Review: The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

Where to purchase: From the Ordinary’s website HERE

Price: £5.50 / £13.90 

Volume: 50ml / 150ml

PH: 5.50-6.50

What is it?: A gentle cleanser that also removes makeup. Cleanses without leaving the skin tight and dehydrated. ”This formula is designed to be gentle enough for daily use, without over-drying the skin, making it suitable for all skin types.”

Good for: I would also agree with The ordinary and say All skin types. Especially Dehydrated, dry skins. I do think sensitive skins could try this. My only hesitation is for extremely greasy skins i.e. this may not feel like enough of a deep cleanse for you, but then again one could always double cleanse with this instead of opting for a harsher cleanser.


Packaging: It’s that classic sleek matte packaging that the tubed ordinary products have. Easy flip-cap top so you can travel with it and dispense as much product as you want.

Directions: ”Dispense product into hands. Rub together to warm the product, allowing it to melt into an oil. Massage well onto dry face and rinse with warm water.”

How I use it: Personally I don’t do the whole rubbing between my hands and letting it melt as I don’t see a difference i.e. this product turning into an oil etc – I think it stays the same whether I rub it or don’t rub it i.e. it remains a cream/balm. So I just spread this over my face, massage for a short amount of time and quickly wash off (I don’t like to keep cleansers on my face for long). Double-cleanse if I’m wearing makeup. I don’t seem to have a problem putting this around my eyes. I use this dry, but on slightly damp skin should be ok! Yes this does not seem to sting my eyes too much HOWEVER this isn’t a very effective waterproof mascara / kohl / regular mascara remover. So I do pair this with the Bioderma Micellar water.

Key Ingredients: Squalane is the key ingredient – it’s emollient, hydrating and moisturising. Glycerin helps reinforce the moisturisation too. Also contains Lipophilic esters (Fat-loving components) that are also gentle and moisturising while ”efficiently breaking down makeup and cleansing.” The fatty ingredients also make the product spreadable.

The surfactants are: Sucrose Dilaurate, Sucrose Laurate, Sucrose Stearate and Sucrose Trilaurate.

Full Ingredients: 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.

NOTE: Skincharisma have a full product ingredient breakdown HERE


Texture: This is like a cleansing cream! For me it’s less like a balm (a balm melts into an oil which for me, this doesn’t really) and more like a cream that melts the SPF from my face and washes off easily! Now this is moisturising/hydrating – aka it respects my skin’s barrier and DOES NOT make my skin feel tight after cleansing (in an uncomfortable way). My skin feels cleaned but not stripped dry. This rubs into the skin/spreads easily, not tugging. No irritation or stinging (i.e. with active acne or open cuts)

That’s why I think oily skins wouldn’t mind this and especially dry/dehydrated/tight-feeling skins. This shouldn’t aggrevate the skin further compared to other cleansers!

As you can see the product looks more like a cleansing cream rather than a balm. It actually initially looks like a gel when dispensed onto the skin.


Spreads easily, and I wouldn’t say this melts like a balm –> oil, but more like when one is spreading a cream all over the face. This means it’s quite cooling and very emollient, so one can massage/rub withouth tugging at the skin.



YOUTUBE VIDEO: In this video I show live swatches of the Squalane Cleanser! And I also show how it emulsifies/how it looks WHEN WATER IS ADDED – so you can see how it would look like when washing off. (I also swatch, compare and contrast with other cleansers!)

(Time stamp: 7:00)

As you can see, the product sort of emulsifies and becomes easy to wash off. Doesn’t emulsify as much as the DHC cleansing oil, but close! this doesn’t remain sticky when washing off i.e. you don’t get a residual of layer of film left on the skin.

Fragrance?: No fragrance – and in terms of the smell, I can barely smell anything i.e. this doesn’t smell like oil or like soap.

Good at removing makeup?: This is good at removing face makeup but eye makeup – it’s not good for my type of makeup which includes waterproof mascara, kohl and regular mascara. It does remove eyeshadow and eyeliner that isn’t waterlining eyeliner however.

Mascara and eyeliner?: yes once again, with a double cleanse. But I always use micellar water with a cotton bud to clean my waterline to remove any excess mascara and eyeliner (no cleanser fully removes this for me). I have to massage my eyes gently to break dow


Stings the eyes?: Doesn’t seem to sting or irritate my eyes – but I know people have varying levels of sensitivity to this.

How long have I been using this?: For a month

The Effect?: Cleansed skin that does NOT feel tight, dehydrated or irritated.

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What I like:

  • Does not dehydrate my skin
  • Does not strip my skin
  • Doesn’t aggrevate or irritate my skin
  • Easy to wash off
  • It’s like a cream, so the texture is pleasant
  • Decently priced!
  • No essential oils / No fragrance

What I don’t like:

  • I don’t know if greasy skins would enjoy this as much as dry/dehydrated skins. I am combo and seem to find this absolutely fine. But I think if someone wants a really really thorough wash with bubbles and foam, this won’t be for you.
  • This is stated to remove makeup however it’s not that great at removing eye makeup (i.e. waterproof mascara, mascara and kohl)

Overall Rating and Conclusion: 4.5/5 – I feel like this is what a skin-barrier respecting cleanser is. I recommend it to pretty much anyone. As said before, if you want that squeaky-clean feeling or if you’re intensely greasy, you wont feel like this gives enough of a clean, but I honestly have found this so gentle, and it’s one of the very very few cleansers that feels the least tight after cleansing. I feel like this is the cleanser I expected the Krave Beauty Matcha Hemp Hydrating cleanser to be like. The only issue is that this doesn’t remove eye makeup effectively (i.e. waterproof mascara, mascara and Kohl).

Would I repurchase?: Yes – this is gentle, this is well-priced and it does the job.

K-beauty Dupe?: I do think the CNP Cleansing Perfecta is a good alternative (it is a non-foaming gel – see the Youtube video above) – but the CNP does contain EO And fragrance.

My Skin Type: I am acne prone and have combo skin. My skin is usually tight where the cheeks and eye area is and the outer parts of my face. My T zone is oily. My skin isn’t a fan of thick/heavy formulas so I opt for lightweight formulas to prevent it from clogging up. My skin doesn’t like essential oils either and I try to avoid fragrance when I can.

Disclaimer: I am a skincare enthusiast and not a skin expert. I am not qualified to give out dermatological advice. This type of advice should only be given by a medical practitioner. Upon trying / using any of the reviewed products on the blog, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and please seek medical advice if needed.

(Note – this product is also included in my Skincare Cupboard tour.


6 thoughts on “Review: The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

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