Argan Oil vs Jojoba Oil: Which One is Best for Skin & Hair?

For starters, a quick breakdown of Argan oil vs Jojoba oil. If you happen to be in a rush, and are only able to read these first few lines, it should help you define quickly which one to choose.

Without being put to the test, it remains difficult to say how your skin or hair will react to either one of them. Both could potentially work out great, or neither.

I’d advise Jojoba oil for:

  • Oily skin and acne, even though Jojoba oil has a slightly higher comedogenic rating.
  • Almost any other skin type or condition, including but not limited to dry and aging skin, because of Jojoba oil’s amazing ability to restore the skin’s balance. This makes it one of the most versatile oils available.

Argan oil would be a good choice for:

  • Dry and/or more mature skin.
  • Nourishing hair, especially dry lengths and brittle ends.
  • Oily skin with acne can sometimes also benefit from Argan oil, due to its anti-inflammatory properties if your skin tolerates it well.

Both Argan and Jojoba oil are easy to purchase online, as well as in select local stores. Argan oil tends to be the more expensive one, but it depends on the brand. On Amazon you can find both organic Jojoba oil and organic Argan oil. They can be used pure (“as-is”) or spruced up with a few drops of one or more of your favorite essential oils.

It won’t come as much of a surprise that Jojoba oil is a key ingredient in this facial oil by Kjaer Weis ($225 for 65ml) and a main ingredient in the Anti-Aging facial oil by Annmarie Gianni ($54.95 for 15ml) which you can sample here. Acure makes some lovely flavored facial oil with organic Argan oil – choose between coconut, rose, and citrus-ginger.

So, we’ve started with a little summary and clearly done things a bit backwards here. 😉 That won’t prevent us from taking a closer and more in depth look at Argan oil vs Jojoba oil below.

Quick Overview of Oleic Acid & Linoleic Acid

The following is helpful to know in relation to all oils and skin care, not just Argan and Jojoba.

Oils contain certain amounts of fatty acids.

Sounds familiar? Good! You may have heard of fatty acids in relation to skin care, but also cholesterol, healthy eating habits, anti-aging in general or cardio-vascular health.

There are a whole lot of different kinds of fatty acids. The two terms to keep in mind when choosing the perfect oil for your skin are oleic acid and linoleic acid. If your skin that tends to be oily, and maybe also struggles with some acne, it could be deficient in the second one: linoleic acid. An oil with a higher percentage of linoleic acid can be helpful in that case. A higher amount of the first one, oleic acid, tends to be present in oils we commonly call “heavier” or “richer”. This makes oils higher in oleic acid more suited to dry or mature skin.

Then again – and unfortunately – things aren’t necessarily as straight-forward as that. The complexity of both oils and our skin makes it hard to determine “on paper” what works and what doesn’t. Finding the right oil(s) for your face, body or hair (whether it be Argan oil vs Jojoba oil, or another one all together) usually involves some trial and error.

Jojoba Oil

Scientific name: Simmondsia Chinensis

Jojoba oil penetrates the skin easily without leaving a greasy feeling. Did you know that jojoba oil actually isn’t even an oil at all? We just call it that – probably because of its liquid consistency – when it is technically a (fluid) wax.

Jojoba Oil in a Nutshell

Jojoba oil has calming and soothing properties. Jojoba oil’s chemistry that is very similar to that of our own sebum and is superb to combat both dehydration and wrinkles. Because Jojoba oil’s molecular build is so similar to the skin’s own sebum, even oily skin with acne (I should say especially oily skin) can benefit from this versatile oil. When used on oily skin, whether with or without acne, Jojoba oil can really help balance the skin’s own oil production. This sounds like a paradox indeed, but it typically results in less oily skin.

Is Jojoba oil right for your skin?

Jojoba oil basically can’t do much harm, no matter what your skin type is. Worst case scenario, if you have very dry skin, you’ll find that it perhaps isn’t quite moisturizing enough on its own. (In the Anti-Aging facial oil by Annmarie Gianni mentioned above Jojoba oil is combined with 14 other oils!)
Being a liquid wax with a consistency that is so close to that of human sebum, Jojoba rarely causes issues/reactions. It almost always leaves the skin in better condition than it found it. And if for some reason Jojoba oil doesn’t agree with you on its own? Then you can probably still use it, by blending Jojoba oil with another oil.

Argan Oil

Scientific name: Argan Spinosa

Argan oil has been on the radar of the beauty industry for some time. You’ve probably seen the mention “with Argan oil” on various skin care labels and shampoo bottles of both high-end and department store products. Local health food stores often carry some more basic carrier oils such as castor and sweet almond oil. Pure Argan oil isn’t as easy to find offline, but it is widely available online.

With so many different suppliers to choose from, let me start off by throwing in an important tip: the best Argan oil is cold pressed and from organic agriculture.

It can be challenging to find trusted sellers of Argan oil, due to its massive gain in popularity over the past few years. Another thing you may want to watch for is whether a company practices fair trade. With Argan oil generally originating from poor countries, most people will agree that it is important for a business to treat everyone well and pay fair wages.

Without getting too technical, let’s go over the properties of Argan oil and their potential benefits to your skin and hair.

Argan Oil Overview

Argan oil is rich in vitamin E and known for its nourishing and regenerating properties. Argan oil is also a great antioxidant, which makes it a powerful ally in the fight against aging.

Argan oil is one of the richer oils. It doesn’t penetrate the skin as well as Jojoba oil. Mixing Argan oil with a second, more easily absorbed oil (such as Kukui nut oil or Rosehip seed oil) can help improve absorption. That being said, Argan oil does have an even lower comedogenic rating than Jojoba oil.

Argan oil is basically an anti-aging and nourishing power house. It contains a lot of natural antioxidants, protecting the skin from aging. Argan oil has antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. While Argan oil is great to make the skin softer and more supple, it may be just a tad too rich if your skin is oily. It mainly protects against premature aging, improves the skin’s function as a barrier, as well as protecting from the outside world. Argan oil does offer some protection from UV rays, but please note that oils are never a substitute for proper sunscreen lotion.

The amount of fatty acids in Argan oil varies between batches and brands, but is approximately:

  • Poly-unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid/omega 6/vitamin F): 29-36%
  • Mono-unsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid): 42-49%
  • Saturated fatty acids (stearic acid & palmitic acid): stearic acid 6-7% & palmitic acid 13%

Unsaturated fatty acids, which Argan oil has a high content of, are protecting, nourishing, regenerating, work against premature anti-aging, and help making the skin more soft and supple.

Is Argan oil right for your skin?

Argan oil is very good for dry and aging skin, as you can tell from all its regenerating properties mentioned above. It is also supposed to be potentially great for oily skin with acne, because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Some people report improvement of their acne when they start using Argan oil, while it totally doesn’t work for others.

If you look at just the linoleic acid content of around 35% in Argan oil, it makes sense that it would work well for oily skin and acne. Jojoba oil contains a much lower amount of linoleic acid – around 5%. However, Argan oil is also fairly high in oleic acid (approx. 45%). This may be too much if you already have oily skin, since the oils high in oleic acid are generally more suited to dry skin types.

If you try Argan oil and it works for you, that’s wonderful. If not, don’t worry. Stuck with a bottle of Argan oil that isn’t doing what you hoped as a facial oil? It has many other potential uses and won’t have to go to waste. It makes a great anti-frizz oil (for the hair), nourishes dry and brittle ends  (also hair), and can be helpful on stretch marks, hands and feet.

Argan oil vs Jojoba oil, which one is best for face care?

Would you believe that I have never actually tried Argan oil myself? Based on the research for this article, I am getting convinced I’ve been missing out! Jojoba oil on the other hand, has been one of my favorite oils for face care for years. Being in my mid-thirties, I am starting to look for anti-aging skin care products instead of skin care to control acne. So far I’ve been very happy with Jojoba oil (and also with Rosehip seed oil and a few others) combined with one or more anti-wrinkle essential oils.
As mentioned earlier: if you’re wondering whether one of these oils, or maybe both, could work well for your face, the only way to know for sure it to try them and observe your skin’s reaction. Should Argan oil appear too heavy, you can obviously stop using it and instead make it into a luxurious body oil for the body. I don’t think legs, elbows or feet will ever say no to some extra moisturizing. Argan oil would also be a super-nutritive hair treatment.
Based on my own experience, I’d say to try Jojoba oil if you’re dealing with mild to heavier acne, oily skin, visible pores, or just have fairly normal skin – perhaps only prone to an occasional breakout. Then again, for dryer and aging skin, Jojoba oil would also be great. I can hear you thinking that I’m clearly biased towards Jojoba oil and am not even going to try to deny that. I will obviously need to try some Argan oil in the near future and report back. From what other people are saying, Argan oil can be a bit of a hit or miss. Either it works great for you, or it does not at all. Looking at Argan oil vs Jojoba oil, the latter is a more certain bet.

Argan oil vs Jojoba oil, which one is best for hair care?

The infinitely small droplet of argan oil in shower gel or shampoo is really not more than a marketing thing. It won’t do much for your skin or hair. If you’d like to get a taste of the benefits of Argan oil vs Jojoba oil your hair, you’ll need to experiment with a small bottle of pure oil.
Should this appear too rich in itself, blending with a lighter oil could be the solution. Apply the oil very sparingly – otherwise, it will just sit on top on your skin anyways… or soak your clothes with oil. A little goes a long way.

Argan oil vs Jojoba oil: Comparing prices & availability

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Argan oil vs Jojoba oil: Summary

How to choose between Argan oil vs Jojoba oil: The first is nicknamed liquid gold, the second is the most similar substance to our own sebum. Balance, regenerate and soothe your skin with one of these amazing oils. You can also nourish your hair with Argan oil, or treat oily scalp with Jojoba oil.
Argan oil is richer in both oleic acid and linoleic acid. Jojoba oil contains much less of both oleic acid and linoleic acid, and isn’t techinally an oil but a liquid wax. The chemical make-up of Jojoba oil is one of the closest things to our own sebum, which makes Jojoba oil a great choice to balance most any skin type or issue. Argan oil has regenerating properties and can work as a powerful anti-inflammatory as long as it isn’t too rich for your skin. In the race between Argan oil vs Jojoba oil, Argan stands out as a healing, protecting and nourishing oil. Jojoba wins the versatility award and is the safest bet for all skin types.