Ingredients - what is squalane?

Mar 2 2022

Scarlet Spy

3 min read

Squalane web

Scarlet Spy gets the lowdown from Dr Murad, Board Certified Dermatologist & Founder of Murad Skincare, about this hardworking hero ingredient.

So, what exactly is squalane? 

Squalane is an ingredient that prevents moisture loss while restoring the suppleness and flexibility. 

What are the benefits to the skin?

It offers multiple benefits to the skin including instant hydration, suppleness, softness and smoothing while increasing moisture and limiting water loss. It’s also suitable for all skin types.

Squalane or squalene: what's the difference?

Squalene and squalane are different: squalene is the oil that occurs naturally in the lipidic layers of the skin, which helps strengthen our skin barrier; as we age this declines which is where squalane comes in. Squalane is a skincare ingredient which mimics the natural occurring squalene in our skin, making it easily absorbed. 

Squalene is traditionally harvested from shark liver oil - which will put a lot of people off. Is that still the case? 

Traditionally the ingredient was harvested from shark liver oil, however Murad (along with many other brands) use reliable and sustainably-sourced, 100% pure plant squalane, derived from sugar cane.

Is squalane comparable to hyaluronic acid?

Squalane and hyaluronic acid are both key ingredients for hydration, but offer slightly different things. Hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin and plumps to the skin to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Squalane offers more preventative results by helping to stop moisture loss in the first place. It also works deeper into the skin for long-term restoration. 

Spa products containing squalane

Natura Bisse Inhibit Retinol Eye Lift 
(15ml, £128) 

This product combines encapsulated retinol, four types of hyaluronic acid and squalane to reduce the appearance of bags and dark shadows around the eyes - providing plumper-looking, hydrated skin. Use the applicator to massage the liquid around the eye area before bed. 

Murad Targeted Wrinkle Corrector
(15ml, £70) 


Plant-derived squalane is a key ingredient in Murad’s newest Targeted Wrinkle Corrector. The product works in three ways: reducing wrinkles by filling lines on contact, helping skin bounce back from expression lines and boosting the skin’s hydration levels for corrective and preventative results. According to Dr Murad: ‘It's the perfect product if you’re not ready for the needle.’

The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane
(30ml, £7.70)

The Ordinary’s 100% Plant-Derived Squalane gives you plenty of bang for your buck at under £8 for 30ml. Suitable for all skin types, the formula works to leave the complexion looking soft and supple. What’s more, it can be applied to hair to support heat protection, add shine and minimise the risk of breakage. Clever.

Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser 
(125ml, £75) 

This all-natural cleanser combines plant-derived squalane with Alfafa and a cocktail of essential vitamins to help keep skin super-soft and hydrated. It also removes excess sebum and make-up whilst eliminating free radicals. Ideal for dry and more mature skin types, apply directly to dry skin and massage into the face. Eye make-up can be removed by saturating a cotton pad. 

Try it at: The Lanesborough Club & Spa was the first spa in the UK to welcome the ‘Queen of Green Beauty’, Tata Harper. Try one of the four facials using 100% natural and all organic ingredients. 

Superfood Facial Oil by Elemis
(15ml, £45)

Massage three or four drops over the face and neck each morning, post-cleanse, to ensure a visible glow. This nutrient-dense facial oil feeds your skin with nine antioxidant-rich Superfoods including vitamin c, flaxseed, rosehip and broccoli – along with squalane, of course. This plant-based punch promises to balance moisture levels, soothe irritation and target blemishes. 

Try it at: The Headland Hotel Spa
Elemis’ Superfood Pro-Radiance with Biotech (£105, 55 minutes) includes ultra sonic peeling for deep exfoliation. It resurfaces the skin, brightens and smooths while reducing pores and removing dead skin cells. 


Scarlet Spy

2nd March 2022

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