Squalane vs. Squalene (And Why Do My Facial Products Need It?)

By genevieve / 18 December 2023

Squalane vs. Squalene (And Why Do My Facial Products Need It?)

Squalene and Squalane are both exceptional hydrating ingredients with nearly identical spellings (save one vowel). They also boast antioxidant and antibacterial benefits, help regulate and stabilize your skin’s own oil production, and are very easy to absorb, leaving your skin soft rather than sticky after using facial products that contain them.

The primary difference between the two: Squalene occurs naturally (it’s a moisturizing lipid found in plants, animals and our own skin), whereas Squalane is a hydrogenated version of Squalene. For non-chemists, when an ingredient is hydrogenated, it typically means it has been converted from a liquidy oil into a solid fat, making it more durable. Here, we'll explain why they both matter to the health of your skin, and how the make it into Pour Moi Skincare facial products.

Stability is Essential to Facial Products

While it would ordinarily seem that opting for an ingredient derived directly from nature would be preferable to utilizing one that’s been processed, in the case of Squalene vs. Squalane, the processing step makes the ingredient more stable. And in skincare formulation, stability is essential; facial products with Squalane offer all the same benefits as those with Squalene, but remain fresh and active far longer. Bonus: The process of hydrogenation also leaves Squalane lighter in consistency than Squalene, so it’s well-tolerated by all skin types, even the oily and acne-prone.

How the Oils Are Sourced

The primary source of this skin-softening lipid used to be the livers of deep-sea sharks, such as the Gulper or Dogfish, but aggressive hunting of these aquatic animals rendered them nearly extinct. So, while this practice is not prohibited (shocking, we know), environmentally-conscious brands like Pour Moi Skincare now only use Squalane gleaned from plant-based sources like olives, sugar cane, rice bran and wheat germ. This is a more expensive way to source this emollient additive, but it’s also the most humane. To highlight when the Squalane in their products is sourced from plants, as opposed to sharks, some brands may include the words “bio-based Squalane,” “plant-based Squalane” or “olive/sugar-based Squalane” on their labels. However, this labeling is not required or regulated, so, as a consumer, verifying the source of a product’s Squalane may fall to you. At Pour Moi, we take the worry and guesswork out of skincare selection by only using Squalane derived from olives or sugarcane in our facial products.

They Give Premium Lightweight Hydration

Squalane offers users several advantages over other hydrating ingredients. As previously mentioned, it is an effective, ultra-lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer appropriate for all skin types, including the acne-prone and the sensitive. There is even anecdotal evidence that Squalane may help soothe and improve chronic inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Because of its hydrating but non-sticky texture, Squalane also works well in all climates, even the most humid.

One Helps Boost the Other

Finally, while our skin produces ample amounts of Squalene from childhood through our mid-twenties, the production of this lipid sharply declines after that. Therefore, using facial products with a hydrogenated form of Squalene helps replenish what our bodies no longer produce on their own, making aging skin appear more like it did pre-25: smoother, plumper, softer. You will find plant-based Squalane in every Pour Moi product, including the Temperate, Tropical, Polar and Desert Day Creams; Black and White Serums; and Night Cream.