A cheap, unfussy oil for all skin types
Squalane oil has been my go-to for decades and i’m delighted it’s finally enjoying a big moment – Sali Hughes
One of the more gratifying trends in modern beauty has been a newfound appreciation for old-fashioned but highly effective ingredients that should never have fallen from favour. While companies were aggressively marketing newfangled, often unproven advances in technology, beauty professionals continued to use unbeatable classics such as hyaluronic acid, retinol, vitamin C and oil. Squalane oil has been among my go-tos for decades, and I’m delighted it’s finally enjoying a big moment and wider availability.
Squalane (created by adding hydrogen to squalene, a substance traditionally sourced from sharks’ livers – and naturally occurring in humans, too – but now almost always derived from olives or sugarcane) is the perfect oil if you think you hate oil. Light and ungreasy, it adds heaps of moisture, suppleness and visible glow without causing spots or greasiness, even on problem and congested skin, making it suitable for all skin types. Like most saturated oils, it has a long shelf life, so won’t start to smell or spoil. Its unadulterated nature makes it wonderful on sensitive skins and easy to mix with other products without clashing (I frequently add a drop of squalane to my night cream for extra moisture, or to my foundation for added glow).
I particularly love it when deployed to give product slip and blendability, as in Charlotte Tilbury’s superlative Hollywood Flawless Filter (worn by me daily; £30 for 30ml), because it doesn’t cause the pilling and peeling common with silicones used for the same purpose. Best of all, squalane is pretty cheap. An unfussy commodity whose abundant availability is reflected in a price much lower than one now expects from a high-quality facial oil. Performance among the 100% pure varieties doesn’t vary much. My most-used is Garden of Wisdom’s version (£9, 30ml) but mainly because I prefer a pump bottle to a dropper. Also wonderful is Indie Lee’s 100% olive-derived squalane oil and The Inkey List’s squalane. All are cruelty-free. There are more expensive versions, but with little tangible difference. Glycerin, another beloved old ingredient, for the next big comeback, please.
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