Does my squalene really come from sharks?

Okay, so here’s the low down. Back in the day (early 1900s), a scientist discovered you can isolate a substance called squalene from shark liver oil and add it to lots of different beauty products so that your formulas become extra hydrating, act as an antioxidant and help you with your wrinkles. But you’ve heard us humans actually produce squalene ourselves, so why do we need it from elsewhere you ask? The amount we produce starts decreasing as we age, and since we are in the business of looking our very best, we obviously want this superstar ingredient added to everything!

And because humans needed squalene, guess what they did. They started getting it from sharks - not cool. There’s actually a thing called “shark livering” which means they capture the shark, take their liver, and chuck the rest of the shark back in the ocean 🙁 it’s a very sad practice and not something team GUVU are happy about at all.

Fun fact- most fish have a gas-filled organ (aka a swim bladder) that helps them maintain buoyancy in the sea. Sharks are different, because they live in the deep-sea they have an oily liver instead of a swim bladder, this helps them achieve buoyancy without having to expend a lot of energy. Some shark livers can make up to 20% of the shark’s weight. That’s a lot of oil and therefore a lot of squalene…

Thankfully, over the decades we’ve found alternative ways of getting our squalene fix. We can find it in nature, yes at much lower percentages but it’s still possible. Olives, rice bran and amaranth are some popular alternatives. Once extracted, the squalene needs to be hydrogenated to be stabilised (highly geeky science stuff we’ll spare you here) but this means the formula can last much longer. So this process turns squalene with an e into squalane with an a. And that my friends, is plant derived squalene/squalane for you.

Good for you and good for the planet. At GUVU, our squalene is extracted from sugar cane specifically. That’s the secret to our super hydrating and moisturising formula.