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Squalane + Tea Tree Cleansing Gel

5.07 fl. oz. for $ 29.00
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Brand Overview

Biossance’s Squalane + Tea Tree Cleansing Gel delivers a great first impression with its unique texture, but unfortunately the skin-sensitizing formula mucks things up.

Housed in a squeeze tube, this gel cleanser slides across dampened skin and transforms into slippery, serum-like lather. We’re not usually so excited about a cleanser’s texture, but this really does feel nice and makes washing your face a bit more pleasurable, while adequately removing makeup, oil, and other debris. The skin-replenishing squalane and glycerin are nice additions to the formula as well (although much more beneficial in leave-on products such as moisturizers).

As great as all of that sounds, this cleanser’s wafting scent (due to the mix of fragrance-based ingredients) proves to be problematic. Chief among them is the namesake tea tree oil, which contains volatile components that can be sensitizing to skin. Fragrant lavender oil and linalool join the party and put skin at risk of more irritation. Ironically, both oils contain beneficial components too, but neither can balance skin, purify pores, or reduce oil.

Back to the fragrance issue: While fragrant oils aren’t as concerning in a rinse-off formula (as opposed to a leave-on treatment), we’re still not happy to see them here. More to the point, they can cause major irritation if you happen to get a little in your eye when you wash your face—which we just so happened to experience during our testing.

That’s such a shame considering how much we love the sensorial experience of Squalane + Tea Tree Cleansing Gel. Peruse our top-rated cleansers for superior options that are gentle on skin.

  • Unique, serum-like gel cleanser feels great as you wash your face.
  • Adequately removes makeup, oil, and other debris.
  • Contains skin-sensitizing ingredients.
  • Can be irritating to eyes.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

A refreshing gel cleanser made with tea tree to deeply purify pores, help balance skin and reduce excess surface oil. Removes makeup while leaving skin healthy-looking and visibly clearer. Sulfate-free, non-drying formula features squalane to boost the performance of tea tree and help keep skin feeling ultra-soft.

Water (Aqua), Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Disodium Coco-glucoside Citrate, Squalane, Cocoyl Proline, Melaleuca Alternafolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Sodium Levulinate, Hydrolyzed Pea Protein, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Leaf Extract, Magnesium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Gluconate, Caramel, Citric Acid, Linalool.

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

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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.

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