A liquid plant wax, also known as Jojoba oil, pressed from the seeds of Simmondsia chinensis. These seeds can contain up to 50% of liquid wax. It is used as an occlusive moisturizer, emollient, and emulsifier.
Simmondsia chinensis seed oil, or Jojoba oil, despite its appearance, is actually a liquid plant wax. The distinction is important because while oils are mainly comprised of triacylglycerols, waxes are comprised mostly of wax esters (which are chemically different). An example of this chemical difference appears in the fact that waxes can emulsify water and oil, whereas oils cannot. Jojoba oil contains only a tiny fraction of triacylglycerols and is mostly comprised of wax esters. Nevertheless, due to the oil’s appearance (a pale yellow, oily liquid), the terms ‘jojoba oil’ and ‘jojoba wax’ are used interchangeably. Jojoba oil, or jojoba wax, is pressed from the seeds of Simmondsia chinensis, a hardy shrub that is native to the dry areas of Mexico and the United States. The liquid wax was first extracted from the jojoba nuts by Native Americans. Although the plant cannot withstand frost, it can be grown in harsh, dry conditions because it requires little nutrients or water. The seeds that the jojoba oil is expressed from can contain up to 50% of liquid wax. This wax contains mainly esters of 11-eicosenoic acid (or Gondoic acid). The unique chemical composition of the oil gives it an extraordinary resistance to oxidation, resulting in a longer shelf life. In skincare products, it is used as an occlusive moisturizer and emollient. It is used as a replacement for whale oil and in many ways, is actually considered superior. It is generally very well tolerated by all skin types, is non-comedogenic, and can make the skin feel soft and smooth.