Jojoba – Gold of the Desert
It’s almost surreal, the contrast between the evergreen jojoba shrub with its green, leathery leaves and the dry and parched desert of Israel that surrounds it.
The plant doesn’t reveal its secret at first glance, but instead hides it within its rather inconspicuous, olive-like fruits. They contain a precious wax known as jojoba oil, which serves as an important basis for many of Weleda’s natural and organic cosmetic products.
Rough Shell – Soft Core
The jojoba shrub (Latin name: Simmondsia chinensis) belongs to the boxwood family and originates in arid regions of the Americas. It grows up to three metres tall and frequently lives for up to 200 years. Even in the most extreme drylands the plant can reach water and nutrients deep in the earth using its tap roots, which can grow up to six metres long. One of this plant’s distinguishing features is that it is dioecious, meaning that there are specimens with only male blossoms or only female blossoms. Pollination must therefore occur through the wind and insects, which bring pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers. After around six months, the resulting fruit, called a capsule, is cold-pressed to extract its coveted oil, which hardens to wax at temperatures below 8 degrees Celsius. Perhaps it is precisely these qualities of the plant and the harsh climatic conditions it seems to defy which enable the development of its golden sensual, soothing oil. Nature constantly surprises us with small miracles that invite us to wonder.
The Importance of Jojoba Oil – Then and Now
Native Americans recognised the versatility of jojoba oil long ago, and they used it for a variety of purposes including skin care. With survival possible only in harmony with the land and the given circumstances, they learned to use nature’s treasures intensively and sustainably.
In the 1950s, this natural substance was discovered as an alternative to sperm whale oil, which was used in industrial lubricants and has since been banned in order to protect the endangered species. It was only years later that jojoba oil made its breakthrough in the cosmetics industry.
In response to the rising demand for this raw material, new cultivation areas have been established around the world. In Israel, for example, Weleda’s main jojoba supplier has been providing this coveted raw material in organic quality for nearly ten years.
Organic Jojoba Cultivation in the Desert of Israel
Located about two hours south of Tel Aviv is the small town of Be’er Sheva. Behind it begins a semi-desert region with low precipitation and plenty of sunshine. At Kibbutz Hatzerim, a community of around 1,000 people, large swathes of farmland are organically cultivated, and jojoba is their main crop. With a strong social structure that includes a kindergarten, health care, and many community activities, the kibbutz provides the people there with a very good livelihood and fair working conditions. The organic farm uses neither pesticides nor herbicides in the cultivation and processing of its products. Crops are mainly irrigated using water from a sustainable water treatment facility where wastewater is clarified and then reintroduced into the biological cycle. In this extremely dry region, the cultivation of jojoba is made possible with the help of an underground irrigation system developed by the kibbutz, where not a drop of the precious water is wasted. Every year in October, the jojoba’s olive-like fruits are harvested and then gently cold-pressed into high-quality wax directly on site. Weleda sources the majority of the jojoba oil it needs from this impressive project, and procures additional, smaller quantities in Argentina and Peru.
Small Drops – Profound Effect
The clear pale yellow, oily liquid derived from the jojoba plant serves as a base material for many of Weleda’s high-quality products. The waxes it contains bear a close similarity to oils present in the human skin, making them extraordinarily skin-friendly with a high protective function. The oil is readily absorbed into the skin without leaving behind a greasy residue, and soothes the skin. Another feature is its extreme stability, meaning that the oil will not go rancid. Jojoba oil helps to make the skin smooth and supple, preserves the skin’s moisture content, conjures up moments of well-being and so fulfils the most important prerequisites to be processed into high-quality natural and organic cosmetics for Weleda.
Jojoba Seed Oil
Jojoba Seed Oil is an oily liquid wax that is very similar to the protective layer of the human skin. At the same time, it supports the barrier function of the skin. Thereby it protects the skin against water loss without leaving it greasy. It is very skin friendly, easily absorbed and is therefore a suitable care product for all skin types, especially for dry skin. It is also very suitable as a foundation oil, which does not go off.