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Squalane vs. Hemi-Squalane: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on May 22, 2024
Squalane is a stable, saturated hydrocarbon used in skincare for moisturizing, while hemi-squalane is a lighter version of squalane, with a lower molecular weight, offering similar benefits but with a less greasy feel.

Key Differences

Squalane is a saturated hydrocarbon derived from squalene oxidation, featuring a stable molecular structure. Hemi-squalane has a similar structure but with half the molecular weight, making it lighter.
Squalane is known for its moisturizing and non-comedogenic properties, suitable for all skin types. Hemi-squalane also provides hydration but feels less greasy and more lightweight on the skin.
Squalane is commonly used in creams and lotions for intense moisturization. Hemi-squalane is often found in lighter skincare formulations like serums and face oils.
Both squalane and hemi-squalane can be derived from plant sources like olives and sugarcane, making them sustainable and cruelty-free alternatives to shark-derived squalane.
Squalane is easily absorbed by the skin, leaving a hydrating, non-greasy layer. Hemi-squalane is even faster absorbing, providing a more matte finish suitable for oily skin types.

Comparison Chart

Molecular Weight

Higher molecular weight
Lower molecular weight

Skin Feel

More hydrating, slightly greasier
Lighter, non-greasy finish

Common Usage

In creams and lotions
In serums and lightweight oils


Plant-based (e.g., olives, sugarcane)
Plant-based (e.g., olives, sugarcane)


Easily absorbed, hydrating
Faster absorption, matte finish

Squalane and Hemi-Squalane Definitions


Squalane is suitable for all skin types.
Squalane's non-comedogenic nature makes it ideal for sensitive skin.


It's commonly used in lightweight skincare products.
Many facial oils incorporate hemi-squalane for a light feel.


It is often used in high-end cosmetic formulations.
Luxury skincare brands frequently feature squalane for its benefits.


Hemi-squalane is a lighter variant of squalane with lower molecular weight.
Hemi-squalane is preferred for its lightweight texture in serums.


Squalane is a saturated hydrocarbon used in skincare.
Squalane is popular in moisturizers for its hydrating properties.


Hemi-squalane is rapidly absorbed by the skin.
Hemi-squalane leaves a matte finish, making it popular in daily skincare.


It is derived from the oxidation of squalene.
Squalane is more stable than its unsaturated counterpart, squalene.


It provides hydration without a heavy, greasy feel.
Hemi-squalane is excellent for oily skin due to its non-greasy hydration.


Squalane can be sourced sustainably from plants.
Plant-derived squalane is an eco-friendly skincare ingredient.


Hemi-squalane is derived similarly to squalane but is lighter.
Like squalane, hemi-squalane is also sourced from plants.


(organic compound) A saturated triterpene hydrocarbon made by hydrogenating squalene; used in cosmetics etc.


Is hemi-squalane good for oily skin?

Yes, its lightweight nature makes it suitable for oily skin.

How is hemi-squalane different in feel from squalane?

Hemi-squalane feels lighter and less greasy compared to squalane.

What is squalane used for in skincare?

Squalane is used for its moisturizing and hydrating properties.

Where is squalane sourced from?

Squalane can be sourced from plants like olives and sugarcane.

Is squalane safe for sensitive skin?

Yes, squalane is generally safe and beneficial for sensitive skin.

Does hemi-squalane absorb quickly into the skin?

Yes, hemi-squalane is known for its fast absorption and matte finish.

Are there any anti-aging benefits of squalane?

Squalane can help with skin elasticity and moisture retention, aiding in anti-aging.

Can hemi-squalane be used in hair care?

Yes, its light texture makes it suitable for hair care products.

Can squalane clog pores?

No, squalane is non-comedogenic and does not clog pores.

Does squalane have any antioxidant properties?

Squalane itself isn't a strong antioxidant but supports skin barrier health.

Can hemi-squalane be mixed with other skincare ingredients?

Yes, it's versatile and can be combined with various skincare ingredients.

Is hemi-squalane effective in reducing fine lines?

While hydrating, it's not specifically targeted for reducing fine lines.

How does squalane impact skin hydration?

Squalane enhances skin hydration by mimicking natural skin lipids.

Can hemi-squalane be used under makeup?

Yes, its light texture makes it suitable as a base under makeup.

Does hemi-squalane provide long-lasting hydration?

Hemi-squalane offers hydration, though it may be lighter than squalane.

How often can squalane be used in a skincare routine?

Squalane can be used daily, both morning and night.

Can squalane help with acne?

Squalane is non-irritating but should be used cautiously on acne-prone skin.

Can squalane help with dry skin?

Absolutely, squalane is excellent for treating dry skin.

Is hemi-squalane a sustainable ingredient?

Yes, like squalane, it can be sustainably sourced from plants.

Is hemi-squalane vegan?

Yes, plant-derived hemi-squalane is vegan.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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