Tropical Influence: Hawaiian Beauty

Green beauty is constantly growing, with new brands popping up all the time. The most constant stream of consistently fantastic lines, seems to also be coming straight from the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

Everyone’s heard of coconut oil but what about kukui oil? Hawaiians say it’s one of the most versatile, treasured beauty oils on the islands. The kukui oil but tree is the official tree of Hawaii and used for both hair and skincare nourishment.

A Holiday to Hawaii is at the top of my bucket list, being a huge fan of Nicole Scherzinger who originates from these paradise islands where local women have the most stunning silky hair and skin and are beautiful in a tropical form that is not the typical Californian Blonde. Hawaiian women are known for their show stopping shiny waist length hair.

Hawaii has an incredibly rich, unique culture that I admire due to its reverence for art and nature. I had to look into the islands’ haircare traditions, so I reached out to a few Hawaiian beauty experts to learn how.

In the Hawaiian culture, long hair is considered feminine and sexy, and it’s not out of the ordinary to have hair past your waist,” explained Kiana Cabell, co-founder and creative director of Hawaiian beauty brand Kopari.

To get there, Hawaiian women primarily use natural ingredients sourced from the islands. They also keep in mind that “whatever is good for your skin tends to be good for your hair,” said Hawaiian-raised model Vanessa Armenio. “And food plays a massive role.”

Keep reading to learn exactly what Hawaiians do to get their long, healthy, glossy hair.

1. Coconut is a multitasking miracle

Kopari Coconut Melt (£42.99)

Every Hawaiian I spoke to agreed that coconut is at the center of their beauty routine. “It’s rich in fatty acids to help keep hair hydrated, strong, and glossy,” said Cabell.

Coconut oil or milk can be used as a conditioner, overnight treatment, nourishing oil, and beyond. It’s basically a miracle of nature. “After a long day spent in the sun or in the salt water, I scoop out a very generous amount of coconut oil, massage it into my hair from root to tip, and then sleep with it overnight,” said Cabell.

Armenio does a similar thing with coconut milk whenever her strands need a pick-me-up. “For a deep treatment, I massage warm coconut milk into my hair and scalp, tie it up, and leave in on overnight,” she told me. “I rinse it out the following morning, and my hair feels amazing!”

After rinsing off in the shower, use the coconut melt as an all over body moisturiser. It’s fast absorbing and will hydrate your body from head to toe. Sometimes shaving in the shower is too much to ask. Apply Kopari Coconut Melt to your legs and use it as a dry shave oil. You will absolutely feel a significant difference. There is no greasiness and no sticky or uncomfortable residue left on the skin.

2. Brushing your scalp stimulates hair growth

Tangle Teezer The Original Detangling Hairbrush (£10.20)

Hair that falls past your waist is highly sought-after in Hawaii, and massaging your scalp each night is one way to get it. “A simple tip Hawaiians use to help get long, gorgeous locks is scalp brushing,” said Cabell. “This technique helps to stimulate hair growth, giving girls the coveted look of long, shiny strands.”

According to blogger Clair Christine of the Hawaiian Beauty Diaries, you can even have your scalp brushed professionally. “My favorite place to do this is at Ulupono Academy, a Paul Mitchell beauty school salon, in Kaimuki, Oahu,” she said. “It’s really inexpensive. … Students will use a hair brush to brush your scalp in sections… [This will] invigorate your scalp and hair follicles and exfoliate the skin.”

Stand straight and bend over. Firmly grasp the brush and start brushing from the very back. Start brushing from the skin line and move around from the nape area. Keep brushing by moving your head in slight disgust and left direction. Slowly come up and stand straight.

3. Fresh herbs make the best hair treatments

According to Maryna Kracht, founder of Hawaiian skincare brand Mahalo, many of the most beloved haircare ingredients on Hawaii are “derived from the nature and botanicals available on the islands.” (Kracht uses many local ingredients in her skincare line, as well—her hydrating The Petal Mask, $95, is divine.)

Looking for a foolproof Hawaiian haircare recipe? Hawaiian blogger Ms Toi swears by a DIY hair tonic that her mother used to make from the ingredients in her garden. “Each of the ingredients she used have been shown to promote hair growth and nourish the scalp for strong, healthy hair,” said Toi.

To create Toi’s tried-and-true hair growth tonic, simmer one tablespoon each of sage, horsetail, nettle, and lavender in a pot of boiling water for 30 minutes. Let the solution cool, and then strain it. Add eight drops of lavender essential oil, and then pour the liquid into a spray bottle. Store it in the fridge between uses.

4. Awapuhi is the key to glossy strands

Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Styling Treatment Oil (£35.95)

Awapuhi is a plant from the ginger and turmeric family that “helps keep hair glossy and frizz-free,” said Cabell. Hawaiian women have been using the plant for hundreds of years, but it’s now widely available thanks to Paul Mitchell’s Awapuhi line.

Hawaiian Awapuhi helps prevent moisture loss, brightens hair, improves hair texture and adds volume.

Awapuhi is slightly floral, fresh and Betsy tropical it smells exotic. It can also be strained with water and drank as tea to help with indigestion, it can be used in soups, stir fry, deserts, health drinks, and anything else you want to add it to.

5. Protecting your hair from the elements is essential

Rahua Conditioner (£34.00)

To Hawaiians, sun protection is as important for the hair as it is for the skin. apply conditioner to your hair and putting it in a braid before heading outside, especially if you’re going to the beach, to block UV damage.

Hawaiian blogger Earth Andy says, “the purpose is to shield your hair from the water and salt to keep your hair from drying out!” she said. “Nothing dries your hair out faster than salt water and sun.”

6. Kukui oil is haircare’s unsung hero

Oils of Aloha Hawaii Kukui Oil (£49.14)

“The kukui oil nut tree is the official tree of Hawaii and used for both hair and skincare nourishment,” Kracht told us. “It offers protection and recovery from sun damage and has been used in beauty rituals for women for hundreds of years.” Kukui’s fatty acids strengthen and nourish the hair shaft, leaving it ultra shiny. “Massaging kukui oil into the hair will also protect from long days in the sun and salt from the ocean,” said Kracht.

7. Strong, fast-growing hair starts from within

Above all else, a whole food diet full of plants and fresh seafood is the key to Hawaiians’ healthy hair. “A diet full of nutrients and hydration is going to do wonders for hair just like it does for your nails, your glowing skin, and bright eyes!” said Earth Andy. “My hair has never grown faster, been stronger, or healthier since being consistent with a healthful diet.”

The island girl’s diet is especially rich in tropical fruits, like “coconut (both the meat, as well as the coconut milk), papaya, and pineapple,” added Armenio. “Those foods are excellent at moisturizing and adding lots of shine to hair.”

The Tropical Duchess also recommendations the following Hawaiian Beauty Brands:



Founded by the lovely Leah, Leahlani Skincare was inspired by Leah’s own struggle with cystic acne. After learning how to heal her skin holistically, she infused this knowledge into a skincare line and, thus, Leahlani Skincare was born!

I always refer to Leahlani as The Little Mermaid of the clean beauty world because the brand feels so fresh, fun, and bright. Even the product scents are infused with citrus, sweet, and floral notes so everything feels very airy and happy. And honestly, that’s exactly how the products make you feel, emotionally, but more than that, they truly work! Leahlani Skincare products are great for brightening skin, healing acne prone skin types, and infusing your skin with love, intention, and good vibes.


Click Here for Honua Skincare

What is there to say about Honua Skincare that doesn’t rock!? The founder, Kapua, grew up in Hawaii and she was so inspired by Hawaiian culture and the powerful natural healing properties of Hawaiian botanicals. The word Honua means “earth, land, foundation” in Hawaiian which refers to their dedication to using natural ingredients from the earth as well as packaging that is renewable, recyclable, and eco-friendly.

Each product comes in a recycled box that has a lovely “aloha spirit message” on it to inspire your beauty ritual and bring joy and mindfulness to your day. A portion of the Honua proceeds go towards helping native farms replant ingredients used in Honua Skincare products as well; how amazing is that?! Their products have a wonderfully therapeutic quality. A lot of the products have herbal and medicinal scents to them which only furthers that natural spa experience. Plus, the products work so well to naturally repair fine lines, brighten uneven skin tone, and hydrate your skin from the inside out.


Welcome to Hawaiian paradise of MAHALO Skin Care| MAHALO Skin Care

Each product has a number of amazing hero ingredients whether it’s rare indigo, all the infusions of rose, or delicious coffee beans!

All ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible from co-ops, bio-dynamic farms or grown by the MAHALO team. When they can’t be found in their native Hawaii, Maryna the Founder of Mahalo Skincare, responsibly sources natural ingredients with only the most ethical and sustainable suppliers. Plus, there’s no sacrifice with her products. You get a superior, high quality product infused with potent plant ingredients that TRULY work to improve your skin’s overall health and appearance. Whether you’re dealing with fine lines and wrinkles or hyper-pigmentation, acne, inflamed skin conditions like rosacea or eczema, or simply want more skin hydration, MAHALO has you covered.

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