Jojoba Oil: One of the Best Oils for Soft, Healthy Hair
The jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) plant is a perennial evergreen desert shrub indigenous to southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico. (Wikipedia) This plant produces seeds which contain the liquid we have seen all over the hair and cosmetic industry: jojoba oil. (BTW, it’s pronounced hoh-hoh-bah.)
Before the hair related benefits of jojoba oil were discovered, it had quite a diverse range of uses. Centuries ago, Native Americans would extract the oil from jojoba seeds to treat sores and wounds. (Jojoba) This oil was even used by the US during World War II to lubricate machine guns. (Wikipedia) Jojoba finally made it to the cosmetic industry around 1971 after the ban on the importation of sperm whale products. (Jojoba)
Inside The Seed
Inside the jojoba seed, you’ll find a light, golden liquid wax ester, which makes up 50% of the seed’s dry weight. (Jojoba) The liquid wax ester is the primary storage lipid of the plant, which makes the jojoba seed unique from conventional oilseed crops such as soybean, corn, olive, or peanut that produce triglycerides as the primary storage lipid. (Jojoba)
The oil is mostly comprised of long-chain fatty acid esters (97%), but also contains small amounts of vitamins, minerals, triglycerides, phospholipids, and tocopherols. (Rostagno & Prado, 2013)
Hair Benefits of Jojoba Oil
- Moisturizes dry, damaged hair – Shampoos contain surfactants which function to clean the hair by removing dirt and excess oil. However, surfactants can strip away too much natural oil, leaving hair dry and at risk for damage. Jojoba oil can be applied to either damp or dry hair to help with hydration as well as tame frizz and flyaways.
- Promotes hair growth – Applying jojoba oil to your scalp will first unclog hair follicles of product buildup and excess sebum. Then, the oil is absorbed by sebaceous glands inside the follicles. A new hair strand that begins to grow from that follicle will have a thick coating of sebum due to the jojoba oil, which protects the new strand from breakage as well as hair loss. (Beverly Hills MD)
- Healthier scalp – The fatty acid esters that make up jojoba oil’s chemical structure is nearly identical to the natural oil produced by our sebaceous (oil) glands. (Beverly Hills MD) Even though an oily scalp is often thought of as undesirable, the oil these glands produce is protecting the scalp from dehydration, germs, and environmental irritants. (Beverly Hills MD). Applying jojoba oil to your scalp will help to restore moisture and hydration. Your scalp will be healthier, making it more likely for new hairs to grow. How to Use Jojoba Oil For Soft, Healthy Hair
Tips on how to use Jojoba Oil
- Add four to five drops to your conditioner, apply to wet hair, allow conditioner to soak into hair for several minutes, then rinse thoroughly
- After showering, apply one to two drops to damp hair and gently comb through
- To smooth hair frizz and flyaways, apply one to two drops to palms, then smooth over areas
- Create your own jojoba serum by combining 1 teaspoon of the oil with 1 cup of water in a squirt bottle. Spray the mixture on damp hair before blow drying or use a small amount on dry hair to calm frizz.
Here’s a breakdown of exactly what’s in the oil:
11-Eicosenoic acid: An omega-9 fatty acid that can be found in many other plant oils and nuts.
Palmitic acid: One of the most common saturated fatty acids found in nature, often used in soaps and cosmetics.
Palmitoleic acid: This omega-7 fatty acid is also found in human fat cells. Because of this it is often used as an emollient.
Stearic acid: A saturated fatty acid with an 18-carbon chain that is found in many shampoos, soaps, and lotions due to its ability to act as both a surfactant and softening agent.
Oleic acid: This monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid also makes up the majority of the popular cooking oil, olive oil.
Arachidic acid: Another name for this 20-carbon saturated fatty acid is eicosanoic acid. It can also be found in peanut oil, cocoa butter, and cupuacu butter.
Behenic acid: Also known as docosanoic acid, this saturated fatty acid is often used to give hair conditioners and moisturizers their smoothing properties.
Erucic acid: A monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that can be used as a surfactant or a lubricant.
Lignoceric acid: A saturated fatty acid also known as tetracosanoic acid.
Nervonic acid: This monounsaturated fatty acid exists in nature as an elongation product of oleic acid with its immediate precursor being erucic acid. It is essential for the growth and function of the brain. (Wikipedia)
In addition to fatty acid esters, jojoba oil also contains alpha, delta, and gamma tocopherols. (Beverly Hills MD) Tocopherols are a class of organic chemical compounds, many of which possess Vitamin E activity and are classified as antioxidants.
Vitamins and Minerals:
Jojoba oil is also made up of various vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin E, Vitamin B complex, copper, chromium, iodine, selenium, and zinc.
Due to the unique composition of the liquid wax ester and its similarity to human sebum, jojoba oil is extremely beneficial for both skin and hair care. Incorporating jojoba oil into your hair care routine will give you a healthier scalp along with soft, shiny hair.
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