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Editor’s Picks: 12 of the Best Squalane Oils to Soften Your Skin and Lock in Moisture (Without Feeling Greasy)

The face oil for people who hate face oils.
Best squalane oil

Squalane has become one of the most popular face oils—and it’s not hard to understand why. With its thin and lightweight texture, it softens and seals in moisture, without looking or feeling greasy. 

While it’s incredibly healing on dry, rough and chapped skin, it’s also unlikely to clog pores and is non-comedogenic for most people. The fact that it’s anti-inflammatory and non-irritating makes it perfect for sensitive skin, too.

No wonder everyone is buzzing about squalane oil... even people who normally hate oils!

That’s why I’ve put together this guide to the best squalane oils on the market. Read on to find out what they’re made of, whether there’s any difference between brands, and the best options for your skin. 

The Squalane Oil Edit

The squalane oil edit

What to Look for in a Squalane Oil

What to look for in a squalane oil

Traditionally, it was derived from shark livers. But due to the obvious ethical and sustainability concerns, virtually all skincare companies have now switched to plant sources, most commonly olives or sugarcane:

  • Olives: During olive oil processing, squalene is extracted from the olive pulp, skin and pits, and then combined with hydrogen to become squalane.
  • Sugarcane: Rather than being extracted directly from the sugarcane itself, squalane is produced by bioengineered yeast that feed on the sugarcane.
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From The Skincare Edit Archives

Does the Type of Squalane Oil Matter?

Olive SqualaneSugarcane SqualaneShark Liver Squalane

75-94% purity

75-94% purity

98-99% purity

May contain sterol esters and paraffin after hydrogenation

May contain isosqualane and monocyclosqualane after hydrogenation

No significant impurities after hydrogenation

Technically, the chemical structure of squalane is the same regardless of the source. However, there can be differences in purity. 

Researchers have found that both olive-derived and sugarcane-derived squalane can range between 74-95% purity.[1] Since each has different impurities that can remain after hydrogenation, this could account for subtle variations in oil weight, absorption rate and even performance. 

Anecdotally, some people have reported getting breakouts from olive-derived squalane, which is often thicker and richer, but not from sugarcane-derived squalane, which tends to be lighter and faster to absorb. 

Personally, I’ve used both types and neither have triggered acne. However, if you want to be on the safe side, sugarcane sources might be best for acne-prone skin, while olive sources might be better for dry skin. 

⚠️ It’s also important not to overload your skin with any oil, even squalane. Quantity matters. Sometimes, it’s the large amount of oil that triggers a breakout, whereas a small amount is tolerated well. Two or three drops should be plenty to cover your entire face. If you need more hydration, layer the oil over a good hydrating serum or face moisturizer.

For more information on this ingredient, see my squalane tutorial.

The Best Squalane Oils of 2022

Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil
The Ordinary 100 Plant-Derived Squalane
The Inkey List Squalane
Biossance 100 Squalane Oil
Peter Thomas Roth Oilless Oil 100 Purified Squalane
Good Molecules Squalane Oil
BeautyStat Universal Moisture Essence
Acure The Essentials 100 Plant Squalane
Indeed Labs Squalane Facial Oil
ClarityRx Nourish Your Skin 100 Squalane Additive Oil
Timeless Squalane Oil
Purito Plainet Squalane Oil

Further Reading

  1. Pandarus, Valerica, Ciriminna, Rosaria, Be, Francois, Pagliaro, Mario & Kaliaguine, Serge. (2017). Solvent-Free Chemoselective Hydrogenation of Squalene to Squalane. ACS Omega. 2017, 2, 7, 3989–3996.

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