While retinol may have been the skin-care “it” ingredient for years, there’s another ingredient that skin fanatics can’t get enough of: squalene/squalane. The former, with an "e," is a naturally occuring lipid produced by mammals, including humans, to help lock in moisture and protect skin (the bad news: as we age, our skin produces less of this good stuff). It's often harvested from shark livers making it unsustainable, non-vegan and extremely expensive. The latter, with an "a," is a plant-based form of squalene, derived from sugar cane. It is sustainable, more affordable and 100 per cent vegan. Below, our shark-free squalane picks to add a boost to your skin-care routine. —Vicki Duong
cleanser. Great for those with sensitive skin, Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil ($42) is a lightweight oil-based cleanser powerful enough to remove every trace of makeup but gentle enough to not leave your skin feeling stripped of its natural oils. Not only does it contain replenishing squalane, it also features primrose and lavender oil: perfect for calming irritated skin!
serum. When it comes to combating the look of fine lines and improving skin texture and firmness, Biossance’s Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum ($95) is hard to beat. The brand prides itself on being non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free so, instead of traditional retinol (which is animal based), it uses bakuchiol—a plant-derived alternative that offers retinol-like results, without the irritation or sun sensitivity.
day cream. Want a daily dose of squalane? Look no further than the Skin Rescue Daily Face Cream ($28) from First Aid Beauty. Instantly plumping, this daily moisturizer infused with squalane leaves your skin feeling supple, while antioxidant ingredients, such as fever-few extracts and licorice root, protect your skin from environmental aggressors and pollutants.
night cream. The night cream that does it all, Glamglow’s Good in Bed ($75) contains a plethora of good-for-you ingredients. Hyaluronic acid and squalane work together to lock in moisture and nourish skin, while acids gently exfoliate and renew. This softening night cream contains moisturizing ingredients along with AHA acids, making it perfect for those who are apprehensive of introducing acids into their skin-care routine. You’ll wake up with a gorgeous glow.
mask. Squalane wouldn’t be a hyped ingredient if wasn’t also part of cult favourite Glossier’s lineup. The brand's Moisturizing Moon Mask ($27) is just what your skin needs if it’s feeling extra parched. Squalane and sweet almond oil work together to provide a deeply hydrating treatment while lemon extract naturally brightens dull skin and aloe and honey help soothe troublesome spots. For an extra boost of hydration try using it as an overnight mask to wake up your best self.