Jojoba oil is the liquid wax produced in the seed of the jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) plant, a shrub native to southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico. The oil makes up approximately 50% of the jojoba seed by weight.
Unrefined jojoba oil appears as a clear golden liquid at room temperature with a slightly fatty odor. Refined jojoba oil is colorless and odorless. The melting point of jojoba oil is approximately 10°C and the iodine value is approximately 80. Jojoba oil is relatively shelf-stable when compared with other vegetable oils mainly because it does not contain triglycerides, unlike most other vegetable oils such as grape seed oil and coconut oil. It has an Oxidative Stability Index of approximately 60, which means that it is more shelf-stable than safflower oil, canola oil, almond oil or squalene but less than castor oil and coconut oil.
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 US in 1971 led to the discovery that jojoba oil is "in many regards superior to sperm 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. Or, the pure oil itself may be used on skin or hair.
Jojoba oil is a fungicide, and can be used for controlling mildew.
Like olestra, jojoba oil is edible but non-caloric and non-digestible, meaning the oil will pass through the intestines unchanged and can cause a stool condition called steatorrhea.
Jojoba biodiesel has been explored as a cheap, sustainable fuel that can serve as a substitute for petroleum diesel.