• Beauty

The natural retinol alternatives to try in 2022

3 of the best natural alternatives to retinol 

By Megan Prowd

While we’re so very onboard with ditching our traditional products and the nasties that come along with them in favour of clean and planet-friendly beauty, some things have been, let’s just say, a little trickier to live without than others. 

Chemical-laden mascaras promising every lifting, thickening and plumping benefit under the sun? 

Gone and not even missed. 

Thick, heavy foundations that leave a lasting mark on our skin and the planet? 

Haven’t given these a second thought. 

But when it comes to anti-ageing, retinol is hard to beat. The gold-standard in anti-ageing treatments, retinol’s ability to treat everything from acne to wrinkles and pigmentation is legendary and backed up by science. 

But love it as we may, as the chemical derivative of Vitamin A, retinol sadly doesn’t fit in our all-natural beauty regime. For some, retinoids can also be excessively harsh, cause irritation and peeling, as well as being unsuitable for use during pregnancy. So, in the spirit of clean beauty and less irritated skin, we’ve gone on a hunt to track down the best natural retinol alternatives – and there’s good news! In the clean beauty world, the buzz retinol alternative ingredient is bakuchiol, and once it’s on your radar, you’ll find it in plenty of natural beauty serums, oils and creams. 

Although not a retinoid, bakuchiol stimulates collagen in the skin in a similar way to retinol. It’s also vegan, and has the added bonus of being photostable, meaning it doesn’t cause sun sensitivity – another win. Alongside bakuchiol, other go-to natural retinol alternative ingredients to look out for include rosehip oil, caycay oil and carrot seed oil, so pop these on your shopping list and let’s get serious about anti-ageing, the natural way. 

THE G+S approved natural retinol alternatives

Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum

We have to admit, we’re a little bit devoted to this ultra-clean beauty brand, with its array of subtly rose-fragranced products. The Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum was one of the first retinol alternatives we tried, and it’s still a favourite. The luxe formula is just the right amount of hydrating, doesn’t leave a sticky residue, and is great at clearing minor breakouts and irritation. But the anti-ageing results really make this beauty shine. With ingredients including bakuchiol, rosa canina oil, niacinamide and squalane, fine lines start to disappear over time, and you’re left with skin that is left hydrated, smooth and clear. 

Best for: sensitive skin 

Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum

Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil 

If facial oils are your thing, get your retinol alternative hit with this lightweight facial oil, that is suitable for even oily and combination skins. This is where the ‘miracle’ part comes in, the bakuchiol-filled formula hydrates skin and claims to target oil so it actually reduces shine – a selling point for oily skin. The ultra-replenishing oil is heavenly on dry winter skin and is also light enough to use daily through the warmer summer months. When it comes to anti-ageing, the high concentration of bakuchiol stimulates skin renewal, while kelp extract and rosehip oil provide hydration, so your skin will look fresh and fine-line free in no time. 

Best for: combination skin 

Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil


Ole Henriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème 

Beloved by beauty aficionados the world over (including us), Ole Henriksen’s Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème is a holy-grail treatment moisturiser, good enough to convert even the most die-hard retinol devotees. Touted as an all-in-one skin-perfecting night cream, this natural retinol alternative uses high concentrations of AHAs and bakuchiol, to simultaneously exfoliate and repair the skin, while hydrating and targeting wrinkles and pigmentation. We love the creamy, soothing formula that leaves skin hydrated and clearer almost immediately, but it’s the improvement in pigmentation and dark spots over time that really makes this one a winner. 

Best for: dehydrated skin 

Ole Henriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème


RELATED: Best non-toxic mascaras 

RELATED: Bye Botox; Anti-Ageing the 2022 way 

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