Hawaiian Natural Hair & Skincare

Plumeria, one of my favorite flowers and scents

Hawaiian Natural Hair & Skincare

I was born on Kaua’i, Hawai’i and partly raised on this majestic island on a sugar plantation and then next to Mt. Waialeale. We wore moo moo’s, went barefoot and played and looked for treasures in the forest and swam at Poipu beach. The air was warm and filled with the scent of plumeria, wet moss and ocean sea water. I have the plants, the ancient culture and the ocean instilled deeply in me. Hawai’i is a very special healing place to me. The ancient Hawaiian culture and their knowledge of using plants for medicinal purposes and for the hair and skin is extremely valuable information and needs to be protected and preserved. Hawai’i is filled with healing plants and thanks to all the people that work so hard to preserve these plants and knowledge. Here are some of the plants that have been and are currently used for Hawaiian natural hair and skincare.

Shampoo Ginger: “Awapuhi kuahiwi

Hawaiian wild ginger, Zingiber zerumbet, commonly known as shampoo ginger is in the Zingiberaceae Ginger Family. Ancient Hawaiians used ‘awapuhi for medicine and shampoo. The highly fragrant flower contains a soapy sap that cleanses and perfumes the hair. It washes and conditions hair and adds body and shine. The natural soapy foam makes it a gentle moisturizing cleanser.

‘Awapuhi is also softening to the skin and can help lighten dark spots.

Aloe Vera: Aloe

Aloe vera is in the family Asparagaceae. It has been used in Hawaii as a medicinal plant to heal skin, sunburned skin and rashes.

Coconut Palm: Niu

Coconut palm Cocos nucifera is in the Arecaceae Palm Family. It was brought to Hawaii by the Polynesians. The coconut palm has so many uses, the entire tree can be used. Coconut milk, a nourishing food containing calcium, protein, vitamins and phosphorus and coconut oil for a hair conditioner and skin lotion.

Hibiscus: Pua alcali

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is in the Malvaceae family. Hibiscus is the Hawai’i state flower and you see it all over Hawaii with cultivars coming from Asia and the Pacific since the 20th century. Hibiscus is worn in the hair and used to add color to hair and skin care products and add shine to the hair and brightness to the skin.

Learn to formulate Hibiscus & Marula Co-Wash.

Candle Nut Tree: Kukui

Kukui, Aleurites moluccana is in the Euphorbiaceae Spurge Family. Polynesians brought the tree to Hawai’i. The nuts have a high oil content. The oil was traditionally used in torches and candles. Kukui nut oil is used for a moisturizer and conditioner. Kukui nut oil is an excellent skin treatment.  It contains vitamins A, C and E and a high level of antioxidant. It nourishes, replenishes and adds hair luster and elasticity to the skin.

Treatment with Kukui Nut Oil: Massage scalp with oil.


Noni Morinda citrifolia 
Noni is in the botanical family Rubiaceae (coffee, gardenia, madder and jasmine are also in this family) Noni was originally brought to Hawaii by early Polynesians as a vital medicinal plant. It has been used for dermatitis on the skin and scalp. Noni juice or fruit is said to be helpful for scalp dermatitis.

Treatment with Noni: Soak the scalp with fresh noni juice, rinse off after a few minutes on the scalp. For the skin, apply ripe noni to the skin, try for rashes, mild burns, wounds and to help reduce pain and inflammation.

Plumeria: Melia

Plumeria rubra
Plumeria is in the family Apocynaceae. It is a symbolic flower of Hawaiian culture. The flower is used in lei’s and worn in the hair. The iconic plumeria scent is in many body, hair and skin care products.

Sea Salt: Hawaiian Red Salt

Salt water is used in Hawaii for shiny hair. Hawaiian red salt also known as alaea salt is an unrefined salt mixed with rich volcanic clay (alaea).

Treatment with Sea Salt: Add Sea Salt to shampoo or use for a bath soak or add to oil and use for a body scrub to brighten the skin and hair.

Volcanic Ash Clay 

Volcanic ash clay, is a very mineral rich clay. Excellent at removing impurities, toxins and extra oils.

It helps to exfoliate the skin and minimize pores.

Treatment with Volcanic Clay: Make a mud mask for the face or body.

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