Ingredient Profile: What are Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters?

July 20, 2020 | Written by Christine Lee

Have you ever heard of jojoba oil? It’s a botanical ingredient that is commonly used in skin and hair care products, including our conditioner. Jojoba oil can be broken down to form hydrolyzed jojoba esters, which have plenty of benefits for your hair and skin.

Jojoba is a plant that’s native to North America. It grows as an evergreen shrub, reaching maturity within eight years. The extract from the seeds of the jojoba plant is called jojoba oil. Jojoba has a long shelf life and resists high temperatures. Therefore, it’s an ideal botanical ingredient to use in natural personal care products.

What are Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters?

Unlike many oils, which contain triglycerides, jojoba oil is actually a botanical wax ester. It remains in liquid form at room temperature and is bio-identical to the wax ester consistent in skin oils.

However, hydrolyzed jojoba esters are a little different. They are created when the jojoba oil is partly saponified. The bond between the fatty acids and alcohols in the jojoba oil breaks, creating a mixture of fatty acids and other compounds.

At room temperature, hydrolyzed jojoba esters take the form of a thick gel. The substance holds other compounds within it. Therefore, when you apply it to your hair or skin, it keeps the other valuable ingredients in place to do their work. Hydrolyzed jojoba esters are also water-resistant, which means that they protect your hair from moisture, which can open the cuticle and make strands look frizzy.

How Do Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters Help Your Hair?

Hydrolyzed jojoba esters serve various purposes in hair conditioners, including:

  • Stabilizing the product and helping to emulsify the ingredients
  • Conditioning your hair and skin
  • Acting as surfactants, helping to cleanse your strands
  • Improving the performance of other ingredients

Conventional hair care products often contain silicone, which acts similarly to hydrolyzed jojoba esters—but silicone is not a natural product. Silicone can also weigh the hair down, making it limp and dull. Hydrolyzed jojoba extract has similar properties as silicone but without all the extra weight.

Hydrolyzed Jojoba Ester Helps Prevent Breakage

One of the most significant features of hydrolyzed jojoba ester is that it stays on your hair strands after you rinse off the conditioner. It helps prevent breakage when you brush or comb your wet hair. It reduces the likelihood that your hair color will fade. It also makes your hair look shiny, soft, and hydrated.

Hydrolyzed jojoba ester is also an emollient. In other words, it’s a water-repelling compound that seals the shaft. It keeps additional moisture out, which keeps your hair looking sleek. It also smooths the surface of the cuticle, reducing tangles and making your strands glossy.

In addition to being an emollient, hydrolyzed jojoba ester is a humectant. That means that it moisturizes damaged or dry hair. It encourages moisture retention by pulling in water molecules from the environment. Instead of entering the hair shaft, those water molecules bind to the structure of the ester.

Anti-Fungal Properties of Jojoba

Jojoba is anti-fungal too. If you suffer from dandruff or other skin conditions that might be related to yeast or fungus, jojoba can improve your symptoms. It moisturizes the scalp, reduces flaking, and diminishes inflammation.

You might not think about the health of your scalp as part of your skin-care regimen, but a healthy scalp grows healthy hair. Anyone with sensitive skin or dermatological conditions that affect the scalp can benefit from using jojoba oil and esters.

Moreover, hydrolyzed jojoba esters are safe to use in your beauty products. The Environmental Working Group rates hydrolyzed jojoba esters with its lowest rating, which means that they have no risk of causing harmful side effects.

Now that you know what this ingredient is and how it helps your hair, you can begin looking for it on your hair conditioner’s ingredient list.

Why Is Jojoba Included in Hair Care Products?

Seeds from the jojoba shrub produce a wax ester that has an almost identical molecular structure and composition to human sebum. The skin naturally produces sebum for moisturization. Jojoba should help your body produce more or less of its own oil, and moisturize hair without leaving it greasy or heavy. The oil also has antibacterial properties that help rid your scalp of dandruff.

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