The Best Skincare Products with Bakuchiol (AKA the Plant-Based Retinol That's a Dream for Sensitive Skin)

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There’s no denying our love for retinol. As one of the most studied and oft touted ingredients by dermatologists, aestheticians and beauty editors alike, the vitamin A derivative has a reputation of being “the gold standard” of skincare ingredients because of its ability to tackle a wide range of concerns, from acne to sun damage to collagen breakdown.

But the truth is not everyone can tolerate it. Potential side effects include redness, dryness, and general irritation—not to mention they can't be used by those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you fall into this camp, the good news is there are gentler retinol alternatives you can try instead. Say hello to bakuchiol, the plant-based alternative that even those with the most sensitive skin can handle, then try it out with one of these nine picks below.

But First, What Exactly Is Bakuchiol?

TL;DR: It’s nature’s answer to retinol. Pronounced “buh-koo-chee-ul,” it comes from the Babchi plant (or as it’s more formally known , psoralea corylifolia) and has traditionally been used for a variety of skin conditions in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

Studies directly comparing the two ingredients showed that while “both significantly decreased wrinkle surface area and hyperpigmentation,” bakuchiol “is better tolerated than retinol.” Translation: It works similarly to retinol but is gentler on the skin. Bakuchiol also has antioxidant and antibacterial properties, which can help brighten skin and calm inflammation.

9 Retinol Alternatives to Try If You Have Sensitive Skin

1. Allies of Skin CE15 Bakuchiol Firming Oil

Want to wake up with fresher, glowier skin? Apply this bakuchiol-based face oil (blend of 21 active ingredients, including vitamin C and E, teprenone and coenzyme Q10) before bed to target dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles during skin’s night time repair mode.

2. Supergoop! Daily Dose Bioretinol + Mineral SPF 40

Easily one of our favorite sunscreen brands, Supergoop! is known for their user-friendly formulas. Case in point: Their latest launch combines a mineral sunscreen with bakuchiol and a collagen-boosting peptide called L-Carnosine to prevent future damage, while nourishing your skin.

3. Versed Skincare Press Restart Serum

Been burned by retinol in the past? This serum was made for you. It's creamy, gentle and specifically designed for sensitive skin types, thanks to microencapsulated retinol, which sends the active ingredient deep into skin so it doesn't sit on the surface and cause irritation, and two plant-based retinol alternatives: bakuchiol and arophira.

4. Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil

If you want glowy, youthful skin but also want to keep your current moisturizer, heads up: You can have both. This bakuchiol-packed oil decreases the depth of fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen production. Simply add a few drops to your current favorite face cream.

5. Oskia Super 16 Serum

This serum contains 16 nutrients and bio-actives in addition to bakuchiol, and they all work together to firm and brighten skin, both morning and night.

6. Naturopathica Argan & Retinol Repair Night Cream

Combining retinol, bakuchiol and argan plant stem cells, this night cream helps to firm skin, while also hydrating it to its fullest, dewiest potential. Just make sure to wear SPF during the day, as the use of retinol (plant-based or not) can make skin more sensitive to sun.

7. Ren Skincare Bio Retinoid Cream

Say goodbye to a dull complexion. This antioxidant-rich cream features bakuchiol plus jojoba and olive oils to plump skin with moisture and defend it from environmental stressors.

8. Alpyn Beauty Plant Genius Melt Moisturizer

How enticing is the name "melt moisturizer," y'all? And in fact, this cream does melt right into your skin with a few taps. Key ingredients include bakuchiol (obviously), as well as hyaluronic acid, squalane and ceramides to retain moisture and support skin barrier health.

9. The INKEY List Bakuchiol Moisturizer

We appreciate the straightforwardness of this British beauty brand. In an effort to simplify the shopping process, they highlight one star ingredient per product. For this daily moisturizer, it's bakuchiol, with an assist from squalane and Sacha Inchi oil, to give you a boost of hydration without ever feeling too heavy on your skin.

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