Beauty pantry: Tamanu Oil (worth it’s weight in green-gold)


I’ve re-dipped my big toe, figuratively speaking, into the Oil-Cleansing Method (OCM) about a week ago. OCM is based on the “like dissolves like” chemical principle. Simply put, oil is able to effectively dissolve makeup and other stuff you’d rather not have sitting on your face. To boot, the nutritive properties of the oil help to protect and nourish the skin.

I made a very small batch of 3 parts castor oil and 1 part jojoba oil. I’m nearly finished with that and want to make a mixture with tamanu oil. I’ve had my eye on tamanu for a minute, but honestly the price was a bit off-putting. But my lust for exotic oil got the best for me and I picked up a bottle of at Whole Foods over the weekend. It’s too soon to say whether or not it is worth the pricetag, but the reported benefits have me sold:

What is tamanu oil?

Tamanu oil, sometimes referred to as foraha oil, is made by mechanically pressing the dried nuts of the Tamanu tree, which is native to the Pacific and Asian Tropical regions. Tamanu oil is greenish-gold in color. It has a subtle sweet smell that reminds me of pralines. It takes 100 kilograms of tamanu fruit, the amount that one tree produces annually, to yield just 5 kilograms of cold pressed oil, which possibly explains why tamanu is pricier than many oils (I paid $15.99 got 1 fluid ounce).

Why am I fiending for it? Tamanu oil:

tamanu oil

  • is a strong anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antibiotic and antioxidant
  • helps cells regenerate more quickly
  • has been found to fade scars (and apparenrly stretch marks too) with incredible results. In a BioScience Labaratores study, there was significant improvement in appearance of study particpants’ scars after six weeks, and improvement continued through week nine. Scar length was reduced by an average 0.28 centimeters, and width was reduced by an average 0.12 centimeters.
  • treats skin conditions such as common rashes, acne, and eczema (Honey, the older of the Baby Kittens gets a smidge of it from time to time on her arms).
  • contains lots of fatty acids (oleic- 41.4%,palmitic- 14.5%, linoleic- 29.7%, linolenic- 0.2%, stearic- 12.9%)
  • contains high content of calophyllic fatty acid, an anti-inflammatory that is said to reduce signs of aging and relieve puffiness around the eyes
  • is ideally pH balanced at 4.11
  • has a low level of comedogency (pore clogging) or irritability, and is safe for use on oily, acne-prone or sensitive skin in this type of application.


I’m starting with a 3 parts tamanu oil, 1 part castor oil mixture, and may increase the percentage of tamanu oil depending on how my skin reacts.

Tamanu oil can be found in some health food markets and vitamin shops. You can also purchase it online.

tamanu oil Have you ever used tamanu oil? If not, can you see yourself shelling out the moolah for it?

Sources: International Journal of Cosmetic Science: Tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum) – the African, Asian, Polynesian and Pacific Panacea,  Photo1