Jojoba is a plant wax. Technically, it is a mixture of single long chain linear wax esters. It is very different from plant triglyceride oils which have three shorter carbon chains joined together. The wax esters slip over each other easily giving the jojoba a silky feel compared to the oily feel of the cosmetic oils.
Wax esters are usually found only in the skins of animals, or on the surfaces of leaves, where they protect the underlying delicate layers while still allowing necessary healthy exchange of gases. Triglyceride oils, on the other hand, are usually found internally where they store energy for plant growth.
The jojoba plant is unique in the plant kingdom as wax esters make up approximately 50% of the weight of its seed and that they are found inside the seed. Also, these wax esters are similar to sebum, the waterproofing and moisturising substance found in human skin. Its similarity to sebum allows jojoba to penetrate and moisturise the skin’s deeper layers while allowing the pores of the skin to function normally.