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Today I wanted to share an overview of one of my favourite new brand discoveries of 2020: Biossance. This squalane-centric brand joined us here in the UK back in the early spring and can now be found at Cult Beauty and Selfridges (with 5-star ratings on the majority of the range, might I add). I'm already wondering how I was living life without their products (dramatic, I know!) and here's why...
Let's start by giving a bit of background to the brand. As I mentioned; Biossance's star ingredient is squalane, a plant-based but skin-similar oil that helps dry skin and maintains a healthy skin barrier. It's suitable for just about any skin type, including sensitive. Previously, squalene was used in skincare (as it mimics the oils our skin naturally produces) and was sourced from shark liver, which has often been harvested inhumanely. Whilst that practice is largely a thing of the past, it does still exist, so be sure to check your INCI lists to ensure you aren't buying animal squalene instead of plant squalane. Biossance take this a step further and instead of using olives as the source of their squalane, they've chosen sugar cane as it requires minimal irrigation and has a low carbon footprint. Their unit cartons are made from sugarcane paper (which is less carbon-intensive than wood pulp) and replant trees in their work towards reforestation. Any plastics used are recyclable and their packaging is free from dyes that affect recyclability. Their goal is to be zero waste by 2025 in both their products and in terms of business operations. They work with a number of environmental organisations across the world and I really do admire their commitment to this goal. Of course, all of their products are vegan and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free (I kind of expect newer, independent brands to be cruelty-free these days, but they've gone the extra mile to get this recognised by an outside body).
Honestly; the only negative thing I have to say about them is that marketing term I hate: 'clean'. If you don't know how I feel about this topic check out this post for my full thoughts. Biossance sort of dance on the edge of two definitions of 'clean'. As you can probably tell; I very much admire their commitment to sustainability and the fact they don't use ingredients that impact negatively on the environment, either in how they are sourced or when they enter the water supply or are disposed of. However, I just don't like it when this ventures into the idea that skincare is toxic to you; if an ingredient is on the market, it's been tested for safety and any potential side-effects are understood, then I don't believe it should be demonised. Remember: the dose makes the poison and many ingredients we consume and apply every day are 'toxic' in high enough doses, but our food and personal care products get nowhere near that danger zone. Skincare is very personal so I just think you need to listen to your skin and avoid ingredients that irritate your skin and use products that give you results; it really is that simple. I have no problem with a brand being passionate about their ingredients and the origin of them, I just think a brand's identity shouldn't revolve around demonising other ingredients. I think Biossance just about stay on the right side of this, but this was worth raising, for me. I still love you, Jonathan Van Ness!
Let's start with the OG: the 100% Squalane Oil* | £37 (200ml). I did actually purchase this myself when Biossance first launched in the UK (the 100ml bottle for £27), but they were kind enough to send me over the jumbo version recently and, as you can see: it's much better value for money. This one does exactly what it says on the tin; it's their pure, unadulterated squalane. I personally find it to be a fantastic multitasker, so I travelled with it whenever I was away overnight during the summer. It comes in this handy pump packaging and can be used for the following: obviously it works well as a face oil (I apply it in the evening, after my night cream to lock all the goodness in), I love it on my body, because I have extremely dry skin and (particularly during the colder months) sometimes a lotion or body butter just isn't enough and it can also be used as a hair product, to nourish dry, damaged ends, but I also like it as a treatment for my dry, flaky scalp. I simply apply this before bed and wash my hair as normal the following morning. It's a nourishing, replenishing formula that's not at all greasy or smothering.
Next, let's talk about the Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum* | £49. One of the best things about squalane is that it works really well with your stronger actives like exfoliating acids, Vitamin C and retinoids; it acts as a calming counterbalance and offsets any dryness or irritation you might experience from using such ingredients. Here we have it paired with 10% lactic acid. Lactic acid is a milk-derived Alpha Hydroxy Acid, though this is a synthetic version, which is how it's still vegan. Lactic acid is often seen as the best option for dry and more mature skin types, and I personally find it gentler than glycolic. Paired with the squalane, this creamy serum is far from stripping or irritating; it actually feels pretty moisturising on my skin. When I use this, I wake up the following morning with soft, smooth, bright skin and it's really helped maintain my skin's overall tone and texture. I've been using this a couple of times a week and (though I must admit, I am a seasoned user of acids) it's caused me zero irritation. Lactic and squalane are a match made in heaven, in my opinion!
I've barely put down their Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream* | £46 | since I got it. It's definitely on the pricier side (I've never really understood that, to be honest; eye cream are really just moisturisers and you can get more than double the ml of their gel moisturiser for £2 less than this!) but what can I say? I really do enjoy this product. I have to preface this with what I expect from an eye cream: unless it's a proper Vitamin C product, I don't expect an eye cream to cure the dark circles I have due to hyperpigmentation; what I do expect is a moisturised eye area that's not overrun with rich product (which only gives me milia), a bit of de-puffing and perhaps protection from some antioxidants in the formula. This is that perfect light lotion-y cream that absorbs without excess and has the antioxidant power of algae to protect the delicate eye area from free radical damage. Is an eye cream essential to a skincare routine? No. But, do I like them? Yes. And this particular one, very much so...
There are two moisturisers in the range, the first of which is the Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturiser* | £44. Gel moisturisers can honestly go one of two ways for me: either they're a great lightweight option that allows my skin to breathe (particularly during the summer months) or my skin drinks them up and doesn't feel any less dry or dehydrated than it did beforehand. Luckily, this product falls into the former category! I think the squalane content may be the secret as to why this product provides enough moisture for me and gives my skin a gorgeous glow. It contains seaweed and ginger as antioxidants to protect the skin, alongside probiotics, which help balance out the natural bacteria on our skin with the aim of calming down redness and breakouts. Whilst it's not what I'd reach for in the depths of winter, I find this to be a nice everyday option for my normal, dehydrated skin.
The other moisturiser in the range is the Squalane + Omega Repair Cream | £49. My life force! I love this moisturiser for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, it's got a beautiful texture; it's a cream made for normal-to-dry skin types, but it isn't rich and heavy. Instead, it has this texture that melts into the skin but packs in some amazing nourishment. It has incredible ingredients in there; squalane (of course!), glycerin and hyaluronic acid (to pull in water), shea butter (which is incredibly nourishing), ceramides (to strengthen the skin barrier), moisturising jojoba esters and plenty of fatty acid rich ingredients. All of this makes it an amazing cream for dry, sensitive or otherwise compromised skin. The texture means it's a moisturiser I can pack for a weekend away and it'll work beautifully as both a day and a night cream.
Last, but certainly not least, let's talk about the Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil* | £57! After months of deliberation, I finally ordered this oil, and no sooner had I done so, I was kindly sent this beautiful Limited Edition pink version. I decided to give away my unopened original product, but I honestly love this so much that I'm slightly regretting giving up my backup! It's the only product in the range I've tried that contains fragrance, but it honestly doesn't bother me at all; there's geraniol essential oil and rose flower extract, which is less potentially irritating than the concentrated essential oil. Alongside these ingredients there's squalane (obviously!) and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and not a lot else; it's a simple but beautiful product. This form of Vitamin C isn't ascorbic acid, the most scientifically-backed option in terms of delivering results (improved skin tone and texture, reduced appearance of hyperpigmentation), but it's a very stable form that actually has some good research behind it so far. It's oil-soluble which might allow it to penetrate more easily into the skin. What I personally love about this is the texture, how moisturising it is and the overnight glow it provides. If you're looking for a functional Vitamin C that's going to correct serious pigmentation issues; this probably isn't the best investment. If you want a beautiful oil that absorbs, never feels greasy, provides deep moisture and gives your skin a healthy luminosity; this is perfection.
The only thing I'd say is that it's unfortunate we don't have the full range available to us here in the UK! Obviously I totally understand why the sunscreen hasn't made its way over, because there are so many safety and testing hoops to jump through to meet EU standards, but there are so many products on their website that piqued my interest, I just wish were more accessible. You can order directly, and I've been tempted, but international shipping costs generally put me off. On the plus side: you can find lots of gift sets at the moment crammed with their best-sellers at really amazing price-points, so I can definitely recommend checking them out if you want an overview of the brand. I have to say; it's rare for me to not have a single product from a range that didn't do it for me, but Biossance have absolutely nailed their formulations, in my humble opinion. I think their products are fantastic and I can always trust them to do the job for me.
Have you tried Biossance?