boots ingredients bakuchiol serum review

Is Bakuchiol the natural alternative to retinol we were all waiting for?

I admit I had high hopes for it. So when Boots Ingredients Bakuchiol Serum landed on my desk, I couldn’t wait to give it a go.

Let’s say things didn’t go according to plan. Here’s what happened (or didn’t…):

What’s In Boots Ingredients Bakuchiol Serum?


Let’s start with the basics. Glycerin is in pretty much ALL skincare products for a reason.

It’s a wonderful humectant: that’s a fancy way of saying it draws moisture from the air and locks it into your skin. Once there, this extra moisture softens, plumps, and brightens your skin.

That’s the base you want to build the rest of your skincare routine on.

Related: The Complete Guide To Glycerin In Skincare


Derived from the seeds of Psoralea Corylifolia (a.k.a. Babchi), Bakuchiol is said to be the natural alternative to retinol.

Word on the street is that it gives you all the same anti-aging benefits without any of the irritating side effects. Is that too good to be true? Mmmmm….

Let’s be clear: chemically-speaking, Bakuchiol doesn’t resemble retinol at all. It just happens to regulate the behaviour of skin cells in a similar way.

Research shows that, just like retinol, Bakuchiol boosts the production of collagen and downregulates MMP (the enzyme that destroys collagen). More collagen = firmer skin.

A 12 week study that compared 0.5% Bakuchiol with 0.5% retinol found that bakuchiol is comparable to retinol in its ability to improve photoaging and is better tolerated than retinol“.

Impressive, right? Keep in mind, it’s just one study. Retinol has decades of research backing up its effectiveness. To say that Bakuchiol is the natural alternative we were all waiting for is premature.

While we’re talking about Bakuchiol, initial research shows it also hydrates skin, fights free radicals, and has anti-bacterial properties that can help fight acne (but it works better when used with salicylic acid).

Bakuchiol is definitely a promising ingredient – and one you should keep an eye on. I’m just not throwing away my retinol serums just yet…

Related: The Complete Guide To Retinol: What It Is, What It Does, And How It Works

Need help creating an anti-aging routine that really works? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Anti-Aging Skincare Routine Cheatsheet” (it includes product recommendations, too!).


Lightweight lotion. Sinks in quickly.


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

Morning and/or night, after cleansing/exfoliation but before moisturiser.

Performance & Personal Opinion

Boots Ingredients Bakuchiol Serum has a lightweight, slightly creamy texture that spreads easily on the skin and sinks in instantly.

I don’t know what I was expecting (certainly not Tretinoin-like results), but I definitely was expecting something. You know what I mean?

I got nothing. I’m disappointed to say that I didn’t see any difference in my skin since I’ve started using it. It didn’t make it worse. No breakouts, irritations, or anything like that. So, that’s good.

But it didn’t hydrate my skin. It didn’t firm it. It didn’t make wrinkles look smaller…

Mind you, could just be that my skin is used to 1% retinol and anything less than that doesn’t make a difference anymore.

If you’ve got sensitive skin that can’t tolerate retinol, I still think this is worth a go. You may get better results than I did.

But for retinol users, this is definitely a step back…

boots ingredients bakuchiol review

Who Is This For?

  • Sensitive skin
  • Pregnant women

Who Is This NOT For?

If you’re already using retinol, this is a step back.


A white bottle with a pump applicator. It’s practical, but it’s not that sturdy.

Does Boots Ingredients Bakuchiol Serum Live Up To Its Claims?

Skin looks more radiant. It didn’t for me.
Skin looks healthier. Again, I didn’t see a change.
Skin feels smoother. It may do this for sensitive skin or retinol newbies, but I didn’t see any difference in my skin.

Price & Availability

£7.00 at Boots

Do You Need This?

If you have sensitive skin or are pregnant and can’t use retinol, this may be worth a try. Everyone else, don’t expect miracles.

Dupes & Alternatives


Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Isononanoate, Peg-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquisterate, Phenoxyethanol, Bakuchiol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Chlorphenesin, Bisabolol, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium Edta, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Maltodextrin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate