Love and Squalene

by | Dec 14, 2023

Last Friday morning, I found a vial of Squalene oil in my medicine cabinet. It had come as part of a set I had purchased from Biossance, a skincare company endorsed by Reese Witherspoon. I figured if this stuff was good enough for her, I’d bite…and buy…and put those products on my face. 

For a year I’ve been smathering their various potions on my face. Friday that vial peeked out from behind another jar so I popped it open and squalaned oil-ed my face. For those not in the know, because why would you be, the oil is supposed to have a calming, slightly pumping effect. 

I woke up Saturday morning and looked in the mirror and FREAKED OUT. I ran out to Mike, who was sitting on the couch, and bewilderedly said, “Look at my face!” 

His startled and scared look on his face confirmed it–my face was a disaster. 

I looked like Droopy Dog if someone had thrown a scalding hot cup of coffee on his face. My skin looked burned, splotchy, and I had huge puffy blisters under my eyes. Red marks all over my forehead and neck. It burned. It itched. It hurt. 

A quick Google search confirmed: it was the squalene. I had a reaction. Interestingly, there was no mention of this on the Biossance website or their reviews. The truth came out on the Sephora site–where PLENTY of other people had succumbed to the battery-acid-look. 

After dialing into telehealth, getting a prescription for steroids and multiple allergy meds, I laid on the couch with a cold wash cloth on my face. 

Not wanting anyone else to suffer my face’s frightening fate, I decided to send Biossance customer support an email, complete with pictures of my grill sharing my concern about what happened and the fact that there was no mention of possible allergic reactions on the product or their site. My intention was to make them aware. 

In came their response. There was an apology about the product not “working out.” Then the extremely helpful suggestion to stop using the product if irritation occurs. EXCELLENT PRO TIP. 

I will spare you the rest of the back and forth details because why should you be as annoyed as I was. Let’s put their response under the lack of ownership, blame shifting, CYA nonsense customer support responses are so adept at. Saying sorry without saying sorry. Not taking responsibility. 

I get it. Fine. Whatever. There was one part, though, that stung more than their oil on my face. 

Her salutation: “with love and squalane.” 


Ummmm, did you not see the pictures? Did you not read my email? Did you not comprehend the part that I am feeling no love for squalane? 

I sent a response to her questions. 

She responded to my answers. 

Salutation, AGAIN. “love and squalene.” 

Another response from me, this one stating I was moving on with my life, I was disappointed in their response to the situation, and shared, “I have to say it keeps giving me a chuckle every time you sign off with ‘love and squalene.’ I’m not finding a lot of love for squalene these days!” 

Her final response. Her final salutation: love and squalane. 

These days, I tend to remain fairly calm about this sort of stuff. I didn’t ask for anything for free. I didn’t threaten them with social media reviews. I took the time to find the information they needed for their responses. 

But that last love and squalane cracked me. 

Read the room! Read the email! Pay attention! Pretend to care! Think! I threw her a bone and pointed out how ridiculous her salutation was, and she didn’t bite. 

That salutation and her response screamed: WE DON’T CARE. 

Maybe that’s the company line. 

Maybe it’s an auto signature. 

Maybe maybe maybe. 

Every single one of us gets to make a choice to pay attention. To make a choice to listen. To read. To understand. To show that we care. To use our brains, our compassion, and our empathy and deliver a response that shows we are human. Caring humans. 

When we miss those opportunities, that’s when trust breaks. That’s when the little things become big things. Because we don’t feel heard, acknowledged, or seen. 

Six days later my face has returned to its normal shape and color. 

My remaining Biossance products are in the trash. 

I’m opening up my big trap and letting people know what I think of Biossance. 

I’m hoping, as we come close to closing out this year, we can pause, pay a bit more attention, and do the little things that show we care. It doesn’t have to be this hard. 

With love and vaseline, (the $3 product I’ve been smearing on my face all week–that has my skin looking better than ever.)



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