that bakuchiol is comparable with retinol in its ability to improve photoaging and is better tolerated than retinol. Bakuchiol is promising as a more tolerable alternative to retinol.
A second study (albeit a tiny sample group of just twelve individuals) found that a solution of .5% bakuchiol visibly decreased the visibility of acne scars (particularly for people of color) while calming acne breakouts without any side effects. Further, a third study reported a 16% increase in moisture retention for bakuchiol users. And the test group included those with sensitive skin.
This is all good news for bakuchiol, and we can attest that we have noticed visible changes in our skin texture and overall plumpiness using our Bakuciol + CBD Repair Serum for years.
What should I look for in a bakuchiol product?
Seek out products that explicitly list 'bakuchiol' as an ingredient, not bakuchi oil, bakuchi powder, babchi oil, and babchi powder—they don't work as well. When researching our bakuchiol source, we made sure they carried documentation of free trade and were a National Biodiversity Authority-approved source in alignment with the Convention on Biological Diversity Treaty of 1999.
Potency is always a thing. You want 0.5%-2% bakuchiol. Mender Repair Serum is 1%, strong enough to be effective but mild enough for most people to tolerate well. We pair bakuchiol with 100mg of full spectrum CBD, another active ingredient showing promise to boost collagen production and improve overall tone and texture.
Like any skincare ingredient, go slow and low when starting if you have sensitive skin. Although bakuchiol is well-tolerated in even those with sensitive skin, it is always important to take care.
Lastly, find a bakuchiol product with a moisturizer built-in. For example, in the Mender bakuchiol and CBD Repair Serum, we use a nourishing formulation of camellia seed oil, evening primrose seed oil, rosehip seed oil, cranberry seed oil, and sea buckthorn berry oil. It's dreamy; I'm not going to lie.