Why You Should Use Jojoba Oil on Your Skin and Hair

Dori Price
·8 mins read
Photo credit: Holubenko Nataliia - Getty Images
Photo credit: Holubenko Nataliia - Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

Beauty oils are having a moment. Face oils, hair oils, body oils, all-in-one oils — they are everywhere. But how do you decipher between them and choose the right one? While there are an abundance of amazing oils out there, we've got one that will work wonders on both your your hair and skin: Jojoba oil.

This is one serious multi-tasking oil: "Jojoba oil can be used as a moisturizer, hair shine enhancer, makeup remover, face wash, cuticle treatment, foot softener, lip balm, and sunburn relief treatment," says Stacy Chimento, M.D., a dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami Beach, Florida.

You may have heard of this powerful ingredient in some of your go-to products, but jojoba oil is a hero all on its own. We've got all of the details on this slick superstar, including what it is, where, how and when to use it, and much more.

First thing's first: What is jojoba oil?

"Jojoba oil is the liquid that is produced from the seeds of the Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) plant, and is actually a wax, but appears as an oil," explains Alan Durkin, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon in Vero Beach, Florida. "It's known for it's long shelf-life stability and strong resistance to high temperatures." Jojoba oil is commonly found mixed into body lotions, face moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners. The oil by itself can be used on skin, hair, and nail cuticles as well.

You may notice that some jojoba oils are listed as organic, while others are not. "The main difference is the method in which the plant is grown and farmed: Organic plants are farmed using sustainable practices, which maintains a healthy, nutrient-rich environment that allows more plants to grow," Dr. Durkin explains. "Non-organic plants are farmed and grown using conventional methods, which uses synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers, as well as genetic modification," The bottom line: When USDA-certified, "organically-sourced jojoba oil is guaranteed not to contain any chemical additives found in conventionally grown plants," he says.

What are the benefits of jojoba oil for face and body?

Dr. Durkin is a big fan of using jojoba oil on your skin. "This oil is fantastic for the skin on your face and body," he says. "It's a lighter-feeling oil but deeply hydrating, and full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are integral to the health of your skin." Here are some of the skincare benefits of jojoba oil:

1. It moisturizes dry skin.

"The reason jojoba oil is such a potent moisturizer is due to its ability to act just like our skin’s natural oils," says Dr. Durkin. Because of this ability, it balances the body’s oils by tricking the skin into thinking it has produced enough oil. When using on your skin, Dr. Durkin recommends applying jojoba oil right after cleansing to let it fully absorb.

You can also mix it into a dollop of your favorite moisturizer for an extra boost of hydration. "If you want to mix jojoba oil in with your moisturizer, make sure you are using an oil- or emollient-based product," Dr. Durkin advises. "The oil won’t mix well with water-based formulas."

2. It softens rough cuticles.

Boasting tons of fatty acids, jojoba oil helps soften and soothe ragged cuticles. Apply a small drop to each cuticle and massage in. If there is any excess oil, massage into the back of the hands and palms to keep hydrated, smooth hands.

3. It nourishes and heals dry lips.

Whether infused within a lip balm or used alone, jojoba oil can soothe dry, chapped lips thanks to its nourishing vitamin and minerals. It absorbs very easily, so you don't have to worry about it leaving a greasy residue on your lips. Apply the oil to dry, cracked lips daily nightly before bed, Dr. Chimento suggests.

4. It can relieve sunburns.

Vitamin E, a strong antioxidant, helps reduce inflammation and speed up cell regeneration both in the body and skin, making jojoba oil a great treatment for sunburn. Rub a quarter sized amount into sunburnt areas to reduce inflammation and soothe the skin.

5. It has antibacterial properties.

This star oil reduces acne by controlling oil production and preventing bacteria growth. "Jojoba oil has a high amount of iodine, which fights bacterial growth that can lead to breakouts," explains Dr. Durkin. He suggests applying a dime sized amount to acne-prone areas in the morning and night as a spot treatment.

6. It boosts skin's glow.

Dullness is most often caused by dehydration in skin. By boosting skin's moisture, jojoba oil helps diminish dullness and up your glow. Apply five drops to your face in the morning and night after cleansing. It will absorb quickly and you don’t need to rinse any off.

7. It fades fine lines and wrinkles.

"With a vitamin B complex that fights off free radicals and repairs cell damage, and vitamin E that helps speed up cell regeneration, jojoba oil is a great anti-aging ingredient," says Dr. Durkin. Use it the same way you would to boost your glow, by applying onto clean, dry skin morning and night.

8. It can soothe eczema-prone skin.

The combination of vitamin E and iodine helps heal inflamed or compromised skin, like that caused by eczema. Rub a quarter-sized amount onto affected areas to soothe and treat inflammation.

9. It's noncomedogenic.

If you're concerned that slathering oil on your face may cause breakouts, don't worry, Dr. Chimento says: "Its composition is very similar to the sebum, or oil, naturally produced in our skin, so it will not clog your pores."

10. It can remove makeup.

Dr. Pimento also suggests using it as a makeup remover. "This is a great way to remove excess dirt and grime without stripping the skin of its natural oils," she says. "Massage the oil gently all over the skin in circular motions and wipe away with a warm, wet washcloth."

What are the benefits of jojoba oil for hair?

"When added to conditioners or used alone, jojoba oil can be used to protect your hair against dryness, breakage, and split ends," Dr. Chimento says. But don't rely on this one to prevent frizz or manage your curls; it has not shown any benefits in those areas. Here's how jojoba can fix your mane:

1. It moisturizes hair.

Thanks to the fatty acids and other vitamins and nutrients, jojoba oil is a great treatment for dry hair. Massage the oil itself into freshly washed hair and leave it in overnight to penetrate and nourish hair strands, suggests Dr. Durkin.

2. It prevents split ends.

Similarly to the way jojoba oil heals the skin, it can also help heal broken or split ends in your hair. You can use it as an overnight hair mask once per twice a week, like you would to add moisture into strands, or add the oil to your conditioner and apply onto the ends for 30 minutes and rinse.

3. It may promote hair growth.

"The high concentrations of B and E vitamins and minerals promote hair thickness and growth," Dr. Chimento says. It also contains zinc and copper, which are essential to hair growth, making strands healthier and less likely to fall out.

Are there any side effects of jojoba oil?

Fortunately, this oil is not known to cause much irritation when used topically. "Jojoba oil is very safe for most people when applied directly to the skin," Dr. Durkin says. "Though rare, it does have the potential to cause some side effects such as a rash or allergic reaction." Before using jojoba oil, you may want to test a small amount on your inner forearm and wait a few minutes to check for any adverse reactions.

How should you use jojoba oil?

There is no one right way to use jojoba oil: The frequency and way in which you apply it depends on the results you are looking to achieve. That said, the evening is an optimal time to use jojoba oil. If you have dry skin, you could use jojoba oil daily or even twice per day. If you have oily skin, try using it every other day or mixed in with a moisturizer to avoid overdoing it, Dr. Pimento suggests.

Jojoba oil absorbs into the skin quickly without leaving heavy residue behind, so you don't need to wash it off your skin if you are using it as a treatment. The only times you would rinse jojoba oil off is if you are using it as a makeup remover or overnight hair treatment, where you'd want to shampoo it out in the morning.

While jojoba oil is great for the skin and face, when it comes to jojoba oil and makeup, Dr. Durkin warns against using jojoba oil directly under foundation, as "it can break down the makeup quickly," he says. "It would be better to apply a makeup primer for your skin type, then mix one or two drops of the oil into your foundation before applying to give your base a healthy, glowing appearance."

What are best jojoba oils for hair, face, and body?

While pure jojoba oil definitely gets the job done, there are tons of effective pre-made products that utilize jojoba oil along with other powerhouse ingredients. Here are some of our favorites:

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