Natural Skincare Wonder #7: Jojoba Oil

If my blog posts from earlier this week haven’t convinced you to use pure olive oil, coconut oil, or castor oil to replace the lotions on your vanity or sink, perhaps you’ll consider jojoba oil – because it isn’t really an oil at all.  Although it’s commonly referred to as an oil, the liquid that is pressed from jojoba seeds is a mixture of long chain monounsaturated liquid wax esters.  Other botanical oils that come from seeds, nuts, or fruit are mainly comprised of triglycerides, which have a completely different structure.

Jojoba oil is slow to oxidize, so it has an extremely long shelf life, especially when compared to oils such as sunflower oil, avocado oil, or hemp seed oil.   Rich in vitamin E, it also has antibacterial and antioxidant properties.  Its unique chemical structure is very similar to human sebum, the oil that our bodies produce.  Jojoba is quickly absorbed by the skin and makes a wonderfully light conditioner that helps protect from moisture loss.

For many years, jojoba was used in a plethora of beauty products, but the demand began to exceed the supply, as it takes up to three years for a plant to start producing seeds.  The price of jojoba has skyrocketed, with producers struggling to keep up with the high demand.  Even though priced higher than other botanical oils, the cost is still a bargain when the benefits and purity are weighed against most mass-produced lotions that are mostly water, and often contain low quality ingredients such as mineral oil (a petroleum derivative.)   Pure jojoba oil makes a perfect alternative to lotions for those who wants to avoid synthetic ingredients such as fragrance, perfumes, dyes, and preservatives.

Here are some ways to use jojoba oil in your beauty regimen:

  • Carrier Oil for Essential Oils – because of its long shelf life, jojoba makes a perfect carrier oil for diluting essential oils;

  • Skin Softener and Conditioner – use jojoba alone, or add a few drops of essential oils to make your own luxurious custom body oil;

  • Makeup Remover – use a few drops on a cloth or cosmetic square and wipe off eye makeup easily, then rinse with warm water;

  • Acne Treatment – jojoba decreases excessive sebum production and bacteria, helping to reduce acne; apply jojoba to the entire face right after cleansing;

  • Bath Oil – add a tablespoon or two in your bath and soak for at least 20 minutes; your skin will be extra soft and smooth (be careful getting out of the tub, it may be slippery);

  • Shaving Conditioner – apply a dime-size amount of jojoba oil to the skin before shaving for a closer, smoother shave and also to prevent razor burn; use jojoba alone to shave with or underneath a conventional shave cream.

This wraps up my series for this week on my favorite Top 7 natural beauty ingredients.  I hope you learned a few tricks and will want to put them to good use!  Next week I’m going to write about how to give yourself a spa-quality facial at home, using all natural (no synthetics) ingredients.

Natural Skincare Wonder#1: Honey

Let’s start this week off with my #1 all around favorite – honey.  It’s a delicious food, of course, but if you haven’t used honey in your beauty routine, you will be amazed at its benefits as well as its versatility.

Just be aware that everything that bears the name “honey” on a label isn’t exactly equal.  The best quality honey comes from local (to you) honeybees, and how it’s processed is very important, too.  Raw, unfiltered honey is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and antioxidants.  Heating destroys a majority of these beneficial components, but heating also makes honey easier to pour and bottle.  This is the main reason that big manufacturers prefer to heat and filter their honey.  Therefore, the best place to buy raw, unfiltered honey is at your local farmers markets, independent grocers who stock raw honey, and from local beekeepers.

Since antiquity, honey has been held in high esteem, even regarded as sacred.  It was used in religious ceremonies and also used to embalm the deceased.  Before refined sugar became available, honey was so expensive that only the very wealthy could enjoy it.  Honey was used as both food and medicine, and was also used as a beauty aid.  (Cleopatra may or may not have put milk and honey in her bath – but I’d bet that she did.)

Honey functions as a humectant, helping to retain moisture, which makes it naturally good for the skin.  Honey’s reputation as a wound healer has spanned centuries, into modern days.  Both of these qualities make honey an excellent choice for these beauty treatments:

  • Bath Soak - Mix about ¼ cup of raw honey with an equal amount of hot water and stir until dissolved; add to bathwater and soak for at least 20 minutes.  Honey is the ultimate skin moisturizer!

  • Gentle Face Cleanser – Dampen your face with a little water, then massage a spoonful of honey on, using light circular motions.  Rinse with warm water, and gently pat dry.  The honey cleans without stripping natural oils from your delicate facial tissues, and helps to prevent moisture loss.

  • Healing Lip Balm – Rub a drop or two of honey onto dry, chapped, or cracked lips; reapply as often as you like.  (Do not use on infants under one year of age.)            

  • Pimple Healer – Dab on a bit of honey to pimples before going to bed; rinse off in the morning.  The anti-inflammatory properties of honey will sooth and reduce redness; antibacterial properties work to quickly heal blemishes.

  • Moisturizing Face Mask – Apply a thin layer of honey over clean, damp skin, avoiding the eye area; leave on for 15-20 minutes; rinse with warm water and pat dry.  Gentle enough to use daily, it’s an excellent mask for sensitive skin.

I like to buy honey in containers that have a flip top lid - that makes it so convenient to use for skincare applications.  Some people might be surprised to find a bottle of honey in my medicine cabinet over my vanity sink, but now you know my secret.  ;-)

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about another one of my favorites – olive oil.