Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Facial
Biossance’s Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Facial is a mask/scrub hybrid with aspects we like, but it should offer skin so much more.
This orangey-pink product starts out with a paste-like texture that’s designed to be smoothed onto skin in a thin layer and allowed to sit for 15 minutes. You’re then instructed to dampen skin, which causes the paste to emulsify into a lotion you rub onto skin, then rinse.
The exfoliation benefits from this facial are supposed to come from two sources: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) glycolic, lactic, and malic acids, plus scrubbing “spheres” (listed in the ingredients as clay mineral oxides).
We pH-tested this formula and found it’s at a range (between 3 and 4) where the AHAs can effectively exfoliate skin). The problem is these acids are most effective in a formula that’s left on skin for longer than 15 minutes, so you’re not getting maximum exfoliation benefits in that regard here (see More Info for details).
The mineral spheres are round enough that they provide manual exfoliation that’s non-abrasive. In addition to the exfoliating ingredients, this contains skin-replenishing ingredients squalane, glycerin, and sodium hyaluronate (though again, they’d be better in a leave-on formula).
Our issues with this product start with its packaging. It comes in jar, and even though there’s a spatula included, this isn’t the most hygienic option, especially considered water-based skin care like this can be vulnerable to bacteria.
The other issue is that this includes orange and lemon extracts, along with the fragrance ingredient limonene. Though they are rinsed off, all these ingredients can trigger irritation in skin.
- AHAs are formulated at the optimal pH to serve as exfoliants.
- Mineral spheres provide gentle manual exfoliation.
- Contains skin-replenishing ingredients.
- AHAs are more effective as exfoliants in a leave-on formula.
- Contains citrus oils and a fragrance ingredient that can cause irritation.
- Packaged in a jar, which can be unhygienic.
AHA Ingredients in a Cleanser or Scrub Making Exfoliating Claims:
This cleanser contains AHAs, ingredients that when included in a well-formulated leave-on product work beautifully to gently exfoliate skin. However, in a cleanser or scrub, AHA ingredients are far less effective, if effective at all, because they are rinsed off before they can begin to work.
So, if you’re hoping this cleanser will provide exfoliating benefits, think again. On the other hand, the AHA ingredients can provide hydrating benefits during their brief contact with skin.
Some companies recommend leaving these types of cleansers on skin for a longer period of time so the AHA can absorb, but that means the cleansing agents also are left on longer, which can cause dryness and irritation.
This triple change agent is a peel, exfoliator and mask in one skin renewing, smoothing and hydrating formula. Glycolic acid, multi-alphahydroxy acids and gentle mineral spheres work in minutes to help leave skin soft, bright and radiant.
Biossance is the commercial beauty arm of biotechnology brand Amyris. Amyris manufactures plant sugars (like that from sugar cane) into specialty ingredients for use by other companies, but chose to center Biossance around one ingredient in particular: plant-based squalane.
Each Biossance product prominently features squalane; so much that it’s in the name of every offering. Squalane has its merits—it’s an excellent skin-conditioning ingredient and has antioxidant properties—but skin needs much more than one focused ingredient to feel, look, and perform its best.
Thankfully, Biossance includes other ingredients in many of its squalane-centric products and these are also impressive, particularly bakuchiol (which has many retinol-like properties), antioxidants, and peptides. Unfortunately, the brand also uses a number of fragrance ingredients in many of its products, and whether naturally-derived or not, fragrance is known to irritate skin—even if you don’t see or feel the damage taking place. For this reason, most of the brand’s offerings wind up being middle-of-the-road, though there are a couple of standouts.
For more on Biossance, visit the brand’s website at https://biossance.com/.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.