Squalane Oil Is the Underrated Ingredient You Need in Your Hair Care Routine

There’s much to appreciate about this lightweight oil.

If you take a look at the ingredient lists on the back of your favorite beauty products—serums, moisturizers, even hair masks—there's a big change that you're already incorporating squalane in your routine. 

It is a popular and commonly used ingredient in all kinds of beauty products for its ability to hydrate as an effective emollient without leaving a greasy residue. And even better? It's similar in composition to our skin's natural sebum, making it compatible for most skin (read: scalp) types and less prone to clogging pores. 

What Is Squalane Oil?

So, what exactly is squalane oil? Often confused with squalene (with an e), squalane is the hydrogenated version of squalene, meaning that it is less prone to oxidization and much more stable to incorporate into beauty formulations. Squalene is naturally found in high concentrations in shark liver, and for a while, shark liver oil was the main source for squalane in cosmetics products. These days though,  most squalane ingredients today are synthetic or derived from plant origins like olive or sugarcane. 

The fact that squalane is lightweight, clear, and odorless makes it a great ingredient to incorporate into different formats of skincare and hair care products. 

Benefits of Squalane on Hair 

Beyond its benefits for the skin, squalane is just as much an all-star ingredient for your hair care routine. Here are just some of the amazing benefits it has for the hair:

1. Hydrate and moisturize 

Chemically, squalane has a relatively small molecular weight to other types of commonly used oils like argan oil, which allows it to penetrate into the skin easier and deeper to provide longer lasting moisturization. Same logic applies to the hair—it can penetrate the hair shaft and provide moisturization to the hair cuticle and even reach the cortex (the inside layer of the hair). And because of its lightweight nature, squalane doesn't weigh down the hair as other oils can. 

2. Prevent breakage 

Once inside the hair shaft, squalane provides hydration and nourishment to the hair, which can in turn lead to improved elasticity and flexibility (read: lower chance of breakage and reduced frizz and static).

3. Increase softness and shine 

Squalane is also a natural antioxidant that can help protect the skin and hair from free radicals and environmental damage. Its emollient properties help smooth and soften the hair while reducing roughness, adding a healthy overall shine.

 4. Improve scalp health

Especially for those with dry, flaky scalps. Applying squalane oil directly to your scalp will help alleviate some of the dryness and irritation. And don’t worry—squalane is lightweight and less prone to clogging hair follicles, so it can be easily absorbed by the scalp without leaving behind a heavy or oily residue.

 How to Use Squalane Oil for Hair

Squalane oil is pretty easy to use for the hair because it does not require any DIY diluting. In fact, it can be applied directly to your hair and scalp as is—just massage a few drops on your scalp and throughout the rest of your hair.

You can also look for nourishing products like hair oils, conditioners, shampoos with squalane oil included. (Even if squalane wasn’t a highlight ingredient, there is a chance that it’s just being a silent hero within the formula.) Shop some of our favorites below.

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Augustinus Bader The Hair Oil

This luxurious hair oil formulated with squalane and vitamin E helps boost thickness and volume while reducing breakage and split ends. 

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Biossance 100% Squalane Oil

Here's a tip from the brand: Use this oil to tame flyaways. The 100% squalane oil helps add weightless control and shine.

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The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane

We love a multipurpose product—this oil works on the face and body, and can also be used in hair to increase heat protection, add shine, and reduce breakage. 

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JVN COMPLETE Pre-Wash Scalp Oil

Squalane is the number one ingredient on the ingredient list for this 15-minute pre-wash scalp treatment to help promote strength for less hair fallout and breakage.

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Act+Acre Moisture Balancing Conditioner

Squalane isn't only for hair oil formulas—it can also provide great qualities for conditioners. This lightweight, hydrating conditioner has 91% of participants agreeing that it does not feel heavy. 

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Biolage Strength Recovery Shampoo for Damaged Hair

This shampoo highlights its vegan squalane specifically for offering a gentle cleanse for damaged hair to help reduce breakage and leave hair feeling softer and smoother. 

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