If you're still looking for that skincare ingredient to both nourish and protect your skin, lips, and hair, then jojoba oil may be the skincare hero you never knew you needed. Rich in beauty-boosting vitamins A, E, and D, plus antioxidants and fatty acids, jojoba "oil" is actually a wax ester with remarkably similar properties to our skin's own sebum. This means the "oil" is able to penetrate deeply, reaching below the top layer of skin for maximum nourishment. Jojoba is also naturally antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, analgesic (read: able to relieve pain), and anti-inflammatory. Perhaps best of all, it can be used on any skin type, from dry and sensitive to acne-prone.
Meet the Experts
- Marie Hayag, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist in NYC and the founder of the dermatology clinic, 5th Avenue Aesthetics.
- Joshua Zeichner, M.D., F.A.A.D., is a board-certified dermatologist and the Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
1. Add It to Moisturizer
Jojoba oil closely mimics the skin's own sebum, making it an effective natural facial conditioner. (Good news for anyone with a dry or irritated complexion.) "Because the molecular structure of jojoba oil is very similar to sebum, applying it topically can help prevent [the] overproduction of sebum. Most importantly, this means [fewer] blemishes," says Dr. Hayag.
Since jojoba oil seals in moisture, you should always use it as your final skincare step.
2. Incorporate Into Your Makeup Removal Routine
Why splash out on a separate makeup remover or oil cleanser, when this all- natural ingredient can dissolve and whisk away everything from sunscreen to waterproof mascara? "Because oil dissolves oil, it can be used to bind to and remove makeup," notes Dr. Zeichner.
3. Combine With Actives
4. Layer With SPF
According to Vicki Engsall, co-founder of The Jojoba Company, jojoba has natural ways of protecting itself from sun damage. "Jojoba is the only plant in the world known to produce pure liquid wax esters. It layers these long molecules in the outer layer of its leaves to stop UVB rays from penetrating its leaves." The good bit? It may do the same for your skin.
5. Pat Onto Oily, Breakout-Prone Skin
When skin is stripped of its natural sebum (via things like using a non-pH balanced cleanser), the sebaceous glands may go into overdrive, creating a vicious cycle of oil overproduction—and over-cleansing—leading to breakouts. Jojoba may reset your complexion by bringing back balance. "It acts as an antioxidant and protects the skin from oxidative stress caused by pollutants and other factors," adds Dr. Hayag.
6. Knead Into Eczema-Irritated Skin
People with asteatotic eczema are more prone to dryness since their skin doesn't produce as much sebum, and it is also less able to retain moisture. Jojoba may help heal asteatotic eczema via its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its ability to restore a compromised skin barrier.
7. Apply Onto Dry Lips
Chronically dry lips? Jojoba oil may be the answer to hydrating them. "[Jojoba oil] is commonly used as a topical treatment for the hair and skin. It is rich in antioxidants that calm the skin and fatty acids that soften and protect the outer skin layer. Because of that oily consistency and hydration benefits, jojoba oil is a great ingredient for use on the lips," explains Dr. Zeichner. Massage in a few drops of nourishing jojoba then layer on a protective balm— you'll see a major difference in just a few days.
8. Rub Onto Cuticles
Forget cuticle oil blends, jojoba may dramatically soften the skin around your nails all by itself. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties may add extra protection against nail infections.
9. Use as a Hair Mask
Jojoba oil makes a fantastic DIY hot oil or pre-wash treatment for dry hair or an irritated scalp. "It keeps the hair well moisturized and keeps you from getting more split ends. Jojoba oil also contains multiple vitamins in it that strengthen and nourish the hair," says Dr. Hayag. Not only does it hydrate effectively, it doesn't weigh hair down.
When your hair is feeling a little dry, use jojoba oil as a hydrating hair mask. Rub it onto the ends of your strands to prevent split ends.
10. Smooth Onto Frizzy Hair
Add a few drops of jojoba to your leave-in moisturizer or heat protectant to knock back fluffiness and frizz. For easy summer waves, add a pump of jojoba to your go-to bottle of sea salt spray. You'll get the same tousled texture, without drying out your strands.
11. Slather Onto Skin With Psoriasis
Along with being an all-purpose skin softener, jojoba may help soothe and aid other treatments for conditions like psoriasis. Because psoriasis commonly affects the scalp (leading to hair loss), you can use jojoba as a pre-wash treatment, or add it to your conditioner to treat it. For skin flare-ups slather it on straight—all three methods will reduce inflammation and swelling.
12. Caress Into a Dandruff-Covered Scalp
Caused by a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia, dandruff may respond beautifully to nightly jojoba oil treatments. The oil itself has antifungal properties, but it may also keep the scalp moisturized which may calm irritation and itchiness.
13. Dab on a Cold Sore
According to Engsall, jojoba is an undercover cold sore preventative that really works. "The tingling people feel when a cold sore is emerging is the [herpes] virus moving up the nerve shaft feeding on oxygen. Jojoba applied to the area will quickly mix with skin sebum and block the flow of oxygen to the virus, which retreats back into the nerve shaft." Ergo, if jojoba is regularly applied, the virus can never get the oxygen it needs to kick off. Engsall adds: "Jojoba also contains docosanol, which is an ingredient in commercial cold sore treatments."