The Ordinary – Squalane Cleanser (good budget alternative)

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser


The Ordinary released the Squalane Cleanser in 2019 and is a balm to oil cleanser.

I am a bit of a fan of The Ordinary, as they have a range of simple formulas. The company makes it relatively easy for the user to come up with a personalised routine, providing you can cut through the jargon.

I initially purchased the squalane cleanser, because I was going away on a long weekend (with hand baggage only) and didn’t have anything suitable to pack in one of those tiny bags. Luckily with the format of 50ml of product in a tube, this appeared to be the ideal candidate!

Naturally, being a person with combination skin and an avid wearer of sunscreen, I had to pack a double-cleanse routine with me. But this was a bit of a risky strategy, considering I have never used the product before.

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser product claims and ingredients

Squalane is a fascinating ingredient; it is a hydrogenated version of squalene. Squalene can be found naturally in the sebum (oils) produced by our skin; it’s there to moisturise and lubricate. However, squalene is typically quite unstable and is challenging to use in cosmetic formulas.

So, the two are different versions of the same compound. It acts as a moisturiser and generally smoothes everything over in the skin (read: emollient).

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser claims to be gentle but efficient at removing makeup (I can’t vouch for that as I don’t wear it) and daily grime. Because of the massive amount of squalane that is in the formula, it should not leave your skin tight or dry but moisturised.

The cleanser has a pH of 5.5-6.5 and is free from alcohol, oil, silicone, soap, nuts or gluten. The squalene cleanser is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.

The cleanser is gentle enough to be used daily and is non-comedogenic, i.e. will not clog your pores.

My final thoughts

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser Product Spread

I think The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser makes the perfect travel companion because the oils tend to be heavy and depending on the packaging can end up going everywhere in transit. The tubs of balm are a bit bulky, while the tube format is practical!

The cleanser was very much the first step of a double-cleanse, which I would follow up with the CeraVe gel foaming wash for normal to oily skin. After dispensing the balm on your hand, you have to rub it where it transforms into an oil. It is in this state that the magic happens!

I think that the result was satisfying, but I have had much better. After washing my face with The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser, my skin did not feel as clean as say my favourite balm (Farmacy – Green Clean).

My skin felt as if there was either leftover sunscreen or the cleanser left a film. My intention was always to wash this off with a gel cleanser; this didn’t worry me too much.

Overall, I think this performs satisfactorily for light sunscreens, but anything substantial or makeup might need several goes, especially if this is your only cleanser.

I was in some conflict about this as it’s a cousin of the compound found in sebum, so it should not cause any irritations. On the other hand, excess sebum can lead to spots or acne – a problem, indeed! It turns out my misgivings were misplaced entirely; there was no hint of a breakout at all.

At the time of writing, you can buy a 50ml tube of The Ordinary Squalene Cleanser for £5.50 or a 150ml tube for £13.90 from



I think this is fine; I would be happy to use as part of a double cleanse away from home. However, since there are better oil and balm cleansers on the market, this would not be in my everyday rotation.

If you are interested in reading other reviews of cleansers, I have tried, please click here.

Have you used this product or something like it? Tell me about your experiences in the comments section below.

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