Monoi de Tahiti Shea Salve

What I really need right now is a vacation. Can you relate?  Can you also relate to the utter disappointment you face when you snap back into reality from your daydream to realize that it just ain’t. Gonna. Happen. (I know.  It’s rough. We’re in this together).

That longing though of a warm and bright sun, a sweetly-scented breeze, and hair and skin stiffened from salted waves. That longing. That remembrance…


That scent is what inspired me to make this Monoi de Tahiti salve I share with you. ‘Cuz if you’re not getting to Polynesia soon, just bring it to yourself.


“Vacation in a tin?”  Is it possible?  It is with Monoi.

Monoi de Tahiti, for those unfamiliar is a richly-scented oil that is created by macerating the Tiare flower, or Tahitian Gardenia, Gardenia taitensis, and steeping it in coconut oil for nearly a month.  The plant originates and is revered in Polynesia, and real Monoi de Tahiti oil is made there and carries a seal of authenticity or appelation d’ origine (A.O.)/geographic indication.  Monoi de Tahiti won it’s A.O. in 1992, so when shopping for a good monoi make sure you look for the seal.


Since it is infused coconut oil, Monoi de Tahiti, (in my climate at least), arrives in it’s solid state.  I kept it in the warmest room of my house, and when I was ready to work with it it poured just fine.  Otherwise, run some hot water over the sealed bottle and it will return to liquid.

For my first adventures with monoi, I ordered two different types.  One was 100% pure, “unscented” Monoi de Tahiti so I could get an idea of the scent in its true form.  It was lovely, but wasn’t quite what I had in mind for this salve. From what I can tell, many authentic monoi oils that are processed in the traditional manner and whom have received the A.O. seal have some parfums added at the end.  I have seen pikake, vanilla, sandalwood, tiare, etc.  I wanted a very strong scent of Monoi de Tahiti that wouldn’t be overpowered by the shea I was adding it to, so I opted for one with added tiare scent.

It is said that for centuries, Polynesian woman have used Monoi de Tahiti on their skin and hair to seal in moisture, protect from the elements and preserve their supple, natural beauty.  In the wet, cold and dreary, loooong months of winter in the PNW, a monoi salve coupled (and complemented)  with skin-loving shea butter works hard to keep my skin feeling good, but the richly scented salve makes my mind happy as well.

‘Because if you can’t go on vacation, you may as well harness those feelings in a shiny ‘lil tin.

This salve comes together in a snap.  It was my daughter and my Christmas project.  We made nearly 2 dozen of these beauties to pass to our sweet girlfriends.  I guided her, but for a 3.5 year year old, I was pretty impressed with her salve-making abilities.  We’ll have to get back into the kitchen soon I’m sure, because we’re already getting rave reviews:

I so love the sav [sic] you made me! I put it on every night and then everything feels right in the world.

I got that text from one of my girlfriends last night.  Albeit a little cheesy, it totally made my day!


Monoi de Tahiti Shea Salve

On the stove top, in a small double boiler***, combine all ingredients.  Stir until incorporated and all ingredients are melted.  Pour into tins or your storage container of choice and let cool.

*Use plain olive oil if you don’t have an infused one.  To see my blog post on oil infusions, go here

**I use beeswax from my own bees.  My wax is heavily scented of honey and this no doubt contributes to the lovely scent of this salve.

***I use a wide mouth mason jar in a pot of water for this.  I stir with a wooden chopstick.  Since beeswax is no fun to clean, I have dedicated equipment for this.

Have you experimented with Monoi de Tahiti?  Do you already use it in your beauty regimen?  What does the scent remind you of? 

Share your thoughts with us in the comments!


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