The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser: Unpopular Opinion

If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m obsessed with cleansers.
The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser is frequently talked about, so I had to see what the fuss was about myself.

The Ordinary is a very affordable brand, though for me personally, their products are very hit or miss.


“A gentle cleansing product formulated to target makeup removal whilst leaving the skin feeling smooth and moisturized. The formula incorporates Squalane, alongside other lipophilic esters that are gentle, moisturizing, efficient in dissolving makeup and facial impurities and increasing the spreadability of the product. When rubbed between your palms for approximately 10-30 seconds, the product undergoes an important textural change from a balm-like consistency to a clear oil-like consistency. This allows the emulsifying sucrose esters in the formula to trap and blend the dissolved makeup and facial impurities with water for rinsing. Being non-comedogenic and soap-free, this formula is designed to be gentle enough for daily use, without over-drying the skin, making it suitable for all skin types.” – Deciem


Packaging is not a huge deal for me, especially for more budget/affordable products.
If a product does what it’s meant to without hindrance from the packaging, I can deal with it looking ugly.
(But of course, beautiful packaging is always welcome)

The ordinary squalane cleanser basic packaging

I much prefer a pump for a cleanser and in this instance, the packaging does hinder my use of the product slightly after a certain point, due to the content being so thick.

First impressions

So, this is a gel to oil product. The first gel to oil cleanser I tried was from Rituals and it took some time to grow on me.
I initially found it strange to feel a gel break down into a thin, gentle oil on my face, but now I’d say it’s actually quite a pleasant sensation.

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser takes a lot of rubbing to turn into an oil. It’s extremely thick and borderline waxy straight out of the tube.

The ordinary squalane cleanser squeezed onto hand
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If you don’t want to end up tugging your skin all over the place, you need to either:

  • Work the product in your hands for quite a while
    (They say 10-30s. I guess it depends how rigorously you rub, but 10s has never been enough for me. Closer to the 30s mark seems more accurate, if not more. It’s also more effective to use your palms instead of fingertips, but this is weird to me)
  • Add a little water to help it along
  • Use a tiny bit at a time and keep re-applying

In short:

I don’t have the patience for it.

Makeup removal ability

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser has the potential to remove makeup quite well.
That said, all the above fussing makes me feel that anyone would be better off with a standard oil cleanser.
I can never get the squalane cleanser into a thin enough oil, so it also irritates my eyes. This was such a disappointment after experiencing how quickly and easily the Rituals cleanser worked.


Clearly, this product is not suitable for lazy people like myself.

On the plus side it does leave soft, hydrated skin as promised.

I made the mistake of purchasing the larger size because it had such great ratings everywhere and in turn, I had high expectations. Now I’m struggling to empty it, in every sense. The tube packaging is not convenient for such a thick, waxy product. Prepare to squeeze til your fingers hurt once you get beyond the half way mark.
Even though a small tube of this is just £5.50, I wouldn’t repurchase this.

Sadly, I don’t recommend The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser. The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil remains unbeaten for me as a first cleanse/makeup remover.

Overall rating: 2/5

What’s your favourite cleanser? Have you tried this one?

Find me elsewhere:

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