Happen to be looking for a single ingredient that gently and effectively boosts collagen, reduces fine lines, diminishes acne scars, brightens complexion and leaves skin feeling smooth and plump, with zero downtime? There’s a plant for that.

It’s was one of the buzziest ingredients in 2019, and for good reason: Bakuchiol meets all the criteria of a bonafide multi-tasker. It addresses nearly every common skin concern and holds its own next to its chemical counterpart, Retinol, without any of the common side effects, like redness, dryness, flakiness and irritation. It’s been around – and in many of your favorite plant-based skincare products – for a while now (Bakuchiol was “discovered” in 1966), but it wasn’t until 2018 that significant clinical studies proved its power.

The study, published by the British Academy of Dermatologists, pitted Bakuchiol and synthetic Retinol against each other in a 12-week, double-blind clinical trial on human subjects. 44 participants received either a twice-daily 0.5% Bakuchiol product or a once-daily 0.5% synthetic retinol product. Their progress was evaluated by a dermatologist who didn’t know which group was which.

Both groups saw improvements in the reduced appearance of hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and redness, and there was no statistically significant difference between their results, which suggests that using Bakuchiol twice a day is as effective as using Retinol once a day. Plus, the Bakuchiol group reported less skin scaling and flaking than the retinol group.

Here’s a quick snapshot of how the comparison shakes out:



Boosts the Appearance of Collagen



Reduces the Appearance of Photoaging



Reduces the Appearance of Fine Lines



Reduces The Appearance of Hyperpigmentation



Boosts the Feel of Improved Elasticity



Improves the Appearance of Cell Turnover



Helps to Reduce the Feel of Inflammation


High ORAC Antioxidant




Used in Ayurvedic Preparations


Always Vegan


No harsh side effects like redness, dryness and itching



The big takeaway, which nearly every clean skincare company grabbed and ran within 2019, was this: this plant-based alternative delivers everything your skin wants, and nothing it doesn’t.

Ready. Set. Buy.

But, as with everything that sounds too good to be true, there’s a slight catch.

While Bakuchiol confers the same benefits of Retinol, it’s not chemically identical. In fact, structurally and chemically, they are completely different. Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, specifically the form of the vitamin your body absorbs from animal products. It’s gentler than Retinoic Acid (Retinol’s tougher sister which is often used in OTC products), but biochemically they do the same thing. Retinol fits into skin’s Retinoic Acid receptors, affecting gene expression and causing enhanced collagen production, skin smoothing, and a reduction of hyperpigmentation. We have learned that even at reduced concentrations, Retinol can lead to retinol dermatitis, a period of inflammation, dryness and flaking skin, typically occurring within the first four weeks of treatment.

Don’t want the downtime? Enter plant-based, vegan Bakuchiol. Derived from the seeds and leaves of the babchi plant, Bakuchiol is an herb traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat a variety of diseases. While it doesn’t actually fit into skin’s Retinoic Acid receptors, it stimulates the receptors and can lead to similar positive gene expression. It’s just going to take a minute.

If Retinoic Acid is the fastest-acting, most aggressive Vitamin A treatment, synthetic Retinol is a slower-acting, gentler option. It will still take up to 12 weeks to see any significant change to skin, and harsh side effects are to be expected. Bakuchiol, by contrast, is even gentler than this, possibly taking months to have any noticeable positive effects on the skin. And, as discovered in the 2018 clinical study, it will require double the dose of synthetic Retinol to yield the same effects. The good news is that as skin sloooowly improves, you won’t experience any unwanted side effects.

So, is the hype worth it? We think so. Especially when Bakuchiol is used in highly potent plant-based formulas that deliver added skin nourishment. Of all the Bakuchiol-leading skin treatments out there, we’re proud to feature Blüh Alchemy’s Botanic-Retinol as February’s Hero product. Blüh Alchemy Founder, Becky Blüh, knows that when combining plants, a potent synergy can be greater than the sum of its parts, which is why Botanic-Retinol doesn’t rely on Bakuchiol alone. In this skin-firming complex, Bakuchiol is supported by four additional sources of vitamin A. The inclusion of fig delivers a rich source of vitamin A which promotes exfoliation and cellular renewal. Cacay nut oil is a highly sustainable, nutrient-dense oil is wild-harvested from the Amazon and has 3X more vitamin A (retinoic acid) than rosehip oil. It improves skin tone and firmness while decreasing irritation and the appearance of acne.

A unique watermelon bioferment is added to deliver even more vitamin A and increase stability and bioavailability of the formula’s other photo-chemicals, minerals and vitamins. Finally, carrot oil is power-packed with high amounts of vitamin A, further supporting this A-list synthetic retinol alternative.

With this month’s Hero product, expect to experience Bakuchiol at its best: active yet gentle, boosted by other botanicals with optimized bioavailability, steadily improving the appearance of skin firmness and luminosity over time.

Here’s just one way to play with this month’s Hero Product:


a dime-size amount of RANAVAT’s Luminous Ceremony Cream Cleanser into damp skin and gently massage in circular motions across forehead, nose, cheeks and chin to remove makeup and buildup. Splash warm water to rinse skin clean. Pat dry.


skin with Blüh Alchemy’s Toning Elixir, a high-performance liquid activator that plumps, protects and deeply hydrates.


tired, puffy eyes with Blüh Alchemy’s Eye Oil Serum by gently rolling under eyes, from inside corners outwards, then tap gently into skin with your finger to support absorption.


several drops of Blüh Alchemy’s Botanic-Retinol into freshly misted face, neck and décolleté. The synergy of five vitamin A derivatives absorbs quickly, leaving skin feeling lifted and hydrated.

Lock In Moisture

with Honua Skincare’s Māhealani Face Balm. Use your fingertips to press into skin, or use your favorite face tool. A little bit goes a long way and lasts for hours, so it makes an ideal overnight moisturizing mask.


your nightly skincare ritual with a generous layer of Beneath Your Mask’s Remedy Conditioning Lip Balm on the lips.


Discover. Share. Win!

Share your unique ritual featuring this month’s Hero on Instagram Stories or on your feed for your chance to win this entire collection. #DIYHerogram



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