3: Ingredient Spotlight: Jojoba Oil

3: Ingredient Spotlight: Jojoba Oil

Welcome to our very first Ingredient Spotlight post! In these spotlight posts, we’ll be focusing on one skincare ingredient/herb and learning as much as we can about it.

In this week’s post, we’re learning all about JOJOBA OIL!


History of Jojoba Oil

Did you know Jojoba “oil” is a misnomer? Unlike other plant oils commonly used in skincare, the liquid which comes from the seed of the Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) plant is not an oil, it’s actually a liquid wax!


Fun Facts:

  • Jojoba is “the only plant known to produce a liquid wax in its seed.”
  • The word jojoba, pronounced “ho-ho-ba”, is a distortion of the native Papago Indian word “howhowi”.
  • This plant is also known as the coffee bush, and in Mexico it was used to develop a coffee substitute.


This oil has a rather interesting history of use. It was used by Native Americans for a wide array of issues, both internally and externally. In the southwestern US deserts and in northwest Mexico, natives had many uses for skin and scalp that have been recorded.  

During World War II, Jojoba oil was used as an important substitute for other oil resources which were decreasing. “Even machine guns were lubricated with jojoba oil!” 

More recently however (in the 1970s) researchers partnered with Native American communities and found that Jojoba was a great substitute for sperm whale oil (spermaceti wax) due to it’s structural similarities.



What is Jojoba?

Jojoba oil/wax is composed of…

  • wax esters,
  • a few free fatty acids (estimated at 0.96%)
  • alcohols (estimated 1.11%)
  • hydrocarbons
  • as well as a small portion of sterols, vitamins (such as tocopherols), and triglyceride esters


Jojoba oil/wax is very unique in that it is composed mainly of wax esters which bind the fatty acids and fatty alcohols, compared to other plant oils which are mainly trigylcerides (fatty acids bound by a glycerol molecule).



Benefits of Jojoba

Jojoba oil/wax is also unique due to its extremely high thermal and oxidative stability.

The high content of wax esters, as well as the content of tocopherols (mainly gamma- and alpha- tocopherols), results in some key benefits for herbal extraction and skincare formulation…


  • Thermal Stability: Jojoba oil/wax can withstand high temperatures without degrading.
  • Oxidative Stability: Jojoba oil/wax has an extremely long shelf life. Cosmetic formulations containing jojoba oil will even have greater oxidative stability than formulations where other plant oils are used for this purpose. (Note: the refined oil is less stable due to the removal of the antioxidant tocopherols)
  • Similarity to Human Sebum: Human sebum is mainly comprised of wax esters, triglycerides, and squalene. While other oils are made of triglycerides and some even have squalene, only Jojoba oil/wax includes all three.
  • Therapeutic Actions: Jojoba oil has had many uses in folk medicine and recent investigations have confirmed the benefits of both external and internal use of the oil. In external uses, it moisturizes, soothes, and protects the skin


There are some key characteristics that we look for when choosing an oil for herbal extraction. Jojoba oil/wax is a great candidate because it meets so many of these criteria. (I've used a lot of different oils to infuse herbs, but Jojoba remains my favorite.) Many of these characteristics also make it a great choice for skincare in general. 

Jojoba oil/wax will not degrade during the heating phase of the extraction process.

Additionally, you can make large batches at a time and store for use in many skincare products without having to worry about the oil going off in a short time. This benefit of oxidative stability will even help increase the stability of any skincare or haircare products you make with your herbal oil extractions.

With little to no aroma, jojoba oil/wax is also a great choice when you are trying to extract the aroma from various plant materials. 

Since jojoba oil/wax is so similar to human sebum, it is non comedogenic and works well in a variety of skincare formulations for a variety of people.

Whether using Jojoba oil/wax as is or using it as an herb infused oil, it’s a great choice for many products from facial oils for acne-prone skin to body lotions for very dry skin. Jojoba oil/wax is a one for all type of lipid.




Jojoba “oil” is an amazingly versatile and beneficial lipid that, thanks to it’s unique composition makes it suitable for a variety of formulations and most, if not all skin types. If you haven’t yet had a chance to use Jojoba oil/wax, I hope this has inspired you to explore it on your own


Additionally, if you’d like to dive deeper into this oil, there are quite a few studies and resources with information on Jojoba oil/wax that I would encourage you to check out. At the end of this post I’ve listed the resources and studies I used when studying this oil.


If you have any questions or recommendations for future ingredient spotlight posts, please leave a comment below or send me a message. These ingredient spotlights will be posted regularly, and I’d love to know which skincare ingredients you want to hear about most.





  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8197201/
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/jojoba-oil
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140196318317257
  3. https://dbg.org/hello-jojoba/
  4. https://www.fs.usda.gov/wildflowers/ethnobotany/oils.shtml#:~:text=Native%20American%20cultures%20of%20the,not%20oxidize%20or%20become%20rancid.
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6780807/
  6. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/365726716_Oxidative_Stability_and_Antioxidant_Activity_of_Crude_Jojoba_Oil
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