10 of the Most Nourishing Lip Balms For Fall, According To Derms

Getting chapped or dry lips is truly one of the greatest humbling experiences — and one that nearly everyone can relate to. After all, I’m yet to meet anyone, regardless of gender and age, who doesn’t own and use a lip balm (even if it’s just seasonally) when the going gets tough, or when temperatures start to drop. 

“Lips are highly specialized mucosal skin that take a beating from overuse during speaking, to being the frequent target of trauma — biting,” says dermatologist Dr. Corey L. Hartman, founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama. “They are prone to dryness and easily irritated by both the environment and products that are used on the face for anti-aging, like retinols and hydroxy acids.”

And those of us prone to dry or chapped lips understand the delicate dance of autumn and wintertime hydration, but not all lip balms are created equal. Here, we asked three dermatologists for their take on what makes a lip conditioner effective, as well as their favorite ones currently on the market. Read on for your softest lips ever.

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Have chapped or chronically dry lips that just won’t go away? Try an overnight mask, says New York City-based dermatologist, Dr. Morgan Rabach. “We lose moisture overnight as we sleep, especially with AC or heat,” she explains, pointing out that we aren’t hydrating (as in drinking water) as we sleep, either — another key issue for the driest lips. “A sleeping mask really helps trap moisture and prevent lips from getting overdried.” She recommends the antioxidant and vitamin C-rich Laniege Lip Sleeping Mask to her patients to help soften and hydrate lips. Bonus: it has an eight-hour time-release, so you’ll get layer upon layer of the juicy goodness while sleeping your way to softer lips.

Shop at Sephora $22

Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask

When it comes to supporting the skin’s moisture levels, hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that’s as good as it gets to “drive hydration and provide a source of continued moisture,” says Dr. Hartman. Brimming with a mighty blend of goji, acai, blueberry, and blackberry extracts, mixed with hyaluronic acid, topical melatonin, and Persian silk tree extract, this heavenly-scented formulation of chamomile and lavender plumps, protects, and provides anti-aging benefits while you kick back, relax, and go to sleep.

Shop at Sephora $24

Kosas LipFuel Hyaluronic Acid Lip Balm

Data doesn’t lie: In a clinical four-week trial, people using this lip balm daily described improved hydration, smoothness and lip plumpness, which is not at all surprising when you consider that the formula is filled with hyaluronic acid, konjac root, and water-attracting vitamin E. But if your lips still don’t seem to improve, it may be time to see a dermatologist, says Dr. Rabach. “It could be a precancerous spot called actinic keratosis, or other skin cancer.”

Shop at Sephora $18

Aquaphor Lip Repair

This dermatologist favorite — all three dermatologists InStyle spoke to recommended this product — proves that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your lips healthy. In fact, Houston-based dermatologist Dr. DiAnne Davis calls it her “go-to moisturizer” for lips, thanks to its glycerin-filled formulation that draws in moisture, as well as other derm-approved ingredients, like shea butter and beeswax. “It provides a protective barrier for overall lip health,” the MD adds. 

Shop at ULTA $4

La Mer The Lip Balm

Is it pricey? Yes. Is it also worth every penny? Also, yes. Velvety soft with a minty aroma, this balm delivers hydration and healing instantly with an infusion of glycerin. “It’s a great humectant because it works to pull water into the skin and lips like a sponge,” raves Dr. Davis. The formula is brewed with aloe leaf, seaweed, eucalyptus, and algae extracts, along with castor, sesame and sunflower seed oils, which is basically like a tall glass of water for parched lips. To boot, it also strengthens the natural moisture barrier to protect against future environmental damage.

Shop at Sephora $75

Laneige Lip Treatment Balm

“Maintenance of a good skin barrier and constant hydration of the lips are paramount to keeping the lips luscious and plump,” explains Dr. Hartman, who prefers balms over other textures. When in need, he reaches for one from Laniege (the brand’s second appearance on this list — they know lip conditioners!) on the daily to keep the hydration pumping. “Go for a lip balm with shea butter and ceramides,” he suggests. And if you don’t know when to start, the appropriate time is right now. “It’s better to get ahead of lip dryness because once it starts and gets bad, it can be difficult to control,” he cautions.

Shop at Sephora $25

Vanicream Lip Protectant Sunscreen

Just because the seasons are changing doesn’t mean we can stop forgetting about sun protection. This lip protectant boasts 30 SPF, along with petroleum, making it a solid option for summer, winter, and every day in between. “Apply it nightly to seal in moisture and smooth the lip surface overnight,” suggests Dr. Hartman.

Shop at Walmart $7

Carmex Medicated Lip Balm

With an unbeatable price and more than 80 years spent helping the world repair dry and chapped lips, Carmex’s classic balm glides onto lips with the greatest of soothing ease. Lanolin, beeswax, petrolatum, cacao seed butter, and camphor — an anti-inflammatory oil distilled from the bark and wood of a camphor tree — are the heavy hitting ingredients that work to calm angry lips and fight against further moisture loss. 

Shop at Target $4

Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm

This ultra-smooth, vegan lip butter is just what the doctor ordered to relieve chapped lips. Literally. “Use a thick moisturizing balm with shea butter or petrolatum,” recommends Dr. Rabach. And lucky for us, this creamy emollient is mixed with heavy doses of both to instantly moisturize and protect.

Shop at Sephora $22

Vaseline

A brand adored by nearly everyone, dermatologists included, Vaseline’s petroleum jelly is a fall and winter classic for a reason. “If your lips get chapped, Vaseline is a favorite amount dermatologists,” says Dr. Davis, noting that the formulation contains 100% petroleum jelly, making it one of the purest and simplest — but completely effective — lip conditioners. “[The jelly] soothes the irritating symptoms someone may have, while also adding hydration,” she says.

Shop at Target $4

INSTYLE ARTICLE

The 18 Best Lip Masks For A Softer, Smoother Pout

These days, masks are as ubiquitous as hair tools and CBD-spiked skin care. Not surprisingly then, there’s been an influx of options hitting the mask market made specifically for your lips. Ahead, find 18 amazing lip masks of every variety — balms, gels, and sheets. Slather them on while you sleep, mid-commute, or before swiping on a bold lip you need to last all night. Get ready for smoother, softer-looking lips.

Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm

Summer Fridays’ Lip Butter Balm isn’t technically called a mask, but it sure feels like one. The ultra-rich consistency coats lips in a blanket of soothing butters, including shea and murumuru, which are known to nourish dry skin. It also contains vegan waxes that make the formula extra thick and satisfying to use — especially if you’re struggling with severely dry or cracked lips. The subtle vanilla flavor definitely doesn’t hurt either.

$22 (Shop Now)

Tarte’s Sea Jelly Glaze Anytime Lip Mask

Available in three lip-enhancing hues, Tarte’s Sea Jelly Glaze Anytime Lip Mask is perfect for anyone who loves a little tint to their lips. Infused with hyaluronic acid to quench dry lips, along with avocado, jojoba, and argan oils to lock in moisture, it leaves lip supple, soft, and smelling sweet.

$14 (Shop Now)

Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask

Milk Makeup’s Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask features hyaluronic acid and a blend of goji, acai, blueberry, and blackberry extracts for their powerful antioxidant benefits. It not only smells sublime, but makes lips look plumper, softer, and smoother after just one use.

$22 (Shop Now)

Henné Organics Lip Mask

Henné’s Organics Lip Mask is made with ultra-nourishing oils like rosehip, avocado, sweet orange peel, and jojoba (that’s four of many) and comes from a brand fully devoted to lip care, so you know it’s legit. Its light, citrus-and-vanilla scent sends it over the edge. The best part? Leave it on as you choose — lip masks like this one don’t have a limit since their sole purpose is to soothe, plump, and moisturize.

$37 (Shop Now)

Sara Happ The Sweet Clay Lip Mask

Sara Happ is renowned for her sublime lip treatments and The Sweet Clay Lip Mask is no exception. Comprised of deep-cleansing bentonite clay, nourishing shea butter, and an Ayurvedic herb known as Swertiamarin sourced from the Himalayas, this mask means business. Its bubblegum-pink hue will makes your lips look like you’ve caked them in icing while you wear it, but that’s a bonus if you ask me. Apply it weekly — or nightly — for soft and supple lips that appear visibly smoother after one use.

$32 (Shop Now)

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

Thick, luxurious, and super hydrating, this clear, jelly-like balm is like a deep conditioning treatment for your lips: Agave nectar and lanolin provide a dose of long-lasting moisture, while a hefty dose of antioxidants (literally three times the amount found in a serving of red wine) protect your pout from the elements. It’s best worn as an overnight mask, but the formula also comes in two super-pretty sheer, glossy shades (a gold-flecked rose and a cool, pinkish red) for daytime wear.

$26 (Shop Now)

Klavuu Nourishing Care Lip Sleeping Pack

Klavuu’s Nourishing Care Lip Sleeping Pack comes highly recommended by Allure’s digital reporter Devon Abelman, who lauds it for its weightless formula and ability to bring dry, dehydrated lips back to a happy and balanced state. Enriched with avocado, sweet almond, and apricot seed oils, this Korean beauty treatment leaves lips looking and feeling instantly more moisturized after a mere five minutes.

$15 (Shop Now)

Burt’s Bees Lip Treatment Lip Mask

For less than a Lincoln you can score the Burt’s Bees Lip Treatment Lip Mask, which soothes and hydrates with meadowfoam and sweet almond oils. It’s also 100 percent natural for those of you who prefer a green option.

$3 (Shop Now)

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask is an all-time Allure editor favorite. Its über-thick formula falls somewhere between a balm and a cream, and works its magic by slowly melting into your lips overnight. Come morning, lips look and feel soft, bouncy, and supple as ever. It also comes in a vanilla version, if that’s more up your alley.

$20 (Shop Now)

Jouer Overnight Conditioning & Repairing Lip Mask

While Jouer isn’t typically known for skin-care offerings, its new Overnight Conditioning & Repairing Lip Mask is a true standout I couldn’t not mention. Jam-packed with ingredients like vitamin E, shea butter, and jojoba oil, as well as hyaluronic acid to help lock in moisture, lips feel quenched for days after using it. Leave it on while you snooze for kitten-soft lips when you wake — or use in place of an ultra-thick balm for the ultimate luxury lip-care experience.

$20 (Shop Now)

KNC Beauty All Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask

KNC Beauty’s All Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask contains vitamin E, rose oil, and hydrating cherry extract to help plump fine lines and deeply moisturize the lips. You might remember Emma Stone’s pre-Globes selfie wearing the jelly-like lip patch, which was recommended by her makeup artist Rachel Goodwin, in order to prep the actor’s lips for the big night. Needless to say, if it’s approved by Emma and her MUA, you can bet it won’t be a letdown.

$40 for 10 masks (Shop Now)

Patchology FlashPatch Lip Gels

Patchology’s FlashPatch Lip Gels are similar to that of KNC’s in that they adhere to your lips, feel cool to the touch, and look slightly sheet mask-esque. The biodegradable patches feature soothing green tea extract, redness-reducing niacinamide, and peptides to help enhance elasticity and promote collagen production.

$50 for 24 patches (Shop Now)

Flower Beauty Petal Pout Lip Mask

Flower Beauty’s Petal Pout Lip Mask, which just launched, is already a fast favorite. It’s portable, affordable, and, most importantly, infused with decadent mango and coconut butters to repair chapped and flaking lips.

$10 (Shop Now)

Clinique Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask

Clinique’s Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask not only comes in this unarguably cute, millennial-pink tube, but it also works like a charm on winter-worn lips. Moisturizing ingredients, like murumuru seed butter, hydrogenated castor oil, and sea whip extract go the extra mile to hydrate and simultaneously plump lips while you sleep.

$18 (Shop Now)

Kiehl’s Buttermask for Lips

Kiehl’s Buttermask for Lips is as delicious as its name implies. Chock full of nourishing ingredients like mango butter, coconut oil, and cocoa, with a creamy (not sticky!) consistency, it’s worth the splurge. Blanket your lips with a hefty coat of the stuff before bed and come morning, you’ll wake with supple, hydrated lips.

$26 (Shop Now)

Kaplan MD Perfect Pout Duo

Kaplan MD’s Perfect Pout Duo feels like a dream on lips. The pillow-like balm is whipped to a dreamy, gel-cream consistency and is made of reparative ingredients like seabuckthorn berry extract and sunflower seed wax to nourish lips while you snooze.

$24 (Shop Now)

Starskin DreamKiss Plumping and Hydrating Bio-Cellulose Lip Mask

Starskin’s DreamKiss Plumping and Hydrating Bio-Cellulose Lip Mask utilizes an innovative, coconut juice-derived, bio-cellulose technology that adheres to the lips seamlessly and feels similar in texture to Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Sheet Mask. Each one is submerged in a tropical-scented bath, which leaves lips looking and feeling juicier after just 15 minutes.

$10 (Shop Now)

111Skin Meso Infusion Lip Mask and Plumping Duo

Before you scoff at the price of 111Skin Meso Infusion Lip Mask and Plumping Duo, allow me to explain why it’s worth the hefty price tag. For starters, the tiniest amount goes a long way (we’re talking the size of a pea or less here). It has also been scientifically tested (and proven effective) to give the illusion of having thicker, suppler lips after just a few uses. What’s more: It contains exfoliating ingredients, like lemon and orange peel oils, which naturally shed the top layer of skin to create an even-toned, softer surface.

$150 (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

Looking for a Hydrating Face Mask? Here Are 14 to Soothe Dry Skin This Fall

As fall approaches and temperatures drop, skin tends to become dryer. On top of richer moisturizers, face oils, and serums, a hydrating face mask every now and then can help the skin retain moisture. “Hydrating masks are so important because they replenish the skin with moisture that was lost through time,” says Samantha Mims, in-house esthetician at Brooklyn Face & Eye. “With weather getting colder, now is a great time to start incorporating those H20 masks in your routine.”

Here, 14 hydrating face masks to add into your skin-care routine this fall (and beyond!), to give your skin the nourishing boost it deserves.

Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask with Vitamin C

Esthetician and Fenty Skin ambassador Sean Garrette considers this overnight concoction one of the best face masks because “it plumps, hydrates, and soothes stressed and dehydrated skin.” It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid, squalane, and antioxidants like vitamin C, prickly pear, goji, açaí, and vitamin E.

Buy at Sephora $48

Essentials By Temi Botanical Masque

Breakouts on the rise? This mask is soothing, hydrating, and purifying. Created by Temi Shobowale, the Botanical Masque is perfect for reducing inflammation thanks to chamomile flower extract. Kaolin clay, which is detoxifying, helps to remove impurities from the skin. It’s also brightening and energizing due to the vitamin C within the maca root. 

Buy on their website $40

Epara Skincare Intense Hydrating Mask

With ingredients like rice powder, licorice root extract, Moringa seed oil, and more, this mask is super nourishing and gentle enough to use a couple of times a week for 10 minutes at a time. 

Buy at Saks Fifth Avenue $195

Freck Foreclay Cactus Clay Mask 

This clay mask contains moisturizing ingredients like cactus flower, prickly pear seed oil, and kelp extract to nourish the skin.

Buy on Revolve $22

Alder New York Smoothing Face Mask

Alder New York’s Smoothing Face Mask is a good go-to, thanks to hyaluronic acid and sea botanicals, which provide moisture and collagen-boosting benefits. 

Buy on their website $46

Artis Phantom Silks Skincare Primer Sheet Mask

This sheet mask is the perfect pick-me-up in the morning or at night, when skin needs an extra dose of hydration, as it’s filled with copious amounts of hyaluronic acid. 

Buy on their website $20

Plant People Restore Face Mask 

While nourishing the skin, this face mask helps to fight against damage with vitamins B12 and E. CBD helps to soothe and smooth the skin’s texture, reducing redness and inflammation. If you’re looking to combat hyperpigmentation, this mask’s shiitake mushroom extract will lend a hand.

Buy on their website $60

Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

This gentle exfoliating mask is an all-in-one facial treatment in a tube. It offers a great hydrating reset for skin in need. Standout ingredients include chestnut extract, which offers a natural exfoliating experience; vitamin C for a brightening boost and skin-barrier nourishment; and anti-aging niacinamide, which also helps with pore reduction, smoothing fine lines, and wrinkles. 

Buy at Sephora $48

Botnia Soothing Repair Mask 

This mask is great for sensitive skin. It’s a favorite of Mims, who recommends it for its “hydrating components like hyaluronic acid, in addition to its botanical extracts like geranium and rose to help fight bacteria and inflammation.”

Buy at Nordstrom $42

Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Mask

This is Mims’s favorite overnight mask, with rice extract that softens and smooths texture and niacinamide to brighten and minimize pores.  

Buy at Dermstore $18

Herbivore Prism Exfoliating Glow Facial 

Filled with aloe vera and rose water, this facial mask is equally soothing and hydrating. It’s part cleanser and part exfoliant, helping to keep hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores, and overall skin dullness at bay. 

Buy at Dermstore $58

Révive Brightening Moisture Mask

Trying to get that radiant glow beyond summer? This mask has a soft, soufflé texture, offering deep moisture while brightening dull skin with vitamin C.

Buy at Nordstrom $130

Jacq’s Clarifying Green Smoothie Face Masque and Scrub

This mask’s bentonite clay removes impurities from the skin’s surface, while ginger essential oil hydrates and shields skin—call it the perfect ingredient for a self-care Sunday. Bamboo charcoal, Dead Sea salt, and tamanu oil offer an extra-clarifying boost.

Buy on their website $27

Golde Clean Greens Face Mask

Speaking of green, this powder-turns-gel mask is filled with superfoods you’d want in your smoothie, like spirulina, mango juice, chlorophyll, and chlorella. The results? Clearer, healthier, dewier skin.

Buy on their website $34

VOGUE article

8 Exfoliating Toners to Turn to For the Glowiest Skin

Thankfully, toners, like the rest of your skincare routine, have evolved over the years. Today, many toners are alcohol-free, and instead, are used to refresh and treat the skin before you apply the rest of your serums and creams — without making you extra dry.

One such example is exfoliating toners, which are infused with chemical exfoliants such as AHA and BHA acids, which help to loosen and break up the dead skin cells clogging your pores, while also minimizing dark spots, and improving overall skin texture and tone. These formulas often include soothing and hydrating ingredients to balance out the exfoliation.

“The use of a toner can have the added benefit of mechanical removal of skin debris,” says Dr. Melanie Palm, board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon in San Diego, Calif. “Simple application of a skincare product such as a serum does not lift off dull skin cells.”

Dr. Palm also notes that a toner can help balance pH level for the skin microenvironment.

When choosing an exfoliating toner, it’s important to consider your skin type and its needs. Dr. Palm says that those concerned with aging can benefit from using a formula with AHAs such as lactic or glycolic acids.

Acne-prone skin can see an improvement with BHAs such as salicylic acid, or a combination of both AHAs and BHAs. As for sensitive skin types, they may fair well with PHA acids, which are larger in molecular size and more gentle on the skin. The same goes for mandelic acid, an ingredient that is great for rosacea or redness.

While an exfoliating toner can be used daily, it’s best to introduce it slowly into your routine to prevent irritation. And if you have sensitive skin, Dr. Palm recommends using a liquid exfoliant once or twice a week at first to gauge how your skin handles it. She adds that if you are using anti-aging products such as retinoids or retinol, gradually start to use the toner over a period of days to weeks. But when in doubt, follow the usage instructions on the back of the bottle.

Finally, don’t expect clear, brighter skin over night.

While you may see some instant improvement, like a bit of a glow, it can take much longer to experience the full benefits of incorporating an exfoliating toner into your skincare routine.

“It takes 30 full days for the epidermal layer of the skin to turn over,” says Dr. Palm. “Therefore, I tell most patients to use a new topical product for two to three months (two to three cycles of epidermal turnover) to gauge response by the skin to active ingredients. However, many patients may notice changes prior to the three month mark.”

CORSX Refresh AHA BHA Vitamin C Daily Toner

On top of clearing clogged pores, CORSX’s toner contains brightening ingredients vitamin C and niacinamide to help minimize dark spots and boost your overall glow.

Buy on Amazon $27

Good (Skin) Days Prime Time Cleansing Toner

Good (Skin) Days, the newest in-house brand from K-beauty e-tailer Soko Glam, is a must for anyone who wants the benefits of an exfoliating toner, but is concerned about potential dryness or irritation. Antioxidant maple extract and anti-inflammatory Damascus rose water soothe and nourish skin while pumpkin and papaya enzymes provide gentle exfoliation to remove buildup from pores.

Buy at SOKO GLAM $18

Farmacy Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner with Moringa + Papaya

Farmacy is another skincare brand that harnesses the power of superfruit papaya in its liquid exfoliant. In this formula, the enzyme is paired with 2% salicylic acid, a tried-and-true chemical exfoliant, plus moringa, for squeaky-clean pores. Together, these ingredients also help control excess oil, too.

Buy at Sephora $28

Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Toner + Serum

Not quite as thick as a serum, but not quite as watery as a toner, Bliss’ hybrid treatment gives you the best of both worlds. Salicylic acid, witch hazel, and niacinamide tackle swollen, congested pores, while zinc tackles oil, and cica soothes skin to minimize dryness and irritation.

Buy on Amazon $18

Krave Beauty Kale-Lalu-yAHA

If uneven skin texture and hyperpigmentation are your two major skincare concerns, Krave Beauty’s green juice-inspired liquid exfoliant is for you. Glycolic acid dissolves dirt, oil, and residue that’s chilling in your pores while hyaluronic acid and kale simultaneously soothe and hydrate skin.

Buy on their website $25

Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength 10% PHA Exfoliating Clarifying Liquid

Don’t let the name of this toner intimidate you. While Peter Thomas Roth’s liquid exfoliant contains a whopping 10% PHA acid, this chemical exfoliant effectively — yet gently — clears pores and gets rid of excess oil without over-drying skin. While any skin type will get results with this toner, the combination of PHA with AHA and BHA acids will especially benefit acne-prone skin, from healing current blemishes to minimizing post-breakout hyperpigmentation.

Buy at Sephora $58

Versed Weekend Glow Daily Brightening Solution

The Versed Weekend Glow Daily Brightening Solution has an all-star lineup of exfoliants including lactic and glycolic acids. It’s an especially good choice for anyone who struggles with post-breakout dark spots and inflammation, thanks to brightening kojic and azelaic acids. While this toner is gentle enough to use morning and night, just make sure you apply sunscreen if you use it in the morning, since chemical exfoliants can cause sun sensitivity. Additionally, Versed is a great option if you’re looking for an effective liquid exfoliant that won’t break the bank — it comes in at under $20. 

Buy at Dermstore $18

Summer Fridays Soft Reset AHA Exfoliating Solution

With lactic acid, glycolic acid, and niacinamide, this powerful exfoliating toner from Summer Fridays is a triple threat. The two AHA acids work on declogging pores and refining skin texture and tone, while niacinamide aids in reducing the appearance of pores and further clarifying skin for a more radiant finish.

Buy at Sephora $54

INSTYLE article

Buzzy Beauty Ingredient of the Moment: Squalane

It seems like every day brings with it a new beauty ingredient we, as a civilization, must know about. (Cue: Eva Longoria over-pronouncing “hy-a-lur-on-ic acid” at us on repeat!) But every now and then, a substance comes along worth really, truly knowing. Hyaluronic acid is certainly one of them — particularly for anyone who favors a hydrated complexion without an oily, slick feel — but what we’re here to focus on right now is a slightly more old-school ingredient enjoying somewhat of a resurgence in the beauty world of late: squalane.

“Squalane is a saturated and stable hydrocarbon. It’s a form of squalene oil (which is a natural component of human skin sebum), which means it’s not subject to auto-oxidation, so that makes the shelf-life longer,” explains Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist at Day Dermatology & Aesthetics in New York City. In other words, squalane is a more stable ingredient derived from less-stable squalene, just in case you were about to Google “what is the difference between squalane and squalane?” Got that?

In the past, both ingredients have typically been derived from shark liver oil (like, from actual sharks), but most formulas now rely on cruelty-free, vegan (and much more sustainable!) alternatives made from olive or rice bran oil. It’s these innovative new formulas that have reinvigorated the industry’s interest in squalane, particularly as consumers seek out vegan and cruelty-free products (not to mention dewy, hydrated aesthetics that rely on intense moisture).

Dr. King notes that squalane “has emollient properties which make it a good moisturizer, able to help skin barrier function and prevent loss of hydration that impairs dermal suppleness.” She recommends it for a range of different skin types and concerns, beyond just those associated with moisture. “It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, so it can help soothe inflammatory skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and inflammatory acne.”

Cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson agrees there are many benefits associated with squalane in skin care: “It is a great product for all skin types to provide moisture; at high enough levels it has anti-wrinkle properties,” she says. She also notes that while many squalane formulas are thick oils and creams, there are also other options for those who don’t want to feel greasy. “It can be made to feel lighter or heavier on the skin depending on what it’s mixed with. It’s a versatile ingredient,” says Wilson, who also notes that there are few risks associated with it on the whole.

Not all experts are fully sold on the ingredient for every skin type, though. “It can be used across almost all skin types, but I am cautious in recommending it to people with acne because it may contribute to breakouts,” notes dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital.

Dr. King also points out that there are times when squalane itself may not be enough, particularly for those coping with severely parched skin. “If the skin is very dry and the environment is very dry, a stronger, heavier occlusive may be needed in addition to or instead of the squalane to lock in the moisture and ensure that hydration is not evaporating from the skin,” she advises.

Fashionista article