Liquid Gold – Jojoba wax
Skincare is notorious for having fashions and trends in our eternal search for the perfect skin and to stave off the creeping of age across our face. Since I found this magic plant jojoba, Simmondsia chinensis, I feel like I hit jackpot.
I cannot get enough of this wax. It is used in many expensive skincare products along with Hydraulic acid and of course other secret ingredients. I don’t profess to be an expert in skincare, it is complicated stuff that scientists and large companies spend a fortune on research, I can’t compete with that. But if you are looking for a cost effective natural base for your skincare I highly recommend jojoba. The additional benefit is it can be used for your whole family too. Right now my husband, my kids and my babies have all used it on their face and body. So if you are looking for something simple, effective and convenient for the whole family, it might just be jojoba.
What skin types is it for?
It can be used on all skin types and many conditions, with its natural healing, antibacterial and moisturizing properties.
It is an effective moisturizer with its waxy composition and our skin readily absorbs it. Making it a great product on dry, itchy irritated skin, any kind of dermatitis and even things like eczema as it has anti-inflammatory properties. It is great for sensitive skin as it provides a good barrier to the elements, much like it does in nature in the dry harsh desert where it grows. It can also help oily troubled skin. The moisturizing, but non-greasy composition will keep the skin hydrated and encourage the skin to down regulate the production of sebum causing the oiliness. It’s also wonderful in body products, your massage therapist will love it if you bring a bottle for her to use, it glides along the skin smoothly without the feeling of greasiness. Finally it is a great base to use on mild sunburnt skin too, blend with some aloe vera gel and a few drops of lavender, will ease inflammation, discomfort and help heal the skin.
Let’s take a look at the plant and how the wax is extracted
It is pronounced ho-ho-ba and the shrub is normally around 1-2 metres in height and native to South Western North America and Mexico, think Arizona deserts. It blooms normally during March to May. It takes about 5 years for a plant to produce fruit and around 8 years for it to reach full potential. The fruit is green acorn shaped with 3 seeds inside. When ripened it splits open to reveal a brown wrinkled seed the size of a small olive. Mechanical pressing releases the liquid wax from the seed. The purest oil is pressed without the use of heat so its constitution is not altered, although sometimes heat is used to extract higher yields. Two pressings extract most of the wax. The remaining 10% is left in the jojoba meal and extracted using chemical solvents.
Native Americans have used the jojoba plant for a long time, referring to it as liquid gold for its many purposes. It didn’t really become widely known though until the 1970s when sperm whale was banned and petroleum products increased in popularity. In fact jojoba has a very similar composition to sperm whale oil and it replaced many of the uses for sperm whale oil in industry and cosmetics.
The Chemical Constitution
You may have heard of jojoba oil, but will notice I have been calling it a wax. This is because technically it’s not oil; its composition is more like that of a wax. It is highly stable so does not need preservatives to increase shelf life, or emulsification to create uniformity, which many oils need. This stability is also important because it doesn’t oxidize and produce free radicals, which are harmful to our skin. After being refined it does not have odour, which means for cosmetic purposes no perfuming is needed to eliminate unpleasant or strong smells. There is more! It is the only plant known in the world to have a very similar composition to human sebum. This is the waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands, which waterproofs and lubricates the skin and hair of mammals. Its molecular structure is almost the same, which means it more easily penetrates the skin.
A word on buying jojoba
It can be expensive if you buy it in small bottles from normal retailers. If you try it and do decide you like it, it might be worth buying in larger quantities. Especially if your whole family uses it or share a larger order with a friend, decanting it into smaller bottles and remember, it has a long shelf life anyway! It is now my husband’s facial moisturizer, I used it on the kids’ as babies and toddlers, as base for their nappy creams, any skin irritations and general moisturizing after baths and showers. And of course I use it for my face and body. If you are short of time just use it alone, or you can blend it with your favourite essential oils or even other vegetable oils if desired.
Give it a try!