Is it Liquid? Is it Wax? It's Jojoba Oil: A Skincare Superhero!

May 10, 2023by Heather Smith


Jojoba oil, a gem in the skincare world, has been making waves for its incredible benefits and sustainable practices. But what exactly makes this golden elixir so magical?

Let us take you on a journey to unveil the science behind this remarkable natural resource and how it can transform your skin.

Jojoba oil is brimming with nourishing properties and its environmentally friendly nature aligns perfectly with our commitment to sustainability.

This article is part of our series on the best face oils and jojoba is one not to miss!

Jojoba oil for skin - infographic by bareLUXE Skincare

The Origins of Jojoba

Jojoba oil has its roots in the arid regions of Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States, where indigenous communities have used it for centuries.

The secret to this golden elixir lies within the seeds of the jojoba plant (Simmondsia chinensis), which thrives in harsh environments due to its unique ability to retain moisture. Despite its harsh growing conditions, the plant produces seeds rich in a unique, waxy oil. This oil, unlike most plant oils, is incredibly stable and long-lasting.

Historically, Indigenous people used jojoba oil for treating sores and wounds due to its antibacterial properties. Additionally, the oil was used as a food supplement during times of scarcity, and its seeds were ground into a coffee-like beverage.

In modern times, jojoba oil's medicinal benefits are attributed to its high antioxidants and fatty acids content. It's used topically to soothe various skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Its hypoallergenic properties make it a suitable moisturizer for sensitive skin. Research also points to its potential anti-inflammatory and wound-healing effects.

One-of-a-Kind Fatty Acid Composition

Jojoba is a wax, not an oil!

Contrary to common belief, jojoba oil isn't technically an oil. Most plant-derived oils are triglycerides. However, jojoba molecules are not glycerol-based. Instead, they are long straight-chain wax esters. This makes its structure more similar to human sebum, the skin's natural oil, than other plant oils.

This wax-like molecular structure contributes to stability and resistance to oxidation, which is why jojoba oil has a longer shelf life than other vegetable oils. Moreover, its similarity to sebum allows it to absorb quickly into the skin without leaving a greasy residue. As a result, it helps balance the skin's oil production, making it beneficial for both dry and oily skin types.

The primary constituents of jojoba oil are long-chain fatty acids and fatty alcohols, including eicosenoic acid, docosenoic acid, and oleic acid.

    • Eicosenoic Acid: 65-80%
    • Docosenoic Acid: 10-15%
    • Oleic Acid: 5-15%

The primary fatty alcohols in jojoba oil, corresponding to their fatty acid counterparts, are eicosenol and docosenol, which are 20- and 22-carbon chain alcohols, respectively. These fatty alcohols, along with the long-chain fatty acids, form the wax esters that give jojoba oil its unique properties.

Unlike short-chain, drying alcohols like ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, which can dry out the skin and disrupt the skin barrier, the long-chain fatty alcohols in jojoba oil are beneficial for skin health. They have emollient properties, meaning they can soften and smooth the skin.

Indeed, one of the unique aspects of jojoba oil is that it doesn't contain linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid often found in other plant-based oils. The absence of linoleic acid doesn't detract from jojoba oil's skincare benefits. In fact, its unique composition is one of the reasons why jojoba oil is so stable, has a long shelf life, and is less likely to cause skin irritation compared to other oils.

Beyond its unique fatty acid profile, jojoba oil is rich in a variety of phytochemicals. These include natural forms of vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant, protecting the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Other beneficial compounds include phytosterols, which have anti-inflammatory properties, and squalene, a compound with potent antioxidant and anticancer properties.

Jojoba Oil Moisturizing Properties

Jojoba oil closely resembles human sebum – our skin's natural oil. This unique feature effectively penetrates the skin barrier without clogging pores or causing breakouts.

Its rich composition includes essential fatty acids, vitamin E, antioxidants, and minerals which work together synergistically to nourish and hydrate your precious skin.

When you think about the term "wax," you might think that jojoba would be too occlusive. While it does have occlusive properties, the similarities to your own sebum make it especially suited to moisturizing skin in a manner similar to your own body's mechanisms. 

Top 12 Face Benefits of Jojoba Oil

Due to the chemical structure and composition, jojoba oil benefits are pronounced. Here are a few to expect:


      • Moisturizing: Jojoba oil is an excellent emollient. It creates a protective layer on the skin's surface, preventing moisture loss and keeping the skin soft and supple.
      • Hydration support: The moisturizing effects provided by jojoba oil help keep your skin retain water leaving it plump and hydrated, reducing the visibility of fine lines.
      • Soothes Sensitive Skin: Its anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce redness and inflammation, making it suitable for sensitive skin and conditions like rosacea or eczema.
      • Promotes Healing: The antioxidant and wound-healing properties of jojoba oil can help in the skin's natural healing process, aiding in the repair of scars, cuts, and minor wounds.
      • Improves Skin Barrier Function: The fatty alcohols in jojoba oil can strengthen the skin's barrier, protecting it from harmful environmental factors and reducing moisture loss.
      • Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties:  Jojoba oil possesses natural antibacterial properties, which can help combat acne-causing bacteria and promote clearer skin.
      • Non-Comedogenic: Jojoba oil is non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores. This makes it suitable for all skin types, including acne-prone skin.
      • Balances Oil Production: Jojoba oil mimics the skin's natural sebum due to its unique, waxy structure, helping balance oil production. It can prevent excess oil and clogged pores in oily skin while providing necessary hydration for dry skin.
      • Supports Collagen Synthesis: Antioxidants in jojoba oil can help stimulate the synthesis of collagen, a protein crucial for maintaining skin elasticity and reducing signs of aging.
      • Antioxidant protection: Jojoba oil contains natural forms of vitamin E, which fights against free radicals responsible for premature aging.
      • Elasticity improvement: Essential fatty acids present in this miracle oil promote collagen production and improve skin elasticity.
      • Reduces Hyperpigmentation: With regular use, jojoba oil can help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation by speeding up cell turnover and promoting healthier skin.

    Hair Care and Scalp Health

    In addition to its incredible benefits for skin, jojoba oil also works wonders for hair care and scalp health. Its unique composition of long-chain fatty acids and high-quality nutrients make it a top choice for promoting healthy, strong, and shiny locks.

    Here are four key reasons why incorporating jojoba oil into your hair care regimen can help elevate both its appearance and health:

      • Moisture retention: Jojoba oil is an excellent natural moisturizer that closely resembles our own sebum, making it perfect for preventing dryness without leaving a greasy residue.
      • Scalp health: With its anti-inflammatory properties, it soothes irritated scalps while regulating excess sebum production – helping maintain equilibrium between oily and dry conditions while potentially addressing issues like dandruff.
      • Hair protection: Acting as a natural barrier against environmental stressors like pollution or heat styling tools, jojoba oil keeps your mane looking vibrant all day long.
      • Promotion of growth: By stimulating circulation at the scalp level through gentle massage with this nutrient-rich emollient, you encourage new cell turnover leading to stronger, thicker strands over time.

    Sustainability Considerations

    Ecological Considerations

    Jojoba plants are native to arid desert regions of North America, particularly Arizona, southern California, and northern Mexico. They are hardy and drought-resistant, able to thrive in harsh environments with minimal water. This makes jojoba an environmentally friendly crop from an irrigation standpoint.

    Jojoba plants also have deep root systems, which help them utilize underground water sources and prevent soil erosion. In addition, jojoba plants can help improve soil fertility by adding organic matter.

    Sustainability Considerations

    Jojoba oil production is generally considered sustainable as the plants can grow in arid, non-arable land where not many other crops can survive. This means it doesn't compete with food crops for land resources.

    Moreover, jojoba plants are perennials, producing seeds for many years once they are established, contributing to the crop's sustainability. The plant also has a relatively long productive life span, with some reports suggesting it can continue producing seeds for up to 100 years or more.

    However, like any crop, jojoba cultivation and oil production must be managed responsibly to avoid overexploitation. Practices like overharvesting or improper processing can negatively impact the environment and the sustainability of the crop.

    Another sustainability concern is the potential impact of climate change on jojoba's natural habitats. Rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns could affect the plant's growth and seed production in the future.

    Lastly, due to the high demand for jojoba oil in the cosmetics industry, it's important to source it from suppliers who adhere to ethical and sustainable farming practices, ensuring the long-term viability of the crop and the well-being of the communities involved in its cultivation and processing.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What's the Best Skin Type to Use Jojoba Oil?

    Jojoba oil is highly beneficial for all skin types.

    It will keep the skin calm and comfortable and feel supple. It absorbs into the skin well, and the oil's many benefits come from its unique chemical structure. 

    Jojoba oil's waxy properties make it extra helpful in moisturizing dry skin.

    Its ability to balance skin's natural oil production, in addition to its antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties, means jojoba oil can be used for people with acne-prone or oily skin

    Can Jojoba Oil Cause an Allergic Reaction or Skin Irritation?

    Jojoba oil is generally well-tolerated, and allergies are rare. Any new product could cause irritation or reactions, which is why patch testing is always recommended. 

    How Long Does It Take To See Improvements In Skin?

    Carrier oil use is highly beneficial for your face. However, visible results aren't generally dramatic unless paired with more active ingredients, as in the case of oil serums.

    When you start using facial oils, instant improvements in moisturization and texture will be noticed. Other changes are gradual and will occur over 6-12 weeks. Stay patient and give your skin time to adjust.

    Are There Risks Associated With Using Jojoba Oil On A Regular Basis?

    As with any natural ingredient, individual reactions can vary, and some users might experience allergic reactions, such as redness, itching, or swelling.

    It's essential to perform a patch test before incorporating jojoba oil into your daily skincare routine.

    Can I Use Jojoba Oil With Other Skincare Products?


    Jojoba oil can work wonders in synergy with other skincare products, enhancing their benefits and providing a nourishing base for your skin. There aren't any specifically identified reactions or interactions with other ingredients. 


    It's called liquid gold for a reason!

    Incorporating jojoba oil into your skincare routine can potentially offer numerous benefits for various skin types.

    Using pure jojoba oil on the face directly at full strength is fine, but having it be a component of a more elaborate facial oil serum will push the visible results further. Regardless, ensuring this nourishing liquid wax is part of your skincare routine will leave the health of your skin and hair thankful.


    Its properties as a soothing, moisturizing, and barrier boosting ingredient earned Jojoba oil a top spot in the bareLUXE bare Essential skin barrier oil serum.


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    Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Dec 27;19(1):70. 

    Pazyar N, Yaghoobi R, Ghassemi MR, Kazerouni A, Rafeie E, Jamshydian N. Jojoba in dermatology: a succinct review. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2013 Dec;148(6):687-91. 

    Al-Obaidi JR, Halabi MF, AlKhalifah NS, Asanar S, Al-Soqeer AA, Attia MF. A review on plant importance, biotechnological aspects, and cultivation challenges of jojoba plant. Biol Res. 2017 Aug 24;50(1):25. 

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    About the Author

    Dr. Heather Smith developed her love for skinimalism and clean beauty years ago when she began making home remedies for her newborn's eczema. She is an expert in natural ingredients and active botanicals and has now launched bareLUXE Skincare - a full line of effective oil serums. She dedicates this blog to consumers who are researching ingredients and working to make their beauty ritual more natural and sustainable.


    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Smith nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content should consult their physicians about their skincare concerns and routines.