Miracle ingredients in skincare come and go but for those looking to achieve skin nirvana, Retinol hasn’t just stuck around, it’s the gold standard in anti-ageing skincare. It plumps, brightens and reduces wrinkles thanks to its collagen-boosting properties, and for those with pigmentation, it’s the holy grail to achieving skin perfection.
Retinol is a chemical derivative of Vitamin A, and while many swear by its benefits, it can also be aggravating to skin, especially for those with sensitivities. Since making the switch to using only natural beauty and skincare products, it left us wondering if there was in fact a natural alternative to Retinol that still delivered the same (or close to!) amazing results. Turns out there is; Bakuchiol.
“Bakuchiol is proving to be almost as effective as synthetic forms of retinol in building cell walls and plumping the skin’s tone and texture, explains Nicole Manning from Sydney’s Onda beauty. “The science is still evolving around Bakuchiol, but it is impressing us to date at lower strengths than we would see in retinoids.”
Bakuchiol, What Is It?
Although Bakuchiol stimulates collagen production in a similar way to retinol, it’s important to note that it’s not a retinoid. A derivative of the Bakuchi plant, it’s also a vegan alternative to its synthetic counterpart and another bonus is that it can be used day and night as its photostable and won’t cause sensitivities in sunlight. “It has long been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine but is only just gaining attention in the Western world for its anti-ageing properties,” says Danielle Glover, chemist and founder of SIMPLE as That skincare.
How To Use It
Like retinol, natural alternatives are best introduced into your daily beauty routine gradually. “This allows your skin time to adapt and adjust to the new ingredients and helps avoid unwanted reactions such as irritation, redness or flaky skin,” Danielle says. “Just because these retinol alternatives are natural, it doesn’t mean they can’t trigger their own share of skin irritations.”
Danielle adds that it’s best applied at night after cleansing, and for the uninitiated, start by using a small amount twice a week and gradually increase your use.
BYBI BEAUTY Bakuchiol Booster, $23; sephora.com.au
Paula's Choice 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment, $70.01; paulaschoice.com.au
But, Does It Deliver Results?
Well, yes and no, say the experts; “Currently, the natural options do not have the potency of Retinol, Retinoids and their derivatives are incredibly powerful ingredients, when respected and used correctly they can do remarkable things for the skin. There are certainly natural ingredients that can complement and enhance the effects but retinoids are in a league of their own for now,” says Nicole Manning, natural skin specialist and ONDA Sydney manager.
What you can do though, is use a combination of ingredients to boost its results. “Combining it with a few other natural ingredients can give your skin an extra anti-ageing boost,” Danielle says. She believes ingredients such as polyhydroxy acid (PHA), Vitamin C, rosehip oil and cacay oil can all work synergistically with Bakuchiol to help stimulate collagen at a deeper level and brighten - and firm - on a superficial level. And all without the synthetic chemicals.
Other Natural 'Retinol' Alternatives
They might not have the strength of the real deal, but these natural alternatives are still good options for glowing skin and when teamed with Bakuchiol products will have optimum results.
A mainstay in most beauty routines, rosehip contains Vitamin A as well as lycopene and Beta carotene. It’s great for hydration and sensitive skin.
Caycay contains three times more vitamin A than rosehip oil, as well as concentrated levels of Vitamin E (up to 50 per cent more than argan oil) and Vitamin F. Good for skin smoothing
Carrot Seed Oil
An essential oil, it contains Vitamin A and Beta Carotene. Good for skin detoxifying, but will need to be added to a carrier oil - like almond oil - before use.
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