Eco Beauty & Fashion

Mommy Greenest Loves: Plant-Based Squalane

Shark in the ocean demonstrating that sharks shouldn't have to die to produce the beauty ingredient squalane, which can also be derived from plants.
Why choose plant-based squalane? Because sharks shouldn’t die for beauty.

I’ve been on quite the oil kick these days. As my skin gets more — ahem — mature, I’m finding that an oil-based skincare regimen gives me results that I just don’t see from creams and cleansers. But then I met an old friend from high school recently who was literally GLOWING, and she mentioned that she had added a serum made from squalene to her nighttime ritual. “Squalene?” I frowned. “Like from shark fins?” My friend is a serious animal lover. I couldn’t imagine her using that. “No, silly,” she said. “It’s plant-based squalane.”

Squalane and sharks

I knew that squalene oil was often harvested from the livers of deep-sea sharks. It was first discovered in the early 20th century and was valued for its ability to prevent moisture loss and increase the skin’s ability to absorb additional hydrating agents like oils and creams. The ingredient is in everything from lipstick to eye makeup to foundation — a 2015 study found that more than 50% of the creams in Asia contained squalene.

According to shark conservationists, as many as 3,000 sharks are required to make one metric ton of the stuff. Shark populations have decreased by 70% in the last 50 years — and squalene cultivation is responsible for 2.7 million shark deaths each year. But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Squalane from sugar cane

Squalene can also be made from plants like sugar cane. When hydrogenated, it becomes squalane — note the “a” — which has the same skin benefits with a longer shelf life. This is a truly green beauty ingredient which ranks the lowest 1 on EWG’s Skin Deep Database.

And it’s where JUNOCO comes in.

Mommy Greenest Approved Plant Derived Squalane in brown glass bottle outside on a wood with red flower in background
JUNOCO Plant-Derived Squalane ($14)

JUNOCO Plant-Based Squalane

Their products are produced without red flag ingredients like parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, sulfates, artificial fragrances, mineral oil, and more. Based in California, all products are vegan and cruelty-free — like the squalane that I am currently obsessed with.

JUNOSKIN Plant-Based Squalane has just one ingredient — you guessed it — which delivers super hydrating benefits from first use. I felt my skin was plumper and more hydrated, while my fine lines and wrinkles were reduced.

All Juno oils are packaged in recyclable glass and the company has committed to refillable packaging for many of their products by 2023. Circular economy — yay!

How to use plant-based squalane

I have fully integrated the company’s products into my skincare routine. At night, after oil cleansing, I apply a few drops of JUNOSKIN Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Oil ($16) to my skin, rubbing in gentle, circular motions and concentrating around my eyes and chin. I wait a few minutes for the product to penetrate and then if I need extra hydration I just start slugging.

In the morning, after rinsing my skin with warm water, I apply JUNOSKIN Plant-Based Squalane ($14) and then follow with a DIY hydrating spritzer (filtered water + a few drops of my current favorite essential oil: rose geranium). I wait a few minutes for that to all soak in before applying a tinted moisturizing SPF. That’s it!

Mommy Greenest Approved Plant Derived Squalane and Organic Rose Hip Oil in brown glass bottle outside on a wood with red flower in background
JUNOSKIN Plant-Derived Squalane ($14) and Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Oil ($16)

Are we onto something?

Take two drops and call me in the morning. No, seriously: The next time you see squalane on a label, make sure that it’s plant based. And if you have tried plant-based squalane, I’d love to hear about your experience in comments, below. Thanks!

Thanks to JUNOSKIN, which sponsored this post. For more about my editorial standards, please click here.  

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