It’s no news, we’re wrinkle-adverse. The beauty industry is on a perpetual mission to outrun signs of aging and Retinol has long emerged as a forerunner in this race against time. Retinol is the industry’s most sought-after ingredient for anti-aging. Yet, this seemingly ‘gold standard’ ingredient has found itself — time and again — on the list of skincare ingredients to ditch. Now meet a new player who might just be the (even better) alternative we were searching for. Introducing: Bakuchiol — the newest beauty buzzword and Nature’s answer to our turbulent relationship with Retinol. 

A Quickie: The Retinol Paradox (Why We Love & Hate It) 

Retinol, or retinoids, is the technical term for Vitamin A. Retinol is the strongest form of retinoid available without a prescription. It boasts potent powers of accelerating skin renewal, smoothing wrinkles, boosting collagen, combating age spots and firming skin. A vast majority of anti-aging skincare products like serums, creams and lotions contain Retinol. But with its growing popularity, Retinol has also surfaced in sunscreens (read why this could be bad here), cleansers, foundations and even lipsticks. 

Unfortunately, this wonder ingredient is a double-edged sword. 

Apart from increasing your skin’s sun sensitivity, Retinol’s strength also makes it likely to irritate, especially for first-time users. In fact, those with sensitive eczema/rosacea skin should be wary of Retinol or avoid it altogether. There’s even a term for Retinol’s side-effects: Retinoid Dermatitis, characterised by dryness, redness, flakiness and itching. Adding to its downsides, Retinol — as with all Vitamin A derivatives — is absolutely not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. 

Enter: Bakuchiol — The Natural Alternative To Retinol You Need To Know

And do we hear…better? Bakuchiol is the newest game changer in the skincare market and for all the right reasons. Here’s why. 

Bakuchiol is a plant extract derived from the Psoralea Corylifolia (or babchi) plant. Native to India, the babchi plant has had a long history of use in skincare, beginning from traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Bakuchiol has been proven to perform like Retinol, boasting powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. The only thing it misses? Irritation. 

Not only is Bakuchiol as effective in addressing signs of aging, it is also a natural, gentler and non-irritating alternative to Retinol. Importantly, unlike Retinol, Bakuchiol does not increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Which altogether, makes this wonder plant extract a far better (and safer) option for your skin — including oily, dry and sensitive skin types*! 

*Nonetheless, experts still recommend taking precautions, particularly if you have eczema and rosacea-prone skin. Always perform a patch test first. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, speak to a doctor before using Bakuchiol. 

How To Include Bakuchiol In Your Skincare Routine

If you’re wondering where Bakuchiol has been all these years, we thought the same too. Bakuchiol only popped up in mainstream skincare during the 1970s but even then, kept a low-profile. That is, until recent research into its revolutionary capabilities finally launched Bakuchiol into the spotlight. An increasing number of newly launched skincare products now feature Bakuchiol as a key ingredient and we’re expecting to see more brands jump on the bandwagon soon.

But till then, here are three products we’re currently loving for a Bakuchiol fix! 

1. Sigi Skin Dream Capsule, S$82

New to the Sigi Skin lineup, Dream Capsule is an overnight face mask that promises to awaken dream skin while you sleep. Boosted by an impressive combination of botanical actives including Bakuchiol, Purslane and Squalene, the silky formula hosts anti-inflammtory, anti-aging, anti-oxidant, illuminating and restorative properties. With its delicate air-whipped texture, Dream Capsule can also be used as a moisturiser(Just apply a thinner layer!). 

2. Biossance Squalene + Phyto-Retinol Serum, S$106


Don’t be confused by the “Retinol” in its product name, this Bakuchiol-based anti-aging serum is completely Retinol-free! The lightweight elixir targets fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage with a No Compromise™ formula which eliminates irritation, while maintaining outstanding efficacy.

3. Bybi Bakuchiol Booster (1% Bakuchiol + Olive Squalene), S$23

If you prefer more flexibility with incorporating Bakuchiol into your routine, Bybi’s Bakuchiol Booster lets you customise your own potent concoction. Simply mix the booster into your nighttime serum, moisturiser or mask to enhance their overnight performance. Or, for a more concentrated dose, apply the booster directly to your skin — worry-free.  

If you seek Retinol’s performance sans side-effects, Bakuchiol should top your to-try list. For someone with eczema-prone skin like myself (who could never tolerate Retinol) Bakuchiol is a remarkable, almost life-changing find. Supposing that the new work-from-home arrangement has impaired your body clock, we say that Bakuchiol may also be the boost you need for fatigued and dull skin (especially with all that blue light exposure). Who else is sold?


Take care,

Melisa Goh

Melisa Goh

up up and away


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