Jojoba oil Skin and Hair Application, Internal Effects and More

Author: Dr. Michael Tyler
Date: 01.10.2020
Reading time: 11:59 min

Jojoba oil is obtained from the seeds of the jojoba bush (Latin: Simmondsia chinesis). The evergreen shrub is grown in arid desert regions, such as Egypt, Australia and the Sonoran Desert (USA), where it also grows wild.

Name Jojoba
Lat. Name Simmondsia chinensis
Origin Mexico, United States
Price per 10ml 1,50

The nuty seeds contain approx. 50% -60% jojoba oil, which is actually not an oil, but liquid wax. This was only discovered in 1935 in the University of Arizona, which is why it is also known as jojoba wax in professional circles. In fact, jojoba oil’s unique ability to function as a liquid wax offers a wide range of applications. It is used mainly in the cosmetics field, but also as a furniture polish or as a lubricant.


Jojobaöl falsche According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, jojoba oil is unsuitable for consumption because human intestinal enzymes cannot digest it. For this reason, and because the glycoside (Simmondsin) contained in jojoba oil inhibits one’s appetite, it was commonly used as a dietary addition in the past. Even at low dosages (0.025% -0.2% per kg body weight), weight loss is visible within 14 days. A variety of companies (including Nestlé) examined this phenomenon in studies.

The mechanism of action of jojoba oil has not yet been clarified. "In vitro" studies (studies outside living organisms) show that the liver can metabolize jojoba oil. Animal studies, on the other hand, confirm that ingestion over a longer period (4-6 weeks) is toxic, causes changes to their blood profiles, and destroys cells, especially in the liver and small intestine area.

Jojoba oil also has further potential risk, due to the fatty acids it contains. For example, the toxic omega-9 fatty (erucic) acid leads to fat infiltration of heart muscle in higher doses and, according to the EU Food Regulation, must therefore not make up more than 5% in a cooking oil. This condition is however reversible. In jojoba oil, the erucic acid content is around 15%! Further research is necessary to adequately assess the toxic potential of jojoba oil.

For these reasons, it has been banned throughout Europe for consumption since 2007.

External use

Skin care

Jojoba's long-chain wax esters make it a unique skin care product. These wax esters are very similar to human skin sebum and, unlike other waxes, can combine to form a thin, liquid lipid layer. It provides moisture without clogging the skin or leaving it feeling greasy.

This is long-lasting, because the long-chain wax esters are slowly decomposed - by enzymes that break down fat. Simultaneously, the omega-9 fatty acids and phospholipids penetrate into the deeper skin layers and provide moisture. This stabilizes the pH of the skin and makes jojoba oil compatible for all skin types.

Smoother skin

Jojoba oil binds the skin's own moisture in different skin layers, which softens the skin and increases its elasticity. As a result, it appears plump and smooth. This effect is particularly effective on stretch marks if daily skin care with jojoba oil is started at the beginning of pregnancy. The fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin E and provitamin A also keep the skin moist, which increases the effectiveness of the wax esters on the skin surface. This benefits all skin types, but especially people with mature, wrinkled, dry or flaky skin.


Jojoba oil delays skin ageing - the provitamin A and vitamin E neutralize free radicals in multiple skin layers. Free radicals are unstable molecules with unpaired electrons that damage other molecules by stealing electrons from them. This process is called oxidation, and it also shortens the shelf life of the cosmetic products themselves. But this does not affect Jojoba oil:

In the course of clinical tests, the Japanese cosmetics company Koei Perfumery confirmed that all jojoba oil-based cosmetic products were so immune to oxidative damage, that they were unchanged even after 10 years. They have extremely long shelf-lives.

In addition to its extraordinary stability, jojoba oil has a sun protection factor of 3-4, which protects the skin from oxidation by sunlight.

Antibiotic effect

Jojoba oil is a fantastic moisturizer. because it forms an aqueous layer of fat with the skin's own sebum, but it does not clog pores like other oils. Jojoba oil also counteracts microbes. Although it does not contain any antibacterial agents, it cannot be metabolized by most microorganisms such as Candida albicans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Propionibacterium acnes, Staphylococcus aureus etc. They are therefore deprived of their resources and prevented from thriving. This makes jojoba oil ideal for inflammatory skin tendencies such as acne, eczema, neurodermatitis and psoriasis (psoriasis).

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As a basic material in cosmetic care products

Jojobaöl für kosmetische Produkte Because of its increased durability and resilience, jojoba oil is one of the most basic ingredients and is a fantastic carrier oil in cosmetic products and sunscreen preparations. In daily care, jojoba oil can be used as a carrier for other oils to preserve their active ingredients and allow them to penetrate deeper into the skin. For example, hemp oil - which can only be kept for approx. 6 months after opening - can be mixed with jojoba oil to increase the shelf life to 2-3 years. It also facilitates hemp's penetration into the deeper layers of the skin.

The mixing ratios with jojoba oil vary depending on the type of oil, since oils have different chemical compositions. For example, a 50 ml jojoba-hemp oil mixture would consist of approx. 35 ml jojoba oil and 15 ml hemp oil. With a jojoba-sea buckthorn fruit oil mixture, the ratio would be approx. 48 ml to 2 ml, since sea buckthorn fruit oil severely discolours skin owing to its high carotenoid content.

As a co-emulsifier for emulsions

Most cosmetic products are emulsions that contain two immiscible raw materials, such as oil and water. Emulsifiers reduce the surface tension between repellent molecules, creating a smooth, stable cream. In order to prevent the creamy solution from separating into its parts again, the emulsifiers are often stabilized with co-emulsifiers, like jojoba oil. Wax esters have strong emulsifying properties. Jojoba oil is therefore often used in medicinal ointments. If jojoba oil is used as a raw material or as a co-emulsifier, the cosmetic products also require fewer preservatives.

As a base oil for essential oils in natural cosmetics

Cold-pressed jojoba oil has a quintessential (soapy-cosmetic) smell. It is subtle enough, however, to serve as the ideal unfiltered base oil for blends with other essential oils. In jojoba oil, the effect and fragrance of the essential oils remain stable for longer. However, the essential oils should not make up more than 1% of the mixture if it is intended for the external use. For example: 10 ml carrier with a max. of 2 drops essential oil, or anything to that proportion.

Tip for a rich, anti-inflammatory and soothing care oil for all skin types: 45 ml jojoba oil, 5 ml currant seed oil (currant seed oil is dosed economically due to its intensity), 4 drops of benzoin siam oil, 3 drops of lavender oil, 3 drops of orange oil.

Perfume oils have higher concentrations of essential oils than care oils: for every 10 ml jojoba oil there are around 30-40 drops of essential oil depending on the type and fragrance intensity. The oils are mixed together and applied sparingly after one to two weeks of being allowed to settle, on specific areas or dabbed into hair. A recipe example for a "feminine - self confident - vibrant" (their slogan) perfume oil:

10 ml jojoba oil, 4 drops benzoin siam oil, 10 drops coriander oil, 15 drops grapefruit oil.

As eye care and (eye) make-up remover

Dermatological tests conducted by cosmetics manufacturers show that jojoba oil does not trigger any allergic reactions on the skin and on the mucous membranes of the eyes. In examinations by a cosmetics manufacturer in Tokyo, who tested 10-year-old products based in jojoba oil, only 3 out of 46 test subjects presented a mild irritation. Jojoba oil is well tolerated, and is slightly viscous. This prevents the rapid spread of jojoba oil on the skin, and makes it an excellent eye care product. It is also a fantastic make-up remover thanks to its emulsifying properties.

As hair care for weak, brittle hair and flaky scalp

Jojobaöl auf den Haaren Experiments at the University of Michigan showed that jojoba oil penetrates into the skin transfollicularly (from the epidermis to the dermis) and builds up the hair from the inside: after application, jojoba oil collects at the bottom of the hair, seeps through the wall of the follicle and reaches deeper layers of skin. Jojoba oil moisturizes both the skin and hair roots at the same time and is therefore often used in hair care products.

Tip: Homemade hair packs are also effective: 1. Wash hair with shampoo 2. Massage towel-dried hair and wet scalp with jojoba oil for 30 min. 3. Wash out with shampoo again. Jojoba oil is ideal for scalp massages because it is successfully absorbed into the skin. It is only suitable as a massage oil if it is mixed with an oil that forms a stronger lipid film and stays on the skin longer, such as avocado oil.

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Industrial applications

The nature of jojoba oil can be so greatly changed by chemical reactions (on the double bonds and in the ester functions), which creates new industrial products. A research laboratory in Israel produces more than 40 different chemicals based on jojoba oil. These include lubricants, polishes, anti-foaming agents, plastics (plasticizers), matches, candles, carbon paper, fuel and much more ...

Jojoba oil also replaces walrat because it is chemically almost identical. Walrat was an industrially and cosmetically very popular raw material that was obtained from the forehead of the sperm whale. Since the worldwide ban on whaling in 1984, it has been replaced by synthetic walnut oil and jojoba oil.


The jojoba seeds are ground and then cold pressed. Jojoba oil can also be obtained by extraction (extraction with a solvent such as hexane). However, this is more complex because the solvent has to be further distilled off. Refining (cleaning and preserving at high temperatures, pressure and adding chemicals) is not necessary except for industrial purposes, since the cold-pressed jojoba oil has hardly any impurities or its own smell and is very stable.

For medical or cosmetic purposes, cold-pressed jojoba oil is often pasteurized (heated to temperatures of up to 60-80 ° C) to remove microorganisms. When pasteurized, jojoba oil does not lose its golden yellow colour, but after refining it is colourless and odourless.

Chemical composition

Jojoba oil as a wax remains liquid up to 7 ° C. It consists of long-chain wax esters, primary alcohols and monocarboxylic acids (fatty acids) with a chain length of 38-44 carbon atoms. Its fatty acids are mainly omega-9 fatty acids such as:

  • Oleic acid
  • Gadoleic acid (eicosanoic acid)
  • Nervonic acid
  • Erucic acid. Other ingredients include various types of vitamin E, including:
    • Alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherols
    • Sterols
    • Phospholipids
    • Provitamin A (beta-carotene)
    • amino acids
    • Squalene
    • Minerals

Jojoba oil differs from other vegetable oils essentially in that its fatty acids are not bound to a water-soluble glycerol molecule. It is bound to fatty alcohols, with which they form wax esters that are well tolerated by skin. Jojoba oil contains no glycerin and therefore never spoils nor goes rancid. It does not oxidize through heat, light or air, which is why it is temperature-resistant up to 300 ° C and remains stable for 25 years.


Jojobaöl auf den Haaren The jojoba plant originally comes from the Sorona Desert, which mostly falls into Mexican territory, but to a lesser extent also to the USA. The indigenous Papago Indians called the plant or the fruit it ho-ho-wi. Spanish conquerors later changed the word to ho-ho-ba. The first mention of the jojoba plant comes from Spanish records from 1716.

According to tradition, Papago Indians from Mexico roasted the jojoba seeds and used them as a coffee substitute, and Yavapai Indians used them to make pulpy foods. The pure oil was already used by the Indians for hair restoration, as well as for wound healing and to treat headaches. Aztecs used jojoba oil primarily as hair and beauty care and already mixed it with other oils. The first botanical entry of the jojoba plant followed in 1822.


The name Simmondsia chinesis suggests the shrub is Chinese in origin. It is said that this was the botanist's error, who was said to have mistaken it with plant samples from China at the time.

The jojoba plant, the only genus of the family of carnation-like plants, is native to the southwestern part of the USA and northwestern Mexico. The robust, 2-2.5 m high evergreen shrub has 3-5 m long tap roots with which it covers its nutrient and water requirements from deeper layers of the earth. It prefers dry desert climate and does not tolerate temperatures below 14 ° C.

The jojoba bush can live for 200 years in a natural environment. Its appearance can vary, its hairy, oval leaves can take on different sizes and different colors from dark green to albino. The female flowers are single and are pale green while the male flowers clustered and yellow. The fruits are green, oval capsules that carry the seeds, which are dark brown and reminiscent of olives. When the fruits ripen, they split and release the seeds. Depending on the location, the fruits contain 1-3 seeds, which are already filled with the liquid, golden yellow wax, in the first 4 weeks of the ripening.


Jojobaöl Anbau Interest in the jojoba plant increased around the second half of the 20th century; it was frequently cultivated in plantations in Israel, India, Argentina, Australia, Peru etc. It grows wherever agriculture is difficult with arid conditions. The jojoba plant is deep-rooted so it hardly needs irrigation, but water supply between autumn and spring increases the yield. The barren soils ideally suited for this plant are actually improved by Jojoba’s introduction. Jojoba actually prepares the soils for further ecological development with other species.

It thrives without fertilization and pesticides and even tolerates salty soils that can be treated by artificial irrigation. Hot, dry summers are necessary for the fruit development of the jojoba plant, which is why the jojoba hedge plants can be combined with citrus plantations that enjoy similar conditions. After just one year the young shrub bears approx. 0.5 kg of fruit, the maximum yield is reached at approx. 12 years. Therefore, one can harvest approx. 10 kg -13 kg of fruit per plant. The fruit is harvested for production in the dry period, partly by hand and partly by machine harvesting.

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