Continuing our exotic oils series, today we are looking at another oil that is really an infusion. This one however, unlike the calendula oil, is strictly regulated for consistency of product. I am speaking of Monoi oil, also commonly referred to as Monoi de Tahiti. This traditional product originates in French Polynesia, Tahiti, and the name "Monoï" is an ancient Tahitian word which means "scented oil." Monoi has quite a long-established history of cosmetic use among the Tahitian people, and has been put through extensive tests and analysis in recent years, validating long-standing claims and uses for the Monoï.
The national flower of Tahiti, the tiare flower is a
small, white, star-shaped flower, which grows on bushes that are about 3 feet tall, and can be found throughout French Polynesia. They grow in soil with a coral origin, and can be found blossoming all year long.
Monoi de Tahiti is made by soaking these tiare flower blossoms (gardenia taitensis) in an enriched coconut oil.
In fact, Monoi is 97% coconut oil.
Once the coconut oil's filtration process is completed, it is stabilized with vitamin E, then stored in special tanks until it is purchased by the small number of monoi manufacturers, who will complete the maceration process in their individual factories.
The tiare flowers which are used are hand-picked while they are still unopened. The flowers are immediately taken to the manufacturing plant and stripped of their pistils, where the flower portion is placed into the refined coconut oil for a minimum of 15 days. This is known as "enfleurage", or flower soaking, and a
minimum of 15 tiare flowers must be soaked in every liter of refined coconut oil, according to the maceration standards. All authentic
Tahitian monoi oil follows a strict manufacturing code, one that governs
ll the way from the handpicking of the tiare flowers to the storage and
the shipping of the final product. This process has been validated and protected
by the decree of Appellation d'Origine, which was awarded to Monoi de Tahiti on April 1, 1992.
As previously mentioned, the monoi has been subjected to many studies and detailed analysis by various laboratories. In fact, the Monoi Institute of Tahiti has published the results of its studies on their web site; www.monoi-institute.org. Other French laboratories have also published detailed analyses of this oil, and of the tiare flower, the Tahitian gardenia blossom. These studies show that the monoi embodies many different substances that work together synergetically, benzoates, salicylates, oils and waxes, which are present in the final product because of the gentle extraction process, and the long maceration time.The end result is a product that is rich in active ingredients that will nourish the skin over many hours.
Historically, Monoi was the most common remedy which the islanders used to soothe a variety of ailments. This oils' healing properties were greatly appreciated by the people, and it, in fact, remains the basis of traditional herbal medicine, even today.
The Polynesians used monoi in therapeutic massage, due to its great healing powers, as well as to simply relax muscles before canoe races or other athletic contests, and today it is still used as a wonderful massage oil . Monoi
leaves the skin soft and supple, without greasiness. It is quickly absorbed by the skin, and has proven hydrating and emollient qualities, lasting several hours beyond treatment.
It can also be used before or after swimming, to protect the skin from the sun and other elements. Additionally, it is a natural antiseptic and can be used to prevent mosquito bites, or to soothe bites after they occur. As a hair conditioner, manoi has evidenced a reparative effect for dry and damaged hair.
It also makes a nice
pre-shampoo treatment, for deep conditioning and protecting. This oil makes the hair soft, silky and shiny.
Of course, one of the nicest bonuses you get when
using this oil, no matter what the application, is the flowery scent that emanates from the hair/skin after its use. In fact, it lasts pretty much the whole day!
They say that Monoi oil is completely safe for anyone to use, and many Tahitian mothers are known to even rub it on all over their babies, every morning and evening. They report that there is no risk for allergies, and that this oil will not cause a skin reaction. Know though, that t
oday’s marketplace is flooded with monoi oil imitators, so exercise caution when purchasing.
You can use this oil in any product where you would use plain coconut oil. So, in cp soap, monoi can be used as one of the base oils, generally at 30% or less, but cab be used at 60% or more of the total oils.