Ingredient Spotlight: Squalane Oil

Ingredient Spotlight: Squalane Oil | Mirra Skincare

The number of skincare ingredients at our disposal is a bit mind-boggling. Being knowledgeable and keeping track of each can be a headache, which is why we’re here to help with the education process. Being educated on skincare ingredients gives you the power to make informed decisions while looking to purchase new products. The more power you have the better. So today, we’re diving deep into the skincare ingredient squalane oil. Let’s get started. 


1. What is Squalane Oil

2. Squalane Oil vs. Hyaluronic Acid

3. Benefits

4. How to Use Squalane Oil

5. Product Handbook

6. Final Thoughts

Key Points

  • Squalane oil is derived from squalene oil
  • Squalane protects and restores the skin
  • Squalane can be vegan and non-irritating

    What is Squalane Oil

    Squalane oil’s origins lie in squalene oil, an oil that is a natural component of human skin. What’s the difference you may ask? Well, squalane oil has enhanced stability in comparison to squalene oil, meaning it is less likely to break down in the presence of air. Squalane oil has enhanced stability because hydrogen is added to it. 

    Squalane oil has been awarded a “best” rating in Paula’s Choice dictionary. The skincare ingredient falls under the antioxidant, hydrating, emollient, and skin-replenishing categories. Here’s what that means for your skin. 

    Antioxidant Category: Substance(s) that protect the skin from oxidative damage that is caused by free radicals and environmental aggressors. The most notable example is protection from UV rays. Antioxidants are also known for the anti-aging benefits they provide. 

    Skin-Replenishing Category: These ingredients lay the foundation for the skin’s natural functions, and help restore these natural functions by enriching the skin with “revitalizing hydration and keeping it there,” (Paula’s Choice). 

    Emollient: Hydrates the skin by adding and locking in moisture with a protective barrier

    Squalane Oil vs. Hyaluronic Acid

    Squalane oil sorta sounds like it functions like hyaluronic acid, doesn’t it? Both ingredients fall under the antioxidant and skin-replenishing categories. Moreover, they are both known for and loved by many for their hydration properties. 

    However, their hydration function differs. Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant while Squalane Oil is an emollient. Humectants help the skin lock in the water already present in the skin. On the other hand, emollients add moisture and retain moisture by creating a protective barrier. 


    Studies establishing the credibility of squalene and squalane oil for skincare started in the early 2000s. The research results don’t lie - take a look!

    Skin Restoration

    The ingredient quickly and effectively absorbs deep into the human skin. Squalane restores healthy suppleness and flexibility of the skin without leaving an oily residue behind. Skin restoration comes with the added benefit of helping the skin look younger too!

    Personally, I hate feeling like a greaseball after I’ve applied skincare products, so the fact that squalane does not leave an oily residue behind is a huge win in my books. 


    Squalane has been linked to neutralizing damage from UV exposure and protecting against several carcinogens. Additionally, the ingredient protects against lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation attacks and deteriorates lipids found in cells, which can eventually lead to heavy cell damage. 

    Lipid peroxidation is also thought to be linked to acne as it causes inflammation due to its ability to change the skin’s oil composition and inflammatory status. Thus, squalane protects our skin from this attack, protects and pores, and potentially even protects against acne and inflammation.

    Likely to Be a Non-Irritative Skincare Ingredient

    Unless heavily manipulated in a lab or sourced unsustainably, squalane oil is a vegan skincare ingredient. In the past, the oil was sourced from shark liver oil. Today skincare companies are sourcing the oil from plants such as olive, rice, wheat bran, sugarcane, and more. 

    Since squalane oil is a modified ingredient of a component of our own sebum, it is highly unlikely the ingredient will trigger an adverse irritation or allergic reaction. This makes the trial run with squalane less intimidating. 

    How to Use Squalane Oil

    If you opt to use squalane oil in its purest form (which please don’t be afraid of doing), Paula’s Choice recommends adding a few drops to your moisturizer or eye cream when your skin is experiencing dryness. 

    On the other hand, if you opt for squalane combined with other ingredients in products, Paula’s Choice recommends looking for squalane in products that are leave-on. So, look for it in products like facial moisturizers, body creams, sunscreens, serums, and skin treatments. 

    Paula’s Choice also notes while using this oil in its purest form is an option, the best use is when combined with other helpful skincare ingredients. Here are a few examples. 

    • Squalane and retinol
    • Squalane and vitamin C
    • Squalane in body butter
    • Squalane and shea butter 

    Product Handbook

    1. Paula’s Choice Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum - $42

    Despite having retinol in the name, this wrinkle-repair serum is packed with squalane oil providing essential fatty acids and antioxidants for the skin. The squalane is paired with helpful skincare ingredients retinol and vitamins C + E. 

    2. The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane - $7.99

    If you’re looking for squalane oil in its purest form to add to your moisturizer or eye cream, The Ordinary is a GREAT option. The oil is 100% plant-derived making it vegan friendly and retails for $7.99 making it wallet-friendly too. 

    3. Biossance Squalane + Amino Aloe Gentle Cleanser - $26

     Biossance’s Gentle Cleanser derives its squalane from sugarcane, which saves over 2 million sharks a year. Other than being extremely animal-friendly and vegan, the product is packed with amino acids to gently remove dirt and makeup and aloe vera leaf to calm and hydrate the skin. 

    Final Thoughts

    Squalane oil is a powerful skincare ingredient providing skin-replenishing, hydrating, and protective benefits. It is certainly a crucial ingredient I will be on the lookout for when checking the back of labels. My skincare ritual needs the rich benefits it provides, especially hydration!

    Ingredient Spotlight: Squalane Oil | Mirra Skincare

    Written by Lauren Conklin

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    1. https://www.kiehls.com/skincare-advice/antioxidants-in-skincare.html#:~:text=Antioxidants%20are%20substances%20that%20help,their%20powerful%20anti%2Daging%20benefits.
    2. https://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/skincare-advice/anti-aging-wrinkles/skin-replenishing.html
    3. https://www.paulaschoice.com/ingredient-dictionary/antioxidants/squalane.html?fdid=ingredient-dictionary&crefn1=name-first-letter&crefv1=S&csortb1=name&csortd1=1
    4. https://www.skincarelab.org/squalane-vs-hyaluronic-acid/#whats-the-difference-between-hyaluronic-acid-and-squalane
    5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4066722/
    6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6253993/
    7. https://www.paulaschoice.com/skin-care-advice/ingredient-spotlight/what-is-squalane-oil-and-how-does-it-benefit-skin

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