Rana Good is the founder of Naïra NYC. A writer for publications such as Forbes, Travel + Leisure, Coveteur, Mens Journal and others, she created her own platform celebrating women of color.
Bora Bora is one of the most beautiful islands on earth and also happens to be a treasure trove for natural beauty products. It’s located in French Polynesia, where locals have been using oils, scrubs, fruits and flowers to beautify their skin and hair for thousands of years. I recently had the pleasure of traveling there and experienced their local products and unique beauty rituals which are used for both cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Find out everything about Bora Bora beauty and skin care below.
French Polynesia’s most popular beauty export is Monoï which is liquid coconut oil infused with local flowers. These flowers are exceptionally fragrant and encapsulate the scent of the islands, making them the ideal product to take home from your trip. Tiare and Plumeria are the most popular floral scents, but Monoï is also often scented with local fruits and spices. Pineapple from the island Moorea is known to be very sweet and flavorful. The most famous vanilla in the world comes from the island of Taha and has an unparalleled sweet intensity — vanilla will never seem the same again after you smell this local vanilla. Monoï can be used on both skin and hair where it has nourishing and restorative effects. It’s also used as a bronzing agent as it can accelerate your tan, however you should be extremely careful and only use it in conjunction with SPF. Monoï does not protect skin from the sun.
Two lesser known, but in no way less effective oils are Noni and Tamanu oil. They are less fragrant (in fact Tamanu doesn’t smell very good at all) but can soothe and help repair irritated and damaged skin. Noni oil (pictured below) has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial qualities. It can help moisturize cracked skin removing scaliness and the appearance of dryness. It can also help manage swollen and irritated skin.
Do you often get mosquito bites? Tamanu oil is about to be your new best friend. This oil helps keeps mosquitoes away and helps make the bites you might already have feel less itchy.
I stayed at the St. Regis when I was in Bora Bora which is famous for its beautiful spa (all images were taken there). I spoke to Harmonie Papillon, the assistant manager of the spa about local beauty treatments that are specific to French Polynesia. “There are unique Polynesian massages which employ lomi lomi technique, which creates a motion from the elbows through the hand,” says Papillon. “It uses long movements, is very relaxing and uses medium pressure.”
Another popular treatment are scrubs which are used in conjunction with massage as it “prepares the skin for tanning and makes skin softer,” according to Papillon.
If you ever have a chance to visit Bora Bora make sure to indulge in a restorative and detoxifying massage, a skin-smoothing scrub, and don’t forget to take as many oils home with you as possible. Every time you apply them to your skin it’ll take you back to this magical region.