this thing's incredible

This $11, Olive-Derived Oil Gave Me the Best Skin of My Life

As a beauty writer, it’s my job to try new trends in makeup and skin care, but one thing I could never get excited about was the trend of using oils as moisturizer. As someone with oily skin, I always found the idea of slapping more oil on my face counterintuitive. I became intrigued, though, when I was reading Paula’s Choice and the noted skin-care guru rated the mysterious-sounding squalane oil (it sounds like food, doesn’t it?) as one of the best facial hydrators.

The first thing you need to know about squalane oil is that it is not squalene oil. While squalene is made from shark-liver oil, squalane is derived from olives, sugarcane, and other sustainable plant sources. The most interesting part about squalane is that it’s a component found in human sebum (a.k.a. face oil), which makes squalane skin-identical — using it restores your skin to what it should look and feel like.

Unlike other oils that just sat on top of my skin, the clear and odorless Timeless Skin Care Squalane sinks in quickly (it’s like my skin is lapping it up) without that gross, slimy feel. It’s been a revelation of a moisturizer. I now have much less irritation — the dry patches are gone, and the pigment and hydration of my skin are more even throughout. I simply apply three or four drops of it onto my freshly washed and exfoliated face nightly and massage it in. If my face is a little parched in the morning, I’ll add a drop or two to my morning moisturizer, post-shower, for a little hydration pick-me-up.

Because I’m a journalist, I’m interested in what the stuff is actually doing, but if you don’t have the time to do your own research, let me just say that medical journals have concluded that squalane is nonirritating to skin and protects against the free radicals of sun damage. For a mere $11, it’s the beauty product in my arsenal with the highest return on investment.

The Sweetbitter author adores her Weleda Skin Food moisturizer: “My skin was flawless, luminous even, and not at all greasy. Weleda Skin Food is an all-purpose, completely natural moisturizer that I now keep in threes: bedside, car, and purse. Nary a chemical in sight, it’s sunflower-seed oil, avocado oil, and pansy extract, and nurtures as it dissolves into your skin.”

In her multistep skin-care routine, Rio Viera-Newton considers the Etude House Moistfull Collagen a “cheap dupe for Tatcha. Rich and hydrating.”

Writer Carson Griffith is a fan of Kim Kardashian’s favorite moisturizer: “When I’m sunburned or ravaged by the cold, I can apply several applications a day, letting my damaged and parched skin drink up the liquid. I’ve taken the bottle into the sauna with me at the gym so the vitamins A and E and plant extracts can commingle with the steam to do whatever they’re supposed to do to make my skin ageless. It’s so cheap I have no problem slathering my entire body in it.”

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This $11, Olive-Derived Oil Gave Me the Best Skin of My Life