Recently, a nameless member of our team booked her first poolside cabana of the summer. Despite a head-to-toe dip in mineral sunscreen on the hour and regular breaks from the sun, alas, she left the first pool day of the season with reddened knees and too much sun on her shoulders.

We’ve all been there. As worthwhile as they are to avoid, from time to time – sunburns happen. Avoiding them is crucial in the fight to protect yourself from skin damage and skin cancer, which we all know, but once the damage is done, healing burned skin and relieving the pain and inflammation is priority numero uno. After this most recent tussle with the sun, our “nameless team member” hit the TCM beauty closet in search of a little non-toxic sunburn TLC…

Having a moment:  Hidden among the bottles of colostrum tabs and avocado body oils on our Chalkboard shelves, an untouched bottle of organic African tamanu oil, touting wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties, sounded like the golden ticket. Sure enough, after some quick research, we found that tamanu oil is a natural sunburn remedy in Africa where the oil is sourced. Pouring out the bottle faster than our weekend’s poolside bartender and warming the oil in our hands, the tamanu oil brought instant relief everywhere it hit the skin.

Less than love at first sight, since the bottle gathered dust for what must be months, we’re now deeming tamanu oil the must-have oil of the summer and not leaving home without it!

Why you need it: When it comes to sunburns, desperation can set in fast and we, like many of you, have tried everything. Ice, baking soda, scratchy aloe fronds, they all have their benefits, but tamanu oil is the sunburn remedy we’ve been dreaming of. We were thrilled to feel instant relief from the thin, light oil and have since read that tamanu oil has been known to turn slightly burned skin back to bronze overnight.

The best part about tamanu oil is yet to be mentioned, however. Tamanu oil, sourced from sustainable Madagascan forests, is like an esthetician in a bottle. The oil is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, boosts cell regeneration, softens wrinkles and fights acne! Pacific Islanders have used tamanu oil as part of their folk medicine for years to heal wounds, fight skin issues and as a baby balm. In other words, unlike many other condition-specific skin oils, you don’t need to worry about healing a sunburn only to bring about another skin imbalance in return. By healing a sunburn with tamanu oil, you’ll also be fighting wrinkles, acne and deeply nourishing your skin. We don’t know how we’ve spent a summer without it.

How to get your paws on it: We love the sustainably-sourced and certified organic tamanu from SheaTerra Organics. In a two ounce bottle, SheaTerra’s version is suitable for carry-ons, perfect for a beach bag and an absolute staple for the all-natural beach babe! Tamanu oil is the perfect thing to pack for any and all summer holidays: bring it to disinfect feet while you tromp off-the-grid in a tropical jungle, use it to de-puff eyes after an all-night bender out on the Grecian Isles, or simply soak your skin in the stuff after an afternoon at your hometown beach or pool. Wherever your summer sun plans take you, trust us and pack this stuff for better summer skin!

Win A Bottle of SheaTerra Tamanu Oil!

Guys, we’re not joking around – for the perfect summer this year, you’re going to need this stuff. And one lucky reader is going to win their own bottle from SheaTerra! Just leave us your comment below and fill us in on some of your own healthy summer must-haves. We want to know! The best comment will be selected to win their own bottle of SheaTerra, so good luck! 

Open to U.S. residents only. Giveaway closes Monday, June 9th at 5 P.M. PST

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From our friends


  1. My favorite way to heal a sunburn from the inside is with my St. Tropez Sunburn Salad. When I was living in Aix-en-Provence, France I spent a weekend visiting the beautiful town of St. Tropez. It’s a gorgeous seaside town, but I came back burned to a crisp. I came home and composed a soothing salad of cucumber, melon, lemon juice, honey and salt. Simple, refreshing and hydrating.

    Amanda | 06.05.2014 | Reply
  2. I’m a huge advocate of washing my face with essential oils. Especially in the summer, I mix jojoba oil with castor oil and massage it onto my face for 2 minutes, then wash it off with a hot wash cloth. I know it sounds crazy, but it strips your face of the pent up excess oils of the day and leaves only healthy natural ones. I swear by it, it really helps especially in the summer when your skin might be a little dry after a long day in the sun! My skin is GLOWING immediately after use. I’m also very prone to breakouts and this actually helps prevent them! I’ve also experimented with avocado, lavender, and coconut oils in the mix.

    Sara | 06.05.2014 | Reply
  3. I use coconut oil for sunburns too– or burns in the kitchen. It seems to add instant relief. My favorite summer perfume is Pacifica Guava. It smells like a tropical dream and is “clean”.

    Lara | 06.05.2014 | Reply
  4. Tamunu, Tamunu, Tamunu…mmmmmmm

    Destiny Dollar | 06.05.2014 | Reply
  5. My favorite healthy summer favorite is the Maui Babe Browning Lotion. It ensures a fast, natural, and dark tan but it also protects from the sun as to prevent sunburn. And the best part? It actually works!

    Emma Barrett | 06.05.2014 | Reply
  6. This oil sounds amazing, and I could have used it after Memorial Day weekend. I used coconut oil because duh, but this would be great in case I get too much sun at my outdoor wedding over Fourth of July weekend! My summer must-haves include Suntegrity’s Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen and Primer, green juices on the rocks, a natural bug repellent like Meow Meow Tweet’s, and my trusty yoga mat.

    Meagan | 06.05.2014 | Reply
  7. My favorite healthy summer must-have is my reusable water bottle. Hydration!

  8. Healthy summer must-have – chia seed pudding with berries and toasted almonds for breakfast! Sooo good. Last summer I was sunburned horribly and used coconut oil to help with it – but tamanu oil sounds pretty divine.

    Jennifer Wilson | 06.05.2014 | Reply
  9. My favorite healthy summer must have is sun tea! I love making it in a mason jar on my balcony! I also love to throw in some mint or lemon slices to make it extra delicious!!

    Maria | 06.05.2014 | Reply
  10. Sun tea really is the best summer must have. I remember my mom and grandma setting containers by the deck to brew. There is nothing better than sipping sun tea by the pool, or while soaking in an Epsom salt bath!

    Robin | 06.05.2014 | Reply
  11. Coconut Oil! I use it for everything!!!

    Christy H. | 06.05.2014 | Reply
  12. My summer must-have: Thai young coconuts! I blend the water together with the meat to make the best coconut milk ever. So hydrating and yummy!

    Emily | 06.05.2014 | Reply
  13. Since I am young and have been on chemotherapy for 2 years now, it is especially important for me to keep my skin protected from the sun. My number one summer must have is water and fruits. Keeping hydrated is the best way to look good and feel good. I usually like to infuse fruits like berries or lemons (and cucumbers) into cool water along with some fresh mint for a nice refreshing and tasty drink. Sometimes I like to add green tea to it as well! Another must have of mine is lavender oil. If you place several drops of lavender oil into around a half a cup of filtered water, it will work miracles on your skin. I add some aloe juice to the mixture, place it into a spray bottle & put it inside my fridge. I spray this mix whenever I get sunburned or if I just want to refresh my skin and relax on a hot summer day!

    Jessica F | 06.05.2014 | Reply
  14. My healthy summer must-have is smoothies! I start every day off with a smoothie which helps not only to kick start my day and sustain me throughout the morning but helps to put a spring in my step by keeping me feeling light and revived! They are the perfect pick-me-up and also a good way to cool down on a hot summer day here in Texas. My go-to smoothie consists of coconut water, aloe vera juice, flax, chia, spinach, nut-butter and a combination of seasonal fruit. Mmm!

    Macie H. | 06.05.2014 | Reply
  15. I’m a darker skin woman but I do use Sunscreen, which is tricky because most Sunscreens, I find, leave a greyish/whitish film on my face but I found Devita Naturals Solar Protective Moisturizers 30+ SPF. I also like to use Coconut Water as a toner (splash it on) because it feels so refreshing on my skin! I think I’ll buy a few Atomizers so I can spray it on in the morning and evenings. And I just bought a big Bottle of Aloe Vera juice (although I originally wanted Aloe Vera Gel :/) which my Skin and Hair love!
    I have acnegenic and sensitive skin so I’d love to try out a bottle of Tamanu Oil–I’ve heard great things about it but so far have never tried it.

    D.E. | 06.06.2014 | Reply
  16. My son just returned home from college after a long and very cold Boston winter. A friend from the east coast quickly joined him here in sunny CA and with their snow white skin they hit the beach many days in a row and surprise, surprise-SUNBURN! We tried many remedies to reduce the ow factor including aloe from the yard but it sounds like tamanu oil would have been a much better remedy all the way around. Next time 🙂

    Holly | 06.06.2014 | Reply
  17. I live in one of the most beautiful mountain towns in the world, and spend all day ever day outside playing in the sun! Living in the high Rocky Mountains with fair sensitive skin though has proven to be quite the challenge! Trying to soak up as much vitamin D as possible before heading off to medical school….but my skin just burns burns burns! I would love for the sun to finally be a joy rather than a deterrent. I have tried every sunburn remedy possible, and have yet to find a solution…maybe Tamanu Oil will do the trick! My healthy summer must-have’s: Korres Milk Proteins Foaming Cream Cleanser face wash and Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Sleeping Facial, they keep my skin fresh and nourished even in the dry heat! My other savior: Hornbeam drops in my water to ease tension and exhaustion!

    Haley H. | 06.06.2014 | Reply
  18. EXTERNAL HYDRATION: For the best summer skin treatment ever, mix the following in a 4 oz. bottle:
    2 oz. brewed green tea, cooled
    1 oz. rosewater
    1 oz. aloe vera juice
    1 tsp. jojoba or argan oil
    15 drops lavender essential oil
    5 drops peppermint essential oil

    This spray is the ultimate because it combines the beauty benefits of aloe, rose water, and green tea, which are numerous, with the light moisture of jojoba or argan oil (I hope to try tamanu oil next!), and the skin rejuvenating effects of lavender and peppermint. It’s so refreshing and can be used head to toe as a refreshing, after-sun treatment, as a hair spritz, toner, and a light, all-over body moisturizer for the summer. It is the best! Try other essential oils (except for photo-sensitizing citrus oils!) if you don’t care for lavender or peppermint. Shake well before use and store in the fridge for longer shelf-life.

    INTERNAL HYDRATION: I love drinking herb and fruit-infused waters. A quick tip is to make a concentrated blend with 16 – 24 oz. oz of filtered water to 1 cup of fruits and herbs (cucumber-orange-basil, lemon-sage, peach-blueberry-rose are some goo starting combos. Use a food chopper for the fruits and try to use fresh herbs if possible.). Infuse the herbs/fruits in water overnight or longer if you can, then pour what you won’t use in 1-2 days in ice cube trays or small plastic bowls to be added to plain water later (this is your “concentrate”). You will have delicious water all week and perhaps beyond! I add a few cubes to plain water and it is divine. It can even be used in dry facial masque mixes. I’ll let you imagine the other uses. 🙂

  19. Cold kombucha, chilled watermelon drinks, being in good company and letting time slow down when you’re with the people you love, eminence tomato sunscreen, a wide brim hat against the sun, badger mint lip balm, a good quality coconut oil for moisture and a spritz of something citrusy for a refreshing, joyful scent as well as tomato salads for the internal lycopene protection they offer!

    Yuri | 06.08.2014 | Reply
  20. Summer can run past you in a moment, so a lot of friends and family time grilling and enjoying the late afternoon and early evenings chatting and eating. On a daily basis, I can’t live without cold brew coffee, lots of water, big hats, sunglasses, and eating all the wonderfully fresh things from the farmer’s market. All the fresh food is the best part of summer. 🙂

    Koritt | 06.09.2014 | Reply
  21. I just read about tamanu oil for healing skin yesterday. I never thought about sunburns. Ihave used aloe vera in the past but can’t wait to try this.

    therese | 06.09.2014 | Reply
  22. two summer must haves: Coffee & Kombucha — Califia Farms Almond Milk Double Espresso & LionHeart Ginger Kombucha, sometimes with the addition of a little bourbon at night.

    miranda | 06.09.2014 | Reply
  23. Washcloths soaked in lemon water and cooled, then put on face and brow.


    The Chalkboard | 06.10.2014 | Reply
  25. We freeze organic aloe and rub it on sunburns, also coconut oil mixed with organic lavender oil. Also I am obsessed with Super Elixir by Welleco; makes me feel great inside and out.

    Diana | 06.04.2016 | Reply

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