Where Does Bakuchiol Come From? [Short Guide for Beauty Brands]

Bakuchiol has been all the rage for consumers seeking a natural alternative to retinol for sensitive skin. In this short guide, we discuss where it comes from – and how to source Bakuchiol for your own product.

Despite being known for over 45 years and showing many positive physiological properties, Bakuchiol only first started being used in cosmetics in 2007 under the trade name Sytenol® A. Since then, Bakuchiol has become a buzz word in the personal care space because it offers all the same benefits as retinol without the negative side effects.

Bakuchiol products can be used on all types of skin at any time during the day or night to reduce wrinkles and improve skin’s texture and tone. It is a great option for acne-affected skin and anti-aging applications.

Ready to use Bakuchiol in your next skin care product? Here are answers to common questions about where Bakuchiol comes from and how to safely, sustainably source it.

Where Does Bakuchiol Come From?

Bakuchiol is a natural compound extracted from the seeds of the plant Psoralea corylifolia, which is a wild leguminous plant that grows from 60 to 100 centimeters. It grows in India and the Himalayan regions of Pakistan and China.

Its seeds, commonly known as babchi seeds (or Bakuchi in Sanskrit), are wild harvested between December and January. Babchi seeds are known for their medicinal properties and have been frequently used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to treat various ailments. However, Babchi seeds are unsuitable for topical use in cosmetics due to the presence of phototoxic phytocompounds.

In 1966, Mehta et al. first isolated Bakuchiol from Babchi seeds, beginning the journey of Bakuchiol for skin care applications. Since then, the extraction and purification process has been well explored, leading to the highly pure and high performing Bakuchiol ingredient available for skin care formulations today.

Is Bakuchiol Sustainable?

Bakuchiol is a natural compound, which begs the question: Is Bakuchiol sustainable? For eco-conscious brands that want to provide a natural alternative to Retinol to consumers without sacrificing sustainability goals, Bakuchiol checks both boxes.

Even though Bakuchiol comes from the Babchi seeds of Psoralea corylifolia, it’s estimated that less than 10 percent of the available Babchi seeds in the world are used to make Bakuchiol.

The Psoralea corylifolia plant is notably absent from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, which lists endangered animal, fungi and plant species from all over the world. Babchi seeds grow in many different countries and are nowhere near at risk of being endangered, and they are harvested through ethical and compliant practices.

Where Should Brands Get Bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is a natural ingredient, but it still involves a complex molecular extraction and purification process to make it into an appropriate compound that is safe for cosmetic use. Bakuchiol cannot be safely and effectively acquired through a homemade or DIY process.

As you seek Bakuchiol for your product, be wary of articles or videos recommending Babchi oil or crushed Babchi seeds to achieve the benefits of Bakuchiol. The process of extracting pure Bakuchiol is much different from Babchi oil extraction, which is a common misconception. Bakuchiol extraction specifically focuses on isolating the Bakuchiol compound from the seeds, while Babchi oil extraction involves obtaining oil from the entire seed that contains a mix of compounds, including psoralens and other compounds harmful to the skin.

With that in mind, it’s important for brands to seek a trusted Bakuchiol supplier that provides true Bakuchiol (not Babchi oil extract). There are many different forms of Babchi oil extract that are advertised as Bakuchiol but don’t list Bakuchiol as the INCI name on the product label. A trusted Bakuchiol supplier will list its INCI as Bakuchiol and provide the highest quality Bakuchiol possible. The best Bakuchiol is:

  1. Over 99% pure. Bakuchiol that is only 97% pure, for example, contains 3% of skin sensitizers and residual solvents that can cause skin problems.
  2. Highly stable for high performance. Less pure Bakuchiol is unstable, so it will degrade in the finished formula and limit product effectiveness over time.
  3. Supported by real data. Your customers deserve an active ingredient that has been rigorously tested to ensure its efficacy and safety. Don’t just rely on anecdotal reports or marketing claims for your Bakuchiol source.
  4. REACH registered. The European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation is one of the most comprehensive chemical regulations in the world. A REACH registered ingredient demonstrates a commitment to high safety standards. 
  5. Approved for use in China. The China National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) has strict requirements to ensure product quality and safety. Ingredients must go through comprehensive testing to comply with NMPA requirements, again demonstrating a commitment to high standards.

Use the above points as a checklist when vetting your Bakuchiol source.

READ MORE | Bakuchiol 101: Everything Skin Care & Beauty Brands Need to Know

Final Thoughts: Sourcing Bakuchiol for Your Beauty Brand

Bakuchiol is in high demand by consumers all over the world, and your customers deserve the best. Where should you source Bakuchiol for your own product?

We’ll make it simple for you: Sytheon.

Sytheon is the premier supplier of actives for the personal care industry, and we were the first to bring Bakuchiol to market under the name Sytenol® A in 2007. Sytenol® A is 99%+ pure Bakuchiol and the only REACH registered and China-allowed Bakuchiol with a complete toxicology dossier. If you’re looking for Bakuchiol for your next skin care blockbuster, look no further.

Sytenol® A is the answer for your customers who are looking for protective and restorative benefits with no irritating effect on their skin. Request a sample of Sytenol® A today.