Ingredient Spotlight: Jojoba

I remember when I was a child, my mom loved the store Crabtree & Evelyn (note: I am not sure if they are completely paraben-free since they do not have ingredient lists on their website.  I do know that some of the products are paraben-free).  We would go in there and smell all of the soaps and lotions, and enjoy the relaxing environment created by all of the scents.  My mother especially liked the jojoba products, because they felt great and smelled lovely.

Now, years later, I have been reintroduced to jojoba.  We used a product called Jojoba Baby for massaging the hands and arms in school, and I had the opportunity to meet and chat with a representative from The Jojoba Company at a trade show.  

I purchased 100% pure organic jojoba oil called HobaCare.  I opened the bottle, took a sniff, and was surprised to discover that the lovely scent that I remembered from those mall trips was not there.  

It turns out that pure jojoba oil does not really have a scent.  Sometimes it can have a very mild smoky scent, depending on the batch, but there is definitely no floral scent.  What my mother and I actually smelled in those soaps and lotions, were the other herbs and essential oils that were mixed into the jojoba oil base.  It was most likely a blend of lavender and lily of the valley.

What is jojoba?

The jojoba plant, otherwise known as Simmondsia chinensis, is a desert shrub that is native to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, northern Mexico and southern California.  It is now grown commercially in similar climates across the globe. 

The “oil” is extracted from mature seeds once they fall from the plant. 


What is unique about jojoba?

Jojoba differs from other “oils”, because it is not what one would typically consider to be oil since it is not a lipid.  Jojoba is actually considered to be a liquid wax or ester.  It is non-greasy and rinses off easily, and contains alpha, delta, and gamma tocopherols, all forms of vitamin E.

It is a wonderful moisturizer and softener for the skin and hair, and has numerous uses in skin care products.

Jojoba in skin care

There are many reasons why jojoba is so widely used in skin care products, but I feel the most important reason is because it closely resembles human sebum; the oil produced by the oil (sebaceous) glands in our skin.  This is very important, because it means that the jojoba does not have to fight with the natural oils and moisture in the skin’s barrier in order to penetrate into the deeper layers of skin.  It provides excellent moisture, and helps restore and maintain the integrity of the epidermis: the skin’s natural barrier against bacteria, viruses, and other extrinsic factors.


Another reason jojoba is so great for the skin is that it is non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores), non-irritant, and anti-inflammatory; which means that it is very well tolerated by all skin types, especially inflammatory and sensitive skin conditions like acne and rosacea.  It is even gentle enough for babies’ skin, and is often used in baby care products.

It is especially beneficial for oil and acne-prone skin not only because moisturizes and protects without clogging pores, but also because it goes into the pores and loosens up excessive oil, dead skin cells, and debris.  It also helps balance the activity of the sebaceous glands, to prevent both dehydration as well as over-production of sebum.

It is so beneficial for acne and other skin conditions like psoriasis because it has natural antibacterial properties.  In fact, studies have shown that jojoba oil quickly destroys the bacteria staphylococcus and pseudomonas. 

Besides being bactericidal and pseudomonacidal, it is also fungicidal and extremely stable, which means that it cannot harbor many harmful microorganisms and will have a long shelf life without needing added preservatives.

Because of all of these benefits, it is an excellent base for all types of skin, hair, and body care products.

Jojoba in aromatherapy

As I previously noted, actual jojoba oil does not have much of a fragrance.  However, it is extensively used as a carrier oil for essential oils in aromatherapy products.  It is very easily mixed with different herbs, plant extracts, and essential oils for use in massage oils, and aromatic lotions, creams, and cleansers.  Because it does not have much of a smell of its own, it really helps the natural aromas from the other ingredients shine.

Jojoba is one of the most versatile skin ingredients given to us from Mother Nature.  I personally use it as a nighttime moisturizer on top of my treatment serums.  It locks in the skin’s moisture, prevents dehydration which can occur in homes (like mine) with forced air heating and central air conditioning, and actually works with the ingredients in my other skin care products to increase penetration.  I also use it to remove my eye makeup.  It does not irritate, over-dry, or pull at the sensitive skin in eye area, nor does it cause any sensitivity in my eyes.  My hair also tends to get dry on the ends, so I use the jojoba as a leave in conditioner.  It has really helped to prevent breakage in my hair, and adds shine without weighing down or building up in my hair.  

I absolutely love jojoba, and recommend it for everyone.

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