Monday, June 16, 2014

Discovering Hawaiian Beauty Products


Aloha!  I just got back a few days ago from my family vacation to Maui.  First of all, I must say that it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth with some of the friendliest people.  I was surprised to discover how popular skin and body care were and was inspired by many of the innovative beauty products that I encountered.  After experimenting with some of them myself, I truly believe that Hawaii is the home to some of the world's best beauty products.

What's so great about Hawaiian skincare products?  Why?

1.  Luscious, exotic flora = Products are natural and smell wonderful
Hawaii's natural beauty is breath-taking.  Almost everywhere you go, there are naturally growing palm trees, coconut trees, plumeria flowers, and hibiscus flowers to name a few.  Since nature is an important part of the state's character, many of the popular Hawaiian beauty brands are natural, featuring botanical ingredients like gardenia, pikake, and plumeria that tone, protect, and nourish skin.  For example, classic Maui brands like Island Essence produce moisturizers with scents like White Ginger and Lokelani Rose.  Luckily, the Hawaiian love for pure and natural products means that many Hawaiian products including Island Essence lotions are toxin-free.  I was delighted to find that all of the natural products that I came across were super efficacious and felt great.  Many of the fragrances use floral extracts and oils rather than synthetic ones, making them healthier for your skin and body as well as lighter and more natural smelling.  Sometimes, I think floral scents are too heavy or old lady smelling, but the ones that I found in Hawaii were surprisingly refreshing. I bought some Moku Pua Body Mist in Plumeria Jasmine ($12) at a tropical fruit plantation with nourishing and moisturizing essential oils.  I try and stick with natural products when it comes to fragrance because you're putting it on a large area of skin.  It's hard to find a good natural body spray or perfume since there are only a few on the market.  Moku Pua makes a variety of them as well as other nice natural hair and body care products.

2.  One of the state's biggest industries is agriculture = Products feature really powerful fruits
The state's climate allows for tropical fruits such as pineapple, lilikoi (passion fruit), and papaya to flourish.  These fruits contain enzymes to brighten and even skin tone by providing mild chemical exfoliation, vitamins A and C to promote cell turnover and growth, and other antioxidants to protect the skin from aging.  And everywhere you look, you will see coconut trees.  Recently, on the mainland, coconut oil has been the beauty buzz word for its extremely softening, hydrating, naturally antiseptic, and antioxidant properties, but Hawaiians have been using it for a while. This skin saving ingredient can be found in many of the moisturizers, soaps, and scrubs in Hawaii.  Maui Soap Company makes a selection of beautiful moisturizing glycerin soaps in a variety of different scents all infused with coconut oil.  My personal favorite is the Mango Papaya with mango and papaya extracts.  In addition, Hawaii is known for its cultivation and manufacturing of sugar cane.  Sugar scrubs like the Maui Soap Company Sugar Scrub ($10) provide soothing mechanical exfoliation that is much more gentle than salt or nut grains.  This scrub also contains macadamia nut oil, another Hawaiian staple, which helps heal, soothe, and nourish skin.

3.  Warm, sunny weather = Hawaiians know about sun care 
If you walk into a CVS or Rite Aid in New York City, you'll find that most of the products in the sun care aisle are chemically-derived sunscreens with controversial ingredients like oxybenzone.  In Hawaii, it is very easy to find good mineral-based sunblocks that can help deflect rather than absorb sun rays (as chemical sunscreens do) to offer you the best protection during those beach days.  You can find natural mineral blocks like the Elemental Herbs Sunscreen SPF 33 ($8), the EWG's #1 rated sunblock, and the Coola SPORT Citrus Mimosa Mineral Sunscreen ($36) at many shops and craft fairs.  Unlike many typical drugstore sunscreens, many natural Hawaiian sunblocks have a more subtle scent and lighter feel.  And many of them offer more beneficial skin ingredients like the nourishing jojoba and almond oils as well as the shea butter and cocoa butter found in the Native Maui Organic Mango Extract Sunscreen SPF 30 ($38).  In addition, Hawaiian brands like Maui Organics make excellent after sun care products.  Soothe irritated or sunburned skin with the Maui Organics Cool Aloe ($15).  While most after sun aloe products are filled with preservatives, dyes, etc., this Cool Aloe has only two ingredients: organic aloe vera gel and lavender oil.
For more information on chemical vs. physical sunblocks:

The only downside to Hawaiian beauty is that many of these products tend to be on the pricier side.  It may not be financially feasible to use all of these products daily, but I would definitely recommend trying a product or two if you have the opportunity.  You can find many of the popular Hawaiian personal care brands in most gift shops if you ever travel there or order them online. 

Additionally, one of the state's biggest industries is hospitality, and Hawaii has some really nice spas.  Many of the treatments incorporate the best of Hawaii's natural products into their treatments.  Book yourself one!  It's a great way to sample the islands' wonderful beauty products and beauty services.  I had a Hanakatsumi Body Ritual, which consisted of a manual and chemical exfoliation, massage, and hydrating coconut creme wrap.  My skin still feels super soft...I highly recommend it!

Overall, Hawaii was heaven for a healthy beauty junkie like myself :) 

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