The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser


What is it? Gel-balm to oil cleanser.

What does/should it do? Remove makeup and SPF, clean skin.

Repurchase? Yes!

I owe The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser an apology.

Historically I haven’t been wowed by The Ordinary. Yes, they’re a great starter to dedicated skincare if you want to dip your toe face in cheaply, but none of their products have hit the mark with me. Usually, I’ve quickly moved on once I’ve realised that what I’m looking for can’t be found in these iconic white-and-grey dropper bottles.

However, the Squalane Cleanser does live up to its hype. When it first launched, the price per millilitre was comparable to my beloved Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, and so I didn’t bother switching from something I knew and trusted, to something I wasn’t particularly interested to try. It is popular though, so much so that The Ordinary launched it in a bigger size tube. In this bigger size, I do think it’s a good product at a good price.

What is there to say about a cleanser, really? If it takes your makeup and SPF off, it’s done the job. If it’s a price you’re willing to pay for something you’re using for no more than 60 seconds, that’s excellent. If you’re willing to invest more in a product that makes cleansing an Experience, rather than the first step in your routine, even better. The Squalane Cleanser is not an Experience. It’ll get your face clean, and you can move on to serums. Absolutely utilitarian, yes, and I don’t mind that at all.

It’s a gel-balm hybrid, in that it feels like a balm-to-oil cleanser on your skin, but it’s squeezable out of the tube. I like this: you don’t need to spend so much time warming and melting it on your hands before you can start smooshing it on your face as you would with a thicker, more solid balm. It easily removes my makeup and mascara – even the tubing ones that need warm water and a good, gentle pull at the lashes to get off.

It’s just as nice as a second cleanse, or morning cleanse: there’s no residue left on your face after wiping away with a face washer.

The squalane in the name, together with glycerin, are moisturising ingredients to leave your skin feeling soft, rather than tight and dry. I always go in immediately with hydrating serums, so I can’t tell you how effective the moisturising aspect is on its own.

Squalane also has anti-inflammatory properties, so this might be a good option to try if you have sensitive skin: acne-prone, rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis. Obviously, you know your skin better than this non-trained non-professional so please don’t take this as Actual Advice. The lack of fragrance is also a bonus for sensitive skins and sensitive noses: I don’t have a skin problem with most fragrances, but I generally don’t like them either.

Is this one a keeper? I’d say so. The larger size is great value, if you’re looking for a cleanser that just gets the job done. There’s nothing wrong with being good enough.

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser 150ml is $34.90 from Adore Beauty.

This page does not contain affiliate links. All products featured were purchased. Prices in Australian dollars unless otherwise noted and current at time of publication. Products trialled on my skin and may not be suitable for yours. Have an excellent day!

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