If you’re looking for a 100% natural solution to a whole host of beauty problems, then say hello to tamanu oil. Derived from the nuts of the Calophyllum inophyllum tree, a species native to Polynesia, the oil is renowned, and more than a little revered, for its restorative and rejuvenating effects. Sometimes referred to as the ‘beauty-leaf oil’, tamanu fans claim it can do everything from treat acne to reduce bruising and boost blood circulation.
But what about its effects on hair? Can slapping a little oil onto your locks really leave you with the healthy, glossy mane you’ve always dreamt of? As it turns out, it very well might.
Read on to discover the top 7 benefits of introducing tamanu oil into your hair care routine.
Worried about the effects of regularly dousing your skin and hair in chemicals? With tamanu oil, you can leave your worries at the door. Unlike most hair treatments, tamanu oil has zero methylisothiazolinone, formaldehyde, monoethanolamine, propylene glycol, or any other hidden nasties. Made 100% from a whole, natural source, you can happily (and safely) drench yourself in it from head to toe.
Relieve an Itchy Scalp
Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp: if yours is in less than peak condition, tamanu oil can work wonders at getting it back on track. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, the oil can soothe, calm and heal dry, itchy, or inflamed scalps.
Tamanu oil can also provide almost instant relief from the burning, itching sensation that can result from very new, very tight cornrows, micro-braid extensions, and freshly twisted locks.
To use, simply warm a few drops of the oil (being careful not to overheat it) before massaging it into the scalp with your fingertips. Leave it to work its magic for at least an hour (although ideally overnight) before rinsing with a mild shampoo.
Boost Hair Growth
Hair can start to thin for a myriad of reasons, but the results are always the same: a blow to your confidence. Although the reports are largely anecdotal, tamanu oil has shown promising results in encouraging new growth and restoring volume to thin or lank hair. To try it for yourself, simply massage a few warmed drops into your scalp and leave for a minimum of 1 hour before washing it out.
Restore Heat or Chemically Damaged Hair
If you regularly chemically or heat-straighten your hair, you’ll know that eventually, there’s a price to pay for those poker-straight locks. Hair loss, damaged texture, breakage… the list of side effects can be frightening enough to make you think twice about ever straightening your mane again. If you’re not quite ready to give up the habit, you might want to consider introducing tamanu oil into your regular hair care routine to compensate.
Thanks to its chemical constituents, tamanu oil can have a wonderfully restorative, regenerative effect on damaged hair, making it a godsend to those of us with kinky, curly and wavy hair. As an added advantage, it’s also been shown to help soothe and promote healing on chemical burns, making it a very welcome addition to the committed hair straightener’s arsenal.
Protect Against UV rays
During the long, hot days of summer, it’s not just your skin you should be protecting with sunscreen. UV rays can damage your hair’s keratin, resulting in dry, thin, dull locks. It can also become fragile and more prone to breakage. And that’s where tamanu oil steps in. According to research, tamanu has a sun protection factor of between 18-22. Coat your hair in a few drops of tamanu oil before leaving the house, and you can safely soak up those rays without leaving your crowning glory in ruins.
Condition Dry Hair
If your hair’s feeling parched, tamanu oil could be just the ticket to restoring moisture. To keep your hair nourished and in tip-top condition, pour a few drops into the palm of your hand (you may need more or less, depending on the length of your hair) then smooth your hands over the entire length of your locks. Leave for an hour or so before washing it out with a mild shampoo.
Prevent Split Ends
Anyone with long hair knows the misery of split ends. Fortunately, there’s a solution. While tamanu oil won’t repair split ends (the only thing that’ll get rid of them once they develop is a haircut), it can go a long way to preventing their development in the first place. If you’re trying to grow your hair out, keep the ends in peak condition by regularly treating them to an overnight tamanu oil treatment – simply massage a few drops along the shaft of the hair (paying particular attention to the ends), pop on a shower cap, and wake up to moisturized, deeply conditioned locks.
Tips for Use
While adverse reactions from tamanu oil are extremely rare, contact dermatitis can occasionally result from topical application. Play it safe by applying a small drop to the inside of your elbow. If you experience any reaction over the next 24 hours, discontinue use immediately.
As pure tamanu oil can be expensive, you may want to combine it with a carrier oil to get more bang for your buck. Oils such as jojoba, avocado, sunflower, and grapeseed all have excellent hair-beautifying qualities of their own, and can be safely and effectively used to make a small bottle of tamanu go a whole lot further.
Although some people love the smell of tamanu, others can find it a little overbearing. If its pungent aroma is too much for you, try adding 2-3 drops of a sweet-smelling oil (lemongrass, geranium, and patchouli all work well) to mitigate the effects.
The Secret to Healthy Hair
So, the message is clear. If you want to restore moisture, soothe an irritated scalp, stop split ends in their tracks, and even boost hair growth, tamanu oil could be exactly what you need. As with all essential oils, tamanu won’t work overnight, but with regular, consistent use, you’ll be amazed at how much healthier and happier your hair will be.