The natural retinol alternative making waves in the skin care world

Steph Claire Smith no makeup

It promises to reveal younger-looking skin without causing irritation

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / March 04 2019

It’s a widely known fact that retinol is one of the greatest anti-ageing skin care ingredients we currently have available to us. It has been clinically proven time and time again to promote skin renewal, increase collagen production and improve skin tone and texture, resulting in clearer, radiant and younger-looking complexions. But while there’s no doubt the vitamin A derivative is a highly effective ingredient, that doesn’t mean it’s not without a few downsides. When retinol is used in too high of a percentage or on highly sensitive skin, there’s a chance it may cause irritation and redness. That’s why one of the world’s most well-known facialists and founder of his own eponymous skin care brand, Ole Henriksen started formulating his products with an ingredient that’s being dubbed the natural alternative to retinol. To find out more about the exciting ingredient and why retinol might not be for everyone, we spoke to Henriksen in an exclusive interview. 

Why retinol may not work for everyone

When asked why he doesn’t formulate his products with retinol, Henriksen explains, “my adversity to retinol stems from the negative side effects I have witnessed from its use in skin care formulations”. He adds, “During many decades of treating skin at my Ole Henriksen Face/Body Spa in West Hollywood, I would encounter clients with irritated, red, dry and peeling skin caused by nightly use of retinol-based skin care products”. 

While retinol can cause negative side effects, these skin issues are often the result of the ingredient being used too often or in a concentration that’s too potent for your skin. If you’ve just started incorporating retinol into your skin care routine, start slowly with just one or two applications a week and choose a product with a low potency of retinol (between 0.1 and 0.5 per cent) to begin with. Alternatively, if you’ve persevered and experimented with the ingredient and you’re still experiencing irritation, it might be time to try a natural alternative. 

The ingredient dubbed the natural alternative to retinol

Because of his aversion to retinol, Henriksen has remained on the hunt for the ultimate alternative to retinol. He believes he’s finally found it in bakuchiol, an ingredient derived from the Ayurvedic babchi herb in India. “Bakuchiols have retinol-like benefits without causing any skin irritations whatsoever – it’s so safe even pregnant women can use it.” The ingredient, which is found in Henriksen’s Glow Cycle RETIN-ALT Power Serum and Goodnight Glow RETIN-ALT Sleeping Crème, has been clinically proven to instantly brighten skin, even skin tone and texture, reduce dark spots, refine and minimise the appearance of pores, visibly improve fine lines and wrinkles, and improve skin firmness and elasticity. Ultimately, it delivers all the same benefits of traditional retinol in a natural and non-irritating form. 

In addition to Henriksen’s two new products, bakuchiol can be found in Omorovicza’s Miracle Facial Oil. The anti-ageing oil has been formulated to hydrate and refine skin with the help of bakuchiol, as well as sea buckthorn berry, rosehip and sweet almond oils.

Ole Henriksen Glow Cycle RETIN-ALT Power Serum

Ole Henriksen Goodnight Glow RETIN-ALT Sleeping Crème

Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil

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Are you a retinol lover? Share your thoughts on the ingredient with us in the comments below.

Main image credit: @keepitcleaner

Kate started working for BEAUTYcrew in early 2016, first as a contributor, and was then named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine, and she now works in PR.