Leaves skin feeling clean and soft
Removes almost all makeup
Accessible price point
Unique balm-to-oil formula
May leave behind mascara
Easy to misuse due to application method
The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser
We put The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
We owe a lot to the humble facial cleanser. This staple product is somewhat of an unsung hero in the skincare world, keeping skin clean and balanced while potent serums and Insta-worthy masks tend to steal the spotlight.
Washing your face is arguably the most important step in any skincare routine, and finding the right cleanser is crucial for healthy, clear skin (a lesson many of us learned in our teens). While I used to be a Clean & Clear Morning Burst girl in the '90s, I’ve since graduated to The Ordinary's Squalane Cleanser—an innovative balm-to-oil formula starring the trendy hydrating ingredient.
This $8 product has garnered considerable hype on the internet, amassing rave reviews across Sephora, Ulta, and The Ordinary's website—and I have to say, it lives up the hype. Ahead, learn my full thoughts on the affordable cleanser to determine whether you should try it, too.
Best for: All skin types, including sensitive skin.
Uses: A daily cleanser that gently removes makeup, dirt, and excess oil while protecting the skin’s moisture barrier.
Potential allergens: Not likely
Hero ingredients: Squalane, glycerin, and malic acid.
Byrdie Clean? Yes
About the brand: The Ordinary is a no-frills beauty brand known for its potent, transparent, and affordable skincare, makeup, and hair products. The brand's pared-back line has quickly become a beauty favorite since its 2016 launch.
About My Skin: Combination and acne-prone
I had significant acne as a teenager, and it reared its head once again when I turned 30 (thanks, birth control). I’m currently fighting off cystic breakouts and scarring that make me feel like a 15-year-old again, and my skin needs all the gentle, nourishing products it can get. Even without the hormonal flares I’m currently experiencing, my skin is generally sensitive, combination, and acne-prone, with a dash of eczema in winter (fun, I know).
How to Apply: Pay attention to the instructions
In my opinion, the effectiveness of The Ordinary's Squalane Cleanser depends on correct application. If you don’t follow the directions, there’s a good chance you won’t like it. Apply a small amount of the balm to your fingertips, then rub your hands together for 10 to 30 seconds until it melts into a clear oil. Gently massage the oil into your skin, focusing on the eyes if you're removing makeup, and rinse clean with warm water. As to be expected, this product feels heavy and thick when you apply it, but it rinses squeaky-clean.
For an extra-deep cleanse, I suggest using it in the shower first thing, before you get your face wet. Give yourself a mini facial massage for a spa moment, then rinse thoroughly. This method gave me even better results than when quickly washing at the sink (plus, it feels amazing).
The Ingredients: Squalane and gentle cleansing agents
Of course, the star ingredient in The Ordinary's Squalane Cleanser is its namesake squalane—a lighter derivative of squalene, a lubricating lipid derived from plants and animals. Squalane in skincare has the potential to reduce wrinkles, fade scars and hyperpigmentation, reverse UV damage, and fight free radicals over time. This non-comedogenic, soap-free formula also contains gentle lipophilic esters to dissolve makeup, dirt, and oil.
The Results: Fresh, baby-soft skin
I can’t overstate how soft and smooth my skin feels after using this cleanser, particularly after using it in the shower as described above. Most importantly, my skin feels incredibly clean and balanced, which is impressive considering I wear full-coverage foundation and have acne-prone skin. My only qualm is that it sometimes leaves a bit of mascara behind, which is only noteworthy because it bills itself as a top-tier makeup remover. I also feel that my success with this product has to do with how I’ve applied it—I always make sure to rinse it clean.
The Value: Unbeatable
Just $8 for a high-quality cleanser is a win in my book, even if the bottle is a bit small at 1.7 oz. (a common complaint from reviewers). With potent ingredients and fair prices, value is one of The Ordinary’s strong points, and I think this cleanser follows suit. To maximize the affordability factor, make sure to only use what you need, and fans of the cleanser can also save a bit by getting the 5-oz. version for $20.
Similar Products: You've got options
Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil: This option from Biossance ($30) is one of the few other squalane oil cleansers on the market. It’s a bit pricier than The Ordinary’s version, but it also includes eight plant-derived oils and extracts.
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil: If it’s the oil formula you’re after, DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil ($28) is another top-rated buy at a similar price point. It’s infused with olive oil extract, rosemary leaf oil, and vitamin E for additional antioxidant protection.
To put it simply, I’ll be using The Ordinary's Squalane Cleanser until the last drop. It’s gentle, affordable, non-comedogenic, and leaves my skin feeling clean and soft—a total win.
- Product Name Squalane Cleanser
- Product Brand The Ordinary
- Price $8
- Weight 1.7 oz.
- Full Ingredient List Squalane, Aqua (Water), Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Glycerin, Sucrose Stearate, Ethyl Macadamiate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sucrose Laurate, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Sucrose Dilaurate, Sucrose Trilaurate, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Isoceteth-20, Sodium Polyacrylate, Tocopherol, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Malic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Chlorphenesin.