The world of beauty would be nothing without its buzzwords. ‘Glass skin’, ‘Adaptogens’, ‘Wildcrafted ingredients’; every season there’s a new trend or secret brew in the never-ending-war between our faces and gravity/hormones/the sun/the turn of the Earth’s axis.

And let’s not lie, that’s half the fun. Self-care and beauty routines undeniably count as escapism during times of uncertainty and, people, I think we can all admit that things are definitely a little up in the air at the moment.

But every now and then a buzzword comes along that’s definitely worth the billions of labels it’s printed on. Over the last 5 years we’ve been losing our minds (and rightly so) over Hyaluronic Acid—a moisture preserving MVP that binds water to the collagen in your skin.

But if Hyaluronic Acid is the Michael Jordan of skincare ingredients then Squalane has to be the Scottie Pippin and he DEFINITELY came to play in 2020.


Okay, what is Squalane?

Y’know your skin’s natural moisture? That’s also known as Squalene in dermatological circles. It not only has powerful anti-aging properties but also helps calm conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis and it does it all without ever feeling heavy or greasy on the skin.

That’s a skincare slam dunk, for sure.


But what does it have to do with sharks?

Quite a lot actually. The sad news is the original source of Squalane is from the liver of sharks. Yep, as in the most exciting and endangered fish on the planet.

This is where you have to pay close attention to your labels because Squalene (with an extra ‘e’) is the undiluted oil from sharks, whereas original Squalane (with 2 ‘a’s) is derived from hydrogenation of Squalene.

Still with me?

Back in the day, however you spelled it, all roads led to sharks. 🙁


But there’s good news

Before you throw your phone away in disgust over this tragedy of science, the GOOD NEWS is modern-day biotechnology has been able to synthesise Squalane using completely cruelty-free, vegan and sustainable ways. Thank you olive, amaranth and rice bran oil!

Some companies, such as Biossance, have said that one hectare of sugarcane farmed for sustainable Squalane can save over 23,000 sharks.

Here’s how to get more Squalane into your life—ethically

You have to be vigilant. Times they are a-changing but there are still brands that don’t disclose their use of shark-sourced Squalane.

The general rule is if you see these terms on the list of a product’s ingredients and there isn’t a vegan badge on the brand, then you can be fairly certain that something fishy is going on. Literally.

The workaround is pretty simple and all it requires is searching for an ethically sourced or vegan badge on the packaging of your next super-powered Squalane product.

To get you started, brands such as Biossance, Dr Roebucks and The Ordinary are a great first stop on your search.

Because nice skin is good but sharks are better. In an ideal world, if these two could coexist happily then that’d be just great, thanks.




Looking to try something completely novel this year? Try skipping shampoo and see what happens.

Meg & Dom

Tags: Beauty, ethical beauty

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