KUKUI BUTTER BENEFITS: The Ancient Hawaiian Secret to Healthy Hair & Scalp

There’s a reason kukui (Aleurites moluccana) is Hawaii’s official state tree. For hundreds of years, the locals relied on every part of the tree for food, building canoes, and treating various ailments like stomach and oral health problems. Early settlers would roast the kukui nuts to extract oil, which they used to light candles and torches. Hence, it became popularly known as candlenut tree.

But it was the Hawaiian women who saw the beauty benefits of kukui oil. Because of its light scent and color, not to mention its rich vitamin content, they used the oil to treat various skin and hair problems. Today, kukui is regarded as one of the best sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamins that the oil and butter derived from it have already become staple ingredients in many skin and hair care products.

Benefits of Kukui Butter to the Hair

Promotes Hair Growth

On average, all of us grow hair at about ¼ inch every month. But if yours is growing less than that (or not at all), it may be due to some scalp issues. Greasy and chemically laden products can clog the pores in our scalp, causing build up. This stunts hair growth as it keeps the scalp from breathing, and blood and nutrients from reaching the follicles.

Like jojoba oil, kukui butter is a lightweight emollient. Unlike its synthetic and occlusive counterparts, kukui penetrates the scalp and hair, allowing the skin to breathe and absorb all the necessary nutrients to continue its growth cycle. Furthermore, kukui is high in Omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linoleic acid) essential for hair growth.

Prevents Hair Loss

Apart from Omega-3 fatty acids, kukui butter is also rich in vitamin C and E. Vitamin C is a known antioxidant that blocks harmful chemicals and free radicals that weaken the hair and cause it to fall out.  On the other hand, Vitamin E helps improve circulation in the scalp by bringing oxygen to the hair follicles. These essential vitamins work together to ensure the hair has all the nutrients it needs to grow healthy and strong.

Repairs Damaged Hair

Dealing with damaged hair can be a bit frustrating especially if you love styling and coloring your hair. Fortunately, you don’t need to chop it all off or completely swear off coloring to restore it back to health. All it needs is a little TLC, and maybe some kukui butter to bring it back to life.

As mentioned before, kukui contains antioxidants that repair the hair shaft and strip the hair of free radicals causing the damage – without dehydrating it. Instead, it fills cracks in the hair structure and seals it to prevent moisture from escaping.

When coloring or bleaching hair, it is best to use products that contain emollients like kukui butter. That way you won’t damage the integrity of the hair. Oway Hbleach is the first-ever lightener derived from kukui butter and pure essential oils, so there’s little to no damage when lifting hair.


Hydrates Strands

Dull, parched hair and shiny, new hairstyles don’t exactly go well together. When styling, the hair needs to be hydrated and strong enough to withstand any heat or color. The good news is, there’s kukui butter for that.

Kukui also has rich Vitamin A content which helps soothe and hydrate the hair. Its emollient properties lock in moisture by laying down a triglyceride blanket of lipids containing unsaturated fatty acids that protect the hair from further drying.1

Reduces Scalp Psoriasis

oway-hbleachFor centuries, oil derived from kukui has been used as topical treatment for various skin issues in Hawaii. It is believed to help reduce inflammation, burning, and itching – which is not surprising considering the high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids found in kukui. In 2011, a group of researchers found that Omega-3 fatty acids, when used as supplementary treatment, significantly reduces psoriasis and even scalp lesions.2

Isn’t it wonderful how nature provides us all the answers to our health and beauty concerns? Kukui butter may not be as popular as other oils, but we certainly can’t deny the amazing benefits it brings our body.


1Ako, H., Fujikawa, L., and Gray, D. (1993).  Emollient action of kukui nut oil. Available: http://journal.scconline.org/pdf/cc1993/cc044n05/p00239-p00247.pdf

2Balbas, GM et al. (2011). Study on the use of omega-3 fatty acids as a therapeutic supplement in treatment of psoriasis. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133503/