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NOW READING Why Vegan, Super Skin Moisturizer Squalane Should Be On Your Radar
February 4, 2021

Why Vegan, Super Skin Moisturizer Squalane Should Be On Your Radar

Is it squalane or squalene? And why do you want it in your skincare routine? Here’s what you need to know about this ultra-hydrating ingredient.


Hyaluronic acid gets a lot of press, but it’s not the only ingredient that can really help increase your skin’s hydration levels. Lately, squalane is on everyone’s lips (and all over their bodies!) — it’s no wonder because it turns out it’s really worth incorporating into your skincare regimen. You may have also seen it written as “squalene” with an “e”. But it isn’t a mistake: “squalane” and “squalene” are actually two different substances. Time to get to the bottom of things!




Is It Squalene… or Squalane? And What Does It Do?


“Squalene, which is derived from shark liver oil, is a great anti-inflammatory moisturizer,” offers Dr. Glynis Ablon, the director at Ablon Skin Institute & Research Center and an associate clinical professor at UCLA. “It has antioxidants to help fight free-radicals, and therefore helps improved damaged skin, she explains. I just feel bad for the sharks!” Like hyaluronic acid, the compound is also naturally present in humans, but just like everything else, our production slows as we age. Apparently, squalene isn’t a stable molecule in its natural state. This is why in order to use the ingredient in cosmetics, it goes through a transformation process and gets turned into squalane (with an “a”), a more stable derivative.


To Dr. Ablon’s point, many companies have apparently started using plant-derived squalane so that we can all benefit from its effects without causing any harm to our shark friends. In most cases, squalane is derived from sugarcane or olives.


plant derived squalene


Who Should Use It?


Which skin types can benefit the most from squalane in their skincare? “Those who have sensitive, inflamed, or dry skin,” says Dr. Ablon. As we’ve already established, squalane is a good moisturizing ingredient, which already makes it covetable enough, indeed. The fact that it’s vegan and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties is icing on the cake! If you have skin issues like acne or eczema, it might be worth adding to your routine for its soothing properties. It is a natural emollient and helps soften your skin and keep dryness at bay. So, really, there is no reason we shouldn’t all be adding squalane into our routine—especially those of us with dry or mature skin. Apparently, not only can it be used on your face and body, but it is also beneficial for preventing split ends and adding shine to your hair!


Squalane Superstars


While squalane is suited to all kinds of skincare products like serums and moisturizers, it’s also common as a simple oil


Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream


I was recently introduced to Biossance products, a brand that includes their 100% plant-based sustainable and eco-friendly squalane in every single one of their products. I’ve been using this rich cream at night as the last step in my routine, and I’ve really noticed a difference as far as how moisturized my skin feels in the morning. It also boasts hyaluronic acid, omega fatty acids, shea butter, and ceramides, doesn’t leave my skin greasy, and feels luxe despite not having any scent. I can’t wait to try more Biossance products!


Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask


I’m a big fan of Laneige products—especially their sleeping masks, and this one, in particular, was a joy to use. Although I finished my jar a long time ago, I still think back to how comforting this mask felt on my skin at the end of my evening skincare routine. And little did I know that on top of the brand’s special forest yeast, the Cica Sleeping Mask also contains—you guessed it! Squalane. Its creamy, balm-like texture is the stuff skincare dreams are made of (mine, anyway), and it helped me wake up to soft, nourished skin in the morning. 


Herbivore Pink Cloud Rosewater + Tremella Creamy Jelly Cleanser


Once you’ve discovered the virtues of using a cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils, it’s hard to go back to formulas that give you that squeaky clean feeling. On top of having a sweet name and creamy gel texture, this Herbivore cleanser sounds promising thanks to its low-foaming, pH-balanced formula that is designed to be suitable for all skin types, including people who struggle with irritation and dryness. Its super positive reviews speak for themselves! 


The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane


The Ordinary is known for its affordable skincare products, and this 100% plant-derived squalane may be the most cost-effective way to add the ingredient to your routine. It seems like such an easy product to add to your existing regimen! You can also use it on your hair to help protect it from heat and give it some added shine. Did someone say “multi-functional”?


Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask


Youth To The People is a brand that’s been on my radar for a while, and the Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask has me, er, dreaming of trying it. Containing vitamin C, squalane, and prickly pear, the formula is meant to replenish your skin’s moisture and fight free radicals while you sleep, brightening and firming it, too. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?


Do you use any squalane-based products in your skincare routine? Which are your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

Mariève has been writing about beauty online and in print for over 10 years. Half-Canadian and half-Japanese, she loves that being a freelance beauty writer gives her the opportunity to explore the cosmetics landscape from Montreal all the way to Tokyo. Also on her mind at any given moment: cats, music, figure skating, food, and her next trip to Japan. You can find her (and her beauty illustrations!) on Instagram at @by.minoue.



Oh Squalane how I love you ! I actually started using the Kiehls Midnight recovery concentrate a couple of years ago and one of its focus ingredients is Squalane. Its a night time oil and as many people I was skeptical of using oils on my skin due to fear of looking greasy. Its all about finding the correct oil and oils can be so amazing to balance out the skin especially combination skin. I then discovered the Biossance entire squalane + omega line featured in this read and it just took my love and benefit of squalane for my... Read more


I had a bottle of the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate years ago and I absolutely LOVED it. So relaxing before bed! I've just recently discovered Biossance as well and it's such a great brand. I'll try using it on my hands - thanks for the recommendation!

Good read for beauty lovers. I enjoyed this article since i am a fan of anti-inflammatory ingredients in skincare. Currently using 'The Ordinary" retinol with squalane serum which i love ! definitely see the clarity and brightness on my skin.


Hehe glad you enjoyed the article. I'm curious about that The Ordinary product as it combines two great ingredients!


This is really awesome! I've been blessed with dry skin, especially now in the winter, so I'm always on the look out for new things to add and try. Thanks!


I'm glad you liked the article! Please keep us posted if you end up trying adding squalane to your routine. I'm intrigued to know whether you'll notice a difference!

Absolutely love articles like this that demystify skincare terms. For someone with dry/ sensitive skin I’m always searching for the best ingredient to help soothe and hydrate my skin issues. I’m currently using the Chobs Centella asiatica serum and will switch over soon to a squalene based product to see the difference.


Skincare really is a constant quest to find the optimal combination of products or ingredients for your skin. But it's also part of the fun! Who knows? You might even be able to find a product that combines centella asiatica and squalane together :)

Yes ! Skincare is a trial and error type of thing. Everyone’s skin is different.



I am a lover of being buttered up in oil but I do love these " dry oil" or oil alternatives. The less sticky the better and richer in the nutrients and omegas- the right thing for me!


Yesss, dry oils are amazing. I love how they feel when you put them on—not sticky at all!

Holy smokes! I'm also loving the Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask 60ml and had no idea it had squalane in it. *smacks self for failing to review the ingredient list fully* I think I must've glossed over it because I was looking for the cica to soothe my ravaged tret face. So glad to know I have this in my routine again since I haven't found a standalone squalane serum I enjoy. Mostly, I find the smell off-putting (too olive-y), but I love the sleeping mask! Great read, Marieve.


I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I felt the same way when I realized the Cica Sleeping Mask had squalane in it. 😂 I don't remember the smell, but its texture really stood out to me. I've been using the Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil and it's super lightweight! So far, I've really been enjoying Biossance products in general, if ever you're still searching for some good sources of squalane.


you really learn something new everyday at beautytap


Hahaha! Glad you learned something. I learned a lot while writing the article!


I just tried the Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask today!! I absolutely love the texture, I can't wait to see what the results feel like the next morning / after some time!


Ooooh yes the texture is the best!


It's amazing to see how nature understands and created these amazing ingredients that just naturally work.


Yup! And when you think of it, it makes complete sense to take inspiration from that.


I definitely want to start trying more vegan skincare products! Definitely going to try the laneige products to see how I like them.


Laneige has so many good ones, but the Cica Sleeping Mask was one of my favorites!