It comes from Polynesia and is considered a natural cosmetic with amazing properties for the beauty of skin and hair, we are speaking about the monoi oil. The monoi oil takes its name from the Tahitian word mono’i that means scented oil.
This product is obtained indeed by soaking in coconut oil particular types of plants and flowers, such as Tahitian gardenia, the beautiful flower with large white petals that can be admired in the Tahitian necklaces, the jasmine, basil, the Polynesian sandalwood and tamanu. These plants are chosen for their fragrance but also for their therapeutic action that is healing and anti-inflammatory, as in the case of tamanu, or calophylla, (Leguiller et al, PLoS One, Sep 2015), or antiseptic, as in the case of basil (Orchard et al, Evi Based Complement Aternat Med, May 2017). This special and fascinating preparation, in addition to giving a pleasant scent, helps hair to become soft and strong and the skin to appear like velvet. Monoi oil is useful in case of irritations, is able to soothe red and irritated skin and promotes the healing of wounds, it counteracts dry skin by acting as a nourishing and moisturizing agent. Moreover, this oil plays a role in restoring skin barrier and in counteracting inflammations in case of sunburns, dermatitis and eczema. (Tzu-Kai Lin et al, Int J Mol Sci, Jan 2018 - Varma et al, J Tradit Complemet Med, Jan 2019). Monoi oil helps also fight wrinkles since its topical application increases the levels, in epidermis, of stearic and linoleic acid that, according to scientific studies, decrease with aging while they are in a higher amount in young skin (Eun Ju Kim et al, J Korean Med Sci, Jun 2010). Finally, monoi oil results a powerful product also for the hair. In fact, thanks to its high affinity with hair proteins, it is able to deeply penetrate into the hair by preventing hair protein loss and damages, it strengthens the hair and counteracts dry, dull and brittle hair (Rele et al, J Cosmet Sci, Mar 2003). Let’s see how to use monoi oil.
Serum for the skin and make up remover
Against wrinkles and aging processes of the skin you can apply in the evening the monoi oil, as a serum or cream, on damp skin, for example after sprayed the face with a floral water such as rose water. Or you can use monoi oil to remove the make up, you just have to pour a few drops of product on a cotton pad and pass it on the skin, then rinse. Avoid if you suffer from acne, black heads or oily skin because coconut oil, the main ingredient of monoi oil, may result comedogenic.
Body cream and after sun
Monoi oil may be used as an after sun, useful to counteract dry and dehydrated skin. You can apply it after the bath or the shower when the skin is still damp in order to let the oil better be absorbed. In addition to this, the oil can also be applied on cracked skin, in case of itching or irritations.
You can apply monoi oil as a hair mask. Massage the product on the scalp and then from the roots until the ends, leave it on for 20 minutes, then rinse with your shampoo.
Bath for babies
Monoi oil is useful also for the skin care of babies. In fact, you can add some drops to the water of the bath of the babies in order to prevent problems of the skin such as itching, dermatitis or cradle cap (Jost et al, J Ethnobiol Ethnomed, Nov 2016).
It is possible to prepare at home the monoi oil. In this case you need 1 liter of coconut oil and about 20 gardenia flowers. The original recipe involves Tahitian gardenia, or tiarè, but it is possible also to use common gardenia whose extracts, according to scientific studies, are able to soothe skin inflammations induced by sun UV rays and to counteract the dangerous effects of free radicals (Park et al, Ediv Based Complement Alternat Med, Mar 2014). Let the flowers dry in the sun, then put them in a glass jar. Pour the coconut oil, close the jar and let it rest in the sun or near a heat source for about 2-3 weeks, shake it every 2-3 days. Filter the oil and here you go, the monoi oil is ready.