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," but "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 $35 or less in the last 12 months:

Good Price: $18 | Great Deal: $15

This fragrance-free Bakuchiol serum is non-irritating and spreads quickly, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers say their skin looks brighter and more youthful after use, but many others are in "wait-and-see" mode despite leaving a positive review. (Buyer beware.)

Good Price: $35 | Great Deal: $30

This retinol alternative is gentle and effective, according to reviewers on Etsy and Amazon Handmade. The seller of this product, Vanya Evans, has a 5-star Etsy rating based on more than 3,750 sales.

Sorry for the slim pickings, but there aren't many Bakuchiol products for sale on Amazon. Beware of “Bakuchi/Babchi Oil” that is marketed as Bakuchiol. These oils are also derived from the Psoralea corylifolia plant, but they are not the same thing as Bakuchiol (just like crude oil isn’t the same as gasoline).

A small (yet growing) selection of Bakuchiol serums and creams is available at Sephora.


John DeFeo