Tahitian mono’i is the sacred oil that you find everywhere in The Islands of Tahiti. The name alone speaks of beauty and well-being. Made from coconut oil and tiare Tahiti flowers, mono’i is one of the prized beauty secrets of the Polynesian vahine.
Mono’i has always been used by Polynesians for its skin hydration properties as well as for medecinal purposes. There’s a certain unique feeling of luxury when you smooth this delightfully fragrant oil over yourself after a shower. Your skin feels soft and velvety and your hair shines with vitality. The sensation of well-being is immediate and wonderful. To make Tahitian mono’i isn’t a particularly complicated affair. First, you need to pick enough tiare Tahiti flowers very early in the morning and put them in a large bowl to macerate with some pure coconut oil. You need at least ten flowers for a litre of oil. Over several days, the flowers will gradually distill their perfume into the oil and give it the unmistakable fragrance of mono’i. It will keep for months, or even years in a glass bottle. To make Tahitian mono’i in its purest, traditional form, you first have to grate a fresh coconut and press out the milk. Put the liquid in a bowl with some tiare Tahiti flowers. Add the abdomen of a hermit crab to accelerate the fermentation process and then let the sun do its work.
The heart of the ancestral oil
The traditional way of making mono’i oil is passed down from mother to daughter, generation after generation. The unmistakable fragrance and exceptional qualities of the oil make it part of the beauty treatment of every single vahine in The Islands of Tahiti. It is applied to the skin and the hair every day to bring health and vitality. It is used to protect the skin from the sun, seawater and wind and also as a massage oil. Tahitians use mono‘i oil to keep the skin warm when they swim in colder weather. The natural benefits of mono‘i oil and its delicous fragrance are recognized all over the world.
Mono’i oil has been part of Polynesian culture for centuries. It is appreciated for its skin hydration qualities, medicinal virtues and delicate fragrance. It is also used to nourish and perfume the hair and give it a silky shine. Mono’i oil is a completely natural beauty product which can also be used as a make-up remover, after sun oil, or simply as a perfume. You can use mono’i oil to clean your hands of the sap from tree bark and even to wipe chewing gum out of a child’s hair. Mono’i oil is The Islands of Tahiti in a bottle. Take some home with you and make your vacation last a little longer.
Authentic homemade mono’i oil
It is possible to attend a craft workshop at the Ario’i cultural center in Tahiti or the Tupuna Center in Moorea. You’ll learn how to make your own mono’i oil using traditional methods. At the Laboratoire de Cosmétologie du Pacifique Sud in Tahiti you are invited to create your own formula to pefume your mono’i oil.
Like a fine French wine, mono’i oil has its own Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), which guarantees that it is authentic mono’i made in French Polynesia. It also ensures that it is a sustainable product made with organic ingredients, including the tiare Tahiti flower, which is endemic to the South Sea islands. You can buy mono’i oil in Papeete market, at the Tiki Perfumerie, the Heiva Cosmetic Laboratory and the Comptoir du Monoï in Tahiti and in boutiques and craft shops throughout The Islands of Tahiti.