A hardy perennial shrub prevalent in most major areas of the Sonoran Desert, including northwest Mexico and adjacent areas in California and Arizona, the jojoba plant is extremely drought resistant. Given its ability to thrive in arid conditions, it makes sense that its seeds’ extracts boast superior moisture-retaining capabilities. Although used for centuries to treat skin conditions and promote hair growth, jojoba wasn’t commercially produced until 1976. Today, according to the International Jojoba Export Council, an estimated 5,000 tons of jojoba are used in personal care products manufactured around the world.
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Why it’s a skincare all-star:
A carrier of antioxidant vitamin E, jojoba oil has been found to mimic the skin’s natural sebum, so it penetrates thoroughly without leaving behind a greasy residue. It’s considered ideal for all skin types—even sensitive ones. “Jojoba oil is a rich natural source of omega-9, a monounsaturated fatty acid that minimizes transepidermal water loss, and promotes regeneration of the skin’s lipid barrier when it’s damaged, helping to heal inflammation,” adds Shannon McLinden, CEO of FarmHouse Fresh. “Because of its fatty acid makeup, it’s also less comedogenic than other saturated fatty acid oils, like coconut.”
Jojoba oil’s documented healing, antiaging and anti-inflammatory effects make the odorless, plant-based emollient a popular ingredient in beauty products like cleansers, moisturizers and cosmetics. It’s also frequently used in baby care products, scalp treatments, massage creams and more. “Jojoba oil is non-allergenic, making it ideal for massaging delicate skin, as well as a great carrier for any essential oils I might want to add,” says Sharon Puszko, PhD, LMT, director and educator at DayBreak Geriatric Massage Institute in Indianapolis. Applied topically, jojoba oil has been used to address skin conditions including acne, psoriasis, scars, stretch marks and sunburn, and is even thought to help control hair loss by unclogging follicles.
At Indulgence Salon & Spa in Roanoke, Virginia, the Moon Dip Décolleté treatment enhancement (15 min./$15) incorporates FarmHouse Fresh Moon Dip Back To Youth Ageless Body Mousse, an antiaging powerhouse featuring a combination of jojoba, peptides and retinol. “Our clients have been thrilled with the soft and supple results,
and how the enhancement helps minimize the crepey appearance of their neck area,” reports spa manager Debbie Matherly. “They leave looking radiant and renewed.”
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Puszko offers a healing touch to guests 65 and older with the Geriatric Massage (30-60 min./$30-$60), which employs Bon Vital’ Complete Massage Creme, along with the brand’s lotion. “The gentle and hydrating jojoba oil is perfect for aging skin and it’s also odorless, which is beneficial for guests who are sensitive to fragrances,” notes Puszko. “It still gives me the perfect pairing of glide and control as I work, ensuring that my clients have the best massage experience possible.”
The Stone Crop Anti-Aging Lift Treatment (70 min./$180) at Tranquility Day Spa in Bedminster Township, New Jersey, utilizes the Éminence Stone Crop line, beginning with the Cleansing Oil, which is massaged into wet skin until it becomes a creamy cleanser. “The jojoba oil in this product has beautiful rehydrating and firming effects,” says spa owner Jody Maurais. The esthetician even mixes a small amount of cleanser with an exfoliant to further smooth the client’s complexion, followed by a hydrating serum, moisturizer and mask for glowing, younger-looking skin.
- A Jojoba oil first gained commercial interest when researchers found that it could replace sperm whale oil as a mechanical lubricant.
- A Early Spanish settlers and southwestern immigrants gave the plant a variety of common names, including coffee berry, nutbush and wild hazelnut.
- The plant can grow more than 10 feet high and can live for up to 200 years.
- Jojoba oil does not oxidize or become rancid.
- Most of the shrub’s seeds contain between 45 and 55 percent liquid wax.
- The earliest written record of jojoba, by the Italian priest Francisco Clavijero, noted medicinal uses for jojoba “berries” including facilitating childbirth and treating wounds.
–by Tracy Morin