Bakuchiol is the star ingredient in Beautycounter’s new Countertime anti-aging skincare line. What you need to know about bakuchiol (and the reasons why you should dump retinol).
After three YEARS in the making, Beautycounter has finally launched a revolutionary anti-aging clean beauty skincare line: Countertime. The clean beauty industry had the odds stacked against it when it came to conventional anti-aging, since retinol ruled as the “best” for anti-aging. However, thanks to the introduction of bakuchiol (pronounced bah-coochie-y’all, LOL) that has all changed.
For the longest time, we’ve heard that retinol is the best anti-aging ingredient in skincare. Almost every beauty blogger out there recommends it, but here’s the problem: retinol is harsh.
What is Retinol?
Retinoids are a family of vitamin A derivatives best known for their use in anti-aging skincare products. Retinoids include retinol, Retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate, retinyl propionate, and the fun-to-pronounce hydroxypinacolone retinoate.
Retinol works by speeding up the cell turnover process in skin renewal. Translation: it makes your skin peel and slough off. If that sounds harsh, it’s because it is super harsh.
Why are retinoids harmful?
When retinoids—including naturally derived ones popular in cleaner skincare lines—are used on the skin, they convert to retinoic acid. (Prescription-based products such as Retin-A and Tretinoin are synthetic forms of retinoic acid.)
Studies show that retinoic acid can have harmful side effects, including being a skin irritant and making the skin sensitive to the sun’s damaging rays. In fact, both the EU and Canada have restricted the use of retinol. Retinol and retinyl palmitate are on Beautycounter’s Never List, and the other variations of retinoids are in the full list of 1,500 ingredients prohibited from the products.
If you suffer from acne and cystic acne (like me) you may have been prescribed a retinol-like product in the past. However, for me, they didn’t work, and my acne only got worse thanks to the redness and irritation.
Introducing Beautycounter’s Countertime Retinatural Complex
Beautycounter worked several years to produce their Retinatural Complex. It’s made from the following two all-star MVPs in the clean beauty industry. It is also in every product in the Countertime line (more on that later).
What is Bakuchiol?
Bakuchiol is an antioxidant extracted from the babchi plant used in traditional Chinese skincare. Independent clinical studies have shown that bakuchiol performs just as well as retinol but without irritation.
Why Swiss Alpine Rose?
Swiss Alpine Rose grows in the highest altitudes of the Swiss Alps. It protects itself in an aggressive environment with its antioxidants, while still staying hydrated. These antioxidants protect your skin from the elements.
How does the Retinatural Complex in Countertime work?
It promotes a healthy barrier function
Our skin’s moisture barrier prevents excess water loss and helps protect skin from the environment—and as we age, it becomes depleted. Retinatural Complex helps improve barrier function to maintain the skin’s natural hydration levels (and keep that plumpness going strong).
It keeps skin visibly plumped
Collagen is the skin’s most vital protein and the cushion that keeps it supple, taut, and wrinkle-free. It’s found in the middle layer of the skin, and its production begins to slow by the time we reach 30. Luckily, it’s possible to visibly improve skin firmness and plumpness. Enter Retinatural Complex.
It improves resilience
With age, the skin’s ability to protect itself from oxidative stress is compromised, which damages cells, speeds up the appearance of aging, and leaves skin looking dull and sallow. The targeted ingredients in our Retinatural Complex help protect skin and improve radiance.
Is the Bakuchiol as Effective as Retinol?
No, it’s better. Here’s why. Bakuchiol performs just like retinol, but without the redness, peeling, and burning that comes from using retinol. Why would I want something that’s going to have all of those side effects? Plus, if you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, currently pregnant, or breastfeeding you can’t use retinol because of the effects it could have on baby. All the more reasons to avoid retinol!
What about clinical results? As a science nerd, I always look for third-party clinical trials. I don’t trust “in house” trials and I’m glad there are already several studies out there proving bakuchiol is as effective as retinol but safer.
The results showed that, after 12 weeks treatment, significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and overall reduction in photo-damage was observed, without usual retinol therapy-associated undesirable effects.(source: NIH/PubMed.gov)
Bakuchiol and retinol both significantly decreased wrinkle surface area and hyperpigmentation, with no statistical difference between the compounds. The retinol users reported more facial skin scaling and stinging.
Our study demonstrates that bakuchiol is comparable with retinol in its ability to improve photoageing and is better tolerated than retinol. Bakuchiol is promising as a more tolerable alternative to retinol.(source: NIH/PubMed.gov)
Meet the Beautycounter Countertime Line
What has me most excited about this entire line is that the Retinatural Complex is in each and every product! Let’s dive in, shall we?
1. Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil
Step 1 / Morning + Night
The Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil has a refreshing scent and leaves your skin clean and hydrated. I am loving this, and I have a hunch you will, too! At first I kinda freaked out about using an oil cleanser (hi, my name is Lisette and I have notoriously oily skin). However, since the No. 3 Balancing Oil literally transformed my skin, I was intrigued.
This. Cleanser. Is. Life. It smells sooooooo good and now I can’t live without it. Seriously. If you like the Cleansing Balm, this is a lighter version of that but with Retinatural Complex in it!
2. Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence
Step 2 / Morning + Night
The Countertime Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence is surprisingly one of my favorite components of this line. It leaves my skin feeling toned without the stripping feeling of a toner. I didn’t know what to expect with an “essence,” and to be completely honest, I thought it was a little woo-woo and unnecessary. Wrong.
This is now my favorite step in the Countertime line. It lightly hydrates my skin (avoiding that “tight” feeling if you’ve ever waited too long to moisturize after washing your face), and preps it for the next step. (Side note: I use the Overnight Resurfacing Peel before the Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence every other night.)
3. Tripeptide Radiance Serum
Step 3 / Morning + Night
A serum will always contain the highest concentration of active product, and this serum also has tripeptides and aminod acids, so it’s a total game changer in the clean beauty anti-aging world! Think of this as your skin’s “daily vitamins!”
The Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum has a pump that is built into the cap which is great for two reasons: 1) it looks chic and 2) it’s one less piece of plastic in the world. Beautycounter really put a lot of thought into everything, including changing over to locally sourced glass, to reduce our carbon footprint!
I still use my Overnight Resurfacing Peel several times a week. On those nights, I will skip the Tripeptide Radiance Serum and skip to step 4.
4. Antioxidant Soft Cream
Step 4 / Morning
Those who love a light daytime moisturizer will love the Countertime Antioxidant Soft Cream. It hydrates your skin and has a very light scent of Swiss Alpine Rose and other botanicals. I am so impressed by how well it hydrates and it doesn’t clog my pores! A lot of popular “noncomedogenic” moisturizers clog my pores, but neither this morning cream or the nighttime cream clog my pores!
This lotion goes underneath my Dew Skin tinted mineral sunscreen.
5. Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream
Step 4 / Night
The Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream is a super rich creme and has the consistency of whipped butter. This cream will help your skin regenerate and correct the damage to your skin. Peptides make up the amino acids of the proteins in your skin, so it helps strengthen your skin cells.
Even my oily skin LOVES it! It’s already being called a clean dupe for the $495 mineral oil + petrolatum-based La Mer cream. I’m grateful that it doesn’t clog my pores either. I still top this off with my No. 3 Balancing Oil overnight. My skin wakes up hydrated with or without the oil, but it produces excess oil without the added oil. Skin is weird, huh?
6. Ultra Renewal Eye Cream
Step 5 / Morning + Night
The Countertime Ultra Renewal Eye Cream has everything I’m looking for in an eye cream: hydration and no irritation. You’re going to LOVE this eye cream!
The eye cream was what I was most apprehensive about, since my eyes are super sensitive. I’ve had irritation to other eye creams in the past, and some ingredients make my eyes swell shut (true story with another anti-aging line). I’m happy to report that I’ve experienced no sensitivity whatsoever!
My only regret? Not using it more. I used this very sparingly as I was testing the new Countertime line, and I know that my fine lines would be almost gone had I used it religiously like I did with the rest of the skincare line.
My Two-Week Results with Countertime
I’ve been using the entire Beautycounter Countertime bakuchiol skincare line since the end of June. I took a before photo (not intending to post it on the blog, LOL) and I’m so glad I did! (I apologize for the low-quality ‘before’ pitcure)
Here are the biggest differences I see in my skin:
- increased hydration
- my skin looks “bouncier” and more youthful
- my skin looks brighter and rested
- no more redness on my cheeks
- less hyperpigmentation around my nose
- my skin happy and “glowy”
We are our own worst critics, and I don’t see much of a difference in these two photos, but I see a difference in person. My skin glows even without makeup. I am actually preferring to go without makeup most days. I feel more confident in my own skin (no pun intended).
Final thoughts on Countertime
I have absolutely loved each and every single component of this clean beauty anti-aging skincare line. I cannot wait to see how my skin improves over time. Be sure to grab your regimen today!