Jojoba oil is commonly used as a carrier for aromatherapy and essential oil massage. But what is jojoba oil?
Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) is a shrub native to southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. Its seeds contain high levels of wax esters (combined fatty acid and fatty alcohol molecules) that become what is known as jojoba oil.1 The correct jojoba oil pronunciation is: hə-ˈhō-bə. That is, the “j” is pronounced like “h” and the emphasis is on the second syllable.
Pure jojoba oil has a natural yellow-gold hue. This ‘golden jojoba oil’ may be more difficult to find than refined, colorless varieties of jojoba oil. To date, there has been no scientific research to indicate a difference in effectiveness between the two types.
Jojoba Carrier Oil
There are several jojoba properties that make jojoba one of the most frequently used carrier oils. Perhaps the most unique of all jojoba oil properties is the way it takes on and ‘holds’ the other scents. On its own, jojoba oil has a mild aroma. Yet even that seems to disappear when blended with aromatic, essential oils.
Also, the wax esters in jojoba oil are similar to the natural secretions produced by our skin, most notably sebum. Because of this, the jojoba oil – and the essential oils combined with it – are easily and quickly absorbed.2 This allows jojoba oil moisturizer blends and products to act quickly.
Further benefits of jojoba oil come from it not technically being an oil (because of the wax esters). Jojoba oil doesn’t oxidize, which means it doesn’t go rancid and can help prolong the shelf-life of essential oil blended with it.2
Jojoba Oil Uses
Jojoba oil has many uses related to body care. From removing makeup with jojoba oil to using jojoba oil for nails, the following sections offer information and tips about how to use jojoba oil for many grooming routines.
Jojoba Oil for Skin
Research has shown that jojoba oil is easily absorbed because of its chemical structure. But is jojoba oil good for skin?
The short answer is yes. Jojoba oil benefits all skin types and can be applied directly to help skin regain and retain moisture and nutrients. When essential oils known for skincare are combined with jojoba oil, skin benefits from the therapeutic properties of both ingredients.
For example, blending equal amounts of oregano essential oil and jojoba oil for oily skin care can prevent or reduce blemishes.
For daily moisturizing, try combining jojoba oil with soothing properties of lavender essential oil or eucalyptus essential oil. Or for more serious conditions, try lemongrass essential oil blended with jojoba oil for eczema relief that soothes naturally.
Jojoba Oil for Hair
The answer to the question ‘Is jojoba oil good for hair?’ depends on whether you’re interested in jojoba oil for hair growth or every day hair care.
For hair growth, research into essential oils to treat alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease which may cause baldness), showed that when jojoba oil was combined with thyme essential oil, rosemary essential oil, lavender essential oil, and cedarwood essential oil, patients experienced increased hair growth.1
For a homemade jojoba oil hair loss treatment, blend 20 drops of jojoba oil with 6 drops each of lavender, cedarwood, thyme and rosemary essential oils. Apply to the balding area once a day (after shampooing) for 20-30 days.
How to use jojoba oil for hair care depends on your hair type and if you have skin issues such as dry scalp. Many commercial shampoos and conditioners contain the jojoba oil. To harness the benefits of jojoba oil for hair, users can make the following homemade jojoba oil shampoo, which is good for normal and oily hair:
- ½ oz. jojoba oil
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil
- 10 drops sandalwood essential oil
- ¼ cup liquid castile soap
- ½ cup water
Add the jojoba oil, peppermint and sandalwood essential oils in a large dark glass bottle or jar with lid. Gently shake for 20 seconds. Add castile soap and water. Shake for another 60 seconds. Let stand for 10 minutes before putting a small amount on the center of the scalp and massaging outward and along the length of hair. One bottle is good for 10-12 shampoos. Store in a cool, dark place.
To make shampoo that uses jojoba oil for scalp conditions such as dandruff or eczema, use the same recipe as above but also add 1 Tbsp. of vegetable glycerin.
Jojoba Oil for Beard
Jojoba oil for beard growth and maintenance is gaining popularity, especially among men who find that commercial products dry out their skin and clog their pores.
Using jojoba beard oil provides the dual benefit of cleaning and moisturizing skin as well as hair.
To make a homemade jojoba beard oil, combine ¼ oz. jojoba oil with 3-4 drops eucalyptus essential oil and 2-3 drops orange essential oil in a dark glass dropper bottle and shake well. Apply 2 drops to chin and each cheek. With an ever-widening circular motion, massage into beard and skin once a day.
Jojoba Oil for Face
Jojoba oil is an excellent carrier oil when applying essential oils to the face. Its chemical composition of wax esters allows it – and the essential oils blended with it – to be absorbed quickly and fully into the skin. The leaves skin looking lustrous, not oily.
Another benefit happens below the skin’s surface. The high percentage of wax esters make jojoba oil similar in structure to sebum, an oily secretion the skin naturally produces to help lubricate skin and hair. Unlike other carrier oils that are true vegetable oils, jojoba oil is said to move freely through skin layers, similar to sebum.
Is jojoba oil good for face cleansing and moisturizing in all circumstances? There hasn’t yet been research on the specific effects of jojoba oil on different skin types and conditions. However, there is research that demonstrates the positive effect of jojoba oil on skin that’s prone to acne.3
In a 2012 study, participants with acne-prone skin used a clay jojoba oil mask 2-3 times a week, for 6 weeks. Results showed that the jojoba oil had a mean reduction of 54% for inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne and skin lesions.3
Jojoba oil acne relief recipes often include tea tree essential oil, which has been shown to clinically reduce the number of acne lesions. While the 2012 study only focused on current acne breakouts, with the consistent use of essential oils and jojoba oil, acne scars may become less visible over time.
Does Jojoba Oil Clog Pores?
In short, jojoba oil does not clog pores, thanks to its wax esters. The only way to make jojoba oil comedogenic (which means it clogs pores) is to combine it with other carrier oils or chemical products.
Anyone can use a jojoba oil-based face cleanser to keep skin fresh and moisturized. But if you have oily areas, use essential oils blended with jojoba oil and blackheads may clear. Regular use of essential oil blends known for skincare can prevent blackheads from returning.
Where to Buy Jojoba Oil
Previously, cold pressed jojoba oil could only be purchased from specialty health stores. Now, due to advancements in technology, extremely high grade and organic jojoba oil can easily be purchased over the internet at reasonable prices. Many online vendors offer both small, single unit orders, and bulk jojoba oil orders.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Hay, I.C., Jamieson, M., Ormerod, A.D. (1998). Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata. Arch Dermatol. 134(11). 1349-1352. doi:10.1001/archderm.134.11.1349
- Ranzatoa, E., Martinottia, S., Burlandoa, B. (2011). Wound healing properties of jojoba liquid wax: An in vitro study. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 134(2). 443–449. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2010.12.042
- Meier, L., Stange, R., Michalsen, A., & Uehleke, B. (2012). Clay jojoba oil facial mask for lesioned skin and mild acne – results of a prospective, observational pilot study. Forschende Komplementärmedizin,Forschende Komplementärmedizin, 19:75-79. DOI: 1159/000338076