Retinoids can be a dream or a nightmare.

Vitamin A derivatives — including retinol, retin-A, retinoic acid and tazaratene — are amazing for skin since they speed up cell turnover and target fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots to improve elasticity, texture, tone and firmness. It can help with everything from acne to anti-aging but not everyone can handle retinoids sometimes unpleasant side effects like peeling, burning and dryness.

Enter bakuchiol, derived from the Indian Psoralea Corylifolia or babchi plant, known for its soft, purple flowers, studies have shown it produces similar effects as retinoids without the harshness.
It’s also vegan, gentle and safe for those who are pregnant or nursing. (Research shows excessive amounts of retinoids can interfere with fetal development.) Another pro to bakuchiol is that, unlike retinoids (which have been known to increase sensitivity to sun), it can be used morning and night.
I recently started using a 1% retinol cream and even though I don’t consider myself a sensitive gal, my skin lost its mind. I was purging (i.e. whitehead clusters), peeling and red, and while I’m usually a trooper about things getting worse before they get better, I just couldn’t handle it. That’s when I decided to try Ole Henriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Creme, a super rich night cream made with my favorites, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), as well as backuchiol. I couldn’t get over how smooth my skin looked in the morning. After a few months of consistent use, I ran out and, against my better judgement didn’t reorder.

Big mistake.

After a few weeks without this magic ingredient, I noticed the difference in my skin. I immediately placed an emergency Sephora order and my skin has never looked or felt better. If you’re curious about getting on the bakuchiol train, I found a few other products that contain the plant-based miracle along with some additional skin-loving ingredients.


Ole Henriksen Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum

The companion to my favorite night cream mentioned above, this serum is meant for use in the daytime and also contains skin-firming and elasticity improving properties., $58


Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum

This serum is super light-weight, 100% vegan, cruelty-free and contains no added fragrance or colors. It also is made with hydrating tremella mushroom as well as poly hydroxy acids, which provide the most gentle resurfacing of all the hydroxy acids., $54


Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum

Using Biossance’s signature squalane, which instantly hydrates and locks in essential moisture, as well as hyaluronic acid, which can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture, this serum immediately plumps up skin and gives it a bouncy texture., $72


The Inkey List Bakuchiol

Not only does this day and nighttime lotion contain squalane but also sacha inchi oil. This oil packed with omega-3 fatty acids which hold anti-inflammatory properties, support skin’s structure and keep skin hydrated. The best part? This lotion costs less than your brunch bill., $12.40