Squalane: The Buzz Ingredient You Need To Know

If you haven't heard of it already

From vitamin C to niacinamide, hyaluronic acid to bakuchiol (a natural alternative to retinol), we’re not short on choice when it comes to skincare ingredients that make a difference. And now there is a new star that promises to slot seamlessly into our skincare routine and act as the ideal support to just about every active ingredient going. It’s called squalane and it could be your skin’s golden ticket to around- the-clock radiance.

Enter Californian biotech skincare brand Biossance, a beauty label leading the way in clean, sustainable and toxin-free squalane. Biossance is so sure about squalane’s can-do abilities, especially when it comes to hydration, that it has put the ingredient at the heart of every product in its range.

“Squalane is moisture,” Catherine Gore, president of Biossance, tells marie claire exclusively. “It’s your body’s best moisturiser. When you use our 100 per cent squalane, you’ll see it literally absorb into the skin in seconds because your body recognises squalane.”


When babies are born, their skin is coated with a substance called the vernix, which is rich in ultra-hydrating molecule squalene. Babies and children have a lot of squalene (which is why their skin is so plump), but by about the age of 30 to 40, our production begins to wane. By the age of 60, we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel of our squalene reserves.

In other markets, squalane has long been lauded as the holy grail of hydration. But before you add to cart, this is an ingredient with a backstory. First, you’ll need to note the spelling. Squalane comes from plants (Biossance’s version is derived from fermented sugarcane – it can also be harvested from olives but the process is less sustainable and the finished product less pure). Squalene, on the other hand, is generally sourced from deep-sea shark liver, an unsustainable and cruel route to skin perfection.

“Squalene is present in deep-water shark livers, and about three million sharks [are] killed a year,” says Gore.

Launched in 2016, Biossance saw an opportunity to come up with an alternative, sustainable source that was not only cruelty-free
but also truly skin saving.

“We have a sugarcane eld in Brazil and sugar grows very, very quickly,” says Gore. “We can make tonnes and tonnes of squalane and it
is the most pure version of squalane. It mimics your body’s squalene perfectly.”

Try: Squalane + Omega Repair Cream, $91 


If you think you already have your hydration sorted with a daily application of hyaluronic acid serum, consider squalane its perfect partner.

“Hyaluronic acid holds moisture on the skin, so you need to have moisture already there, which is squalane,” explains Gore.

The same goes for other actives. “Any actives that you put with squalane go that much deeper into the skin,” says Gore. “I like to say those ingredients hitch a ride deeper into the dermis.”

Take Biossance’s cult-followed Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil, which enlists an oil-soluble vitamin C to achieve not only deep hydration
but added brightness. There is also the night-time skin refresher with added bakuchiol called Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum. It’s a gentle 
alternative for those who shy away from retinol. Then there is the Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Facial Mask, a gentle grainy exfoliator that refines and gets skin glowing, fast.

Try: Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Facial Mask, $106 


In addition to its clean beauty products, Biossance also offers scientifically backed efficacy. “I like the term ‘cleanical’ because it’s clean meets clinical; 100 per cent clean, 100 per cent clinical. That’s truly Biossance,” explains Gore.

Biossance chooses to shun more than 2000 ingredients in its formulations. “We like to use ingredients that are tried and tested with proven efficacy,” says Ramya Viswanathan, product development manager for the brand. “Biossance blacklists what we find to be suspect ingredients. If ingredients don’t have enough conclusive safety information, we won’t use them.”

Try: Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturiser, $81


At a time when we’re seeking more transparency from our beauty products than ever before, this squalane-based brand ticks a lot of boxes. “As consumers, we’re more thoughtful of the products and ingredients we use, where they come from, how they’re tested, and the overall impact they have on people and the planet,” says Viswanathan.

Sephora is well aware of the clean movement. In 2017, it launched its first wellness category in the Australian market. Biossance joined this line-up within Australian Sephora stores late last year, offering an edited range of eight of the brand’s most sought-after squalane-packed products.

If you’re wondering where to start, try the 100% Squalane Oil. Invest in the larger pump pack so you can slather it over limbs, bottom and breasts for ultra-soft skin. It’s also great on the face and for adding nourishment to hair.

Hydration is the foundation to any skin goals you might have, so keeping it in check pays real dividends. Adding squalane to your daily routine might just end the drought.

Try: Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil 30ml, $112


This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of marie claire. 

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