Monoi Oil: The Beauty Secret of Tahiti Unveiled

Monoi oil can be used for skincare, haircare, and relaxation purposes.

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By Alex

monoi oil from tiarè flower, Tahiti

For generations, Polynesian people have employed monoi oils in rituals to bless newborns, cleanse objects, and nourish their hair and skin. In contemporary times, monoi oil is celebrated for its subtle fragrance and its extensive range of advantages in skincare and hair care. To delve deeper into the virtues of this beneficial oil, read on.

What is Monoi oil?

Monoi oil is a fragrant vegetable oil native to Tahiti and surrounding islands in the Pacific. It is obtained through a traditional process in which the petals of the tiaré flowers, the beautiful Tahitian gardenia (Gardenia tahitensis), are infused into refined coconut oil. This process requires patience as the flower petals are picked fresh and then immersed in virgin coconut oil, allowing for a slow infusion that can last several weeks. During this time, the essential oils and scent of the flowers are transferred to the coconut oil, creating a distinctive rich, floral aroma.

Monoi oil has become the symbol of Tahitian beauty and in ancient times it was used as a sacred oil. They have always also made it a very simple scrub to exfoliate the skin of the body, mixing it with sand.

This oil is used in multiple applications, from skin and hair care to aromatherapy and massage. The enveloping aroma of tiaré flowers makes it particularly appreciated for the feeling of luxury it offers, in addition to its hydrating and perfumed properties.

This precious product is also a perfect example to show the close bond that still unites local populations to Nature today.

Characteristics of monoi oil

Monoi oil is obtained by maceration of tiaré flowers in copra oil (extracted from coconut): this process leads to a perfumed oil perfect for relaxing massages as well as for nourishing the hair and skin. Below 22° C / 72° F it becomes like vegetable butter while in the heat it returns to a liquid state.

The quality of the copra oil is as important as the quality of the flower, to obtain a fluid that retains all its properties. To be sure, it must have the Monoï de Tahiti mark of origin.

Properties of monoi oil

The properties of monoi oil are multiple and can be summarized as follows:

  • Moisturizing: Monoi oil is rich in fatty acids, making it an excellent moisturizer. It penetrates the skin and hair to lock in moisture, preventing dryness and dehydration, without leaving too much greasiness. In general, it is advisable to apply the oil to damp skin, which facilitates its penetration. It will help leave it hydrated, softer and silkier.
  • Nourishing: The oil is packed with essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals, promoting the health of both skin and hair. It can help with issues like brittle nails, dry scalp, or flaky skin.
  • Conditioning: It’s a great conditioner for hair. It smooths frizz, adds shine, and helps detangle, leaving the hair soft and manageable. It helps protect hair from the sun and salt, preventing it from drying out and discoloring. It’s also excellent as a nourishing pre-shampoo pack, as it makes hair silky and easy to comb. Therefore, an excellent alternative to conditioner.
  • Soothing: Monoi oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that can calm skin irritation, making it suitable for sensitive or sunburned skin.
  • Antioxidant: Monoi oil is loaded with antioxidants, such as vitamin E, which combat free radicals that can damage skin and hair cells.
  • Fragrant: Monoi oil is known for its delightful tropical fragrance, often resulting from the infusion of Tiare flowers. This pleasant scent is a sought-after quality in skincare and haircare products.
  • Relaxing: The aromatic qualities of Monoi oil can have a calming and stress-relieving effect, making it a popular choice for massage oils and spa treatments. The aroma of tiaré flowers can have relaxing and calming effects, helping to reduce stress and promote emotional well-being.
  • Sun Protection: While Monoi oil is not a replacement for sunscreen, it offers a low level of natural sun protection due to the antioxidant properties of the oil and the natural sun-blocking properties of the Tiare flowers. It’s often used to help protect the skin and hair from sun damage.

These properties make it a versatile product for skin and hair care, as well as general well-being. However, it is important to ensure that it is a high-quality, authentic product to fully enjoy its benefits.

Gardenia Tahitensis Tiare is the flower from which monoi oil is obtained
Gardenia Tahitensis (Tiaré) is the flower from which monoi oil is obtained.

How to use monoi oil

For the skin it is advisable to apply the oil on damp skin, which facilitates its penetration.

You can pour 10-12 drops of oil into your bath water or 2-3 drops directly into your hydrating body milk. It easily penetrates the skin and does not make it greasy, leaving it soft and more elastic.

Polynesian women use it without rinsing, to protect their hair from the sun and sea water. It can be a valid alternative to conditioner, and especially in the case of fragile and damaged hair, it can be used as a nourishing mask. Just leave it on for 30 minutes to a whole night, wrapping your head in cling film and protecting the pillow with a towel. The next day all you need to do is do a quick shampoo and rinse with warm water.

Beauty recipes with monoi oil

Let’s now see three beauty recipes that can easily be made at home with this oil.

Recipe for a tanning oil

To make tanning easier, here is a lotion that does not have a filter, so be careful and apply a protection suitable for your skin type and duration of exposure half an hour beforehand.

  • 30 ml monoi oil
  • 20 ml of carrot oil
  • 25 drops of geranium essential oil
  • 15 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops of ylang ylang essential oil

Preparation. Mix the various essential oils with oils and expose yourself to the sun.

Bath oil recipe

To soften your skin and relax your body, you need:

  • 20 ml monoi oil
  • 15 drops of geranium essential oil
  • 5 drops of mandarin essential oil

Preparation. Dilute the various essential oils with the oil and pour into the hot tub water.

Hair conditioner

You will just need:

  • 30 ml monoi oil
  • 20 ml of shea butter

Preparation. Melt the shea butter in the oil and apply all over the hair, insisting on lengths and ends. Leave on for 30 minutes to 2 hours, wrapping your hair in cling film.

Precautions and contraindications

The most important risk is to consider this oil as a sunscreen. Always remember to protect your skin from sunburn with a sunscreen before applying the oil.

Being based on coconut oil, it solidifies as soon as the temperature drops below 22° C / 72° F. This does not affect its properties and only needs to be warmed before use in a bain-marie container.

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