Product Spotlight: Jojoba Carrier Oil - The great debate

13th Dec 2015

Jojoba Carrier Oil

Product(s) Using this:

Beard Oil

Beard Balm

Beard Wash

Moustache Wax


Simmondsia chinensis




Cold Pressed and Unrefined




Cosmetic use only



Chemistry and properties Triglyceride Oils vs. Jojoba Esters

Triglyceride oils are designed to easily hydrolyze and oxidize for their intended internal use as foods for energy.Jojoba liquid wax esters are designed to resist hydrolysis and oxidation for their intended use in non-occlusive moisture control and photo-protection on external surfaces of skin, hair, eyes and plant leaves.

In understanding the functional differences between Natural Jojoba Oil and triglyceride fats and oils, one must understand the molecular differences between long chain liquid esters and triacylglycerols. These differences are very significant even though jojoba, fats, and oils are all considered lipids.Lipids are important constituents of all plant and animal tissues. The lipid family of compounds includes members of many different structural groups such as fats, oils, waxes, sphingolipids, glycerophospholipids, and sterols. Although they do not share a common structure, lipids do share the property of being soluble in non-polar organic biological molecules such as carbohydrates, proteins, and nucleic acids.

Large alkyl portions found in the structures of all lipids are responsible for their solubility properties.Fats and oils are the most abundant lipids found in nature and are major components of storage fat cells in plants and animals. Fats and oils are very similar in chemical structure. The distinguishing factor is that fats are solid or semisolid at room temperature and oils are liquid at the same temperature (22 to 25° C).Technically, triglyceride fats and oils are used in plants and animals primarily as a source of energy. Wax esters are used primarily for moisture control, protection and for their emollient properties.

Wax esters are generally present only on the surface layers of animal skin and plant leaves. Only the jojoba tree produces commercial quantities of this functional liquid material in its seeds. (Solid carnauba wax is from the leaves of palm trees.)Natural waxes are complex mixtures of organic compounds that include carboxylic acids, long chain alcohols and to a much lesser extent, alkenes. Natural Jojoba Oil is a mixture of long chained, un-branched liquid wax esters that result from the esterification of an omega-9 (double bond located between the ninth and tenth carbon), monounsaturated linear fatty acid and an omega-9, monounsaturated linear fatty alcohol.

The dominant fatty alcohols and fatty acids of jojoba are of C-20 and C-22 in length.Note that the un-branched, long-chain nature of the alcohol and acid moieties give jojoba esters their non-polar behavior.

Natural Jojoba esters are beautifully simple in molecular configuration, symmetry and stability. These esters are surprising in their cosmetic multi-functionality, and are very similar to the esters that make up 25- 30% of human sebum.An even higher level of similar esters from modified sebaceous glands called Meibomian Glands forms a monolayer of lipids that covers the outer surface of the aqueous tear film of the eye.When it is deficient, the tears evaporate four times faster.

Stereochemically, jojoba 's double bonds are cis in character. It is believed that this cis configuration in jojoba’s linear ester molecules actually adds superior emollient properties traits to the Natural Jojoba esters.

Physical and Chemical Properties

Experience garnered by jojoba growers and processors over the past 15 years has shown that many of jojoba’s properties do not vary from year to year or from lot to lot.

There are, however, some properties that do vary depending on the condition of the seed that is crushed. Armed with the knowledge that to a significant degree, the quality of the end product depends on the condition of the seed to be crushed, producers have developed advanced methods of harvesting, seed handling, processing, and storage that result in optimal seed condition for the highest quality end product.

Acid value is the most frequently determined property of Natural Jojoba. Total acid value of jojoba is typically less than 1.0, which can be reduced with refining methods.

Peroxide value is used as a measure of its relative oxidation state at a single point in time. Typically, jojoba's peroxide value at time of packaging is less than 5.0.

Iodine value is a measure of unsaturation (number of double bonds). Natural Jojoba is almost exclusively composed of “diene” making its Iodine Value similar to that of oleic acid. Iodine values are typically in the range between 70 and 90.

Saponification value also is constant and ranges from 85- 100.


Color- Golden
Odor- Mild and thick/characteristic
Acid Value- 0.3
Peroxide Value- 0.5
Non-Saponifiables- 49
Saponification Value- 90.1
Iodine Value- 82.2
Specific Gravity- 0.865
pH- 4.21

Fatty Acids
Erucic- 13.6%
Gadoleic- 71.3%
Oleic- 11.2%

Oxidative Stability

Jojoba meets the special Stability Challenge of "Naturals” because is extremely stable. It has been shown to be extraordinarily stable in extreme temperatures. Jojoba can be heated to 370°C over a 96-hour period without displaying degradation in general composition and carbon chain length. In addition to thermal stability and of more importance to the cosmetic chemist, jojoba also has unsurpassed oxidative stability. Many of today's cosmetic consumers are demanding that cosmetic formulators produce formulations utilizing natural ingredients once again. These "naturals" for the most part are not oxidatively stable. Thus, the consumer has created an apparent dilemma for the cosmetic formulator by demanding oxidative stability and increased usage of naturals, while simultaneously requiring the 21st century functionality of a high-end

Molecular Configuration

Natural Jojoba esters enjoy a relatively simple yet very stable configuration. The long chain linear esters of jojoba are recognized to be significantly less reactive to oxidation than their structure (e.g. Lewis structure model) would predict. In part, jojoba's superior stability is attributed to the lack of resonance effect between double bonds along the molecule's chain. This enhances the resistance of the double bonds to oxidation. 

This particular part of Jojoba use in Beard Care products is exactly where the debate from validity of use stems from. Unknowing manufacturers produce hair oils with Jojoba concentrations ranging upwards of 50% of total mix by volume whereas it's role, although vital plays a much less significant portion to the total mix ratio. Some suggest use as low as 3% by volume or as high as 30%. It being a wax ester lends itself to a protective role as well as a solvent role in keeping sebum plaque from forming and hardening. Great over-use of the product is not only ineffective in calculating product performance to cost analysis but may actually contribute to sebum hardening and wax buildup causing root plugging and pore aggravation leading to rapid fallout of hair and other skin associated issues.

Simmondsia chinensis produces a marvelously consistent mixture of liquid esters. Extraction of Natural Jojoba from seeds that are in optimal condition results in a very pure and clean initial product that requires minimal processing and/or refining producing a very high quality, consistent end product.

After mechanical extraction, jojoba is generally screened to remove tiny bits of sediment called "footes" and then filtered. The jojoba is then placed into an insulated processing tank, where it is pasteurized to further ensure product safety and quality. Different grades of jojoba can then be produced:

  1. Pure, natural, golden grade
  2. Refined and bleached grade

(We use pure natural golden grade Jojoba oil)

With the pure, natural golden grade, no further processing is needed after filtration and pasteurization, although for some end-use applications removal of phospholipids is preferable.

The jojoba is simply packaged for storage and shipment. This grade of jojoba has a golden-yellow color. Organoleptically, this grade has a very slight, pleasant odor peculiar to jojoba.

From the early 1980s refined and bleached jojoba has also been available. The color bodies are removed with bleaching earths and filtration. Various degrees of decolorization can be attained by this method with Lovibond readings that are typically between those of pure golden jojoba and decolorized/deodorized grade. This grade of jojoba retains a slight odor.

Establishes safety and use of Jojoba in Skin/Hair care

In formulating cosmetic products, the cosmetic chemist needs problem-free ingredients that have been tested and found to be safe and effective.

The Scientific Literature Review and Technical Analysis prepared for the highly respected Journal of the American College of Toxicology concluded that jojoba is safe as a cosmetic ingredient in the concentrations reviewed (0.1% to 25%). This extensive review documents studies on toxicity, skin irritation, comedogenicity, skin sensitization, mutagenicity, phototoxicity and photoallergenicity.

Natural Jojoba's oxidative stability, thermal stability and lack of support for microbial growth can also increase a products safety and/or decrease its dependence on antioxidants, preservatives and stabilizers.

Extensive use of jojoba as an ingredient in a wide diversity of products by millions of consumers over the past 15 years, as well as widespread use of 100% pure jojoba on skin and hair without adverse effects also verifies its safety.


For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.