Does Jojoba Oil Penetrate The Hair Shaft? A Detailed Guide

Are you tired of using hair products that promise to penetrate the hair shaft but never seem to deliver?

Look no further than jojoba oil.

This lightweight oil has been touted as a miracle worker for hair, with claims of penetrating the hair shaft to strengthen and moisturize from the inside out.

But does it really live up to the hype?

In this article, we’ll explore the science behind jojoba oil and its ability to penetrate the hair shaft.

Get ready to learn everything you need to know about this popular hair care ingredient.

Does Jojoba Oil Penetrate The Hair Shaft?

The short answer is no, jojoba oil does not penetrate the hair shaft.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not effective for hair care.

Jojoba oil is a wax ester, which means it sits on the surface of the hair shaft and forms a protective film to prevent moisture loss. This makes it an excellent sealant for hair, especially for those with high porosity hair that needs to retain moisture.

Additionally, jojoba oil contains fatty acids and vitamin E, which can help promote hair growth and protect against free radicals that can cause damage.

While it may not penetrate the hair shaft like other oils such as coconut or argan oil, jojoba oil can still provide numerous benefits for your hair.

What Is Jojoba Oil?

Jojoba oil is a natural liquid wax that is extracted from the seeds of the jojoba plant. It is often referred to as an oil due to its texture and how it is used in beauty products. Jojoba oil is known for its ability to moisturize and protect hair, skin, and nails.

One of the unique properties of jojoba oil is that it closely resembles the natural oils produced by our skin and scalp. This makes it an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin or scalp issues.

Jojoba oil is also rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, which can help nourish and strengthen hair. It has been shown to penetrate deeply into the hair shaft, which can help prevent breakage and promote healthy hair growth.

The Structure Of Hair

Understanding the structure of hair is essential for understanding how different oils interact with it. Hair is made up of three layers: the cuticle, cortex, and medulla. The outermost layer, the cuticle, is composed of overlapping scales that protect the hair shaft from damage. The cortex is the thickest layer and contains most of the hair’s pigment and protein. The medulla is the innermost layer and is only present in some hair types.

The cuticle layer plays a crucial role in determining how well oils can penetrate the hair shaft. When hair is exposed to water, it swells on the inside, but the cuticle layer on the outside cannot expand, causing the cuticle scales to stand up. This position makes the cuticles more prone to breakage and increases hair porosity.

Oils that penetrate into the hair shaft can help strengthen and nourish hair from the inside out. These oils contain smaller molecules that can penetrate through the cuticle layer and into the cortex. On the other hand, sealing oils like jojoba oil sit on top of the hair shaft and form a protective barrier to prevent moisture loss.

Different hair types have different levels of porosity, which affects how well oils can penetrate the hair shaft. Hair with high porosity has gaps in the cuticle layer, making it more prone to damage and moisture loss. Heavy oils like castor oil, coconut oil, hempseed oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil are effective at sealing in moisture for high porosity hair.

How Does Jojoba Oil Work?

Jojoba oil works as a humectant, which means it attracts water to the top layer of the skin or hair, helping to keep it hydrated. This is especially beneficial for those with dry or damaged hair, as it can help prevent breakage and split ends.

Jojoba oil also contains emollient properties, which means it softens the hair by trapping moisture. This can make hair more manageable and easier to style.

While jojoba oil may not penetrate the hair shaft, it can still provide numerous benefits for hair health. It can help protect against free radicals that can cause damage, promote hair growth, and act as a sealant to prevent moisture loss.

Research On Jojoba Oil And Hair Penetration

Although jojoba oil may not penetrate the hair shaft, there have been studies on its ability to penetrate the scalp and hair follicles. In a study conducted by researchers in 2016, it was found that jojoba oil has antimicrobial properties that make it effective in treating scalp problems caused by bacteria.

Another study examined the penetration of various vegetable oils, including jojoba oil, into hair using ToF SIMS. The results showed that jojoba oil was not as easily absorbed into the hair as olive and avocado oils. The study suggested that the molecular size and structure of the oil, as well as the interactions between the surface energies of the oil and the components of the hair’s cuticle membrane complex, may be factors in its limited penetration.

While more research is needed on jojoba oil’s ability to penetrate the hair shaft, it is clear that it can still provide benefits for hair care. Its protective film can help retain moisture and prevent damage, while its fatty acids and vitamin E can promote healthy hair growth.

Other Benefits Of Jojoba Oil For Hair

In addition to its sealing and moisturizing properties, jojoba oil has other benefits for hair care.

Firstly, jojoba oil can help maintain the natural balance of your scalp. Its antifungal and antibacterial properties can help restore the scalp’s natural moisture and pH balance without disrupting the sebaceous glands. This means that it can moisturize your hair without leaving it overly greasy.

Moreover, jojoba oil can stimulate circulation when massaged into the scalp, which can nourish and strengthen hair follicles. This can promote healthy hair growth and prevent premature shedding.

Finally, jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help alleviate dry and itchy scalp. It is also non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores or cause breakouts.

How To Use Jojoba Oil In Your Hair Care Routine

There are several ways to incorporate jojoba oil into your hair care routine:

1. Direct Application: Warm up the oil in a pot or microwave-safe bowl, and apply about 1 tablespoon for short hair or 2 tablespoons for longer hair. Apply the oil to hair above the scalp, and work down evenly to hair tips. Leave it in for about 20 minutes, then shampoo, condition, and rinse. Avoid direct application to the scalp to prevent clogged scalp pores. If applying for dry scalp or dandruff, add very little directly to skin (about 1-2 drops).

2. Add to Products: Drop a few drops of jojoba oil (about 3-5 drops) to a dollop of your favorite shampoo or conditioner before use.

3. Purchase Products That Contain It: Simply buy a shampoo or conditioner that includes jojoba oil as one of its natural ingredients.

4. Use it as a Sealant: Before you shampoo your hair, add a few drops of jojoba oil to your fingers and run them through your hair to coat the strands from root to tip. When you go to shampoo, the jojoba oil may help create a protective seal.

5. Revitalize Your Scalp: To try to combat dandruff and sebum buildup, massage a few drops into your scalp and allow it to soak in for 30 minutes. Then rinse your hair or shampoo it.

6. Boost Your Conditioner: Jojoba oil may help provide moisture to the hair shaft at a time when the hair follicles are at their most permeable. Add a few drops to your conditioner or hair mask when you’re about to apply it. If you notice more shine but would like to see more benefits, add two or three drops to your hair and scalp after cleansing and conditioning, while your hair is still damp.

7. Hot Oil Treatment: Blend two to three drops of jojoba oil with two tablespoons of coconut oil and apply it to the hair and scalp as an overnight hot oil treatment.

It’s important to note that while jojoba oil is generally hypoallergenic and safe for use on skin, do a patch test if you have sensitive skin/scalp. Avoid the oil if you observe any inflammation on the scalp (like seborrheic dermatitis or folliculitis).