Thursday, 21 April 2016 07:18

Jojoba Oil: Another Liquid Gold for the Skin

Written by   Rachael Pontillo, L.E.

One of the most versatile and best-loved oils for use on the skin is jojoba oil. This versatile oil can be used as a gentle and effective makeup remover, cleansing oil, massage oil, or moisturizer, in addition to its use as a shelf-stable carrier oil for herbal and aromatherapeutic skin care preparations. Though other carrier oils have achieved the moniker liquid gold, jojoba oil also deserves to be regarded at this high standard, not just for its elegant golden color, but also because of its rich skin-health benefits.

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. Due to its rising popularity over the past several decades, it is now grown commercially in similar climates across the globe. The oil is extracted from mature seeds once they fall from the plant.
Jojoba oil differs from other oils because it is not what one would typically consider to be an 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 E1); B-complex; copper; zinc; selenium; iodine; and chromium.2 These reasons, in addition to the fact that it does not stain clothing or linens, makes it ideal for skin cleansing as well as facial and body massage in the treatment room.

There are many reasons why jojoba is so widely used in skin care products; one significant and very important reason is because it closely resembles human sebum. This attribute is extremely 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 ideal for all skin types and combinations is because it is relatively non-comedogenic, as long as it is pure and not sulfated. It is also non-irritant and anti-inflammatory, meaning that it is very well tolerated by all skin types and inflamed or 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 oily and acne-prone skin not only because it moisturizes and protects without clogging pores, but also because it absorbs into the pores, where it loosens up excessive oil, dead skin cells, and debris. This process not only facilitates the gentle cleansing of the skin and pores without stripping the skin’s natural lipid barrier, but it also helps balance the activity of the sebaceous glands to prevent both dehydration and the overproduction of sebum. It is also beneficial for other skin conditions, such as psoriasis, because it has natural antimicrobial, antioxidant, and
antifungal properties.3
Jojoba locks in the skin’s moisture, prevents dehydration, which can occur in homes or offices with forced air heating and central air conditioning, and works synergistically with the other ingredients in skin care products to increase penetration due to its easy and rapid intracellular absorption.

Because of these properties, jojoba oil has an extremely long shelf life and will not turn rancid. That feature is not present with other carrier oils, most of which require the addition of an antioxidant to prevent oxidation and rancidity. Even with this addition, these oils have a shorter shelf life. As long as jojoba oil is stored in a dark glass bottle away from heat, moisture, and light, and is handled properly without contamination, it will remain fresh and stable for years.

Jojoba oil itself does not have much of an aromatic fragrance. Its own subtle fragrance has been described as smoky, similar to bacon, and nutty. However, it easily takes on the fragrance of whatever else it is mixed with, so it is used extensively as a carrier oil for essential oils in aromatherapy products. It is easily mixed with different herbs, plant extracts, and essential oils for use in massage oils and aromatic lotions, creams, and cleansers. Because jojoba oil does not have much of a smell of its own, it really helps the natural aromas from the other ingredients shine. Its natural fixative properties also make jojoba an ideal base for natural perfumes, which are often found in organic and natural skin care products that are free of synthetic fragrances.

Though jojoba is now grown and processed in several locations worldwide, it is heavily reliant on proper climate, water supply, and soil composition for a harvest abundant enough to produce enough jojoba oil to meet international demand. Due to drought conditions, as well as improper soil conditions, there was a shortage of jojoba oil between 2010 and 2013. This shortage caused prices to skyrocket, the effects of which are still a factor today as jojoba is still an expensive carrier oil and growers are still learning the most effective and protective-growing methods for the best yield.
As a result of the shortage and high prices, biomimetic forms of jojoba oil are now being produced and sold to skin care manufacturers for use in products. The biomimetic version may be comprised of synthetic bioidentical compounds or other plant-derived oils in a way that mimics the molecular structure of whole plant jojoba oil. In either case, these versions promise the same skin-health benefits, interaction with other ingredients, and performance in products as the whole plant version at a fraction of the price. Even so, skin care professionals and spa owners with a whole plant philosophy who carry product lines containing jojoba oil might want to check with their manufacturer’s representative about whether the products are made with pure, whole jojoba oil or a biomimetic or bioidentical version.

Pure, whole jojoba oil, as well as the biomimetic versions, are available for wholesale from many online suppliers. Certain spa supply companies and companies that supply skin care manufacturers with raw ingredients sell it in various quantities ranging from one to two ounce bottles to gallon-sized jugs. Because of its long shelf-life, this is a carrier oil that is safe (and smart) to purchase in larger quantities and store for
future use.
Though it might seem to carry a high price tag, using jojoba oil in place of other backbar products for cleansing, massage, dry mask reconstitution, and even as part of a moisturizer may save on the bottom line in the long run.
Using jojoba oil in spa treatments also offers a simple opportunity to customize treatments by adding essential oils to either promote relaxation or to benefit a specific skin combination or condition. Many spas now offer signature blends of essential oils or facial oils for retail as well, for which jojoba makes an ideal base.

Because of jojoba’s extreme versatility, both for different skin combinations and uses, it makes a fantastic retail item for homecare. It is a great addition to any regular skin care regimen, but can also be considered an all-in-one skin care regimen for clients who prefer minimal programs or who travel frequently and do not want to be burdened with multiple products.

As the natural and organic movement continues to grow within the skin care and spa industries, demand for cold- or expeller-pressed carrier oils (like jojoba) in products will also continue to grow. These oils are now considered to pack as much miracle ingredient star power as isolated antioxidants, actives, and high-technology synthetics. Because of jojoba’s extreme compatibility with the human skin and other skin care ingredients, its versatility, and strong shelf-life, it remains an optimal choice for natural skin care manufacturers, professionals, and clients alike.

1 The Jojoba Company. (n.d.). What Is Jojoba?
2 Gottesman, D. and Wellness Today. (2014, January 24). 15 Surprising Beauty Uses for Jojoba Oil.
3 and ProVital Group. (n.d.). Jojoba Oil.

Rachael Pontillo is the bestselling author of Love Your Skin, Love Yourself, and co-author of the cookbook, The Sauce Code. She is an award winning AADP board certified holistic health and image coach, certified metaphysical practitioner, licensed aesthetician, natural skin care formulator and educator. She is the creator of the popular blog and lifestyle site,, and the six-week online course, Create Your Skincare™. Pontillo is a recipient of the Institute for Integration®’s esteemed Health Leadership Award and is also a brand ambassador and spokesperson for NeoCell™. Pontillo is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Holistic Life Counseling.


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