Beauty secrets from a tropical paradise
WORDS: Catherine Fornell Hallberg PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied
It’s no secret that The Islands of Tahiti is such a sought-after travel destination for many with its crystal blue waters and lush rainforests and has been put on the bucket list as one of the first destinations to visit once borders open. What you might not know about Tahiti is that it’s also a beauty haven from which a wide range of natural ingredients come with great health benefits.
French Polynesian women and men are known for their beautiful skin and flowing long hair, and with an abundance of natural ingredients on their doorstep it’s clear why that is. Surrounded by lush nature, the Polynesian people have used what they found in nature for their beauty treatments for centuries.
Luckily, some of these ingredients are available in skincare and hair products all around the world as well as in their pure form, meaning you can create your very own Tahitian spa experience at home.
While the abundance of hair oils, extracts and homemade natural hair products can be overwhelming, monoi oil is one hair ingredient that should be on your radar. It’s an infused oil made from soaked petals of the native tiare flower in coconut oil.
Monoi oil is an exquisite moisturiser and Tahitians use it to soften and strengthen skin and hair and to prevent and soothe sunburns, mosquito bites, and hyperpigmentation. The monoi oil is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic meaning it is kind on your skin and allows the skin to breathe. Tiare flowers are high in methyl salicylate, an anti-inflammatory used in topical pain relievers.
French law requires that a product is labelled monoi only if it’s made in French Polynesia, so if you find monoi oil you can be sure to have found liquid gold.
Tamanu oil is cold pressed from the kernel of the tamanu tree. Tamanu has a rich, spicy scent.
Tahitian ancestors believed the branches of this sacred plant hid the gods and that it was a gift to protect them from the harsh sun, strong winds and saltwater.
Tamanu oil is known to help clear skin issues including acne, scarring, wrinkles, age spots, and dry skin. Tamanu oil is fast absorbing, antioxidant-packed and quickly nourishes the skin.
Noni juice is a potassium-rich juice made by soaking the bulbous, green noni fruit in water for several days. Tahitians are known to have drunk this noni juice for centuries. It provides nutrients to the skin, body, and hair.
Create an at-home spa treatment Tahitian-style
With soothing lagoon waters, a rich botanical environment, the air scented of vanilla and tiare flowers and the blissful tranquillity of paradise, The Islands of Tahiti offer spa experiences like no other. Until we can experience it in person in The Islands of Tahiti, there are some spa treatments you can create in your own home:
- Flower bath with tiare flowers or frangipani flowers
- Body wash with Tahitian vanilla for the ultimate relaxation session
- Create your Tahitian Coconut and Monoi Body Exfoliator (see below)
- Create your own Monoi Oil and Salt Foot Scrub (see below)
Light some Taha’a Vanilla scented candles, dim the lights, put on a chill playlist and transport yourself to the paradise islands of Tahiti.
Create your Tahitian Coconut and Monoi Body Exfoliator
Grated flesh of half a coconut (or half a cup of coconut flour)
3 tablespoons of Monoi oil (or virgin coconut oil)
- Mix the coconut flesh or flour with the oil in a bowl. If you use coconut flour, you will need more oil. Add your flour to the bowl and gradually add in the oil until the flour is completely covered. Leave to rest for 15minutes.
- Starting with your upper body, massage the exfoliator into your skin in circular motions. Gradually move down your body to your lower half. The scrub is gentle on your skin, but be careful not to rub too vigorously, particularly if you used coconut flour, as this can be slightly rougher.
- Leave for a few minutes and then step into a warm shower and gently massage the scrub off your body. Be careful not to let too much of the mixture go down the drain, aim to collect as much of the mixture and place it in the bin.
In Tahitian spas, customers lie on a massage table while a Vichy shower rinses them. Though this isn’t readily available for most of us, the vanilla and coconut scents and relaxing music will transport you into true tranquillity.
Create your own Monoi Oil and Salt Foot Scrub
If your feet are also in need of some TLC, why not try a foot scrub for an all-round spa experience?
A quarter cup of Monoi Oil
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of salt
- Combine all the ingredients into a small mixing bowl
- Gently exfoliate each foot with the scrub for 3 minutes
- Rinse and pat them dry
- Rub in your favourite moisturiser and your feet will thank you!
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About Tahiti Tourisme:
Tahiti Tourisme is the DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) for the country of French Polynesia, more commonly known as The Islands of Tahiti. Comprising 118 breathtaking islands, and the original home of the overwater bungalow, The Islands of Tahiti is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most beautiful and desirable holiday destinations.
Tahiti Tourisme oversees all marketing, advertising, public relations, promotions, events, and travel trade programs globally. With the primary mission of increasing visitor arrivals to The Islands of Tahiti, this economic interest group is composed of a local team working with 12 representative offices worldwide to reach 18 international markets.
To learn more, visit www.TahitiTourisme.org