Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jojoba - The Oil That Isn't

Jojoba is native to the Arizona desert
If you ever hear anyone mention jojoba as an oil, feel free to correct them, because there is no such thing. Although it looks and behaves like an oil (for the most part), jojoba (INCI: Simmondsia chinensis) is, in fact, a liquid wax.
Native to North and South America (Arizona, California and Mexico), jojoba is also cultivated in Australia, Isreal, Peru, and Argentina. The seeds from the jojoba bush provide the 'oil' that is used in skin care. Jojoba is closer to human sebum than any oil, giving it several special characteristics and setting it apart enough to where I would say it really belongs in a category all by itself.

Characteristics
Jojoba is a classified as semi-fatty (read: it has a semi-slow absorbtion rate on the skin). Because of its organic makeup, it offers excellent lubrication and protection to the skin, leaving no sticky feel at all, but providing a protective layer that keeps the skin supple. This special organic makeup also makes jojoba particularly beneficial for the hair. I faithfully use jojoba as a protective and fat-restoring agent in all of my shower and shampoo products. It is also a staple in my leave-in hair conditioner. It has behaved beautifully in face oils, creams and sun lotions. Come to think of it, I don't believe it has ever failed me.

Odorless, Stable and Very Able
The fact that jojoba is both odorless and has a built-in stability makes it ideal for multiple uses.
- Perfect for sun products (it happily withstands exposure to high temperatures much longer than any oil)
- Great for hair packs (non-greasy and washes out easily)
- Acceptable for all skin types (because of it's similarity to human sebum)
- Ideal for acne treatment products (it works beautifully as an emulsifier to unclog pores)
- Ideal for body massage
- Great in protection creams and lotions (against wind, weather and water)
- Adds spreadability to any lotion

Any Downsides?
I am hard-pressed to find any negatives about jojoba. It is not an ingredient I will just 'grab from the fridge' and use. When chilled, it stiffens and always needs to be warmed before it will leave the bottle. Since I always order the (pricier) organic over the (pricey) non-organic variety, my biggest criticism about jojoba is – it's not cheap. But then, quality rarely is.

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