Have you ever been drawn to a product just because of its name? This kind of gut-driven curiosity is exactly what plagued me when browsing Mullein & Sparrow’s fall collection a couple of weeks ago. Among the Brooklyn-based brand’s prettily packaged, all-natural offerings was a little bottle of Pure Squalane Oil ($28)—and after months of hearing mention of the buzzy skincare ingredient, I decided now was as good a time as any to give it a try.
Though I’m a bona fide oil junkie, I admittedly didn’t know too much about squalene until rotating this product into my routine, even as it has risen in the ranks as the anti-aging miracle ingredient du jour. Found naturally in plants and animals, squalene is a colorless liquid that actually makes up about 10% of our skin’s natural oils. In addition to being a natural antioxidant and emollient, it’s an important component of human sebum, which is exactly why it’s skincare gold: When our complexions are dry or acting up, what better way to refurbish than with something that’s supposed to be there in the first place?
As for why this product is called squalane, with an “a,” rather than squalene is just indicative of the way it’s formulated: Squalane means that the liquid has been hydrogenated to make it more lightweight. This is often a preferable option for those with younger or oilier skin.
So in the end, it was more curiosity than an outright problem that led me to slather this oil on my face before bed one evening. My skin, as far as I was concerned, was fine—even great. In fact, I closed my eyes that night thinking that I didn’t even really like the squalane oil all that much, since it left a pretty oily residue on my face (which, in retrospect, was probably due to the fact that I applied way too much at once).
But then I looked in the mirror the next morning. In my groggy state, I could hardly remember my own name, much less the fact that I had tried this new product the night before, but things quickly spun into focus when I glanced at my reflection. My skin looked plump, refreshed, and positively luminous. What’s more, things I had come to accept as parts of my face—under-eye bags, defined laugh lines, and that one tiny crease that runs through my forehead—had all been blurred. I get that it’s weird (or even annoying) to say this as a 20-something, but I really did look younger overnight.
I quickly learned not to use the oil every day and to seriously lower my dosage (a few drops is really all it takes) in order to avoid breakouts. But that’s the only caveat so far, and it’s fairly easy to avoid. Another bonus is the bottle’s teeny-tiny size, which makes it perfect for air travel—which is just as well, since airplanes are typically where plump, young-looking skin goes to die.
So while I went into this with blind curiosity, I walked away with the kind of product you want to buy for both your best friend and your mom. The moral here, I suppose, is to listen to your gut, no matter if it’s a cool name or a pretty label—you could find a dud, but you could also find the elixir of youthful skin.
What’s your favorite “miracle” product? Tell us about it in the comments below!