Planet Diaries: Why Tamanu Oil is Nature’s Green Gold

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Planet Diaries: Why Tamanu Oil is Nature’s Green Gold

The tale of our Tamanu Balm, from nut to pot.

The Seed of an Idea

There’s a lot of heart packed into Tamanu Balm, our green all-in-one skincare saviour. The initial idea came to our Founder, Susie, after one of our Ambassadors told her about a scar on her face from a car accident when she was younger. Susie wanted to create a product that could help with skin repair and reduce the appearance of scarring, and so the hunt for powerful plant ingredients began.

Going Green

Indigenous to the islands of French Polynesia, the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean, is a little-known evergreen tree called the tamanu tree. From this tree grow small, sweet-smelling white flowers that produce fleshy fruit the size of an apricot, and it’s within this small fruit that the tamanu tree stores its skin-saving secret.

Inside is a nut, which can be pressed to make tamanu oil, an ingredient that has been used by communities in the Pacific and Polynesian islands for centuries, locally referred to as ‘green gold’. This green oil earned its second name because of its vast skin benefits, possessing anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antioxidant properties – A’s across the board basically. It also promotes the formation of new skin tissue, and it’s been used as a natural remedy for a whole host of skin ailments in the past, from burns and bites, to stings, stretch marks, cuts, and dry skin. Most of all, these regenerative qualities made it perfect for the balm Susie wanted to create because it helps to reduce the appearance of scarring.

In the Lab

When Susie was in the lab working on the formulation for Tamanu Balm, she was initially concerned about the green hue and distinct herbal scent from the tamanu oil, but it turned out to be something that makes this skin-nourishing balm uniquely Tropic.

We decided to sustainably source our tamanu oil from Madagascar, a melting pot of effective tropical ingredients, where the nuts are gathered by hand, manually air-dried, and then pressed to harvest the highest quality oil. Alongside tamanu oil’s regenerative abilities, Susie decided to add other ingredients such as raspberry and blackcurrant seed oils to deliver further antioxidant benefits and protect against pollution and free radicals, adding shea and cupuaçu butters to soothe and promote smoother, more supple skin. Not only was the final formulation effective at reducing visible scarring, but it also benefits minor skin scrapes and itchy bug bites too.

A Labour of Love

Once Susie was happy with the formulation, in-house production could begin and the product was launched. Our Tamanu Balm – both the mini and the full-sized version – joined the Tropic range back in 2014, but it’s still freshly made and poured at Tropic HQ today. 

Once the balm is made, it is then poured by hand into pots. It has to be heated first using special heat plates so it’s liquid enough to pour, and then it is poured into the pots using a funnel. Once poured, it’s then left to cool and set – returning back to the soothing balmy texture – before heading out the door to our customers. This process might sound fiddly, but it’s the best way to ensure the ingredients are as fresh and potent as possible, maintaining the easy-to-apply balmy texture. As with all our products, our Tamanu Balm is a labour of love.

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