A Rundown of Squalane and a Review of The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane

I became curious about squalane when I saw Biossance (100 ml/3.38 fl. oz.) selling theirs for $58.00 (works out to $17.16/fl. oz.) and thought what’s up with squalane?! I looked around and also saw the one from Peter Thomas Roth  (30 ml/1 fl. oz.)for $38.00 and Indie Lee (30 ml/1 fl. oz.) retailing for $32.00. I certainly noticed that The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane was priced at $7.90 (30 ml/1 fl. oz.) and I thought, if it’s just oil, why is it so expensive? I mean, it’s not some rare oil… then I saw that actually it is actually kind of hard to get at.

Squalane is a hydrogenated form of sqaulene. There’s a lot of scientificky stuff behind that, but what that basically means is that it’s actually chemically altered (treated with hydrogen — manufactured, if you will) to create squalane. Sometimes, I get distracted when something says “100%” anything and I automatically assume it’s natural or pure. I suppose it just depends on your definition of “natural.” I also read that even 100% squalane can contain “impuruties” because it can be derived from different plant sources (second page, third paragraph). Apparently lots of folks (companies? oil grabbers?) used to (and still do) get squalene from shark livers. Ouch. For obvious reasons, that has been scaled back and now, it’s also extracted from plant oils such as olive oil, palm oil, and sugarcane. However, both squalane and squalene occur naturally in the skin.

Cosmetic producers prefer squalane over squalene because squalane is more stable. Ironically, after all the researching I did, I didn’t really find many tests on squalane on human skin or scientific articles for that matter that claimed squalane was great for your skin. I did find one, which postulated that squalane was a great moisturizer and antioxidant, and went on to examine its uses in dermatology. I also always find it difficult to find scholarly articles that aren’t written by authors or researchers employed by a pharmaceutical company… but that’s another story! On to the review.

My skin type

Oily! I have never, ever been one to put oils on my face because hellllooooo. I am oily. However, many people say (in my DT voice) that putting oil on your face if you’re oily somehow regulates the production of oil 😕 I am ok with experimenting with that assertion for now.

What it’s supposed to do

Support healthy hydration aka moisturize. I bought this initially to use in my hair, but my 100% naturally dry hair laughed at this stuff. My skin, however, basks in its glory. The Ordinary describes this as lightweight, but I am taking that to mean for an oil, it’s lightweight. But it’s not a lightweight moisturizer.


100% pure plant-derived Squalane.

The Ordinary does not specify which plant that is… recall that 100% squalane can come from many plants.

How I use it

Believe it or not, I use this both AM and PM. It’s the last thing I put on my face in the morning before my makeup and generally the last thing I use at night. Sometimes I will use a sleeping mask after this. While I am on that topic, I think if you have dry skin, you might want to use a sleeping mask at night with this. I say that becasue I have noticed that if I slather this on and turn on my side like all is right in the world, I notice that it rubs off onto my pillowcase and basically off my face. While I am conviced that the oil does absorb into my skin, I can’t help but notice that the layer of oil that was there before is gone if I put my face directly on my pillow.

How long I used it

I have been using this since the beginning of March, so about a month and a half. I’ve already repurchased it 😊

What I like about it

It makes my face feel soooo soft. You know that feeling you get when you use a beautiful moisturizer full of silicons like the Murad Quenching Essence, for example? Yeah, like that BUT IT’S ONLY $8.00! It’s a great massage oil too, and I find myself massaging my face while using it instead of just simply applying it. My face feels supple and moisturized and just all around good. It doesn’t feel heavy on my skin or make me feel extra oily either.

What could be better

There isn’t much wrong with this oil. I do notice that it smells like… plants a little bit. I notice that I am aware of the smell more when I wear it during the day time and my face has time to absorb all the earthly weird stuff.

Joy Factor

On a scale of 1-10, this oil is a 9! I enjoy using it and I have already repurchased. And not only because I spilled half of the first bottle on arrival but also because I love the way it makes my skin feel.

Where to indulge

The Ordinary | Sephora | Ulta


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