Like so many of you, I've found myself taking a closer look at the ingredients found in my beauty products, particularly over the past couple of years. And while I've certainly got a long way to go in terms of thoroughly cleaning up my routine, I'm beginning to phase out some ingredients which I know are doing my body more harm than good. As such, I'm becoming increasingly familiar with the names of ingredients which I previously wouldn't have given a second thought.
It wasn't until recently, however, that I began to realise that several of my favourite beauty products all contain the same ingredient: something called monoi oil. Coincidence? I think not. All of the products I use that contain monoi oil, across haircare and skincare, happen to be incredibly moisturising and nourishing. And, after some research, I think it's high time this hero ingredient gets the recognition it deserves.
What is monoi oil?
Monoi oil is an infused elixir made from soaking petals of the tiare flower—otherwise known as the Tahitian gardenia—in pure coconut oil, both of which are native to French Polynesia. The process of making monoi oil is steeped in Polynesian history. Traditionally, freshly grated coconut flesh was pressed to release the oil. Fresh tiare petals would then be added to this oil to create the potent monoi blend. In the interest of protecting the ingredient's integrity and heritage, by law, the oil can only be labelled "monoi" if the oil is made in French Polynesia.
What are the benefits of monoi oil?
To this day, native Polynesians use monoi oil to moisturise and soothe the skin. The oil's fatty acids contain antimicrobial properties. It protects against harmful bacteria that can lead to skin infections, such as acne, cellulitis, and folliculitis. It is also anti-inflammatory and can reduce symptoms from skin conditions, including eczema and dermatitis.
Many use monoi oil in their bathwater, too, as the scent helps to relax the mind. As far as hair is concerned, the properties within monoi oil promote growth and strength to the hair follicles, all the while making each strand softer and shinier. It also reduces split ends and keeps frizz at bay. Needless to say, monoi oil is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in shampoos, conditioners, and styling products.
How is monoi oil used?
Monoi oil can be applied directly to the skin as a moisturiser, be it on the face or the body. It can also be applied to wet or dry hair, either after shampooing or as a between-wash treatment. It is also highly effective as a cuticle oil, bath oil, and massage oil.
Are there any side effects of using monoi oil?
Monoi oil is generally safe to use. Unlike pure coconut oil, however, it's perfumed. If you have sensitive skin or allergies, you may wish to consult a doctor or dermatologist before incorporating this oil into your hair and skincare routines. At the very least, you may want to perform a patch test before applying it liberally to your hair, face, and body to determine whether it will cause you any irritation.
Now that you're well versed in all things monoi oil, browse some of the best monoi oil beauty products on offer.
SHOP MONOI OIL BEAUTY PRODUCTS:
Nars Monoi Body Glow in Light (£42)
I apply this just after my shower to lock in additional moisture.
Windle London Invisible Day and Night Cream (£22)
I swear my hair has never been softer or fuller since I started using this monoi oil–infused hair cream.
Caudalie Divine Oil (£28)
This versatile oil also boasts the hero ingredient.
Nars Afterglow Lip Balm in Orgasm (£23)
Nars is, undoubtedly, one of the biggest brands using monoi oil right now.
Evolve Organic Beauty Satin Body Gloss (£22)
The spray nozzle makes for quick and significantly less messy application.
This Works Sleep Balm (£12)
Harnessing its relaxing superpowers, This Works's Sleep Balm is brimming with monoi oil.
Ren Clean Skincare Monoi Massage Oil (£48)
The scent of this massage oil is unbelievable.
Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil (£35)
Use this oil on the ends of your hair when it looks and feels particularly thirsty.
Elemis Frangipani Monoi Salt Glow Scrub (£42)
The addition of monoi oil in this scrub will help lock in your skin's moisture.
Nars Liquid Blush in Orgasm (£25)
Another cult Nars product that comes with monoi oil built in.
Evolve Organic Beauty Nourishing Hair Elixir (£16)
This sustainable and natural formulation brings out the best in monoi oil.
Tropic Skincare Luxury Bath Foam (£18)
Run a capful of this oil under your tap to elevate your bath time experience.
The Body Shop Spa Of The World Polynesian Monoi Radiance Oil (£18)
This versatile option can be used on hair and the body.
Dior Bronze After-Sun Care Ultra Fresh Monoi Balm (£29)
You may want to bookmark this monoi-infused after-sun balm ahead of your next holiday.
Marilou Bio Body Balm With Monoi Oil (£28)
If you prefer creams over oils, then this body balm is sure to appease.
Elemis Frangipani Monoi Hair & Scalp Mask (£33)
Elemis has an entire monoi oil range, but this hair and scalp mask is perhaps our favourite product.
Palmer's Natural Fusions Ceramide Monoi Hair Food Oil (£8)
Monoi oil needn't cost the earth, as this hair treatment from pharmacist brand Palmer's proves.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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