People swear by this fast-absorbing non-clogging beneficial oil. But what exactly is squalane oil? And why should you use it instead of traditional oils? We’ll also talk a little bit about cleansing – because it’s such a good way to use squalane!
So, what is Squalane Oil? We’ll get back to that shortly. First, a reminder of why a good cleansing routine is SO IMPORTANT…
How to cleanse the skin properly: The skincare routine is like a house of cards, if one card is missing – everything collapses. A good cleanse is SO important! If you’re sloppy with the cleansing process or use bad products or ingredients, you might as well just ditch the rest of your routine and welcome the blackheads and other skin problems.
Does your skin ever feel dry and stripped once you’ve cleaned it? It’s not supposed to be that way!
This article will explain why cleansing is so important, how to cleanse the skin properly, what ingredients to look for, and what stuff to stay away from (like all traditional oils). We will also explain what squalane oil is, why you should use it in your cleansing routine, and ALL the other ways you should include squalane oil in your skincare and make-up regimen. Squalane oil can be used in sooo many ways. Your skin will THANK you.
Fun fact, most people are not cleansing well enough. In fact, it’s far from good enough.
Every night you need to do a double cleanse, aka cleanse twice. First, do a pre-cleanse with squalane, and then a regular cleanse with an exfoliating clinical cleanser containing AHAs or BHAs. We’ll get back to that.
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(If you don’t know what cleansing is – get a basic understanding of it here)
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Benefits of a good cleansing routine with Squalane oil and BHA/AHAs:
Why you should cleanse your skin with squalane oil, instead of a regular cleanser
As mentioned, the list of benefits is long, but here are some:
- It’s gentle and protects the natural lipid layer of the skin. Your skin won’t feel tight and dry after but instead moisturized. This and this study confirms that cleansing with oil is moisturizing and repairing, and this study shows that people who cleanse with oil have a better skin barrier function and more moisturized skin than people who don’t cleanse with oil.
- It’s exfoliating – it cleanses the pores, and removes dead skin, make-up, sebum, pollutants, etc. You should still use a regular and strong exfoliator from time to time, but oil cleansing is a great, gentle, mini exfoliator for daily use.
- Regulates oil production.
- This cleansing regimen gives you much cleaner skin, which means it can more easily absorb other products. So, a good cleanse isn’t just important to avoid clogging, it´s also crucial if you want other products, like an anti-age serum, to work. Some people who struggle with, for instance, dry skin, actually struggle because there’s “too much stuff in the way” for their moisturizing products to get absorbed.
Benefits of cleansing with squalane oil
Pre-cleanse with squalane:
You’ve probably heard some say, “like dissolves like”, and that’s completely accurate! Squalane is a special type of oil that dissolves the sebum and dirt in the pores like magic.
Throughout the day, our skin produces sebum (the greasy oil in our face or t-zone) and if we don’t remove this, it will lead to clogged pores which means whiteheads, blackheads, and blemishes.
The sebum can be hard to remove, so a lot of cleansers (especially the ones for oily skin types) are really rough and strip your skin for literally everything, leaving it dry and damaged. As a result of these brutal cleansers, your skin desperately overproduces even more sebum for protection, so it all ends up like a vicious circle with oily skin, blemishes, whiteheads, and blackheads.
Stuff that clogs your pores
Sebum isn’t the only thing filling up and clogging your pores. It’s also make-up, sweat, some skincare products, face masks, air pollution, and dead skin. Greasy food can also clog the pores around the mouth, the same with bacteria and other funky stuff attached to your phone and your hands, both are most likely frequent visitors to your face 😀 The pillowcase is also an enemy, especially if you don’t wash your hair often (change the pillowcase at least twice a week, or use a headscarf).
The list of pore-filling stuff is long, but you probably get the picture – it’s important to deep cleanse (but in a gentle way).
These pictures illustrate how important a proper and thorough cleanse is. It’s not that hard to understand that whiteheads and blackheads are normal when this is how most people cleanse:
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What is squalane oil?
And why should you use squalane instead of ‘regular’ oils?
So, we’ve established that pre-cleansing is important. Let’s talk about what kind of oils to pick, and how to do the pre-cleansing method.
First, cancel everything you’ve ever heard about oils, and start with blank sheets.
There’s a big chance you have seen some kind of oil chart before, showing you traditional oils, their benefits, and who’s non-comedogenic. Traditional oils are “regular” oils like rosehip oil, olive oil, argan oil, almond oil, etc. Anyways, there may be some truth to the charts, however, what they don’t mention is that these traditional oils are usually unsaturated and highly unstable, which means they will oxidize on your skin. (A study)
The oxidizing causes cell damage and aging, and even more(!) damage if kept on the skin and exposed to sunlight. They do more harm than good. Crazy, right? And these oils are marketed as safe and good for our skin, not to mention highly popular in the beauty industry, and a totally normal cosmetic ingredient. We do not recommend these traditional oils for topical use on your skin, not alone, and not as a side ingredient. Luckily, there are other options.
Unsaturated vs. Saturated oils
So, the traditional (regular) oils just mentioned are unsaturated. We want saturated oils instead because those are stable and won’t oxidize and ruin our skin.
What is Squalane oil, easily explained:
This is where squalane oil enters the picture. A must-have in all skincare routines. Squalane is created when squalene undergoes a process called hydrogeneration. This process turns the oil from unsaturated (squalene) to saturated (squalane). (Sorry for the similar and confusing words). When it’s saturated it’s extremely stable, in fact, the most stable oil you can find, so it won’t oxidize and damage your skin, it’s also not clogging your pores, so it fits most skin types. We love squalane.
In the beauty industry, squalane oil is usually made from plant extracts. It’s often used as a side ingredient in harsh treatments/products because it’s non-irritating and soothing (here’s a study about it) that’s why it’s also great for skin conditions such as eczema, and it fights bacteria. You can use it as a moisturizer as well since it’s lightweight and absorbs easily. And, perhaps the best part, unlike unsaturated oil, saturated squalane oil actually protects the skin from aging.
Ways to use squalane oil in your skincare
- Of course, as a pre-cleanser, we’ll get back to that.
- Add a few drops of squalane oil to your moisturizer for some extra moisture and dewy-looking skin.
- Mix a few drops of squalane with your foundation for some extra skin benefits, hydration, and glow. Or, make your very own customized and natural-looking bb-cream with squalane!
- Use as lightweight hair oil.
- Make a DIY hydration mist. Add a few drops of squalane and some water to a spray bottle. Mist your face throughout the day.
- If you struggle with dry skin, apply a few drops all over your skin after serums and moisturizer. Let it absorb. Squalane oil doesn’t look shiny/oily like regular oils, but it’s dewy-looking. It gives that natural glow. I’m officially an addict.
- As a lip balm. The sky is the limit!
How to find quality squalane oils
When purchasing a squalane oil, you need to be sure it’s 100% pure and without any bad stuff like perfume and other bad add-ons, and of course, make sure there’s not a dab of traditional unsaturated oils in it. It’s a little bit hard to find.
These three squalane’s are our absolute favorites, they are all 100% pure and safe, and totally affordable:
- Indie Lee’s 100% pure squalane HERE is a popular and highly rated product, with good reason. It’s made from olives, and the ingredients are clean and safe. It’s a very affordable squalane.
- This one from The Ordinary 100% plant-derived squalane is also popular, highly rated, and affordable. It’s made from plant extracts. It’s clean and transparent, vegan, and cruelty-free.
- Last, this squalane oil from Amara beauty is the most economical choice, because it’s twice as much product as the others. It’s of course 100% pure as well, and it’s highly rated and very popular.
You might want to purchase two because squalane’s come in small bottles.
Another option is a clean coconut oil like this one from Nutiva. Although it’s a traditional oil, coconut oil is actually ok for cleansing normal/dry skin types. Coconut oil is pretty saturated (85-90 percent vs. squalane 100 percent). It’s also easier to cleanse with than squalane because squalane absorbs quickly. But remember, coconut oil can clog your pores if you don’t remove it after. You should also own a squalane to leave on as a moisturizer though. It’s fantastic.
If you have really bad acne, you should still be careful with any kind of oil – Instead, do the second cleansing step (with a clinical cleanser) twice every morning and night!
How to cleanse the skin properly – AHAs, BHAs & Oils.
The oil cleansing method
The cleansing method is super easy. It’s in general enough to do the oil cleansing once a day (at night, after a long day of make-up, sweat, and pollution), and just use a gentle AHA/BHA cleanser in the morning (we’ll get back to that). If you wake up with a lot of sebum and have the time, you can oil cleanse in the morning as well.
You should notice some results immediately like more moisturized and glowy skin. However, some results (like clean and not clogged pores, oil control) will most likely not be visible before after a couple of months.
A few people experience a small break-out when first starting with the oil cleansing (skin needs to get used to new things), but these people may have been cleansing with regular unsaturated oil. It’s very unlikely to happen with 100% pure squalane.
How to properly cleanse your skin at night:
Nighttime cleansing routine
- If you wear a lot of make-up, do a pre-pre cleanse with a gentle make-up remover you like. Wash your face with lukewarm+ water to open pores.
- Apply a few drops of squalane (or coconut oil) onto your wet face, and go watch 90-day fiancé for at least 10 minutes while you gently massage your face. Focus on your problem areas. We want the oil to go down in those pores and make the dirt dissolve and “slide out”. You can also do the massage with washcloths like these cheap and chemical-free cloths from Polyte for extra thorough cleaning.
- Then, cleanse your face with a gentle clinical cleanser that is capable of removing the oil and dirt. It should contain AHAs and/or BHAs, preferably lactic acid or salicylic acid which is extremely cleansing. (Studies here and here). We love this hydrating cleanser from Murad, which is actually suitable for all skin types. If you have very bad acne/oily skin, you’ll love this cleanser from SkinMedica, is very soothing and contains both AHA and BHA which is great, and it has very happy customers from all over the world. A cheaper option is this CLEAR cleanser from Paulas Choice.
- 1-3 times a week it’s necessary to use a stronger exfoliator. They should be clean with AHAs, BHAs, or both. If you have normal to dry skin, use this lactic acid exfoliator from The Ordinary, it’s an exfoliating serum. We love it, it’s cheap, vegan & cruelty-free and you get results literally straight away. If you have acne-prone and oily skin, or a combination, choose This BHA exfoliator from Paulas Choice instead, it’s a bestseller with good reason, and chances are high you’ll end up repurchasing it for the rest of your life.
(If you want to learn more about the clinical cleanse, AHAs and BHAs, and exfoliating, read this article about the best and most effective skincare ingredients and skincare steps)
How to properly cleanse your skin in the morning:
Daytime cleansing routine:
- Wash your face and cleanse thoroughly with your AHA/BHA cleanser
- Finish with micellar water, this one from Bioderma is cheap, gentle, and great. Put some on a cotton pad and gently apply it all over your face. Leave on, unless you are acne-prone, then rinse off.
- Continue with your daily skincare routine… A great tip if you have dry/normal skin is to add a few drops of squalane into your moisturizer or foundation, for some extra hydration and glow.
Q&A Squalane Oil
What is squalane oil?
Squalane oil is an oil that has undergone a process called hydrogenation. This makes the oil 100% saturated, which means it won’t clog your pores or oxidize on your skin like all other oils. Squalane oil can be used in many creative ways, it’s fast-absorbing and your skin loves it.
Does squalane oil clog pores?
No, squalane oil does not clog pores. But if you have severe acne, you shouldn’t use any oil in your skincare.
Is squalane oil an oil cleanser?
Squalane oil isn’t exclusively an oil cleanser, it’s just a type of oil that can be used in many ways, for instance as a cleanser.
Can people with oily skin use squalane oil?
Yes, people with oily skin can use squalane oil, in fact, it’s super effective as a pre-cleanser since oil dissolves oil. If you have oily skin, do a pre-cleanse with squalane oil, and then do a regular cleanse with a gentle and clean product containing salicylic acid. This cleanser from CeraVe is just great! If you have oily skin you should just use squalane oil as a cleanser, not as a moisturizer or in your make-up, the product absorbs quickly, but you should still aim for something more mattifying.
What does a squalane cleanser do?
Squalane oil used as a pre-cleanser dissolves oil, since “like dissolves like”, oil dissolves oil. It’s super gentle and moisturizing, and it leaves the skin feeling protected and glowy. We wrote about it here.
Squalane vs. regular oils? Which is best?
Squalane oil is 100% saturated, so it won’t clog your pores, and it won’t oxidize your skin (ruin your skin on a cellular level). It’s also fast-absorbing. We wrote about the difference between squalane and regular oils here. 🙂
How often to cleanse with squalane?
Cleanse with squalane every night, after a long day of wear and tear. If you wake up with a lot of sebum, feel free to use it in the morning as well.
How to use squalane oil?
You can use squalane oil as a moisturizer, add a few drops to your foundation for a dewy finish, use it as a lip balm, under-eye moisture, as lightweight hair oil, make your own dewy bb-cream with squalane, literally the sky is the limit. We wrote about creative ways to use squalane here.
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//What is Squalane Oil, and how to cleanse the skin properly.
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