Why shark derived squalene is bad and how plant based vegan squalene is better

Save the sharks, ditch the (animal-derived) squalene

by | Oct 5, 2020 | Journal, Skincare, Skincare | 0 comments

(No sharks were harmed in the making of Green Bee Botanicals vegan skincare products.)

Squalene has been in the news lately because of its use in COVID-19 vaccine trials. We even got a few questions about it from concerned customers because we use squalane in our eye cream and face serums. But the squalane we use comes from natural, beautiful, plump olives from olive trees. Why? Read on. 

Squalane skin benefits

Ocean conservationist BLOOM reports that as recently as 2012, the cosmetics industry was killing 2.7 million sharks each year for the oil in their livers, known as squalene. Why is squalene so prized? 

For its moisturizing and restorative properties.
For its ability to increase absorption of creams and serums.
Most notably, because it can diminish the appearance of fine lines and keep skin supple.

No one has to kill sharks for squalene 

But guess what. Squalene has these amazing skin benefits whether it comes from animals or from plants. It is widely available in the plant kingdom, including in olives, rice bran, amaranth seeds, and wheat germ. That means no one has to kill sharks for squalene. 

Thankfully, since the efforts of BLOOM and marine activists like Ocean Ramsey (big shout out to you, girl — major fan crush over here), many cosmetics companies have since stopped using squalene of shark origin in their skincare formulations. 

However, there are still many brands, especially high-end brands, that sadly, sometimes proudly, state shark-derived squalane as an ingredient on their labels. 

Getting squalene from shark livers is still the cheapest way to extract this precious oil (ironically!), but we’re here to educate and support the movement away from that and toward more sustainable sources.

Green Bee Botanicals uses only plant-based squalane derived from olives. In fact, all of our products are vegan, and despite the Bee in our name, we use no honey or other bee-derived ingredients. We believe your skin can be healthy and beautiful without the use of ingredients that harm the environment or animals. 

Squalene vs. squalane

You may have noticed this ingredient spelled differently on product ingredient lists, in the news, and in this blog. The simple answer to what’s the difference between squalane and squalene is that squalane with an ‘a’ is a more shelf-stable and effective version of squalene. That’s why you’ll typically see squalane as an ingredient in skincare products like sunscreen, foundation, and skincare, including Green Bee Brightening Eye Cream, Renewing Serum, and Perfecting Serum.

How can you help?

If you want to celebrate and enjoy healthy, beautiful skin without harming the environment or animals:

Most importantly, choose skincare brands that use only plant-based ingredients. 
Choose vegan brands if you want to be 100% sure that no animals were harmed in the making of the products. 
Sign this petition calling on governments and the medical community to use existing alternative squalene sources instead of sharks in COVID-19 vaccines.
Follow @sharkallies and @oceanramsey on Instagram. 
Use the hashtags #SharkFreeVaccines and #SharkFreeProducts.


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