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In the beauty world some ingredients make an instant splash, becoming darlings of our routines overnight. Others are quiet achievers, supporting and restoring our skin without much fuss or fanfare. Squalane is one such ingredient, and if you’re only just becoming conscious of its abilities (or figuring out how to pronounce it), don’t worry, you’re not alone.
You may be surprised to learn the beauty industry has been enthralled by this wunderkind ingredient for some time now and, chances are, it’s already hiding in your favourite products.
Lightweight, non-comedogenic and a rich source of fatty acids and antioxidants, squalane is not only hard-working but hydrating, gentle and is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties too. In other words, squalane is a true multitasker and deserves pride of place in your skincare regimen.
Not to be confused with squalene, which our skin naturally produces in our sebum secretions, and, sadly, depletes as we age, squalane is almost like the more potent (read: highly saturated) cousin of squalene. Generally a natural, plant-derived ingredient (be aware though that it can be found in certain fish oils including shark liver oil), squalane also acts as a potent hydrator and detoxifier.
Plus, being lightweight, non-comedogenic and taking into consideration its purported anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, squalane is safe for acne-prone and sensitive skin.
That squalane also mixes well with other ingredients is yet another reason to love this skin hero. Here are a few ways to inject squalane into your routine and reap the benefits.
The simplest way to incorporate squalane into your regime with minimal disruption is to reach for a daily moisturiser that heroes the game-changing ingredient. Look to the hydrating Darphin’s Hydraskin Light Cream Gel to soften and smooth your visage and replenish essential lipids while keeping the skin’s natural barrier strong. Likewise, the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream heroes squalane and delivers on intensive moisture but promises a non-greasy finish — it’s an icon for a reason.
If you’re drawn to skincare that works overtime, use squalane’s stability and compatibility to your advantage and opt in to an active moisturiser like Dr. Dennis Gross' Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturizer that boosts cell renewal while hydrating and protecting your complexion against moisture-loss (thank squalane for that). Likewise, the fruit enzymes, glycolic and lactic acids in Kate Somerville’s Exfolikate Glow Moisturizer resurface and slough away dead skin while squalane keeps your complexion feeling and looking hydrated, smooth and protected.
If you’re someone who suffers with particularly parched skin and desperately needs a make-up refresh come 2pm, Tatcha’s travel-friendly The Serum Stick will quickly become your best friend. With 80 percent olive-derived squalane, think of this magic wand as a targeted treatment for fine lines and dry patches that can be applied both before and on top of make-up. In particular, the under-eye area will benefit from a quick swipe throughout the day. If dryness is a particular pain point for you, Ren’s Vita Mineral Emollient Rescue delivers a nourishing hit of moisture by way of squalane and glycerine, while vitamin P decongests and vitamin F battles sensitivity. Consider both products protectors against cold weather and banish dry skin, fast.
There is a good reason to give your evening routine over to squalane-infused skincare too, especially if your complexion is in need of repair. The Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate (another cult classic) delivers on all of the above, though it’s the squalane in particular that will ensure you wake up with plump and quenched skin every morning. Apply post cleanse and massage into your face, neck and décolletage. Likewise, if a the idea of a superfood and squalane boost sounds like the perfect evening, reach for the Elemis Superfood Facial Oil and reap the benefits of a broccoli, flax seed, daikon radish and squalane cocktail. Don’t be afraid to mix and match oils too, especially if your skin is in need of some serious TLC.
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