If you feel like you’ve heard people rave about this random thing called ‘squalane‘ recently, you’re not the only one. The stuff is bloody everywhere.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that squalane is shaping up to be 2019’s answer to ‘retinol‘.

Yup, it’s big.

But, despite sounding like a pretty fancy addition to your beauty routine, it’s not abundantly clear what squalane actually is. Here to give you the 411 on the trending term, we spoke to skincare guru Indie Lee, founder of her eponymous beauty label, who names squalane as her favourite ingredient.

What exactly is squalane?

“Squalane is a type of oil produced naturally in the body and diminishes as we age, contributing to skin dryness and imbalance,” explains Lee.

What’s the difference between the squalene and squalane?

“Squalene is naturally produced in the body, but it’s unstable to use in personal care products,” continues Lee. “Squalane is the hydrogenated derivative of squalene. It’s more stable, which makes it a better choice for products.”

What’s the difference between the shark liver-oil and plant-derived squalane?

“As an animal lover, I’ve made sure we are a cruelty-free brand, so using shark liver-oil as an ingredient is something we would never consider (since the shark needs to be killed to extract the squalane).

We also believe that the plant-derived versions like olive and sugar cane are superior sources, so it’s a no brainer for us.”

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Are there any vegan-friendly squalane options?

“Absolutely. Squalane can be derived from several different sources, many of them plant-based. We use squalane from two sources –  olives and sugar cane.”

Why is squalane trending in skincare right now? 

“There are a few reasons squalane is good for your skin. Firstly, it absorbs quickly and is non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores).

It’s also been clinically proven to be non-irritating, to help skin better retain moisture and to lessen the appearance of fine lines.

Furthermore, squalene is believed to have a positive effect on the appearance of uneven skin tones, like pigmentation and age spots.”

How can people incorporate squalane into their skincare routine for the best results?

“Squalane is now popping up in a lot of products, but I personally love it in its purest form.

In the morning: I use our Squalane Facial Oil, which is 100% olive-derived squalane – just one ingredient – as my morning moisturiser.

In the evening: I use our new Daily Vitamin Infusion and Daily Skin Nutrition – both contain squalane from sugar cane as well as other powerhouse ingredients which make them great for overnight use.

Additional: People also like to mix squalane oil with their foundation for added skincare benefits and glow.”

What should people look for when buying squalane products?

“Unfortunately, you can’t tell the quality of squalane by simply looking at the package or reading the ingredient list. It’s important to do your research and establish trust with a brand that’s transparent about the quality of ingredients.”


Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil, $49 at Sephora


The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane 30ml, $13.90 at Adore Beauty