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Are You Wearing Shark Liver Oil on Your Face?

Spotlighting our cruelty-free alternative to shark-harvested squalene

Written by: 100% PURE ®

What in the world is squalene? It’s an ingredient we’ve seen on skin care products, but it has a close relative: squalane.

When it comes to how squalane is sourced, you may not be ready for the truth: this ingredient is actually sourced from shark liver! Squalane is inhumanely harvested by killing off shark populations in high numbers. Sharks are actually dying in the name of some of those fancy products, risking the eventual disappearance of our ocean's most vital apex species.

Let’s dive into squalene vs. squalane, why the beauty industry is so intent to rely on this cruel ingredient, and how we use a plant-based alternative that works better for your skin.

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Squalene Vs. Squalane

Squalene (the kind not derived from sharks) is actually native to our skin. It’s fatty, rich, and helpful for keeping skin supple and moisturized. But our own natural squalene supply starts to rapidly decline in our early 20’s – by middle age, it's virtually non-existent. Why is this a big deal? Squalene is instrumental in securing the skin’s moisture barrier, while supporting healthy skin aging.

Squalene in beauty products is said to be highly unreliable, and can actually do more harm than good. Say hello to clogged pores, greasy skin, and oxidized makeup if your cosmetics contain this ingredient.

Enter squalane: the bigger and better version of squalene. It’s derived from squalene but becomes squalane through a process of hydrogenation. This allows it to play nice with our other skin care products, like oils and hyaluronic acid that can help lock in long lasting hydration.

Squalene from Sharks

Squalene has been primarily used in the South Pacific as a cure-all remedy. Sharks, especially deep-sea sharks, possess a high volume of oil for buoyancy. Much of this oil can be found in their livers, which is where hunters and harvesters find squalene.

One of the major issues with this type of environmental destruction is that the types of sharks targeted for squalene are larger, and come of age slowly. This means that as their populations swiftly decline due to cosmetic harvesting, they are not able to replenish at the same rate – causing a severe drop in large shark populations not just in the South Pacific, but on a global scale.

While society and pop culture have painted sharks as villains of the deep, they are actually a fundamental part of the sea – and vital to ocean life as we know it. Here are some of the ways sharks are significant to the marine ecosystem:

  • Since sharks are the primary predator of the ocean, they help maintain other populations of sea creatures.

  • Intimidation and culling by sharks helps to prevent overgrazing, therefore maintaining seagrass and coral reefs.

  • Healthy sharks feed on weak, sick, or diseased sharks, fish, and other sea life. This helps to reduce the spread of marine diseases and sicknesses.

  • Sharks are a pillar to the oceanic ecosystem and without them, ocean life is at risk of collapse.

We don’t believe that any ingredient putting our environment at risk is worth the reward. There are many humane ingredients that deliver the same potency without harm, such as our rice bran or sugar cane, or our personal favorite: olive sourced squalane, which we use in 100% PURE™ products.

By sourcing olive squalane instead of shark squalane, we can save millions of sharks every year!

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100% PURE™ Olive Squalane

We source wholesome ingredients that utilize the power of either plants or clean, synthetic alternatives to conventional ingredients. We’re doing our part to better the beauty community by including olive-derived squalane in our formulas. This olive substitute is better for the ecosystem and for your skin!

Olive squalane is created as a natural byproduct during the refining process of olive oil. During the process of hydrogenation, squalane becomes a lighter form of olive oil squalene that is much more stable. It helps to boost cell regeneration, which aids in eliminating age spots and scars, tightening the skin, and maintaining a youthful appearance. It also helps to soften rough skin, repair sun damage, and heal skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

In addition to the same benefits popularized by shark squalene, olive squalane is completely shelf stable in comparison to its alternative.

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Here are a few 100% PURE™ products that feature olive squalane:

Green Tea EGCG Concentrate Cream
Amazingly potent and antioxidant-rich, this cream helps protect and repair from environmental damage. In concert with green tea and yerba mate, the olive squalane in this moisturizer is instrumental in fortifying the skin’s moisture barrier and soothing the skin.

PRO TIP: This cream has a sister in the form of our Green Tea EGCG Concentrate Serum. Start with the serum and layer on the cream for increased hydration and skin clarity.

Fruit Pigmented 2nd Skin Concealer
What would you guess is the first ingredient in concealer? For our competitors, it might be water or silicone – but for our vegan and cruelty-free 2nd Skin Concealer, its olive squalane. Squalane is one of the primary reasons why this concealer appears like your real skin.

Rose Water Hydrating Milk
In this mostly water-based moisturizer, olive squalane works to ensure adequate moisture levels. This moisturizer was designed primarily for hydration, something that olive squalane supports with its ability to create an occlusive barrier over the skin to prevent water loss.

Green Tea SPF 30
Olive oil is one of the primary moisturizing agents in this all-purpose sunscreen. While slightly different in chemical composition from olive squalane, they do share similar benefits – namely, their antioxidant content and emollient properties.

We hope we’ve shed some light on the injustice of this cosmetic ingredient, and continue to support important work by organizations like Shark Stewards. Their mission is to establish key shark sanctuaries, pass legislation banning shark fishing, and shed light on this important cause. Learn more about their cause at www.sharkstewards.org.

We carefully hand-select products based on strict purity standards, and only recommend products we feel meet this criteria. 100% PURE™ may earn a small commission for products purchased through affiliate links.

The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.

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