The growth of Indian sandalwood as a multi-use ingredient

Indian sandalwood oil prized for its luxurious, warm, and creamy scent has recently seen a resurgence

Indian sandalwood is a precious, ancient cosmetic and medicinal ingredient that has a long history of use around the world.

Due to its popularity it has faced persistent threats to its survival, with overharvesting and illegal poaching landing Indian sandalwood on the International Union for Conversation of Nature’s (IUCN) vulnerable species list in 1998.

Recognising this problem, Quintis Sandalwood established the very first ethical plantation of Indian sandalwood in 1999.

It now owns and manages the largest estate in the world, spanning over 12,000 hectares across northern Australia with over 5.5 million trees.

Through Quintis’s scientifically rigorous processes, there’s now a reliable supply and global availability of high quality Indian sandalwood oil and powder, offering huge opportunities for the fragrance, aromatherapy, and cosmetics industries to reap the benefits.

A multi-use ingredient

Sandalwood notes are found in nearly 50% of all modern perfumes created since 1790.

Indian sandalwood oil prized for its luxurious, warm, and creamy scent has recently seen a resurgence in the fragrance industry with sustainable plantations coming into maturity over the past decade.

A natural fixative with low vapour pressure, Indian sandalwood oil ensures a longer lasting fragrance in formulations.

The oil also has many therapeutic benefits which has seen interest grow in aromatherapy and cosmetics. Studies show that alpha santalol, said to be the therapeutic component in sandalwood oil, calms the nervous system when inhaled or applied topically.

Sandalwood oil’s anti-inflammatory, anti- tyrosinase and antimicrobial activities also makes it a great multi-purpose cosmetic ingredient for face washes, creams, lotions, sprays and hydrogels, and the powder can be used in face-masks.

Vanessa Ligovich, Quintis Chief Marketing Officer said “Indian sandalwood is a versatile ingredient and particularly aligned to trends we’re seeing around holistic wellness, natural ingredients and multi-functional uses. Because it offers a myriad of benefits it can replace several ingredients, potentially creating a more commercially viable proposition, but also feeding into a good sustainability message.”

A rich antioxidant that provides protection against environmental stressors

Quintis’s recent study published in the Cosmetics Journal found Indian sandalwood oil is a more potent antioxidant than the known lipophilic antioxidant vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), recording a reactive oxygen species reduction 30-40% higher than the recorded reduction from Vitamin E with subsequent exposure to environmental stressors.

The study also found that Indian sandalwood oil is capable of significantly decreasing the damage to collagen in skin tissues caused by stressors such as blue light from solar and digital sources, and pollution from cigarette smoke.

These new findings ultimately indicate that Indian sandalwood oil can serve as an effective protective and anti-ageing active ingredient in cosmetics and dermatology.

The future is bright

For cosmetics, personal care, and fragrance formulators interested in sourcing a high-quality, sustainable ingredient that delivers strong efficacy, Indian sandalwood should be one to consider.

“Like any natural product, Indian sandalwood is complex and so we continue to research its capabilities.In our mind there’s no question it is destined to impact the future of health and wellbeing,” said Ligovich.

Featured Companies

Quintis (more information, website)