Jojoba is a desert shrub found in the southern United Sates and northern Mexico. It produces large seeds from which a wax, often called jojoba oil, is extracted. This wax is a common ingredient in beauty products due to its stability and moisturizing properties. Jojoba beads are a fully hydrogenated form of jojoba wax — they are small spheres that are used as both an exfoliation agent and as a carrier for other cosmetic ingredients.
The beads are used in soaps, scrubs, and cleansers intended to exfoliate the skin. Due to their shape, the beads are more gentle than other ingredients commonly used in this type of product, such as nutshells, and so do not irritate or damage the skin or leave it open to bacteria. People purchase them in ready-made products or wholesale to make their own.
The jojoba beads are a crystalline form of wax ester produced by the pressurized addition of hydrogen to the oil. This results in a product that is colorless, odorless, and has a melting point of 68 to 70 degrees Celsius (154 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit). The beads are solid, firm spheres and can subsequently be suspended in a variety of mediums.
Available in a number of beauty products, manufacturers add the beads to solid mediums, such as soap, and more fluid mediums, such as gels and creams. They are not often used in liquid products as they tend to either float or sink rather than evenly distribute throughout the product. Jojoba beads are also available to buy on their own, and people add them to store-bought formulations or those prepared at home.
The spheres are available in range of sizes, from 150 to 1200 microns. Smaller sizes of bead are more effective as facial exfoliators, while the medium-sized beads are added mainly to body products. Larger sizes of jojoba beads are in products intended for areas needing more intensive treatment, such as the feet, and can improve a product's visual appeal. Their wide range of color enhances each product's visual impact. Colors and sizes can be mixed to create a more multipurpose and visually creative product.
Soft jojoba beads are also available. Other than working as an exfoliator, these softer beads have a lower melting point and can be crushed against the skin. This allows the skin to absorb the beads and their moisturizing properties. These soft beads are often used as carriers for other materials, such as vitamin E or fragrances.