What is Jojoba?

planta-jojoba

The jojoba plant (jojoba simmondsia chinensis shrub) is grown and harvested in desert climates and produces seeds that are crushed to extract a liquid often referred to as jojoba “oil”.

Jojoba oil is different than other plant seed oils known as triglyceride oils. Specifically, Jojoba oil is a true wax. It is the only known botanical wax which is liquid at room temperature.

Jojoba has been used for centuries as a natural skin moisturizer. Jojoba plants are very well adapted to controlling moisture loss which allows them to survive in dry conditions.

An estimated 5,000 tons of jojoba is used in personal care products manufactured around the world.

How jojoba is grown and harvested

Jojoba is commercially cultivated on plantations in arid or semi arid desert regions around the world. Mature jojoba plants (Simmondsia chinensis ) are woody perennial bushes native to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, northern Mexico and arid California. Jojoba is now grown commercially in Australia, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Egypt and Israel, as well as in Mexico and the United States of America. Plantations in South Africa and India are also reported.

The jojoba plant does not shed its leaves with the change in seasons. The female plants are pollinated by the wind, which carries the pollen from the male plant. Then the pollinated female flowers harden into a capsule that contains seed.

As the seed grows, the capsule wall becomes thinner and dry. Then the capsule cracks open and the mature seed falls to the ground. The seeds are then collected by hand or harvester.

Jojoba seeds produce a liquid (or “oil” as it is often referred to), similar to the moisturizer (sebum) produced by our own skin. Jojoba is used in many skin care products.

The Jojoba market

Commercial Jojoba Plantations Worldwide
Argentina Australia
Chile Egypt
Mexico Israel
Peru USA
India South Africa

Commercial production of jojoba began in 1976. The benefit to commercial jojoba use is that with successful plantation in both hemispheres a continuous 12-month supply of jojoba liquid is available.

The principal market for jojoba is the cosmetic industry. This industry utilizes jojoba in the form of either golden or refined (lite) jojoba, hydrogenated jojoba, jojoba esters, hydrolyzed jojoba, ethoxylated jojoba and other value added jojoba derivatives.

New industrial applications are on the horizon that are expected to dramatically increase the demand for this unique natural product.