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Body

Polynesian Beauty Secrets

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Women from Tahiti have no bad hair days. Ever. Their skin is naturally satin-smooth. Myth or reality? We asked Polynesian beauty expert Maeva Destombes to give us as a peek beyond the postcard.

“To every cliché there’s an ounce of truth. Of course, all women from Tahiti do not look like bewitching creatures who have stepped out of a Gauguin painting. The pure, uninhibited Tahitian siren is a Western creation. Not to mention that obesity is a very big problem here nowadays. Having said that, women from Tahiti do have the most fantastic hair and skin! And it’s not only down to their genes. Their secret? They use very little but mostly natural products. Over-pampering is unheard of in Tahiti!

Their number one secret? Monoï oil. They use a few drops of it every day. It’s basically infused perfume-oil made from soaking tiaré petals  – the flowers Tahitian vahinés wear in their hair. Many Tahitian women make their own.

For Western standards, the result is often too oily though. If you use it as a pre-shampoo treatment, make sure that you rinse your hair really thoroughly! You can also use Carol’s Daugther’s Monoï Repairing Hair range or Ojon’s Color Sustain products.

Monoï also does wonders for the skin. As its molecular structure is tiny, it can be easily absorbed. Recent research has also shown that it is rich in methyl salicylate, a skin-soothing agent that rehydrates the skin and helps to protect it against external damage such as sun, wind and sea water. No wonder Polynesian women use it as a moisturiser and sunscreen! It’s great when you have skin used to sun exposure like ours, but don’t imitate us unless you look for a major sunburn. Rather, use it as an after-sun treatment. I also used monoï as a body oil during the whole of my pregnancy and got no stretchmarks! Last but not least, it makes a relaxing bath oil and can be used as a hand and feet treatment.”

Great Monoï products

The powers of monoï have not gone unnoticed in the West. Nars Body Glow would not be as great without it, for example!

Other products that heavily rely on monoï are Dior Bronze Voile de Monoï Tan Enhancer, Ambre Solaire’s Golden Protect Aftersun and Elemis Frangipani Monoï Shower Cream.

Tahitian Perfumes

The power of monoï also lies in its scent, which comes from the sensual tiaré flower extract. It’s a real pity so few perfumers use it! Unfortunately, tiaré extract is extremely expensive (about £4,500 pounds a kilo). If you like the scent, go for Tiaré by Chantecaille or Tiaré by Ormonde Jayne.

Tamanu oil

Monoï is not all there is to Polynesian beauty. More recently, the West has discovered tamanu oil. It has a high concentration of resin (over  20%) which endows it with medicinal and a great anti-ageing properties. Did you know? Trilogy’s Age Proof CoQ10 Serum draws its power from tamanu oil!

Who knew?

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