Jojoba Oil and HairQ: What is Jojoba Oil and what does it do to hair?
A: Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax, not oil, and is extracted from the bean seed of the jojoba plant (a shrub technically known as jojoba simmondsia chinensis) found in the desert of the American Southwest. Its greatest feature is that it is very similar to the natural oil produced by the sebaceous glands in human skin.
Jojoba acts as a humectant, meaning that it provides moisture, to skin and hair. It also forms a protective film over the skin and hair shaft to keep the moisture in. Jojoba contains antioxidant properties and specifically has vitamins A, D and E and is very nourishing to the skin and hair.
Because of its similarity to human sebum, jojoba is excellent for all skin and hair types, and its small molecular size allows it to penetrate both skin cells and hair cells easily. Unlike some plant and animal products used in cosmetics and hair care products, jojoba does not go rancid (spoil and congeal) and is used to dissolve the sebum in clogged pores of the hair follicle. This promotes new hair growth and healthier-looking hair.
Jojoba was used by Native American tribes on cuts and sores and to heal damage to the skin. It is shown to help fight wrinkles, promotes new cell growth and contains anti-bacterial properties.
Jojoba's identification as a wax instead of an oil was significant in that it has replaced substances formerly used in the cosmetics industry - such as whale oil and spermaceti - to produce sparkling white, smooth cosmetics. It is also used to produce fine-grade machine oil.
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