According to the legend, a long time ago, at the origin of the days, the god Maui wanted to fish all the islets to make it into one large island. But the small islands struggled and, like fish, darted away forming what are still known today as the five archipelagos of Polynesia. And it is on one of these archipelagos, the Marquesas Islands, that the inhabitants make use of special cosmetic products based on coconut. Moreover, the coconut is considered, in these islands, the gift of a god to Princess Hina who, in order to escape her suitor who had the shape of a great snake, asked Maui for help. Maui killed the snake and buried it on the soil. In a single night, where the snake was buried, a coconut palm was formed. And the coconuts, if we look closely, all have three dark spots that, according to tradition, are the eyes and mouth of the snake who wanted to marry Hina. So let's immerse ourselves in this paradise on earth, which is Polynesia, populated with fragrant flowers, fascinating aromas, palm trees and crystal clear water. Inspired by the traditions of the population of the Marquesas Islands, let's see how to make splendid cosmetics to take care of our hair, stressed by salt, sun and winds. But first, let's see the properties proven by scientific studies of the ingredients we're going to use.
Tahitian cosmetics, properties
The cosmetics we are going to prepare are made using coconut oil as a basic ingredient. Lauric acid is the main fatty acid present in coconut oil. Precisely this characteristic makes coconut oil particularly similar to hair proteins and able to easily penetrate the hair itself, bringing nourishment, repairing and regenerating it. In fact, coconut oil is one of the few oils capable of preventing or reducing the loss of proteins in the hair, thus counteracting its weakening and loss and increasing its elasticity (Rele et al, J Cosmet Sci, 2003 - Mhaskar et al. al, J Cosmet Sci, 2011). Not only that, coconut oil moisturizes the skin, avoiding itching and also helping to counteract dandruff (Saxena et al, Sci Rep, 2021). Basil, another ingredient of the cosmetics that we will make, thanks to its essential oils, is antimicrobial, thus helping to counteract itching and dermatitis, and antioxidant, protecting the microcirculation and the hair follicle (Falowo et al, Int J Food Sci, 2019 ). Mint is anti-inflammatory and stimulates hair growth (Oh et al, Toxicol Res, 2014). Finally, avocado is highly moisturizing and nourishing and, thanks to its linoleic acid content, helps regenerate the hair and stimulates its growth (Lin et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2018 - Ryu et al, Molecules, 2021) .
Tahitian hair oil
The basis of this precious cosmetic is coconut oil, which, in the absence of other ingredients, you can also use alone, in purity, like a true inhabitant of Tahiti. Moisten the hair and apply two tablespoons of coconut oil to the scalp and lengths, leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse with your shampoo. Alternatively, here are some valuable ideas that come directly from Polynesia. Monoi oil is a very famous cosmetic given by macerating the flowers of the Tahitian gardenia in coconut oil. But do you know that in the north of the Marquesas Islands, women also prepare monoi oil using sweet basil (Jost et al, J Ethnobiol Ethnomed, 2016)? In a saucepan, melt two tablespoons of coconut oil in a bain-marie. Add a couple of drops of basil essential oil if you have it at home and mix. Alternatively, leave the coconut oil to cook slowly in the bain-marie, crumple and chop 3-4 fresh basil leaves and add them to the warm oil, mix and leave to infuse for fifteen minutes. Then remove the leaves and let the oil cool down. Apply to the scalp and lengths after spraying floral water or plain tap water. Massage and leave for fifteen minutes. Then rinse with your shampoo. And for an extra note? Add a few mint leaves along with the basil. Coconut oil, basil and mint are in fact the ingredients of another cosmetic for skin and hair very popular in the south of the Marquesas islands, the hoho. The process is the same.
Rich mask of the Marquesas Islands
We can make this hair mask even richer by using a typical fruit of the Marquesas Islands, the avocado! Mash the pulp of half a very ripe avocado with a fork. Add two tablespoons of monoi or hoho oil, prepared according to the method explained in the previous paragraph, mix. Distribute on the scalp and lengths, leave on for 15-20 minutes, then rinse with your shampoo.