Top 5 Natural Skin Care Ingredients from the Tahitian Islands

 The Tahitian islands are a treasure trove for natural skin care ingredients.

The Tahitian islands are a treasure trove for natural skin care ingredients.

French Polynesian women are known for their beautiful skin, and the islands of Tahiti are home to numerous natural ingredients like coconut and monoi oil, which are known to be among some of the best skin care ingredients in the world.

"Tahiti isn’t a sought-after travel destination for no good reason, it’s a beautiful paradise for starters, but it's also a magical and unique destination for its distinct tribal culture and traditions, the charismatic and inviting Tahitian people, and last but not least, the rich, tropical sea life and botanicals," says Dawn Shipley, a registered aromatherapist and the founder of Blue Dawn Aromatherapy. "Even the water is full of revitalizing minerals due to all the coral content (I’ve seen it for sale on cosmetic ingredient sites), and the warm, sunny and humid tropical climate provides a perfect place for rich botanical delicacies."

Here, she shares five natural ingredients from Tahiti that are particularly notable in the way of skin care:

 Coconut oil plays a large role in the youthful beauty of Tahitian women.

Coconut oil plays a large role in the youthful beauty of Tahitian women.

1. Coconut Oil

You've probably already heard that coconut is healthy for you and good for skin—these aren’t just rumors. Studies have shown that coconut oil contains polyphenols that have antioxidant properties (antioxidants are crucial for fighting free radicals and oxidative stress that cause signs of aging). Coconut oil also offers anti-bacterial, wound healing, anti-inflammatory, skin barrier repair and anti-aging effects. The fact that it contains all of these benefits makes it one of the best ingredients for many skin types, and it plays a large role in the youthful, flawless beauty of Tahitian women.

And guess what? To top it off, due to the warm, drier tropical climate, the Tahitian coconuts are of more superior quality than you get elsewhere (which from what I’ve experienced is no joke and not uncommon for anything that grows there). For best results, use organic, unrefined coconut oil.

 Noni is a superfruit that contains a plethora of vitamins and antioxidants.

Noni is a superfruit that contains a plethora of vitamins and antioxidants.

2. Noni

This was a popular super fruit in years gone by, and though the noni fad passed, its vast benefits are still amazing as ever. What makes it so super? It contains a plethora of B vitamins, vitamins C and E, beta carotene, as well as minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. Top that off with antioxidants such as quercetin, vanillin and proxeronine.

Proxeronine is a precursor to the alkaline xeronine, which supports efficient functioning of cell membranes and stabilization of abnormal cells, keeping skin young and youthful. It helps with acne, is anti-inflammatory, and even stimulates collagen production, aiding in wrinkle reduction. An easy way to add noni to your routine is to make it in tea form and splash it on your face after washing. Allow it to dry before applying moisturizer.

 The tiare flower is a special variety of gardenia found in the Polynesian Islands. [Image courtesy of Dawn Shipley]

The tiare flower is a special variety of gardenia found in the Polynesian Islands. [Image courtesy of Dawn Shipley]

3. Tiare

Tiare really is the star of the Polynesian Islands. It's a special variety of gardenia that blooms year-round and has a rich, luxurious scent that is intoxicating and exotic. You will find it as the featured scent on towels at prestigious resorts such as the Hilton, in the heavily perfumed leis (actually known as heis in Tahiti) and headdresses worn by the locals and shared with guests as a warm welcome, and even in delectable jams.

Tiare is one of the most pleasant smelling flowers out there, in my opinion. And amazingly enough, it’s also good for the skin, too! GC/MS (gas chromatography and mass spectrophotometry) analyses have confirmed the presence of the active molecules in Monoi de Tahiti due to the tiare flower such as methyl salicylate known for its soothing and purifying properties, plus alcohols such as hexanoland phenylethyl alcohol that is also purifying.

 Tamanu oil helps heal skin and reduces signs of aging.

Tamanu oil helps heal skin and reduces signs of aging.

4. Tamanu

This green, nutty oil is yet another miracle and is a must for the body as a whole. It's used for skin conditions like bug bites, inflammation, eczema, scratches, and even sun burns. It reduces inflammation, protects skin, speeds up healing, and reduces premature aging and wrinkles. Just rub it on as a spot treatment for damaged skin, rashes, bug bites and sun burns, or even as a nighttime face oil in place of (or in tandem with) a moisturizer.

 Monoi de Tahiti oil is a combination of coconut oil and tiare flowers.

Monoi de Tahiti oil is a combination of coconut oil and tiare flowers.

5. Monoi de Tahiti

This is a very specifically derived combination of coconut oil and tiare flowers. To make true Monoi oil, you must follow certain guidelines and use ingredients that come from Polynesia. The tiare flowers are picked just before blooming and placed in coconut oil. They must soak for at least 15 days in the oil. The oil has been produced commercially since 1942, though the Polynesian women have used it as a beauty remedy for hair and skin for more than 2,000 years. It's an exquisite skin moisturizer for both hair and skin, and can be used as an after-sun moisturizer. 

It's also used for Taurumi massage, an ancient traditional Tahitian massage that allows the body to recover all its connections to the world. It's a wellness ritual that uses scented and sacred plants to awaken the senses and produce a deep intimacy between the body and nature. If you only try one thing from Tahiti ever, get a bottle of this oil. You’ll often find it unscented (only the delicate scent of the enfleuraged tiare flowers) or naturally scented with the luxurious local scents such as ylang ylang, plumeria, tiare (a heavier scent of the same flower derived by other means), coconut and vanilla. You’ll be treated to a little taste of the magic of Polynesia.