the ordinary squalane cleanser review

Stop the press! The Ordinary has finally come out with its first cleanser – and it removes makeup, too!

It’s the news we were all waiting for. I love having my pick of exfoliants and retinoid serums, but a girl needs a cleanser to complete her skincare routine, know what I mean?

I knew I had to get a tube ASAP. But when I put it to the test, something was off…

Don’t get me wrong. The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser is a great cleanser. I’m just not sure it lives up to the hype. Here’s what I mean…

What’s In The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser?


Squalene is a natural component of human sebum. It’s super moisturising… and super unstable. It goes bad quickly and makes you breakout.

But hydrogenate it (ie, turn it from a liquid to a semi-solid using hydrogen gas) and it turns into squalane. It’s way more stable and 100% non-comedogenic.

Squalane’s main job is to moisturize skin. But In The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser, it pulls another trick. It melts away makeup, excess oil and other impurities from your face.

Sucrose esters then trap this dissolved gunk with water and rinse it away down the drain.

Related: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Squalane Oil In Skincare


The more hydrated skin is during the cleansing process, the less likely it is to get all dry and tight.

Squalane goes a long way in keeping skin moisturised and cleansed at the same time. But it doesn’t play alone. The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser has glycerin, too.

It’s a moisture magnet that attracts moisture from the air into the skin, helping to keep it soft and supple.

Related: Why Is Glycerin In All My Skincare Products?!

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Balm-like texture.


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

It’s the first step of your skincare routine, both morning and night.

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Performance & Personal Opinion

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser has a balm-like texture that’s supposed to turn into a clear oil when you rub it between your palms. I’m not sure that’s happening to me…

No matter how much I rub, the cleanser never turns into a full-on oil. It’s alway stays a little thick and sticky, and you feel like you don’t have enough product on your hands to cover your entire face. It’s just weird.

You’ve guessed it, it doesn’t spread that well on the skin. While it does a great job at removing everything, you need to work at it.

Its low spreadability means you have to massage it for a few minutes to get waterproof mascara and sunscreen off. But off they do come – and without leaving a greasy residue behind. Once I’m done, my skin feels both clean and soft.

I’m impressed by its cleansing power, but I feel the texture needs some improvement. That’s the problem with The Ordinary products, isn’t it? The brand values performance over elegant textures. Can you blame them? They have to keep the prices low somehow.

If that’s what you value, too, this cleanser is a great option to consider. Me, I want the whole package. It costs a bit more, but for now I’ll stick to Clinique Take The Day Off.

the ordinary squalane cleanser

Who Is This For?

Women on a budget who want a cleanser that takes everything off and are not too fussy about the texture.

Who Is This For?

If an elegant texture is important to you, you won’t like this.


A grey tube. Sleek and practical.

Does The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser Live Up To Its Claims?

A gentle cleansing product formulated to target makeup removal whilst leaving the skin feeling smooth and moisturized.  True.
When rubbed between your palms for approximately 10-30 seconds, the product undergoes an important textural change from a balm-like consistency to a clear oil-like consistency. It does not change texture.

Price & Availability

£5.50 at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Feel Unique

Do You Need It?

It depends on your criteria. It does the job, but the texture doesn’t make it very pleasant to use.

Dupes & Alternatives


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.