What is Jojoba Oil?

Posted by Dr. Natasha Ryz on

Jojoba oil is a unique oil that is made of liquid wax esters

Jojoba oil is highly emollient, non-greasy and quickly absorbed, leaving your skin with a silky feel. 

Jojoba oil is great for all skin types.

This article will discuss:

    • What is jojoba oil?
    • How is jojoba oil made?
    • What does jojoba oil smell like?
    • What color is jojoba oil oil?
    • What does jojoba oil feel like?
    • What is composition of jojoba oil?
    • Summary
    • References

Jojoba oil

What is jojoba oil?

Jojoba oil (Simmondsia chinensis) is a liquid wax that closely resembles the natural sebum of the skin and has antioxidant activity.

Jojoba oil is a unique oil that is made of liquid wax esters that are similar to the natural esters produced by the sebaceous glands in your skin (Wertz, 2009).

Jojoba oil is highly emollient, non-greasy and quickly absorbed, leaving your skin with a silky feel. 

Jojoba oil has outstanding antioxidant activity, and it can be stored for long periods of time (Awad et al, 2022).

Jojoba oil

How is jojoba oil made?

Jojoba oil is derived from the seeds of the jojoba plant.

Jojoba oil extraction involves several steps:

  1. Harvesting: Jojoba seeds are typically harvested when they are fully mature, which is indicated by a change in color from green to brown. This usually occurs in late fall.

  2. Seed Extraction: After harvesting, the seeds are separated from the rest of the plant material, such as leaves and stems.

  3. Cleaning: The harvested seeds are cleaned to remove any dirt, debris, or remaining plant material.

  4. Grinding: The cleaned seeds are then ground into a fine powder or paste. This can be done mechanically or with the help of machines.

  5. Cold Pressing: The ground jojoba seed paste is subjected to a cold pressing process to extract the oil. Cold pressing involves applying mechanical pressure to the paste without the use of heat or chemicals. This helps retain the oil's natural properties and ensures it is of high quality.

  6. Filtration: The oil extracted through cold pressing contains some impurities, so it is typically filtered to remove any remaining solids or plant particles. This results in a clearer and purer jojoba oil.

Jojoba oil

What does jojoba oil smell like?

Jojoba oil has a pleasant, soft odor. 

Jojoba oil is typically odorless or has a very mild, slightly nutty scent.

Jojoba oil

What color is jojoba oil?

The color of golden jojoba oil is a golden to brownish yellow liquid wax.

Jojoba Oil

What does jojoba oil feel like?

Jojoba oil is relatively lightweight and it has a silky and smooth texture.

Jojoba is quickly absorbed by the skin and it doesn't feel greasy on the skin.

Jojoba creates a barrier on the skin and leaves a satiny finish.

Jojoba oil

What is composition of jojoba oil? 

Jojoba oil is composed of almost 98% pure waxes (mainly wax esters, few free fatty acids, alcohols, and hydrocarbons), sterols, and vitamins with few triglyceride esters, so it is widely known as liquid wax rather than oil or fat (Gad et al, 2021).

    Wax esters

    Jojoba is composed of wax esters including: 

      • Eicosenyl octadecenoate (C20:1-C18:1) *C38
      • Eicosenyl eicosenoate (C20:1-C20:1) *C40
      • Docosenyl eicosenoate (C22:1-C20:1) *C42
      • Eicosenyl docosenoate (C20:1-C22:1) *C42
      • Tetracosenyl eiosenoate (C24:1-C20:1) *C44

    (Tada et al, 2005)

    A supplier COA had the following analysis for golden jojoba seed oil:

      • 45 - 56% C42
      • 27 - 37% C40
      • 13% C44
      • 10% C38
      •  2% C36
      • 2% C46

     (Nature in Bottle, 2024)

    Fatty acids

    Jojoba oil is composed of: 

      • 67.85 - 75.50% Gadoleic acid 
      • 12.60 - 14.81% Erucic acid
      • 9.88 - 9.95% Oleic acid
      • 0.20% to 3.18% Palmitic acid

    (Awad et al, 2022)

    Gadoleic acid

    Gadoleic acid (C20:1), also known as gondoic acid or 11-eicosenoic acid, is an unsaturated omega-9 fatty acid.

    Gondoic acid is often used skincare products due to its emollient properties and its similarity to human sebum, which makes it beneficial for skin (Wertz et al, 2009).

    Erucic acid

    Erucic acid is a long-chain monounsaturated fatty acid that is sometimes used in cosmetic and skincare products. It is primarily used for its emollient properties, which means it can help moisturize and soften the skin.

    Erucic acid should not be taken internally. 

    Oleic acid

    Oleic acid is an omega 9 fatty acid found naturally in your skin barrier and in sebum. 

    Oleic acid has many benefits for dry skin when applied topically. It is quickly absorbed and softens dry skin.

    Oleic acid has anti-inflammatory properties (Santa-Maria et al, 2023), which can help calm and soothe irritated or inflamed skin. 

    Palmitic acid

    Palmitic acid is a saturated fatty acid found naturally in your skin barrier.

    Palmitic acid is a rich emollient as well as an occlusive agent, meaning it locks moisture into your skin rather than letting it evaporate.

    As you age, your skin barrier makes less palmitic acid (Kim et al, 2010).

    Vitamin E in Jojoba Oil

      Vitamin E

      Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble compounds that are important for skin health.

      There are 8 types of natural vitamin E.

      There are four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma and delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma and delta).

      Jojoba oil has been shown to contain:

        • 0.079 mg/g gamma-tocopherol 
        • 0.020 mg/g alpha-tocopherol
        • 0.00045 mg/g beta-tocopherol

        (El-Mallah et al, 2009)

        When applied topically, vitamin E is a skin conditioning agent, a powerful antioxidant and it can protect your skin against photodamage from the sun.

        Learn more: What is Vitamin E for Skin?

        Jojoba oil


        Jojoba oil has been shown to contain campesterol, stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol and isofuco-sterol (El-Mallah et al, 2009).

        Phytosterols are plant-derived sterols that have a similar structure and functions as cholesterol. 

        The main phytosterols in plant oils are beta-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, brassicasterol, and delta5-avenasterol (Verleyen et al, 2002).

        The total phytosterol contents of plant oils has been shown to range between 1.42 and 18.91 mg/g (Yang et al, 2019).

        Phytosterols such as sitosterol are potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds (Bakrim et al, 2022).

        Jojoba Oil


        Jojoba oil is a liquid wax that closely resembles the natural sebum of the skin and has antioxidant activity.

        Jojoba oil is composed of almost 98% pure waxes (mainly wax esters, few free fatty acids, alcohols, and hydrocarbons) vitamin E tocopherols and phytosterols.

        Jojoba oil is highly emollient, non-greasy and quickly absorbed, leaving your skin with a silky feel. 

        Jojoba oil is perfect for dry, mature and sensitive skin.

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        Jojoba oil


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        Gruber JV, Terpak N, Massard S, Schwartz A, Bojanowski K. Passive Enhancement of Retinol Skin Penetration by Jojoba Oil Measured Using the Skin Parallel Artificial Membrane Permeation Assay (Skin-PAMPA): A Pilot Study. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2023 Feb 2;16:317-324. 

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        Author Information

        Dr. Natasha Ryz, Scientist and Founder of Dry Skin Love Skincare

        Dr. Natasha Ryz is a scientist, skin care expert and an entrepreneur. She is the founder of Dry Skin Love Skincare, and she creates skincare products for beauty, dry skin and pain relief.

        Dr. Ryz has a PhD in Experimental Medicine from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and she is a Vanier scholar. She also holds a Master of Science degree and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

        Natasha is the former Chief Science Officer of Zenabis Global, and she oversaw extraction, analytics, and product development. Her team brought 20 products to market including oils, sprays, vapes and softgels.

        Why I Started A Skincare Company

        Email: natasha.ryz@dryskinlove.com
        Twitter: @tashryz
        Instagram: @tash.ryz
        LinkedIn: @natasharyz

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