The Best Cheap Bakuchiol (Retinol Alternative) Products of 2019

Bakuchiol is an alternative to retinol (an ingredient found in anti-aging serums, lotions and eye creams).

The Bakuchiol compound is derived from Psoralea corylifolia, a plant that is used in traditional medicines in China, India, Japan and Korea. A 2014 study suggests that Bakuchiol reduces fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production.

Other studies claim that Bakuchiol has antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiaging, and anticancer effects. If all that sounds too good to be true, well, you know how the saying goes.

Bakuchiol is in the early stages of a hype-cycle, and like CBD oil, it’s being touted as a cure to just about everything. It will take time to separate facts from fiction and to discover the compound’s true side effects.

So, what about over-the-counter skincare products that are sold today? 

A U.C. Davis-backed study published in the Feb. 2019 edition of the British Journal of Dermatology concludes "Bakuchiol is promising as a more tolerable alternative to retinol," with the caveat "this would need to be confirmed in larger studies." 

For peace of mind, ask your dermatologist before buying any skincare products with retinol or bakuchiol. Neither compound may be appropriate for your skin and many skincare products are not safe to use during pregnancy. Safe is better than sorry.

If you’re shopping for a Bakuchiol serum, here are the best-reviewed ones that have sold on Amazon for $25 or less in the last 12 months:

Good Price: $18 | Great Deal: $15

This serum doesn't irritate skin, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers say their skin looks brighter and more youthful after use, but others are in wait-and-see mode despite leaving a positive review. (Buyer beware.)

Sorry for the slim pickings, but there aren't many Bakuchiol products for sale on Amazon. A handful of serums and creams are for sale at Sephora.

One final note: Beware of products being sold as “Bakuchi Oil” or “Babchi Oil.” These oils are also derived from the Psoralea corylifolia plant, but they not the same thing as Bakuchiol (just like crude oil isn’t the same thing as gasoline).


John DeFeo