So, um, what exactly is Bakuchiol? And how do you even say it?
Bakuchiol—pronounced buh-koo-chee-all—is the natural substance extracted from the seeds of the wild Babchi plant (also scientifically known as ‘psoralea corylifolia’) that grows in India and the Himalayan regions of Pakistan and China. While the plant has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, Bakuchiol is obtained through monomolecular extraction, which means a single molecule is extracted to yield a substance of 99% purity.
It is not, however, safe to use pure Bakuchiol on the skin. In skin care, Bakuchiol is used as an active ingredient to formulate finished products.
Ah, I’ve heard of babchi oil! Same thing, right?
Nope! Babchi oils are produced through a distillation process using babchi seeds. Oils sold on the market have been found to contain between 1.6% to 12.1% Bakuchiol. But without proper purification, they can contain compounds that are harmful to the skin and are not recommended for cosmetic purposes.
Bakuchiol, on the other hand, is chemically extracted and clinically backed for topical application onto the face.
How does Bakuchiol benefit me?
Well, only in the same way the fountain of youth would! While that’s said in jest, we’re just as blown away by Bakuchiol as we would be had we found cascading magical waters.
Bakuchiol has been scientifically proven to significantly subdue signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles, abate hyperpigmentation, improve elasticity, and even reduce wrinkle-depth by 20% after only 12 weeks of use.
OMG. But how?
Bakuchiol affects key anti-ageing genes on a cellular level and slows down the activity of enzymes that break down collagen and elastin. It goes on to stimulate collagen production and cell turnover to enhance skin firmness and even out the complexion. It’s also a potent antioxidant to boot! This means Bakuchiol fights off free radicals to protect the skin from environmental stressors and prevent irregular pigmentation.
I don’t have wrinkles. Do I need it?
There’s a reason why it’s said that prevention is better than cure. Fun fact, Bakuchiol is the inhibitor and the cure when it comes to ageing skin! It’s what we call a protective and restorative agent—it curbs the first signs of ageing but also works to remedy any age markers you may already have.
It sure sounds a lot like what retinol can do for me. Why Bakuchiol instead?
For starters, Bakuchiol is sensitive-skin-friendly! Unlike retinol that’s been known to cause painful irritation, Bakuchiol matches the effects of retinol and can be incorporated into your skin care regimen without worry. While retinol is largely recommended only for night application, Bakuchiol can be used twice a day because it’s photo-stable and will not cause heightened sensitivity to UV rays. It’s no wonder why the active is dubbed as a natural retinol-alternative sans the drawbacks.
Having said that, everybody’s skin is different. Albeit proven to be more tolerable than retinol, natural ingredients such as Bakuchiol have a higher tendency to present as an allergen when compared to synthetic compounds like retinoids. HMH tip: Always, always do a patch test when trying a new product!
It’s also cool to note that Bakuchiol inherently has the ability to soothe flare-ups, regulate the overpopulation of bacteria, maintain the integrity of sebum and prevent the production of excess keratin to keep clogged pores at bay. Plus, studies show that it’s more effective than salicylic acid in reducing blemishes and acne scars.
Read more about the differences between Bakuchiol and retinol here.
It’s also anti-fungal, vegan, and halal—that’s a few more feathers in Bakuchiol’s proverbial hat!
Will I break out when using Bakuchiol?
Time to put on our lab coats for a short science lesson because breaking out is a possible side-effect of using products that accelerate skin turnover such as those containing AHAs, retinoids or Bakuchiol. Interestingly though, not all blemishes are made equal. Here’s why:
When pores become clogged under the visible surface of the skin, they form what is known as microcomedones which can develop in two main ways as skin cells are shed and replaced. They can either emerge in the form of whiteheads, blackheads, pimples or cysts, or simply disappear unbeknownst to you! When applying products that speed the entire process up, a lot of the dormant microcomedones could surface all at once—this is what we call skin purging.
But have faith! Purging really isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s basically your skin adjusting to a new product and getting rid of the hidden nasties—think of it like pressing fast forward to get through a few difficult-to-watch scenes.
Unlike breaking out due to an adverse reaction to an ingredient—which could render lasting damage caused by more clogged pores and sustained inflammation—purging is temporary. In fact, once given enough time to adapt and renew, your skin will improve and begin to allow the benefits of the product to shine through.
I’m sold! How do I get started on my Bakuchiol journey?
If you’re new to using active ingredients, work the product into your routine gradually. In the case of Handmade Heroes’ Ultimate Bakuchiol Booster Oil, we suggest using only one drop, mixed well into a moisturiser, every other day for at least two weeks to allow your skin to adapt. Then, tweak the usage according to your skin’s needs.
Once you’re all set, Bakuchiol can be used twice daily. Once in the morning and another time before bed, gently massage two to five drops of the product into the face and neck area after cleansing and toning. Don’t forget to show your peepers some love too—the booster oil is completely safe for use on the delicate skin around the eye area. As a lightweight oil boosted with squalane that is non-greasy, non-tacky, and easily absorbed, The Ultimate Bakuchiol Booster Oil leaves the skin with the lightest film and a dewy glow!
Don’t miss out on all the wonders of Bakuchiol. Start your journey today with The Ultimate Bakuchiol Duo!
Words by Alyssa Lee