The terms “Jojoba oil” and “Jojoba wax” are often used interchangeably but are technically different. Jojoba wax refers to the raw hydrocarbon extracted from the seeds and is comprised mostly of triglyceride esters, hydrolysis of this (with the removal of glycerol) leaves Jojoba oil, which is composed mostly of free fatty acids. The oil has a higher cloud point and better cosmetic properties.
Jojoba oil is used as a replacement for whale oil and its derivatives, such as cetyl alcohol. The ban on importing whale oil to the U.S. in 1971 led to the discovery that jojoba oil is “in many regards superior to sperm whale oil for applications in the cosmetics and other industries.
Jojoba oil is found as an additive in many cosmetic products, especially those marketed as being made from natural ingredients. In particular, such products commonly containing jojoba are lotions and moisturizers, hair shampoos and conditioners. The pure oil itself may also be used on skin, hair, or cuticles.