Jojoba oil is a liquid wax extracted from the nut of an indigenous American shrub that goes by the scientific name Simmondsia chinensis, a misnomer as the plant has nothing to do with China. The shrubby tree still grows wild in the United States, mainly in the arid regions of the Southwestern states.
The Jojoba nut has been used by the Native American tribes from time immemorial, its common name coming from ‘Hohowi’, the O’odham name for the nut. They used a paste of the nut for skin and hair care, and the whole nuts as survival food in emergencies.
Jojoba oil is unique in that, unlike most other vegetable oils, it closely resembles sebum, a waxy substance produced by our skin glands, so it can act as a natural skin conditioner. It has nearly replaced animal fats in the manufacture of skin lotions and creams. As a matter of fact, this oil rode into popularity on the back of the opposition to whale oil which was the traditional base of many cosmetic preparations earlier.