Wednesday 1 July 2020


**********This post contains gifted items. Gifted mentions may also be present. All links used are affiliate.********** 

Happy Wednesday my beloved Drama Queens. I’m starting this week on a blogging high and I feel like I’m back, properly, for the first time in forever! And today, we’re chatting Bakuchiol and no, it’s not an ancient witchcraft spell, but a rather new skincare ingredient. But is it a trend that’s here to stay, or maybe just another fad? This blogger investigates.

What’s Bakuchiol?

The science bit: chemical formula C18H24O or 4-[(1E,3S)-3-ethenyl-3,7-dimethylocta-1,6-dienyl]phenol for those of you who are into this sort of stuff, brings back so many happy school memories for me!

Bakuchiol is a plant-based retinol (vitamin A) alternative mainly sourced from Psoralea corylifolia (or in Sanskrit called Bachuci) plant seeds but it can also be isolated from other plants as well. The plant in question has been used in Indian and Chinese medicine to treat diseases such as dermatitis, however, there’s a very little detail of that available. 

Studies on Bakuchiol found it to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Its chemical structure is similar to Resveratrol, also a powerful antioxidant. A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Cosmetic Science compared it to having a retinol-like function in the regulation of gene expression. In 2018 a small (44 person) 3-months blind study demonstrated Bakuchiol’s ability to improve skin conditions such as deep wrinkles and hyperpigmentation caused by photo-ageing whilst having a better skin tolerance in all subjects taking part in the study. It’s worth mentioning that Bakuchiol in no way resembles chemical compounds of Retinol itself and there haven’t been many studies on it other than privately founded manufacturing ones, so we can only truly speculate on long term effects of using Bakuchiol.

Retinol vs Bakuchiol 

However fabulous Retinol’s effects on our skin may be and skincare gods know I love it so much, it’s also a very powerful ingredient with a lot of side effects. Think purging, increased dryness, redness and overall skin sensitivity. Not so fun in the slightest. Having said all that, it’s always worse before it gets better with retinol and it’s 100% worth sticking with it. Over the counter (OTC) retinoids are also not as potent as the prescription retinol, so that’s also something to research before you jump in. There are also a few examples when retinol should not be used. For example, it's not recommended for pregnant women, but there's a lot of health conditions where an alternative should be sought. Always contact your doctor before using retinol. As retinol also increases skin’s sensitivity to the sun, it should always be used at night followed by gentle, preferably fragrance and actives-free products with an established SPF routine next day present.

Bakuchiol has shown no major side effects and can be used both day and night in your routine alongside other actives, including retinol itself. Some suggest Bakuchiol can minimalise adverse side effects of retinol if used in the same formula, but again, there's very little detail available on the subject. I’ve been using Bakuchiol on my non-retinol nights for a while now and have noticed no side effects, namely redness which I’m likely to experience with retinol. So far Bakuchiol is the only plant alternative to retinol that’s been clinically found to stimulate collagen production and cell turnover, strengthening the skin, as well as plumping out lines and wrinkles in a similar manner but without the risk of irritation. 

Bakuchiol for all pockets

The Inkey List Bakuchiol* | £9.99 for 30ml |  is a Bakuchiol-based moisturiser from the no-bullshit talking brand. Bakuchiol is supported by Squalane, Glycerin and Sacha Inchi oil in a rather efficient INCI. Whilst marketed as a moisturiser, to me the formula feels more serum-like with its thin milky consistency and should be used as such, otherwise, you may find that you’ll be going through the tube rather quickly. I would always follow with a richer moisturiser or oil on top. I noticed my skin to be smoother when using this daily and would recommend to anyone starting the journey with Bakuchiol if you haven’t got a delicate nose, as the scent can be a little off-putting at first. I didn't mind but it seems to be an issue for some reviewers online. The Inkey List doesn’t use artificial fragrances a lot, hence their formulas are quite raw but it’s the actives ingredients that matter here.

Indeed Labs Bakuchiol Reface Pads* | £19.99 for 30 pads| 

A newbie in Reface range, the Bakuchiol pads are based on Niacinamide and Bakuchiol and have a rather simple formula. Pads are soaked with product and you should start with the ribbed side to gently exfoliate as well, then go with the smooth side until the pad runs dry. I tend to use these similar to acid exfoliating pads, but I prefer the smooth side as my sensitive skin doesn’t get on that well with mechanical exfoliation on the daily. A lovely alternative way to applying Bakuchiol, the pads are 100% biodegradable too. I would use it prior to a hydrating serum whereas the other two products from The Inkey List and Balance Me I use in conjunction and mainly after. This could be simply because I associate this method of application with the peel, and it seems to work well as the first step after cleansing. I use the pads a few times a week, as I simply don’t need additional mechanical exfoliation so often, but when I do, I notice an increased radiance straight away.

Balance Me Bakuchiol Serum* | £32 for 30ml | Bakuchiol here present at 1% concentration and sourced from Ayurvedic babchi plant. The brand has conducted an independent study on 42 persons aged 25-62 years old, which has shown an improvement in skin’s texture, clarity and radiance when used over the time of the study. I like the gel-like formula that feels silky and hydrating on the skin. I’ve noticed an improvement in skin texture around my forehead and zero irritation when using the serum. I’ve used it for 14 days at night, and noticed an improvement in the skin the next day, especially where redness is concerned. The formula is supported by inflammation-controlling antioxidant Terminalia Cherbula, as well as smoothing and glowing skin precious Cacay Oil as well as Rice/Camellia/Jojoba esters, anti-ageing Borage Oil, hydrating Glycerin, Squalane and numerous other oils. Despite high oil concentration in the formula, you will not find it greasy, in fact, it’s very light and water-gel texture serum that could be used on any skin type wanting to increase radiance and smooth out skin’s texture. I received a small sample (10ml or 1/3 of the full size) and still have a fair bit left after 2 weeks and not being stingy with the amount applied. Recycling wise the cap and bottle are fully recyclable but the pipette must be disposed of separately.

Final thoughts

I don’t think of Bakuchiol as a replacement to Retinol and I happily continue to use both. However I only go with retinol 2-3 times a week (if that!) and that also depends on the formula and strength, whereas with Bakuchiol based products, I can use these every day to target texture and dullness. I can’t really comment on long terms effects and wrinkle-plumping, but I can tell you wholeheartedly that my skin condition has improved upon introduction of Bakuchiol to my regimen. I find that my skin is no longer as sensitive, especially in the last couple of weeks trailing Balance Me Bakuchiol Smoothing Serum as the formula seems to be working for me so well. I plan on carrying on with Bakuchiol for now, as an extra smoothing ingredient that offers virtually zero irritation and that’s something I’m very keen on these days.

Have you tried Bakuchiol yet or are you sticking with Retinol? 

Thank You For Reading.

With love,

Full disclaimer:

In line with an updated CMA/ASA Non-broadcast Code, all products marked with * have been gifted to Beauty Drama Queen for review consideration, therefore are considered sponsored and displayed as a form of an unpaid advertisement.

All articles sponsored by a brand, a retailer or via a PR agency where specific product placement has been paid for on top of product gifting will be clearly branded as AD.

Products I've bought myself, but there's a current or past (up to 12 months) relationship with the brand present will be marked with **.

Products unmarked have been purchased by Beauty Drama Queen, gifted by family and friends or won in a giveaway and therefore not in the scope of the legislation.

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