Everything You Need To Know About Bakuchiol — AKA, Plant-Based 'Retinol'

by Jessica L. Yarbrough

This article first appeared on Fashionista.com.


If there were a rom-com written about the spectrum of skin care, natural skin care would be the Rachael Leigh Cook in "She's All That" of the bunch: formerly frumpy, recently catapulted into "cool girl" territory thanks to a glam makeover. But, if high school wisdom still holds, there's always a downside to popularity — namely, the constant rumors. The big one going around about natural skin care is that it's less effective than the man-made, chemical-filled stuff. In some cases, that may be true. But a little-known herbal extract called bakuchiol is here to put the rumors to rest.

Bakuchiol (pronounced "buh-KOO-chee-all") is a "naturally occurring antioxidant found in the seeds of Psoralea Corylifolia, a plant found in Eastern Asia," explains Jesse Werner, founder of Whish, one of the first brands to incorporate the ingredient into its product offerings.

I've heard bakuchiol described as a "natural version of retinol" or an "herbal Botox," so I asked Werner if there was any truth to those claims. His answer made my highly-sensitive skin positively tingle with anticipation: "Clinical studies have confirmed that bakuchiol is a true retinol-like functional compound without the negative effects of retinol." In other words, bakuchiol is a potential game-changer for those who struggle with sensitive or reactive skin and aren’t confident in the risk-to-reward ratio of retinol.