Herbivore Botanicals

My Account

What's the Difference Between Retinol + Bakuchiol?

Retinol has long been used in skincare to treat and combat signs of damage and aging, but not without risks and side effects. Introducing bakuchiol: the natural retinol alternative ingredient taking the skincare world by storm as of late, revered especially for its powerful effects sans irritation. 

For those who are wondering, the primary differences between bakuchiol and retinol are compared below:

Bakuchiol is natural, while retinol is synthetic.

Bakuchiol is a natural extract of the babchi plant, whereas retinol is a chemical compound that’s synthesized from the breakdown of beta-carotene. Babchi flowers are a beautiful violet hue, harkening to the plant’s high vibes and royally potent powers of renewal. Synthetic retinol is much further removed from its natural source than bakuchiol, increasing the questionability of its use in skincare. It’s not recommended to use retinol every day due to the ingredient’s unfortunate side effects.

Bakuchiol is non-irritating, whereas retinol can be harsh.

Synthetic retinol is known to cause irritation and dryness, neither of which are helpful in building and maintaining a renewed and youthful complexion. Bakuchiol doesn’t sacrifice the health of the skin (the way a traditional retinol can) yet still offers the reduced signs of aging sought after by retinol users.

Bakuchiol helps to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation by visibly plumping the skin, encouraging collagen production, and boosting cellular turnover. This magical ingredient also fights free radicals that can lead to the development of skin cancer.

Instead of the dry, irritated skin one might observe after incorporating synthetic retinol into their skincare routine, our Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum soothes, nourishes, and brings about a youthful glow—without irking even the most sensitive of skin types!


Bakuchiol is maternity-safe, whereas retinol is not.

The Environmental Working Group ranked retinol a 9 on the scale of safety concern, while bakuchiol ranked a 1. This information indicates the vast degree of difference between bakuchiol and retinol, the main factor being toxicity. 

In fact, retinol ranked ‘high’ on scales of overall toxicity and reproductive and developmental hazard, meaning it’s dangerous to use retinol while pregnant or breastfeeding. Every ingredient in our Bakuchiol Smoothing Serum is safe and healthy for everyday use during maternity. Amplify your gorgeous glow, worry-free!

Bakuchiol can be used every day, morning and night, wheres retinol is only recommended for nightly application. 

Increased sun sensitivity is a known risk when using traditional retinol in skincare. This is why retinol is only advised for use as part of evening routines. Bakuchiol doesn’t include this risk, and while we always advocate for the use of a mineral sunscreen during the day, bakuchiol is completely safe for use during either day or night. That’s twice the purple plumping power! 

Swap out retinol for our Bakuchiol Smoothing Serum today, and leave a comment below to let us know how you like it!


Jul 02, 2020 • Posted by Gillian Chappell

Desperate for Bakuchiol! Where is it?

Jun 12, 2020 • Posted by Nisha

Is the Herbivore Bakuchiol available to buy? I see it is unavailable on Sephora and don’t see it on here either?

Jun 12, 2020 • Posted by Nisha

Is the Herbivore Bakuchiol available to buy? I see it is unavailable on Sephora and don’t see it on here either?

Nov 07, 2019 • Posted by Ratan Chaudhuri

Bakuchiol is not a natural extract of the babchi plant. It is a pure single component with over 99% pure if you buy it from a right supplier. Are you using pure bakuchiol or using bakuchi oil? If it is bakuchi oil or an extract of babchi seed, then you are deceiving customers. There is a big difference between the two. Are you aware of the difference?

Jul 18, 2019 • Posted by Linda

What’s the difference between this and the Emerald Serum?
Of which I own 2 bottles
Is this one available to purchase in a smaller size

Jul 07, 2019 • Posted by Evelin

Can I use the CBD oil and the Bakuchiol at the same time?

Jul 07, 2019 • Posted by Victoria D'Arcy

I’ve heard Bakuchiol can cause redness, which is something I already suffer from. Is this the case in your formula?

Jul 01, 2019 • Posted by Ana Diaz

Is it possible to use acids in the same routine as Bakuchiol?

Jul 01, 2019 • Posted by del

I was recommended retinol for my acne control, will this help with that?

Jul 01, 2019 • Posted by April

I just received this as a free gift with my order and was SO intrigued. Thank you for writing this post because I was going to start researching tonight. Also, I use the LAPIS oil as my daily moisturizer. Should this be used in coordination with or in place of? Love Herbivore products so so much!

Leave a comment