Hawaiian Skincare Treasures

By Minji

  • Next time you travel (we'll get there!), consider exploring the diversity and richness in skincare the world has to offer today
  • A tip is to visit the local market or ask your hotel concierge about local skincare brands
  • This past holiday season, I was in Hawaii and discovered kukui and pikake!

Whenever I travel far enough, whether it be for work or vacation, I love to explore local skincare products and ingredients.  This past holiday season, I was in Hawaii, more specifically Honolulu in Oahu and Kona on the Big Island. 

Sure, Hawaii is still a part of the U.S. and I didn’t need to present my passport to get there, but it was exotic enough and different enough from my day-to-day surroundings to trigger some skincare exploration. 

I asked one of the employees at the hotel I was staying at for tips on how I might be able to best explore (fyi, this is the best way to find good leads – preferably, ask another woman with healthy looking skin and you’ll probably get some great recommendations!). 

She pointed me towards a few specific local shops but also told me that Wholefoods would be worthy of a checkout as they were known to stock local skincare goods. Every opportunity I got, I explored and relished in all the discrete and exotic skincare goodies that this beautiful Island had to offer.

I came across a lot of the usual suspects – coconut, aloe, noni, etc.  Amongst the decadent spread, there were two ingredients that really stood out for me.  First is kukui nut oil.  As much as I love different face oils and have experimented with a plethora of ingredients, I had never heard of kukui before. 

My research revealed that kukui oil is a natural moisturizer that has been used for centuries in Hawaii – the kukui tree is the official state tree of Hawaii.  It contains rich essential good fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants that can help soothe skin and lock in moisture. 

I loved using this oil on my hands and body after long beach days – I would lather on with moisture still on my skin to lock it in.  I’m also planning to incorporate this oil into my next homemade face oil recipe as its known to be light, fast-absorbing and non-comedogenic. I’ll probably swap out a portion of the almond oil to add some kukui.

The second ingredient that caught my eye was pikake. Pikake is the Hawaiian name for a variety of jasmine that’s grown on these islands and often incorporated into welcome leis.  I love jasmine scents in general and immediately gravitated towards products incorporating pikake.  I’ll take a natural, subtle yet complex and elegant scent like pikake any day over fake and artificial perfumes. 

Again, I ended up bringing back a few body oils and moisturizers with pikake as the featured ingredient.  Every time I use these products at home now, I’m taken back to the beautiful memories of the vacation I had in Hawaii with my family.  Not only to the direct experience of shopping or searching for skincare products, but specific conversations, beautiful sunsets and festive dinners we shared.  Bringing back one or two local natural scents or skincare products I find are the best way to bring back a tiny bit of vacations back home.

Next time you’re abroad or far away enough (we'll get there!), consider popping into a local market or local skincare brand shop and exploring the diversity and richness in skincare the world has to offer today.  It’s super easy to do and you never know what types of treasures you might come across that will enrich you experience and your skin.