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What Is Squalane? A Complete Guide to Your Skin’s Best Moisturizer

At Biossance, there is no ingredient more fundamental to our formulas than squalane. Our groundbreaking 100% Squalane Oil was the first product we ever launched, and it remains the cornerstone of every formula we create.

Our shark-safe, barrier-boosting superhydrator is our mission in action. Using it in every formula is one of the ways we show love for our planet and its oceans while also caring for our skin. But as passionate as we are about squalane, we know there’s still a lot of confusion surrounding this moisturizing molecule: Is there a difference between squalane vs. squalene? (Spoiler: Yes! A few major ones.) Why do we use squalane derived from sugarcane instead of olives? What makes us love this ingredient so much that we’ve included it in all of our products?

Keep reading for a deep dive into our multitasking superhero hydrator.


Squalene is a moisturizing ingredient sourced from shark livers. While it’s often touted for its supremely hydrating benefits, it can clog pores and is unsuitable for oily skin types. These negative side effects pale in comparison with squalene’s environmental cost to marine ecosystems.

We only use vegan squalane that’s created by fermenting sustainable sugarcane and yeast. This shark-safe ingredient includes all the same intensely hydrating benefits of squalene without any side effects and can be used on all skin types–even on babies and pregnant women.

Thanks to this innovation, we save two million sharks every year

Learn why fermented ingredients made the crossover from Kbeauty to sustainable skincare Squalene x Squalane

5 Ways Squalane Benefits the Skin, and the Planet

While we’re not the first to develop a plant-based alternative to squalene, we’re the first to derive the ingredient from sugarcane. Here’s how our sugarcane-derived squalane benefits your skin, and the planet.

1. Sugarcane-Derived Squalane Is Your Body’s Best Moisturizer

Our bodies naturally produce squalene as a key moisturizing factor within our skin. Unfortunately, the amount of squalene we produce decreases dramatically as we get older. This can contribute to dry skin, wrinkles, and volume loss.

Our sugarcane-derived squalane is a molecular match for the squalene our bodies produce naturally. This ensures that your body is easily able to recognize and use it. Our squalane absorbs quickly and penetrates 20 times deeper than other moisturizing oils with no irritating side effects.

2. It Supports Responsible Environmental Stewardship

Compared to olive-derived squalane, sugarcane-derived squalane reduces land use 600-fold and minimizes environmental impact and water usage. All of the sugarcane necessary to produce our squalane is grown on 1 square kilometer of land in Brazil, far from the Amazon rainforest on land that is not suitable for food production.

Brazil’s plentiful rainfall ensures that the sugarcane used to produce squalane requires no additional water or artificial irrigation. And since more than two-thirds of sugarcane’s weight comes from water, our squalane manufacturer is able to use a significant amount of water from the cane itself within their processing.

In addition, we use bagasse - the fibrous pulp that remains after sugarcane stalks are crushed to extract their juice - to create our product cartons. The bagasse is also used to generate electricity to fuel the manufacturing plant.  Any excess electricity not used by the sugarcane mill or fermentation plant is released free of charge to power local Brazilian communities.

Learn more about our packagingSqualane's sustainable Lifecycle

3. It Makes Your Skincare Work Harder

Our sugarcane-derived squalane delivers up to 40 times more active ingredients compared with other emollients. That means the active ingredients in your skincare work better when combined with squalane.

This is one of the key reasons why we use squalane in every single Biossance formula. It’s our not-at-all secret weapon for creating powerfully-effective, customer-beloved sustainable skincare.

4. Squalane Is Non-Comedogenic and Works for Every Skin Type

Sugarcane-derived squalane is weightless and won’t clog pores, making it an ideal moisturizer for oily skin. And because it’s bioidentical to the moisture found in human skin, it won’t irritate sensitive skin, either

Squalane replenishes one of your skin’s natural moisturizing factors, giving you back the skin you were born with, regardless of skin type.

Learn how squalane can help with eczemaClinical Studies showing positive results from consumers who used 100% squalane oil

5. Squalane Supports a Healthy Moisture Barrier

Your skin’s natural moisture barrier is a layer of skin cells and lipids, including naturally occurring squalene. These lipids hold layers of cells together to keep moisture in and bacteria and irritants out.

Sugarcane-based squalane helps replenish that lipid layer, strengthening the moisture barrier and helping your skin stay healthy, hydrated, and calm.

How To Use Squalane

Squalane doesn’t discriminate. This gentle yet effective head-to-toe hero can be used all over the body and by every member of the family–from babies to pregnant women. Here are 10 ways you can incorporate this ingredient into all types of skincare and self-care routines. 


Squalane doesn’t discriminate. This gentle yet effective head-to-toe hero can be used all over the body and by every member of the family–from babies to pregnant women. Here are 10 ways you can incorporate this ingredient into all types of skincare and self-care routines.

  1. Layer it on top of your favorite facial moisturizer to lock in moisture.
  2. Apply it to facial hair as a beard oil.
  3. Add several drops to the bath to soak up the softening, smoothing benefits.
  4. Work a few drops into damp hair to boost luster and hydration.
  5. Try using it to soothe and rehydrate sunburnt skin. (This can work especially well on the scalp!)
  6. Apply it to a growing pregnant belly to help minimize the appearance of stretch marks.
  7. Use it in place of shaving cream.
  8. Use it as a luxurious, fragrance-free massage oil.
  9. Blend it with foundation to give the skin a dewy glow.
  10. Add a few drops to your nails as cuticle oil.

Eco-friendly perk: Using a versatile product like our 100% Squalane Oil helps to cut down on additional packaging waste. Not only is the bottle 100% post-consume plastic, but this versatile product can also replace multiple items on your bathroom shelf, further reducing waste.

Christine Tusher
Christine Tusher Writer and expert
As a lifestyle writer and journalist, I love sharing my passion for ocean conservation and obsession with clean beauty. I’ve tried almost every trend and ingredient, and Biossance’s science-backed formulas are the only ones that consistently calm my reactive skin and make it smoother, clearer, and healthier. I’m so excited to be on this journey of skincare innovation with Biossance, and to share it with you!

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