How to use Bakuchiol: the Retinol Alternative

Megan Dominion

Bakuchiol is a natural alternative to retinol (a form of vitamin A commonly used in skin care). It has antioxidant and anti-aging properties, providing the same benefits to the skin that retinol does, but with far fewer side effects, such as skin irritation, flaking and purging. We’ve go into retinol vs bakuchiol and how effective it is as a replacement. But if you’re convinced, and want to know how exactly to use bakuchiol in your skincare routine for maximum benefits, here is our guide on how to use it, what to use it with and when to use this power ingredient!

The Benefits of Bakuchiol

The benefits of bakuchiol have been noted to be very similar to regular retinol use. It is thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of dark spots. Additionally, bakuchiol can help to stimulate collagen production which can brighten the skin and give it a more even tone.

Will bakuchiol help with hyperpigmentation?

Yes, bakuchiol is thought to be beneficial for helping to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. It is a great option for those recovering from acne scars and want to increase the time it takes for dark spots to fade.

Is bakuchiol good for oily skin?

Yes, bakuchiol can be a beneficial ingredient for those with oily skin. Bakuchiol has been shown to help reduce sebum production, which can help to control oiliness and keep skin looking matte. Additionally, bakuchiol’s anti-inflammatory properties can help to soothe irritated skin and reduce redness caused by acne.

Woman putting serum on her face with a stopper

When to use Bakuchiol: Morning or Night?

Unlike retinol, which should preferrably be used at night, bakuchiol can be used either morning, night, or both! Bakuchiol can be used in the morning and at night, depending on individual needs. During the day, bakuchiol’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can help to protect and brighten the skin, while at night it can help to stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots. Ultimately, it is best to use bakuchiol in the way that best suits individual needs and best fits into your skincare routine. Always use a good sunscreen when applying bukachiol in the morning (and just in general!).

How to use Bakuchiol?

This will depend on the product you’ve purchased but many Bakuchiol products come in a serum form. To use a serum containing bakuchiol, start by cleaning your face with your usual cleanser. Then, apply a few drops of the serum to your face and gently massage it into your skin. Allow the serum to absorb into your skin for a few minutes before applying your moisturizer.

A serum containing bakuchiol is a great way to incorporate this ingredient without replacing other steps in your skincare routine such as your moisturizer, however this is also a great option!

Ingredients to combine with Bakuchiol

Bakuchiol is still an active ingredient, even though it is more gentle than retinol. This means there is still a possibility of skin irritation, and therefore would pair really well with nourishing ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acids and niacinamide. Additionally, bakuchiol can be used with other antioxidants such as green tea extract or vitamin E to help protect the skin from environmental damage. Ultimately, it is best to tailor your skincare routine to your individual needs.

Bakuchiol and niacinamide

Niacinamide is a great ingredient to pair with bakuchiol as it can help to brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots. In fact, this combination can be beneficial for many people. When using bakuchiol and niacinamide together, it is best to apply them at different times of the day. Generally, it is recommended to apply bakuchiol in the morning and niacinamide in the evening.


Skincare Products

Bakuchiol and hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is also a great choice for pairing with bakuchiol as it can help to provide intense hydration to the skin and enhance the effects of bakuchiol, making it a great addition to a bakuchiol-based skincare routine. When used together, it is important to use hyaluronic acid before bakuchiol, as hyaluronic acid should be applied first in order for it to be fully absorbed.

Related: Skincare Ingredients that could be drying out your skin

Can you use both bakuchio and retinol?

Yes, it is possible to use both bakuchiol and retinol. Bakuchiol and retinol both have powerful anti-aging and skin-brightening benefits, so combining the two can be beneficial for some individuals. However, it is important to use the products at different times of the day unless formulated together, as retinol should always be used in the evening. Additionally, it is important to start with a lower concentration of each product and gradually increase it.

What to avoid or not mix with bakuchiol

This is always a tricky question, as there’s almost always an exception to this rule, especially when a skincare brand has specifically formulated ingredients that would usually clash together in one product. But generally speaking, it is not recommended to mix bakuchiol with other powerful ingredients such as retinol or vitamin C, as it may increase the risk of negative side effects such as dryness, irritation, or redness. Additionally, bakuchiol should not be used in combination with other acids such as glycolic or lactic acid, as this may be too harsh for some skin types.

Always pay attention to any additional irritation or redness as this could mean your skin barrier needs some extra care, and you should cut down on the amount and how often you are using active ingredients. Actives should always be introduced slowly to allow your skin to get used to them and avoid any irritation.


Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.