3 Things you didn’t know about Monoi
Monoi (pronounced “mah-noy”) is a Tahitian word meaning “scented oil”. This fragrant elixir is the result of soaking Tiare flowers (Tahitian Gardenias) in coconut oil. While only recently becoming popular in the beauty industry, Monoi oil has been a South Pacific beauty staple for centuries. Recognising the nourishing benefits of monoi, Eminence Organics formulated products from the Age Corrective Collection with this unique oil.
What is Monoi?
As mentioned, Monoi oil results from soaking Tiare flowers’ petals in coconut oil. This fragrant oil has roots in islands throughout the South Pacific, including Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands.
The process of making monoi oil has been passed down by generations of South Pacific healers. This oil is held to rigorous standards of production, designed to protect the cultural heritage of monoi blossoms. Here is how The Institut du Monoi describes the production process: “Coconuts of the Cocos nucifera variety must be grown on coral soil and harvested at a mature stage. Tiare flowers (Gardenia Taitensis), handpicked as buds, must be used within 24 hours of harvesting. According to local tradition, the maceration must last a minimum of 10 days and requires at least ten Tiare flowers per litre of refined oil.”
While the origins of Monoi oil aren’t known, its uses can be traced back more than 2000 years to the Maohi, the ancestors of the Polynesian peoples. The Maohi utilised monoi oil for medicinal, cosmetic and religious purposes. It was also used to protect the bodies of navigators from salt water and cold, harsh winds during long expeditions at sea. Divers today continue to apply monoi oil to their bodies before diving. This lightweight, amber-coloured oil has continued to be used by the Pacific Islanders for religious ceremonies in the purification of sacred objects, as a medicinal remedy for common ailments, and as a beauty ingredient to soften skin and hair.
The Tiare flowers are seen throughout the region’s mythology. According to Tahitian legend, this flower was created by Atea, the Oceanic God of Creation, and Tane, the God of Beauty. Additionally, these beautiful blossoms are a symbol of the region’s people and cultures. The Tiare plant thrives in a warm, tropical climate with partial to full sun and frequent watering. Blooming from March to November, the buds are typically harvested at dusk. Each year, 110 million Tiare flowers are harvested in French Polynesia alone.
Like the monoi blossom, coconut plays a significant role in South Pacific culture. The people rely on it as a source of food, oil, wood and fibre. Coconut has also been a part of the region’s lore, notably in the legend of Sina and the eel, which explains the origin of the first coconut tree. Like the Tiare flower, coconut palms flourish in warm climates with abundant sunlight and rainfall. The islands of the South Pacific with their sandy soils make an ideal environment for coconut palm growth.
Health and beauty benefits of monoi oil
Why monoi oil? What is so distinctive about this ingredient? Here are three primary health and beauty benefits of monoi oil for your skin, hair and health.
1. Deep hydration for skin and hair
Monoi oil soothes and protects while deeply hydrating the skin without stripping away any of its natural oils. Vitamin E helps stop protein loss in the hair, preventing breakage and reducing split ends. Dr Whitney Bowe tells Huffington Post Style: “Monoi oil contains coconut oil, which has been shown to have tremendous moisturising benefits for the skin and hair. The essential fatty acids in coconut oil, like lauric acid, may repair hair damage and increase shine.”
2. Delays the signs of ageing
There’s a reason that South Pacific cultures have passed on their monoi beauty secrets from generation to generation. Monoi not only adds lustre to your locks, but it also nurtures your skin to minimise the visible signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles.
Monoi’s base is coconut oil, an incredible superfood packed with antioxidants like Vitamin E and ferulic acid. In fact, Vitamin E and ferulic acid help to neutralise the effects of free radical damage. Many environmental stressors like UV rays, heat and sunlight all expose skin to free radicals, which cause fine lines and wrinkles.
3. Soothes and repairs dry skin
Monoi oil’s major benefit is the soothing effect it provides on reactive and chronically dry skin. Traditionally monoi oil has been used in Polynesian medicine to soothe dry, flaky skin linked to sensitivity and specific conditions. It’s more typically used as a full-body moisturiser to protect skin against the drying effects of intense tropical sun, harsh winds, and salt water. According to Healthline.com, “Monoi oil can also act as an anti-inflammatory that can reduce symptoms from known skin conditions, including eczema and contact dermatitis.” The Tiare flowers used in monoi contain high levels of methyl salicylate and lauric acid, ingredients known for soothing and restorative properties.
How to add monoi into your skincare routine
Monoi oil is an essential ingredient in our Monoi Age Corrective collection. Its deeply hydrating properties nourish skin and restore much-needed moisture to mature skin, while also improving the look of firmness and delaying the visible signs of ageing.
Brian Goodwin, International Educator at Eminence Organic Skin Care, suggests using the Monoi Age Corrective Collection in your night-time regimen: “The skin is more receptive to absorbing ingredients at night when the epidermis becomes more penetrable. This factor makes it even more paramount to incorporate hydrating ingredients and protective oils into nighttime routines.”
Here are a few skincare products that incorporate this luxurious ingredient:
- Monoi Age Corrective Exfoliating Cleanser: Gentle, multi-action exfoliating cleanser that washes away impurities, removes surface debris and smooths skin.
- Monoi Age Corrective Night Cream For Face & Neck: Ultra-rich night cream that replenishes moisture and leaves skin with a smooth, youthful appearance. This moisturiser helps minimise the look of saggy skin around your neck and jawline.
- Monoi Age Corrective Night Body Cream: Moisturising body cream that leaves skin looking denser, firmer and smoother by morning.