Before you add The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser to your skincare stash, below, we take a deep dive into this popular product by examining its advantages, considerations, and best ways to use it.

Key Takeaways

  • The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser contains squalane, lipophilic, and emulsifying sucrose esters ingredients.
  • Because of it's ingredient list, this cleanser is suitable for all skin types.
  • The texture of this cleanser is balmy, so if you have oily skin, only use a small amount of product, and follow with a water-based cleanser.

The Ordinary Cleanser

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

Best cleanser for all skin types

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

The Ordinary’s one and only cleanser is a great option for those with dry skin, because it is gentle and moisturizing but cleanses effectively.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Dispense the cleanser into clean, dry hands, and then rub your hands together to allow it to melt. Gently massage the cleanser onto dry skin, and then rinse with warm water.
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This squalane cleanser emulsifies from a balm to an oil-like consistency, making it a perfect option for those with dry skin. It leaves the skin feeling moisturized, rather than tight and dry.


  • Gentle
  • Moisturizing
  • Vegan and cruelty-free


  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

The main ingredient in this cleanser is squalane, a skincare ingredient that has an oil-like consistency (but isn't actually an oil). Squalane is a derivative of squalene, which is naturally found in human sebum. It is excellent for lightly hydrating the skin.

Benefits of Using a Cleanser

Cleansers rid the skin of dirt, excess sebum, and bacteria [1].

When it comes to finding a suitable cleanser, stick with a product that does not damage (or irritate) the skin and keeps the skin moist [1].

Since The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser contains squalane, lipophilic, and emulsifying sucrose esters ingredients, it can be considered a non-irritating product suitable for all skin types.

Product Overview

Squalane is incorporated into cosmetics because of its emollient properties. It is also antibacterial and is safe for sensitive skin [2].

In addition to squalane, this cleanser adds other lipophilic and emulsifying sucrose esters in its formula.

These esters provide thickness and texture to the cleanser formula.


The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser claims that it removes makeup while leaving the skin feeling smooth and moisturized.

The cleanser is also supposed to be safe for all skin types since it is non-comedogenic and soap-free.

Key Ingredients

1. Squalane

Squalane is a type of lipid produced by human skin cells and is a component of human sebum. However, it can also come from animal or plant sources[2].

Squalane protects the skin surface from damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. It also can be used to treat seborrheic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, or atopic dermatitis. [2].

2. Lipophilic and Emulsifying Sucrose Esters

Lipophilic and emulsifying sucrose esters provide thickness and texture to cosmetic products, says New York-based cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green, MD.

"The lipophilic esters in the cleanser form a protective barrier on the skin, keeping it skin hydrated and soft while keeping out harmful substances from the environment," she explains. "The sucrose esters act as emollients, softening the skin and smoothing out the texture."

How to Use

  • Start by dispersing some cleanser onto your hands.
  • Next, rub the product together in your hands to melt the cleanser down into an oily consistency.
  • Massage the cleanser onto your face and rinse with warm water.
  • Finish by applying other products found in your day and night routine.

When to Apply

The brand advises using this cleanser twice (morning and evening) a day.

Other Tips

1. Start Small

Since this product contains a balm-like texture, you'll want to remember that a little bit goes a long way.

Cleansing with too much product can leave the skin with greasy residue, which can cause breakouts in those with extremely oily skin.

2. Size Up if You Want More Product

While the 50ml bottle of The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser is available for a steal of a price, those who wear makeup frequently may want to size up to the 150ml bottle.

3. Follow with a Water-Based Cleanser

Because the texture of this product is heavier, you may want to follow up with a water-based cleanser, according to Dr. Green

"Use another water-based cleanser to completely remove any impurities and debris from the skin this cleanser couldn't remove," she advises.

What to Expect

Unlike some cleansers, The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser is gentle to use on dry and sensitive skin.

However, because the texture is heavier, this cleanser may cause breakouts in some people.

With that being said, acne-prone skin types should use this cleanser as a makeup remover and then follow with another water-based cleanser.

What Experts Think

1. Dr. Michele Green, MD.

"This cleanser's ingredients are gentle enough for all skin types," Dr. Green says. "Squalane is a lightweight, hydrating ingredient that softens the texture of the skin, without clogging the pores."

2. Dr. Rhonda Q. Klein, MD/MPH, FAAD.

"This cleanser is non-comedogenic and free of common irritants like alcohol and parabens," says Dr. Klein. "The price point also makes it accessible to try."

3. Dr. Marisa Garshick, MD.

"I always try to avoid products that contain harsh soaps, so this soap-free option is a great way to cleanse, without leading to irritation or sensitivity," Dr. Garshick says. "I also love that it transforms from a balm to an oil, making it easy to use."

How do I use The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser?

Rub the cleanser together in your hands until it reaches an oily consistency. Massage onto face, rinse off with warm water, and apply other products you use in your routine.

Can I use The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser twice a day?

Yes. However, you will want to see how your skin tolerates it beforehand.

Should I purchase The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser in the 50ml size?

Yes, especially if you want to see how your skin responds to this product. However, individuals who wear makeup will want to size up, so makeup and debris on the face are completely removed.

The Bottom Line

Because it's hydrating and non-irritating ingredients, The Squalane Cleanser is safe for all skin types to use.

However, those living with oily, and acne-prone skin (as well as individuals who wear heavy makeup), will want to use this cleanser to remove makeup first, and then follow with a water-based cleanser aftewards.