Botanical Portrait: Jojoba Oil
Jojoba is a classic ingredient in the holistic skincare formulator’s toolbox because, more so than any other vegetable oil, it is made up of compounds that most closely resembles the composition of the sebum. Because it is comprised of a long (C36-C46 for my more scientific-minded friends 🔬) straight-chain wax esters, it is technically a liquid wax and not an oil. This gives it an emollient, but non-greasy property, plus it is rich with antioxidants which made it the ideal choice as the base for our proprietary Maison/Made Biodynamic Farm Harvest Extract. When making high-performance cosmetics, this should be one of the first choices for making botanical oil infusions and lipophilic extracts. It is, quite simply, a beautifully well-rounded ingredient.
Jojoba’s similar composition to the skin’s sebum also makes it fantastic ingredient for every skin type, especially those with oily skin, balancing and providing many anti-inflammatory properties. Its skin-moisturizing and restructuring qualities also help to improve skin elasticity and alleviate dryness. It contains a high amount of tocopherols and phytosterols (more on these to come soon!) which are important in the healing of the skin, and, of course, in the antioxidant properties of the oil. These constituents help with scarring and stretch-marks, so feel free to use our serum on specific parts of the body as well (I do).
The Jojoba plant is a shrub that is native to the American Southwest (particularly the Sonora Desert) and is now also cultivated in similar climates around the world in the Middle East, Israel, and Argentina (🇦🇷❤️). It was used for centuries by the Native Americans of northern Mexico and the American Southwest for burns, dry skin, hair dressings, body oils, and a variety of skin salves. As you might have guessed from its preferred climate, it is a shrub that can withstand extreme temperatures and even go a full year without water (although this is not preferred in order to get the best results from the seeds and flowers).
Another aspect of the plant that made it stand out to us is the fact that up to 60% of the seed can be pressed (cold-pressed for us, obviously) into oil. This makes it an overall good sustainable ingredient to work with and use. When sourcing plant oils, the amount of oil that the seeds of different ingredients comparatively yield is a key factor in our formulation process, because the more oil a seed can yield, the less plant material you usually need to process. On top of this, the jojoba meal that is the result of cold-pressing the seed is often used in cosmetic exfoliants, and biologically active extracts. And to top it all off: it has an incredible shelf-life as it does not oxidize easily, meaning that your products won’t go bad quickly.
At this point it should be quite clear that it did not take us very long to select jojoba as the foundation of our Extrait de Maison Serum. It certainly isn’t new and flashy, which is maybe why some brands tend to go another route, but we are focused on performance, which means that we select the best ingredients that perform for the intended purpose, regardless of whether or not they are “on-trend”. If you have any other interesting applications or uses, please let me know in the comments below. As it is one of my favorite ingredients ever, I always love to hear the creative ways in which other people use it. Apparently, historically it was even used to encourage visions where people would snort a sort of jojoba-drink to enter a trance… Not my thing, but hey, to each her own I guess!
• Kusmirek, J. (2002) - Liquid Sunshine
• Ganora, L. (2009) - Herbal Constituents | Foundations of Phytochemistry
• Shaath, N. (2017) - Healing Civilizations