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Squalane Oil: A Guide to Your New Favorite Skincare Ingredient

squalene oil

Squalane, which is an incredibly fun word to say, has quickly become a staple in everything from hydrating face serums to hair styling products. But who is she? What does squalane do?

And most importantly, should we be using her? Scroll on for all the answers.


What is Squalane?

Squalane is an emollient oil. It is not squalene, a related but completely separate skincare ingredient.

Squalane is a naturally occurring lipid in the body. It’s a key component of skin sebum (oil) and has a host of benefits.

Squalane Oil Benefits

Here are a few of the many benefits you can expect from incorporating squalane oil into your skincare routine:

  • Repairs the skin barrier, by adding moisture back into the skin
  • Seals in moisture, while remaining incredibly lightweight
  • Safe for all skin types, whether it be oily and acne-prone or dry
  • Anti-inflammatory, as well as non-comedogenic

So, When Should I Be Using Squalane?

Good news. Because squalane is generally tolerable for all skin types, you can really use it all the time!

Personally, I recommend using it at night as the last step of your skincare routine. It’ll seal in all that good moisture sitting on top of your skin and work overnight to repair any barrier damage.

More good news, squalane works well with virtually all other ingredients (niacinamide, retinol, vitamin c, AHAs & BHAs, hyaluronic acid, etc.), so it’s an easy addition to any skincare routine.

Does Squalane Oil Replace Moisturizer?

While squalane can replace moisturizer, it doesn’t necessarily mean it should. Squalane oil is a rich source of antioxidants and replenishing emollients, which is great for moisturizing skin, but it lacks the skin-restoring and hydration-boosting elements of a traditional moisturizer.

I suggest thinking of the oil as a booster to supplement your skincare routine.

Squalane Oil vs. Hyaluronic Acid: What’s the Difference?

Both squalane oil and hyaluronic acid are natural components of the skin, but they perform different tasks.

Hyaluronic acid increases skin’s water content, while squalane oil acts as a barrier to keep moisture locked into the skin. So, ideally, you’d use a hyaluronic acid serum first, to hydrate, followed by a squalane oil, to seal in moisture.

Best Squalane Oils and Products

100% Plant-Derived Squalane, The Ordinary

the ordinary squalane oil

This 100% plant-derived squalane is formulated to gently hydrate, leaving skin smooth and plump.

Squalane Facial Oil, Indie Lee

squalane facial oil indie lee

This lightweight oil hydrates skin as the squalane promotes the appearance of firmness and elasticity. The result is soft, supple skin with a natural radiance.

100% Sugarcane Squalane Oil, Biossance

100% squalane oil biossance

This highly stable, totally sustainable oil delivers dramatically smoother, softer skin overnight.

Plus, the long-lasting hydration is great for face, body, and hair.

Squalane Oil, The Inkey List

squalane oil the inkey list

This 100% plant-derived squalane oil improves hydration and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines

Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Oil, Youth To The People

superberry hydrate + glow dream oil youth to the people

A personal favorite, this facial oil is packed with rare superberry antioxidants and squalane for velvety-soft skin and a healthy glow.


Danielle Cohen is assistant editor of all things Lindsay Silberman. She also runs her own beauty blog, Yellow Sweats Status, as a side hustle. When she’s not binging true crime podcasts, she can be found researching, testing, and raving about beauty products to people who didn’t ask. You can learn more about Dani and her favorite products on her Instagram and her blog.


If you make a purchase through one of the links included in this post, I may make a small commission. As you know, I only feature products that I genuinely love.

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