Start here to learn the basics about this powerful hair oil. Whether you’re using it solo or curious how you might be benefiting through your favorite monoi coconut oil shampoo, here’s a straight to the point guide on monoi oil for hair, including choosing the best monoi oil products.
What Is Monoi Oil?
In the same way that many of the most potent and powerful hair fixes have come from someone mixing something up in their kitchen, monoi is somewhat the same. It’s a centuries-old remedy that originated from soaking Tahitian gardenia petals in pure coconut oil. This means that while monoi oil isn’t the same as coconut oil, it does maintain some of the same benefits (more on those later).
An oil can only be considered monoi if sourced from the French Polynesian region. Gardenia flower (aka the Tiare flower), which is the base of the fortifying Sacred Tiare Collection, is rich in vitamin E and is responsible for the oil’s scent. The coconut oil that it’s infused into has anti-inflammatory properties and is highly moisturizing. Together the combo not only helps rehydrate dry hair, but can also protect it from harsh environmental conditions.
Back to scent for a second, what does monoi oil smell like? If you’re familiar with the smell of gardenias, you can probably imagine it. (If not, head to a flower shop!) It’s a subtle floral scent, and you may recognize a little bit of the smell of coconut oil, too.
How Is Monoi Made?
There’s a pretty strict process involved in making true monoi oil. If it’s not done this way or sourced properly, it’s not real. To make it, the buds of the tiare or gardenia flowers are specifically hand-picked when they are still unopened. They must be used within 24 hours of picking. The flower portion of the plant is placed in refined coconut oil and left to sit for at least 15 days to infuse. There’s a special degree in place when harvesting and making monoi oil that states that a minimum of 15 tiare flowers are to be used for every liter of coconut oil that it’s soaked in.
What Are Monoi Oil Benefits for Hair?
Much like coconut oil by itself, monoi has a ton of different uses for both hair and skin. With big-time benefits as a hair moisturizer, it’s an easy choice to help both maintain and restore dry, damaged, or even healthy hair. It also helps control frizz.
Going beneath your actual strands, monoi can work wonder on dandruff, too. A lot of the flaking, redness, itching, and inflammation can be prevented and improved with the help of a regular scalp greasing using monoi oil.
How to Use Monoi Oil on Hair
While you can introduce your hair to straight monoi oil, this is one hair oil where it’s actually more common to reach for products formulated with the oil. And that’s exactly what we recommend doing. From there, all you have to do is follow the directions for whatever product you reach for, be that a shampoo or a serum.
If you do prefer monoi oil on its own, you can apply it in all the ways you might use coconut oil. Try it as a hair mask, use a little to smooth flyaways, or turn it into a hot oil treatment.
The Best Monoi Oil Hair Products
Ready to update your hair care routine with monoi? Below, find eight of the best monoi oil products.
Monoi Repairing Sulfate-Free Shampoo: Infused with monoi oil, this sulfate-free shampoo conditions, detangles, and cleanses. And not only that, it helps you achieve 98% less breakage* after one use. It’s gentle on fragile, distressed hair and is suitable for all curl types.
Monoi Repairing Conditioner: Create a perfect pairing by matching this conditioner to the above shampoo. Make sure to let it sit on your strands for three to five minutes before rinsing so it can really do its thing.
Monoi Repairing Leave-In Conditioner: With its silicone-free formula, this leave-in conditions, fortifies, and strengthens strands. It also adds shine and softness and increases manageability, making it perfect as either the first or final step in your styling routine.
Monoi Repairing Hair Mask: For extra TLC, after conditioning, use this hair mask to nourish hair from roots to ends. Besides monoi oil, it’s formulated with hydrolyzed silk! Give it five to seven minutes to work on your hair, then rinse.
Monoi Repairing Anti-Breakage Spray: Fight back against breakage by using this spray on wet hair. It conditions, protects, and strengthens your tresses, stopping the number one cause of hair breakage.
Monoi Oil Sacred Strengthening Serum: This lightweight hair oil won’t weigh your strands down and can help prevent and reverse damage. Use the oil on towel-dried hair before styling or work a pump through dry hair to help manage frizz.
Monoi Repairing Split End Sealer: Your split ends aren’t a lost cause. Skip the trim and apply this hair lotion to your ends. The formula helps bind frayed ends together so you can maintain your length.
Does Monoi Work for Skin, Too?
Wondering if you can use monoi oil on your face? Monoi is pretty much a head-to-toe healer. It’s most often used as a moisturizer and skin protectant, but works equally as well to soothe sun or windburn. The methyl salicylate that is naturally derived from tiare is a skin softener that can help provide those moisturizing benefits. Unlike some other oils, monoi soaks into skin and doesn’t clog pores. So, if you’re trying to actually get rid of breakouts, you don’t have to worry about it having the opposite effect.
The anti-inflammatory properties in the coconut oil can help calm conditions where inflammation leads to itching and redness. Things like eczema, psoriasis, and acne are all ones that you might see significant improvement on with regular use of monoi oil. However, keep in mind that if you have any sensitivities to fragrance, there’s a chance that monoi might be irritating. As with any new ingredient introduced into your regimen, do a patch test before slathering all over your skin.
To add monoi oil to your skin care routine, try the Monoi Lightweight Miracle Oil. While this oil can also be used on your hair, it doubles as both a makeup remover and a cuticle oil. Don’t you just love multitaskers?
If you aren’t sure about using monoi on your skin, remember that its base is still coconut oil, and if you’re used to applying coconut oil on your face without any breakouts or clogged pores, then you’ll likely have the same response with this scented version. Just do the patch test to play it safe!
Next: Interested in learning more about oils? Check out Your Guide to Hair Oils for Natural & Coily Hair.
*When used with Monoi Repairing Mask, based on instrumental results versus control.