If you’re into skincare, you’ve probably heard of Squalane.

It’s a skincare ingredient that is becoming more and more popular. And this is no surprise as it’s an amazing moisturizer that offers outstanding emollient properties.

But there’s also Hemi-squalane.

It’s a similar compound but it’s fundamentally different in all sorts of ways.

I’ll explain what I mean and take you through the essential differences between the two.

What is Squalane?

For starters, it’s essential to make a distinction between Squalane with an “a” and Squalene with an “e”.

Squalene is a naturally occurring lipid in the skin’s sebum (the oil that our sebaceous gland produces). In fact, it accounts for about 13% of sebaceous sebum.

It’s a polyunsaturated hydrocarbon, which can also be found in fish oil and shark liver oil in particular. Squalene is also present in some vegetables like olives and sugarcane.

Most beauty products actually use the one found in olive oil.

It stands out with an oily texture (but doesn’t feel greasy) and plays a huge role as a moisturizer for the skin.

It’s enriched with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. However, it’s not stable as it’s exposed to risks of oxidation. As a result, its effectiveness is not 100%.

And this is exactly where squalane (with an “a”) comes in.

Squalane is a hydrogenated alternative to squalene.

In other words, it’s a modified version of the same ingredient. It’s the better option between the two for topical skincare components as it’s more stable and has a lighter texture.

In addition, it won’t lead to any skin irritation as it’s biocompatible with the skin. It’s an emollient, which means that it has small particles that trickle between the skin cells. As a result, the skin cells’ edges are smoothed out. It’s very similar to mineral oil.

What is Hemi-squalane?

What is hemi-squalane


So what’s Hemi-squalane all about then?

Simply put, Hemi-squalane is a relative to Squalene.

They have similar molecular properties, with the difference being that a molecule in Squalane has 30 carbons, while that of Hemi-squalane has half of that – only 15 carbons.

Hemi-squalane is a much lighter version and has the consistency and feel of dry oil. It’s almost as light as water, so your skin will appreciate how free of product it’ll feel. It doesn’t leave a dewy finish to worry about.

What do Squalane and Hemi-squalane do for the skin?

what do squalane and hemi-squalane do

So, what does Hemi-squalane do for skin? And does Squalane offer the same benefits?

Pretty much, yes.

My personal experience with Hemi-squalane is amazing and Squalane offers identical results.

Here are some of the things that they can do for your skin:

  • Oil balance restoration – if you have oily skin or have trouble with acne, they can support the skin by restoring its natural oil balance. You won’t notice any shining or excess sebum.
  • A moisturizer for all skin types – no matter if your skin is dry, oily, combined, or sensitive, Squalane and Hemi-squalane will work for you with no irritation.
  • Smoothing and softening – your skin will feel rejuvenated and fresh, with enough hydration and plumpness to calm it down.
  • No clogged pores – one of the most widespread concerns of people is whether Hemi-squalane and Squalane clog pores. They’re both non-comedogenic, so they won’t clog your pores nor will they cause a breakout.
  • Outstanding moisturizers – let’s not forget about one of the most powerful properties of these ingredients – to moisturize the skin, locking moisture in, and fighting transepidermal water loss.
  • Lightweight solutions – the consistency of Squalane and Hemi-squalane differ only slightly and they’re both very lightweight.

It’s no wonder that the beauty industry and all of us, skincare lovers, are crazy about them. They can truly make a difference in any skincare routine.

But is one better than the other?

Is Hemi-squalane or Squalane better?

The short answer – when talking about skincare products, Hemi-squalane is better.

As you already read, they’re both very useful and can turn your skin condition around for the better.

However, Hemi-squalane is more lightweight and it’s much easier to spread and apply to the skin. It also absorbs faster and doesn’t leave a heavy residue behind. This makes it the preferred ingredient for most people, as it’s more convenient to use.

I’d also say that Hemi-squalane is the better option for oily skin types. Both ingredients are good for all skin types but Hemi-squalane definitely leads the way when it comes to oily skin.

What are the uses of Squalane and Hemi-squalane?

“Slap it on your face and forget about it” – say you.


“Not so fast, there’s more than one use for these potent ingredients” – I reply, sipping from my tea, withholding my grin.

Don’t you want to know what is Hemi-squalane used for besides your skin?

Both Squalane and Hemi-squalane can be applied not only to the face but also to the hair.

For your skin, apply several drops of either substance on your face and neck. It’s important to do that after other water-based products. Because their texture is so light, you can apply moisturizer before or after Squalane or Hemi-squalane.

If you have oily skin and have noticed that a lot of the moisturizers on the market are clogging your pores and making your problem even worse, you can substitute your moisturizer completely with Squalane or Hemi-squalane.

When it comes to hair, you can apply Squalane or Hemi-squalane directly to clean hair every day, or as a treatment several times per week.

What are the best products with Squalane and Hemi-squalane

Here are some of my all-time favorite products containing these star ingredients. The list is not ordered in any specific order.


The Ordinary 100% Plant-derived Squalane

The Ordinary plant derived squalane serum

The Ordinary’s Plant-derived Squalane is perfect if you’re looking for a natural, no-nonsense, and eco-friendly product.

It only contains Squalane, without any other actives, fragrances, and filler ingredients. It’s a lightweight serum that hydrates the skin even in the coldest winters.

Some of the benefits of this product are:

  • The product doesn’t contain any alcohol;
  • It’s oil-free and doesn’t leave behind a greasy feeling;
  • It’s completely vegan & cruelty-free;
  • The product doesn’t contain any silicone, nuts, or gluten;
  • Perfect for the cold winter days.
The Ordinary 100% Plant-derived Squalane  is Available at Amazon, SkinStore and YesStyle

The Ordinary 100% Plant-derived Hemi-Squalane

The Ordinary plant derived hemi-squalane serum

The Ordinary has a second amazing serum that I loved using and I still do. It’s the Plant-derived Hemi-squalane, chemically known as C13-16 Isoparaffin.

It’s fast-absorbing, doesn’t leave behind a greasy film, and is an amazing hydration agent that can be used on both skin and hair.

The product is super lightweight, which makes it the perfect alternative to argan oil as a hair treatment. It will provide softness without feeling heavy or too much. You want to try this product because:

  • The skin and hair follicles will absorb it quickly;
  • It doesn’t feel oily and doesn’t weigh your hair down;
  • You can use it on skin and hair;
  • It’s free from water, alcohol, oil, silicone, nuts, and gluten;
  • It’s completely vegan and cruelty-free;
  • It’s USDA Certified Bio-Based
  • It’s super affordable and a bottle lasts for a long.


Vanicream Facial Moisturizer

Vanicream Facial Moisturizer with squalane

The Vanicream Facial Moisturizer is a lotion for sensitive skin that you can use as a daily face moisturizer.

It has a lightweight formula that makes it easy to apply and is gentle on the skin.
It contains many beneficial ingredients, including ceramides, glycerin, squalane, and hyaluronic acid.
The product is non-comedogenic so you don’t have to worry about any pore problems. It’s extremely rich in texture and powerful in effect despite the lightweight formula. People love this product because:

  • It’s perfect for sensitive skin;
  • It doesn’t clog pores;
  • It won’t feel greasy on the skin;
  • It’s paraben-free and gluten-free;
  • It doesn’t use any dyes or fragrances, and there’s no use of essential oils or botanical extracts either.

Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream with Two Types of Hyaluronic Acid & Squalane

Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream with squalane and two types of hyaluronic acid

The Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream with Two Types of Hyaluronic Acid & Squalane is a cream boosted with hydrating goodness.

It helps the skin fight dryness and restores a healthy level of hydration. The texture is suitable to use during the day and the night as it’s very light. However, the product is not recommended for oily skin types as it’s super hydrating, so it can be too much for them.

It’s a unique experience, as you go through different phases of how the cream reacts with the skin. At first, it feels like a cream, then it sort of transforms into a gel upon application, and finally, you feel your face adequately moisturized and hydrated.

I’d recommend it because:

  • It’s a lightweight product;
  • It’s perfect for people with dry skin or for colder months;
  • You can use it day and night.


Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil

Herbivore botanicals lapis blue tansy face oil with squalane

This is a product I simply adore.

The Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil is a skin-soothing face oil that balances dehydrated complexions while instantly smoothing and softening them to a beautiful glow.

It’s designed for normal, combined, and oily skin types and eliminates redness, acne, oiliness, and blemishes. Hello, natural-looking, healthy skin!

Some of the ingredients the product contains include vegan squalane, kukui nut oil, and blue tansy. Those are all pure plant oils that offer maximum hydration. It’s definitely a must-try because:

  • It’s suitable for different skin types;
  • It’s completely vegan, cruelty-free, and natural;
  • It has a recyclable packaging for the earth-lovers;
  • It hydrates and soothes the skin;
  • It can help fight acne.

I simply love the experience of putting this bright blue oil onto my face. It feels rich, it looks rich and it makes me want to bathe in milk and get one of those puppies that you can put into your handbag.

Biossance 100% Squalane Oil

Biosance Squalane Oil

The Biossance 100% Squalane Oil is another amazing product to try. I loved testing it as my skin felt instantly hydrated. Moreover, the smoothness and softness remain for days after the application – a thing rarely achieved by other oils.

It’s effortless to use as it absorbs immediately, so I’ve managed to sneak it even under makeup. You can use it all over the body and enjoy the lightweight texture and incredible results. I’ve used it on freshly shaved legs and it’s all that I need in the summer.

I’ve added this product to the list of must-tries because:

  • It offers immediate hydration, yet it’s not heavy or sticky;
  • Other active ingredients will penetrate the skin more quickly when combined with this oil;
  • The oil stimulates the natural microbiome diversity for a healthier skin;
  • The product is vegan and cruelty-free.

Wrapping up

I hope that if you haven’t tried these products yet, I’ve managed to inspire you to test something new and enjoy the vast range of benefits Squalane and Hemi-squalane have to offer.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and learn more about your personal experiences with Squalane, Hemi-squalane, or any of the products that I’ve listed. Or perhaps you have something good to recommend yourself? Feel free to share your stories and comments below.

Until next time!

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