DIY bakuchiol serum – a retinol alternative for sensitive skin

Bakuchiol (“buh-KOO-chee-all”) is a promising herbal alternative to retinol, a popular skincare ingredient that delivers dramatic results. Retinol has been used for decades as a potent exfoliator and collagen builder. It is one of the few compounds that effectively trigger cell turnover and reduce the number of developed wrinkles. Retinol is used to treat wrinkles, acne, post-acne scars, melisma, and pigmentation of the skin. It is one of the gold standard skincare ingredients of all time. 

One drawback to retinol is that it can be overly drying and irritating; therefore, it is not suitable for all skin types. People with dry or sensitive skin should avoid retinol and products that contain retinoic acid. Fortunately, Bakuchiol is an effective alternative to retinol that is much more gentle on sensitive skin. 

Bakuchiol is a potent extract that is derived from the leaves and seeds of the babchi plant (Psoralea corylifolia). The plant was used for ages in Chinese and Indian traditional medicine. It was recognized that the plant had rejuvenating and recovering properties. People would put the leaves of the plant on wounds, and insect bites. Bakuchiol from the babchi is a terpenophenol ingredient, which is clinically proven to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Compared to retinol, bakuchiol does not cause irritation, dryness, and flakiness of the skin. 

In a 12-week study that compared retinol and bakuchiol, results recorded significant improvement in wrinkles, pigmentation, and firmness of the skin. Also, there were noticed an overall reduction in pigmentation and photo-damage of the skin. 

Similar to retinol, bakuchiol triggers new cell formation by exfoliating the old, dead skin cells and targeting collagen building components of the skin. As a result, the surface of the skin becomes smoother, and the overall complexion – firmer. Continued use of bakuchiol containing products will reduce fine wrinkles and, due to its exfoliating properties, will significantly improve hyperpigmentation. 

The beauty industry is starting to recognize the bakuchiol as the natural alternative to retinol. Currently, there are a few products with bakuchiol on the market. 

You can also easily make your own DIY bakuchiol serum and other DIY bakuchiol products with a few simple, natural ingredients. Here are a few simple and inexpensive bakuchiol DIYs to incorporate in your skincare routine.

Bakuchiol serum in a glass dropper bottle

DIY Bakuchiol Serum

You can make your own bakuchiol with the babchi herb. We want to extract the bakuchiol from the plant. There are a few ways to do that – one is by making a simple oil infusion.

You will need:

How to Make Bakuchiol-Infused Oil

  1. Fill the jar 1/3 full with babchi powder
  2. Add a small amount of jojoba oil and stir to combine the oil with the powder.
  3. Repeat step 2, adding small amounts of oil and stirring until the jar is almost full. Leave 1/2 inch of room at the top of the jar.
  4. Store the jar in a cool, dry place for 4-6 weeks.
  5. Use cheesecloth to strain the babchi powder out of the oil – set the powder-paste aside for a mask (See below!).

How to Use Bakuchiol Serum

The infused oil now contains bakuchiol and other compounds from the babchi plant. You can store it in a glass dropper bottle – amber or cobalt blue works best to block out sunlight and keep it fresh. To use the serum, simply apply about 10 drops all over your face just after cleanser and toner, and tap gently to blend it into your skin. Focus on areas with acne, signs of aging, and hyperpigmentation.

DIY Bakuchiol Face Mask

Don't let the powder you used to infuse your oil go to waste. You can leave enough oil in it to create a paste – a wonderful face mask that contains bakuchiol! Slather it on your face and neck, leave it for 5-7 minutes, and rinse away with lukewarm water. Splash off with cold water afterward to close your pores.

Have you ever used bakuchiol in your skincare routine? How did it work for you?

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Follow Kylie Worthington:

I'm Kylie and I'm obsessed with self care. Like I truly believe it can change the world. I started Everblossom in 2009 and we're still exploring new ways to make self care and self empowerment more accessible. Welcome. Grab a cup of tea, slather on a face mask, and settle in.

  1. sabrina haldemann

    Hi! How long will this serum last? (or does it need to be kept in the fridge), is it as effective as getting 1% bakuchiol oil with 99% carrier? Thank you! (and the mask can be kept outside fridge?)

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