What is Squalane Oil?

What is Squalane Oil?

As the fifth most googled skincare ingredient in 2020, squalane oil is swiftly becoming one of the most sought-after skin hydrators on the market.1 But what separates squalane oil from all the other moisturizing ingredients out there? 

Put simply, squalane oil isn’t some exotic skincare ingredient extracted from the ocean floor or a far-flung species of tree—it’s a stable version of a fatty molecule that’s naturally found in your skin. 

If helping your skin barrier stay moisturized, supple, and fortified is on your list of skincare goals, then squalane oil might just deserve a starring role in your regimen. Below, we break down what squalane oil does, how it works, and how to incorporate it into a glow-ready skincare routine.

The Basics: What is Squalane?

To understand what squalane oil is, it helps to know the compound it came from: squalene.

Squalene (spelled with an “e”) is a fatty molecule that your body produces naturally.2 It’s first synthesized in the liver, circulated through the bloodstream, and is ultimately released by the sebaceous glands to help soften and moisturize your skin. However, as you age, your body tends to produce less squalene, which can contribute to your skin showing early signs of aging.3

Enter squalane (spelled with an “a”). It’s a more stable derivative of squalene that’s perfect for use in skincare products because, unlike squalene, it doesn’t oxidize. This is because its altered chemical structure is stable enough to reach, penetrate, and nourish your sensitive skin. Not only that, but because squalane is derived from a natural skin constituent, it’s hypoallergenic and unlikely to cause adverse reactions (like breakouts) among sensitive users.3 

But before squalane can be delivered to the skin, skincare product companies need to derive the molecule from a naturally squalene-rich resource. A few popular choices include:4

  • Olives
  • Rice bran
  • Amaranth seed
  • Wheat germ
  • Sugar cane
  • Sharks

You may have noticed one of those sources is not like the other ones: sharks. 

Originally, cosmetic companies used shark livers as their  main source of squalene, but most U.S. companies today use plant oils.5 After all, why hurt a magnificent animal when you can plant olive groves instead?

Squalane Oil Skin Benefits

Squalane oil’s emollient properties help make it an effective compound for keeping skin hydrated.6 Research suggests that squalane oil may also be instrumental in:3 

  • Improving your skin’s suppleness
  • Repairing your skin barrier and protecting it from environmental toxins
  • Reducing inflammation caused by conditions like acne, dermatitis, and psoriasis7
  • Lessening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reducing redness
  • Increasing your skin’s overall luminosity and vibrancy

Squalane oil can work well with all skin types, but experts particularly recommend it for people with:5 

  • Dry skin
  • Mature skin
  • Sensitive skin that responds poorly to other moisturizing products

All in all, squalane oil’s appeal comes down to its versatility: alongside its remarkable potential skin benefits, it plays nicely with a host of skin types. Squalane oil can be an effective, practical entry point for skincare novices looking for a single product ingredient with a dynamic impact on their skin overall.

How to Use Squalane Oil

Lucky for you, squalane oil works well with a host of skincare vehicles (methods you can use to administer products), which means you’ll have several options for letting your skin drink it in.

You’ll find squalene oil in the following formulations:3

  • Pure squalane oil – Pure squalane oil is best for people who want a gentle, natural moisturizer they can apply directly to their skin.
  • Body moisturizer – Squalane oil’s benefits don’t stop below the neck! You’ll also find this ingredient in moisturizers designed for use on your full body.
  • Eye cream – The delicate skin around your eyes craves moisture too, and gentle, hypoallergenic squalane oil is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an eye cream.
  • Face mask – In face mask form, squalane oil teams up with other hydrating and exfoliating ingredients to gently cleanse and moisturize your face.

Whatever skincare product you try first, it is important to learn how to read skin care ingredients to make sure you feel good about every item you’re putting on your skin. 

Just as squalane oil (in our humble opinion) deserves the hype, your body deserves access to ingredients, formulation techniques, and skincare products that truly do right by your skin.

Put Squalane Oil to the Test with HPPY Skin

If you’re looking for a simple, effective, refreshing way to add the natural oil of squalane to your natural skincare routine, indulge in HPPY Skin’s Hydration Mask. With natural ingredients like squalane oil, coffeeberry, spirulina, and cucumber, this skin-treat infuses your complexion with nutrients that help brighten, prevent fine lines, and foster healthier, moisture-rich skin. 

What makes HPPY different? We combine cold water with a highly pressurized system to make our fresh, plant-based extracts shelf-stable—without the chemical preservatives, you’ll find in other skincare products.

Sustainably sourced, non-toxic, and dermatologist approved. That’s what makes us HPPY. 


  1. Harper’s Bazaar. These are the most searched-for beauty ingredients of 2020. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/beauty/skincare/a33455558/most-searched-beauty-ingredients-2020/ 
  2. National Library of Medicine. Biological importance and applications of squalene and squalane. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22361190/
  3. Harper’s Bazaar. #BeautyGlossary: Everything you really need to know about squalane. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/beauty/skincare/a33665640/best-squalane-skincare/ 
  4. National Library of Medicine. Methods for Obtaining and Determination of Squalene from Natural Sources.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4324104/
  5. Allure. The Subtle Yet Significant Difference Between Squalane and Squalene in Skin Care. https://www.allure.com/story/squalane-vs-squalene-skin-care-difference 
  6. National Library of Medicine. Squalane. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/squalane#section=Pharmacology-and-Biochemistry
  7. National Library of Medicine. The importance and perspective of plant-based squalene in cosmetology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23449131/

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