Squalane Oil: 7 Best Products and How to Choose the Right One for Your Skin - Beautyeditor

Editor's Picks: 7 of the Best Squalane Oils (and How to Choose the Right One for Your Skin)

It's the face oil for people who don't like face oils.
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Squalane oil

Squalane oil is officially one of the hottest ingredients in skincare.

I'm not saying I caused this, but maybe I helped? You see, over a year ago, when hardly anyone was talking about it, I declared that squalane is the best oil you can possibly put on your skin.

Now, it seems like practically the entire beauty industry is getting on board! In the last few months, I've not only seen dozens of articles about squalane on other websites, but I've also been spotting it more frequently in ingredients lists (whether for oil blends or creams).

That said, I'm still the biggest fan of using pure, 100 percent squalane oil on my skin. 

If you haven't experienced the magic of squalane yet, or you're not sure which brand is best, this article will cover:

  • Where squalane comes from and how it can help your skin
  • The four most popular squalane oils and my review of each
  • Three other squalanes to consider
  • How to choose the right squalane for your needs

What is Squalane Oil and Why Should You Try It?

Squalane oil

Four of the best squalane oils from Biossance, Peter Thomas Roth, Indie Lee and The Ordinary.

Squalane (with an "A") is the stabilized form of squalene (with an "E")—an oil naturally found in human sebum that keeps our skin hydrated and protected. 

Squalene is also found in plants and shark liver—although we're not interested in the latter due to its harm to both the sharks and the environment! In skincare, I've only seen the pure oils derived from plant sources, usually olives or sugarcane. 

No matter where it comes from, squalene on its own is too unstable to be used in skincare, as it will go rancid very quickly. That's why it is processed (hydrogenated) to become squalane, a 100 percent saturated oil. I go into more detail about saturated versus unsaturated oils, and why saturated is best, over here.

Related: Why Squalane is the Best Face Oil

These are the some of the benefits of squalane:

  • Thin, lightweight texture
  • Fast-absorbing and non-greasy
  • Colourless and odourless
  • Leaves skin supple and hydrated
  • Heals dry, rough, cracked or chapped skin
  • Non-irritating and safe for sensitive skin
  • Non-comedogenic for most people
  • Helps regulate oil production
  • Antibacterial
  • Protects from oxidative damage
  • May help fade pigmentation
  • Highly stable, with a long shelf life

This, my friend, is why everyone is buzzing about squalane oil—even people who don't normally like face oils!

The Best Squalane Oils

Now that I've (hopefully) convinced you to try squalane, is there any difference between brands?

I'm often asked this question, and my answer is... yes and no.

Technically, the chemical structure of squalane is the same regardless of the source. So you may not notice much of a difference (if any) between products, especially if you're putting something else on top, like makeup or sunscreen. It's also harder to tell if you're only using a drop or two of oil for your whole face (which is what I recommend for normal to oily people), since it will sink in so fast.

Personally, I can only distinguish one or two of the oils from the others, which I'll share in a second. But I know other people have reported subtle differences in oil weight and absorption rate. This could be because there are various sources of squalane, with variations in purity. This paper reports that both olive-derived squalane and sugarcane-derived squalane may range between 74 and 95 percent purity. That's a big gap!

The other considerations are price point and packaging. So here's a closer look at each product.

Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil

Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil is a 100 percent squalane oil derived from olives. In Indie's own words, "I found the highest grade you could get."

Related: Indie Lee on Starting Her Natural Skincare Line, the Squalane Oil Trend and More

It's no surprise, then, that this oil has a beautiful texture. (It was the first squalane I ever tried—it's what got me hooked!) I would describe it as thin oil, absorbing without any greasy residue. Yet it's still deeply moisturizing. 

The packaging—which is by far the prettiest and most "Instagrammable"—is a frosted glass bottle with a dropper. Compared to the other products in glass, this one has held up the best since there's no label to come peeling off. Sometimes, it takes a bit of effort to open it, but that's no big deal.

Where to buy: NordstromWell.ca • B-Glowing • BeautylishCredo BeautyThe Detox Market • Cult Beauty • DermstoreAnthropologie • Saks Fifth Avenue • FollainCitrine Natural Beauty Bar • BluemercuryNeed Supply Co. • Indie Lee

The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane

The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane is a squalane oil derived from plant sources, but they don't disclose which ones. Since it's one of the least expensive squalanes on the market, my guess is that they use whatever they can get most cheaply—probably olive, sugarcane or a blend of both. 

This is the only squalane oil I've tried where I've noticed a slightly heavier texture. Compared to the others, it is slower to absorb. But we're still talking squalane here—so in the grand scheme of things, this is a very lightweight oil. However, you may prefer it if you have drier skin. 

The packaging is a glass bottle with a dropper, but the above photo is not representative of how it will look in a few months. This is actually a new bottle I purchased—my original looks like it's been through a war! Just a heads up, the clear plastic label will come peeling off, leaving the one underneath to get all oil-stained. But for the price, who cares?

Where to buy: Beautylish • Well.caHudson's BayASOS • Cult BeautyBeauty Bay • EscentualOxygen BoutiqueFeel Unique • Adore Beauty • The Ordinary

Peter Thomas Roth Oilless Oil 100% Purified Squalane

Peter Thomas Roth Oilless Oil 100% Purified Squalane is a squalane oil derived from sugarcane. The brand shares a lot of detail about how they extract, ferment, separate and purify the liquid from the raw sugarcane. They even mention having a proprietary processing method. What they don't tell you is that it's actually produced by bioengineered yeast that feed on the sugarcane (source). Not quite as sexy or "natural," right?

Still, it's a great product—which you'd expect, since it also has a higher price point. The texture is comparable to Indie Lee's, maybe slightly thinner, and it penetrates beautifully to leave you hydrated, not greasy.

Again, the packaging is a glass bottle with a dropper, but this dropper is sturdier than the others. As for the label, it eventually peels off, just like The Ordinary's. I taped it down for these photos!

Where to buy: NordstromB-Glowing • AnthropologieBeauty Bay • DermstoreOrchard Mile • Peter Thomas Roth 

Biossance 100% Squalane Oil

Biossance 100% Squalane Oil is a squalane oil derived from sugarcane. They, too, use a patented process to extract it... and guess what I discovered? It's produced via the same bioengineered yeast that Peter Thomas Roth uses, and from the same supplier (Amyris, which is in fact Biossance's parent company). 

So basically, it looks like Biossance and Peter Thomas Roth use the exact same squalane oil, just in different packaging! Ounce per ounce, Biossance's is less expensive (but not quite as cheap as The Ordinary's). It's definitely on the thinner side, so I would consider this if you are looking for a super-lightweight option.

Another point of difference is the plastic bottle with a pump. Depending on how much oil you like to use, this is either a convenient feature or an annoyance (as it may dispense more oil than you need). Either way, it is handy for travel as it comes with a little plastic piece to lock it down.

Where to buy: SephoraBiossance

Other Squalane Oils to Try

I haven't personally tried these yet, but the other squalane oils I've found include:

Timeless Squalane Oil

It's derived from olives, and if you get the bigger bottle, it's an even cheaper buy (per ounce) than The Ordinary's. This writer says it gave her "the best skin of my life!" Now that's an endorsement. Where to buy: Amazon.com • eBay • Timeless

Mullein & Sparrow Pure Series Squalane Oil

Also from olives, and the packaging is so lovely. Keep in mind that the bottle is half the size of the others, so the price per ounce is around the same as Indie Lee's (unless you buy it direct from the brand, in which case it's the most expensive). Where to buy: Amazon.com • eBay • Mullein & Sparrow

Olivarrier Fluid Oil Squalane

This K-beauty option is one of the priciest choices, but it's said to be sourced from the best-quality olives—only 0.2 percent make the cut! I hear this one is a heavier weight, even more so than The Ordinary's, so it's a good bet if you want a richer oil. Where to buy: Peach & Lily • eBay • YesStyle

Conclusion

Squalane oil

The four squalane oils in my rotation, from Biossance, Peter Thomas Roth, Indie Lee and The Ordinary.

To sum up, I made a quick list of the best oil choices depending on what your budget and priorities are. I hope this helps!

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