Jojoba oil is an oil-like wax extracted from the seeds of the jojoba plant.
The jojoba plant is a shrub native to the southwestern United States. It grows in the desert regions of Arizona, southern California, and Mexico.
Manufacturers began adding the oil to cosmetics and food in the 1970s. It’s incredibly versatile, and its uses are too numerous to count. One of its most popular purposes is for cosmetics. It’s found in a variety of hair, skin, and nail products.
Today, you’re most likely to find jojoba oil in beauty and hair care products of many kinds.
Jojoba oil has an oily composition, so it can be used as a moisturizer. It can also be added to hair conditioners to give you added protection against dryness, breakage, and split ends.
The oil can also moisturize the scalp and may be a dandruff remedy.
Jojoba is rich in vitamins and minerals that nourish hair, including vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin E, copper, and zinc.
Because it strengthens hair, it is also thought that jojoba oil can prevent hair loss and promote hair thickness. The idea behind this is that the oil moisturizes hair follicles, which prevents dryness that leads to hair loss.
There are many claims around jojoba oil and what it can do for your hair. Some are accurate and supported by research, while others may be a bit far-fetched.
Jojoba’s use as a moisturizer for hair and skin is its main benefit, with a recent dermatological review confirming this. Recent patents also include it as a staple ingredient in most shampoos and conditioners, arguing for its inclusion as an important microemulsion in hair care products. Microemulsions help carry the active ingredients in the product. Other common microemulsions are beeswax, carnauba wax, or esparto grass wax.
For this reason, jojoba oil may indeed prevent hair breakage and strengthen your locks. It could also be helpful in treating dandruff, dry scalp, and itchy scalp, and be used as an anti-inflammatory and skin moisturizer as well.
The oil’s reputation as a direct hair growth stimulant, on the other hand, is not supported by research. One recent study that tested jojoba oil for hair growth found that it was less effective than minoxidil (Rogaine) and peppermint essential oil.
For this reason, jojoba oil should not be relied on as a therapy for pattern baldness (male or female), alopecia, or other hair loss disorders. Still, it can be a great product for promoting strong, silky, and shiny hair.
There are a number of ways to add jojoba oil to your hair care routine.
1. Apply directly. Warm the oil up beforehand so it’s easier to apply. You can do this in a clean pot on a stovetop or in a microwave-safe bowl. Use about 1 tbsp. for short hair and 2 tbsp. for longer hair. Apply to hair above the scalp, and work down evenly to hair tips. Leave in for about 20 minutes, and then shampoo, condition, and rinse.
Avoid direct application to scalp to steer clear of clogged scalp pores. If applying for dry scalp or dandruff, add very little directly to skin (about 1–2 drops).
2. Add to products. Drop a few drops of jojoba oil (about 3–5 drops) to a dollop of your favorite shampoo or conditioner before use.
3. Purchase products that contain it. Simply buy a shampoo or conditioner that includes jojoba oil as one of its natural ingredients. This is one of the easiest ways to obtain and use it.
Is jojoba oil completely safe to use? The official 1992 scientific safety review shows there is very little to worry about. Though this study was completed over two decades ago, information on product safety changes little.
Tests on animals in the review showed that excessive use could cause hyperemia (excessive blood flow) and thus possible heart damage. However, this was due to doses taken internally in the study, and it was not performed on humans. In tests on both human and animal subjects for skin sensitization, few instances of allergic reaction were observed.
As such, allergy to jojoba oil is rare, and use of the oil topically (especially for hair) is deemed quite safe. Use of the oil topically for hair care is also considered safe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
All the same, be cautious. Though sensitivities to jojoba aren’t well-studied or well-known — and recent reviews of safety haven’t been renewed for over two decades—it’s wise to determine if you have sensitivity first, just to be safe.
If you use straight jojoba oil and add it to products, be sparing to begin with. Keep to the amounts you find in your hair care products. Follow doses and directions closely, and no issues should occur.
Jojoba oil can be a great addition to your hair care regimen. It enhances the act of conditioning your hair, leaving it with better strength, shine, and manageability.
However, jojoba oil is not yet known to stimulate hair growth or prevent hair loss.
On the other hand, jojoba oil is likely very helpful in treating dry scalp and dandruff issues. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals that nourish hair over time.
Jojoba oil has a reputation for safety, too. Instances of allergic reactions are rare, and you can use it if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding once you’ve determined that you’re not sensitive.