Oilless Oil 100% Purified Squalane
1 fl. oz. for $38
Last Updated:06.16.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Peter Thomas Roth makes much ado about their Oilless Oil 100% Purified Squalane, and while squalane has its benefits as a moisturizing agent, it is not more beneficial or unique than plain canola oil when it comes to the health of your skin. This is a good, basic fragrance-free option for adding moisture to your routine and is best for normal to dry skin.

Packaged in a clear container with a dropper applicator, Peter Thomas Roth derives their squalane from sugarcane. Squalane is a hydrogenated version of squalene, the latter being the pure component found in plants and animal sources. Squalene is rather unstable, however, and thus squalane is nearly all you'll find in cosmetics (the process of hydrogenation creates the stable squalane). It's important to note that all ingredients in cosmetics are purified, which includes squalane—thus, Peter Thomas Roth isn't doing something that other brands aren't.

Adding a few drops of this to a moisturizer or serum or applying it directly to skin is quite similar to doing the same with a facial oil (or plain oil, like avocado or argan, for example). As mentioned above, squalane is as basic as it gets for a moisturizing ingredient, but it does have some antioxidant properties that are, again, not much different from many non-fragrant plant oils.

Squalane isn't technically an "oil," but that differentiation is somewhat pedantic, because many emollients aren't technically oils, but still behave similarly when it comes to their effect on skin (like jojoba oil isn't technically an oil, for example, it's a liquid wax).

Ultimately, Oilless Oil 100% Purified Squalane is just a good, ordinary moisturizing ingredient for dry to very dry skin—consider this (like any non-fragrant plant oil) a fine option to add to your routine for extra moisture. This didn't earn our top rating like many facial oils relying on a single ingredient due to the fact that it is incredibly overpriced in comparison to its simplicity and alternatives available from other brands, like Acne.org Jojoba Oil or Physicians Formula Argan Wear Ultra-Nourishing Argan Oil.

Note: The non-comedogenic claim isn't accurate, as any ingredient or product can result in a breakout. More to the point, there are no standardized or universally accepted methods for testing comedogenicity—check the More Info section for more details.

  • Squalane is a good moisturizing ingredient for dry skin (like any non-fragrant oil, i.e. olive oil or almond oil, etc.).
  • Fragrance-free.
  • No more special than any other ordinary plant oil, like those you would find in your kitchen cupboard.
  • Overpriced for such a simple ingredient.
  • Non-comedogenic claims are pure marketing, like any emollient ingredient, squalane is capable of causing a breakout.
More Info:

Non-Comedogenic: Labels like "non-comedogenic" or "non-acnegenic" seem like safe bets, but are actually unhelpful because these terms were coined under test conditions that are not even remotely applicable to how you, or anyone for that matter, use skincare or makeup products. The "non-comedogenic" myth got its beginnings from a 1979 study published in the British Journal of Dermatology. This study examined the potential of various ingredients (cocoa and shea butters, lanolin and waxes, among others) to clog pores and lead to the formation of comedones—hence the term "comedogenic."

Under the conditions of this study, 100% pure concentrations of ingredients were layered five times per application over a period of two weeks, without cleansing the skin at any time. The manner in which these tests were conducted is not remotely similar to how we use skincare or makeup products—plus very few products are formulated with 100% of any one ingredient. What really determines whether an ingredient present in your skincare or makeup products is likely to trigger a breakout is how much of the ingredient is present in the formula and what else you apply as part of your skincare routine.

The researcher largely credited for developing the concept of comedogenic, Albert Kligman, said as much in his 1972 study, "Acne Cosmetica":

"It is not necessary to exclude constituents which might be comedogenic in a pure state. The concentration of such substances is exceedingly important. To exile such materials as lanolin, petroleum hydrocarbons, fatty alcohols, and vegetable oils from cosmetics would be irrational. What is ultimately important is the comedogenicity of the finished product (Archives of Dermatology, 1972)."

Last, the terms non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic are not regulated so they're not beholden to any agreed-upon standards. Any product, from the richest cream to the thinnest lotion, can use these claims and not have to prove they really don't clog pores or trigger acne breakouts.


Oilless Oil 100% Purified Squalane is for anyone looking for all the benefits of an oil without leaving an oily or greasy after feel. It is lightweight, clear, and odorless. Oilless Oil is derived from farmed naturally-sourced sustainable sugarcane (not from sharks or olives). NON-COMEDOGENIC – will not cause breakouts.



Brand Overview

Peter Thomas Roth At-A-Glance

Strengths: Provides complete ingredient lists on Web site; most products are fragrance-free; very good AHA products; wide selection of water-soluble cleansers and scrubs; some excellent sunscreens, benzoyl peroxide products, and many antioxidant-rich formulas.

Weaknesses: Can be pricey; some products contain irritants; jar packaging for several products that contain air and light sensitive ingredients.

Unique in the world of spa and salon specialty lines, Peter Thomas Roth is a large but straightforward line with mostly uncomplicated formulations that, for the most part, are quite good and state-of-the-art. Unlike many product lines, most of the acne, AHA, BHA, sunscreen, and moisturizing products contain what they should to be effective and helpful for skin.

A novel aspect of this line is that there are few (if any) nonsense ingredients. Roth products conspicuously lack the exotic, potentially irritating, sensitizing, and often unnecessary plant extracts and the irritating, fragrant plant oils that show up in most pricey skin-care lines, especially spa lines. Many of these are fragrance free, and lack the long lists of complicated ingredients—all great qualities for any skincare brand.

Even more impressive are the well-formulated cleansers, sunscreens, AHA products, and skin lighteners. The moisturizers have improved somewhat, and most are now packaged so that the light- and air-sensitive ingredients remain stable. In fact, Roth's packaging deserves special mention because it is exceptionally utilitarian and gender-friendly.

No pretty pink bottles, sexy curved jars, or bejeweled caps— which reinforces the clinical nature of Peter Thomas Roth. Overall, this line should be admired for its simplicity and, for the most part, for its well-thought-out formulations.

After all that glowing praise, what you should be aware of are the instances of products containing potential irritants (noted in their respective reviews) as well as the products in jar packaging that contain ingredients which are sensitive to air and light.

For more information about Peter Thomas Roth, call (800) PTR-SKIN or visit www.peterthomasroth.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Greetings, I just recently was introduced to the product squalane and two things occurred:I broke out with about three pimples and my skin did fell a little stiff. I went to google to discover that the process to make it was toxic. Further research I find that it was approved by Ecocert. What gives? Anybody else that has any info please reply, thanks, Rho

Reviewed by
Beautypedia Team Response

Hi there!  The squalane that is used in cosmetics is non-toxic.  It's usually derived from shark liver or plants ans is a great emollient with antioxidant properties!  We'd encourage you to reach out to Peter Thomas Roth, though, regarding your reaction to this product.

I love it.

It works for me. I have dry skin with hormonal acne. I use a drop or two on my face and backs of my hands all winter and when i really need the extra moisture. Not greasy, absorbed quickly and i do not break out any worse than i do without it.

Reviewed by
Dena a
Not worth the $

The moisturizers I prefer for my dry skin contain squalane. So I thought, why not try it on its own? It did nothing for me. I far prefer a blend of ingredients that provide lasting moisture over just one oil. This did not make me break out, but everyone is different. For me, Shea butter is a no. I recommend finding the ingredients common to the moisturizers you like before trying a new one - especially a formulation with few ingredients.

Reviewed by
Helen A
False claim!

This does absolutely cause acne! Do not use this if you are acne-prone! No benefits as far as I'm concerned. A "0"!

Reviewed by
Annette D.
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