A product of Polynesia, Monoi de Tahiti is an oil made from the gardenia flower. It is produced by soaking Tahitian gardenia petals within coconut oil. The exotic golden oil, used in cosmetics and perfumes, can be unscented, though its natural aroma contains hints of coconut.
Monoi de Tahiti is a precious oil regularly used by Polynesians in daily life. A French Government Decree regulates the oil's production process, specifically mandating that it made by submerging 10 Tahitian gardenia, or Tiare, flowers per 38 ounces (one liter) of pure coconut oil. The macerating itself must occur for a minimum of 10 days.
Tahitian Tumu Ha'ari, or cocos nucifera, palm trees are used to create the coconut oil in the recipe. The flowers themselves must also come from French Polynesia. Sometimes small brown flecks are visible within the finished product; these are pieces of coconut skin leftover from the production process. They may be removed, if desired, by straining the warmed oil through a small strainer.
Considered an ancient Polynesian beauty tip, Manoi de Tahiti has been used for hair and skin care commercially since 1942. Coconut oil is considered a natural restoration for body oil lost through perspiration and evaporation. The flowers used within the oil provide a long-lasting, popular scent.
The oil is known for its rapid absorption into the skin, hydrating and reducing overall water loss of the area. Used in soaps, creams, lotions, bath oils, shampoos, body butters, and other products, it is a highly useful additive for this reason. Monoi de Tahiti can be used directly as a hair conditioner by massaging a small amount into dry hair, and washing it out with shampoo after 15 minutes.
During tanning, Monoi de Tahiti can be used to create a darker, faster tan. After tanning, the oil can be reapplied to protect against peeling and dry skin. The oil contains no sunscreen or other protection against ultraviolet rays and should be used with caution during peak sun hours.
As tropical creation, Monoi de Tahiti solidifies when cool. This is a natural occurrence, as Monoi essential oil contains no emulsifiers or other additives to keep it liquefied. If the product hardens at temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), it can be liquefied once again by being placed in a container of warm water. This process should not be done in a microwave oven to avoid damaging the oil.