Tamanu Oil Benefits For Your Hair, Explained

Like our quest for a perfectly wrinkle-free complexion, people sometimes go to great lengths for the perfect hair. Glorious, shiny beach waves, anybody? Because of this, we get bombarded with a lot of beauty products that promise to give us the perfection we're seeking, but in many cases, these brands and what they're offering fail to deliver. That's why it's sometimes best to go for the most natural products we can find, to seek out ingredients that have been used for centuries by people who knew a thing or two about maintaining health, long before brands stepped in to make a profit. Tamanu oil, from a tropical evergreen tree found in Asia and Africa, is an example of such a natural product.

"Tamanu oil comes from the nut of tamanu trees in tropical Asia," hair colorist Louis Pacheco told Mane. "The oil is pure beauty magic. It's been revered as a healing and beauty treatment in Polynesian countries for centuries ... tamanu oil has incredible healing and nourishing properties, it's the perfect additive for beauty and hair treatments because of its deep penetrating and lightweight absorption, healing, and shine-inducing properties."

According to a 2021 study published in Hindawi, the beneficial haircare properties of tamanu oil, like being an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and a wound healer, have been proven through research. In other words, the time for adding tamanu oil to your beauty routine is now if you want to reap the benefits of this "magic" nut. 

The benefits of tamanu oil

Great hair starts at the scalp. If your scalp isn't as healthy as it possibly can be, meaning it's dry or a hotbed for fungal infections, you can't expect to have the head of hair you want. "Each hair grows from, and through, an individual follicle which surfaces on your scalp," hairdresser and certified trichologist Guy Parsons told Harper's Bazaar UK. "It is essential that the follicle and the scalp, at point of exit, are clean, clear, healthy, and maintained; follicles that are full of sebum or blocked by dead skin, dandruff or infection will have an impact on the quality of hair growth. In fact, permanently blocked or obstructed follicles may eventually cease to produce hair at all." 

With its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, tamanu oil swoops in and goes straight to work on the scalp, making sure it's in tip-top shape so it can encourage and stimulate hair growth. But it doesn't just promote healthy hair at the scalp, it moisturizes every inch of the strands too. Because it's a natural oil, it hydrates damaged hair, leading to healthier, shinier, and stronger locks. It can even aid in preventing hair loss, per New Directions Aromatics.

What type of hair benefits most from tamanu oil

Like anything, some types of hair will benefit more from tamanu oil. "Coarse and dry hair types can particularly benefit from the penetrating moisture and smoothing effects of the oil," hair colorist Louis Pacheco told Mane. "Delicate hair types and people with sensitive skin and scalps should reach for tamanu oil-based products for their day-to-day hair routines because of its healing and nourishing properties."

However, as Pacheco explained, people with fine hair want to opt for haircare products that are infused with tamanu oil, as opposed to going for 100% concentration. It's just a matter of what fine hair strands can absorb and what they can't — and oil in its raw form is a tough one for them. It can lead to flat, weighted-down hair that looks more greasy than shiny. It may also be difficult to wash out if you go the direct route.

How long you leave tamanu oil in your hair has everything to do with your hair type. According to Clinikally, once applied to the scalp and hair, the oil can be left in anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight — it's really your call and what your hair needs to be sufficiently hydrated. If you choose to do the overnight method, you'll want to wear a shower cap to bed to protect your pillows. As much as tamanu oil may be an asset to your hair and skin, it's still an oil, and oil stains.

How to use it in your routine

When using tamanu oil for your hair, you can apply it directly to the scalp, your hair, or both via dropper. On your hair, focus on the ends as you would with any other hair moisturizing technique. Although it's an oil, it's not super thick, making it easy to apply and for it to hydrate your hair, per StyleChicks. With this slickness in mind, you don't want to overdo it. 

While you can use it in its pure, concentrated form, when it comes to your scalp, you may want to dilute it a bit. "I find it to be a very 'active' oil and can be irritating to some when used in its pure form," acupuncturist and herbalist Antonia Balfour, Lac told MindBodyGreen. "I always recommend diluting it at 50% with a carrier oil such as almond oil, olive oil, or sunflower oil."

Of course, tamanu oil's results aren't something that happens overnight. They come with time and staying true to your beauty routine. Eventually, you'll have Beyoncé-level hair. Or at least as close as we mere mortals can get to it.