Study: The fragrance of sandalwood essential oil activates hair follicles to grow longer, thicker hair

Although it has long been used as a beauty tonic across cultures, especially in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, you may have noticed sandalwood essential oil appearing more and more in hair and skin treatments and perfumes in recent years. And that’s because in the world of essential oils, sandalwood essential oil (and Sandalore, a synthetic version of the oil) stands out for its study-proven anti-aging effects, which include both hair growth and combating skin aging. Read on to learn more about how sandalwood essential oil benefits you.

How Sandalwood Oil Beautifies Skin and Hair

There is plenty of evidence that sandalwood essential oil does, in fact, have a number of beauty benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, moisturizing, and aromatherapeutic properties, making it an excellent natural ingredient in beauty products.

Although it is used in everything from perfumes to hair products, its greatest impacts on hair and skin have been proven by clinical studies. One, Dr. explains, helps repair and protect more mature skin. And second, according to two separate studies using a synthetic version of the oil (used in hair products), it has the ability to help regenerate thinning hair.

A third bonus? The oil’s scent has mood-enhancing properties, explains famed esthetician, healer, and holistic practitioner Tammy Fender, which is just one more reason why she makes it a staple of her professional spa treatments.


If you want to hop on the sandalwood beauty train, here’s what you can expect when you add it to your routine and what to know about using it safely and effectively.

How Sandalwood Oil Makes Hair Grow Back

woman applying oil to her hair

woman applying oil to her hair

Did you notice more shedding, some scattered spots, or just general thinning? A synthetic version of sandalwood has been proven to help reverse hair loss.

It turns out that our hair follicles can smell bad, and a study published in Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, discovered that olfactory receptors in the scalp reacted to the smell of Sandalore, a synthetic form of sandalwood. In fact, individuals who were exposed to Sandalore experienced a significant reduction in hair loss and increased hair volume within 24 weeks. How it works? Hair follicles express their own olfactory receptor and, when it comes into contact with the molecular structure of synthetic sandalwood perfume, it stimulates hair growth.

Also great? A German study published in the journal Nature Communications found that topical use of Sandalore helps maintain hair in the growth phase while increasing growth-stimulating hormones by 30% in just six days.

What’s more, the musky aroma lowers blood pressure for greater relaxation.

To reap the benefits:

  1. Opt for a hair growth serum which contains Sandalore, like Nioxin Ultimate Power Serum (Buy on Amazon. $50). This treatment also contains caffeine, lauric acid, and niacinamide, all ingredients known to help thicken hair. In fact, 93% of users noticed less hair on the brush after the first use.

  2. Give your scalp a sandalwood massage: Mix 10 drops of sandalwood oil, such as Sandalwood Essential Oil, 100% Pure Natural Aromatherapy Sandalwood Oil (Buy on Amazon, $7.95) with 2 tbsp. of a carrier oil such as olive oil and apply throughout damp hair; rinse after 15 minutes.

How Sandalwood Oil Prevents Skin Aging

Whether you have wrinkles, age spots, or dull, dehydrated skin, sandalwood oil can help! Sandalwood oil, particularly Indian sandalwood oil called Santalum album, it has been found to have antioxidant properties. In fact, a study published in the journal Antioxidants in 2021 evaluated the antioxidant potential of Indian sandalwood essential oil and found that it exhibited significant antioxidant activity.

This is essential, especially for aging skin. As Dr. Yadav explains, antioxidants defend the skin from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which can come from everything from pollution and cigarette smoke to blue light and UV exposure. By protecting your skin with antioxidants, you help inhibit oxidative stress, which can manifest as fine lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, hyperpigmentation, and other common skin problems.

And as a bonus, the oil also acts as an emollient. David Petrillo, cosmetic chemist and founder of Perfect Image explains: The oil is known for its moisturizing properties, which can help keep skin hydrated and prevent dryness. It is often used to nourish and improve skin texture. And hydrated skin appears less wrinkled and dull and more supple and dewy.

To reap the benefits:

Try this DIY Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood facial toner recipe from Ed Dailey, director of product education at Young Living Essential oils: in 2 oz. glass container, combine 5 drops of essential oil such as Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood Hydrosol (buy from Young Living, $14) and 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin E oil and top up with a few drops of unscented, alcohol-free witch hazel . Apply to face after cleansing and before moisturizer once a day.

More benefits of using sandalwood essential oil

Sandalwood Oil Can Soothe Irritated Skin

Sandalwood essential oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat conditions like eczema and psoriasis and can soothe queasy skin in general, says Petrillo. It can help soothe irritated skin and reduce redness. Additionally, a 2018 study found that a combination of sandalwood and honey helped reduce the risk of scarring.

To reap the benefits:

Try this recipe from Adriana Ayales, clinical herbalist and founder and CEO of Anima Mundi:

Mix 1 oz. of jojoba oil with a few drops of sandalwood oil and shake well. Apply sparingly to areas that need soothing or use a Gua Sha tool like AMETHYST GUA SHA, Hand Carved (Buy from Anima Mundi, $19.90) to activate microcirculation and blood flow.

Sandalwood Oil May Prevent Breakouts

Sandalwood oil has astringent properties, which means it can help firm and tone your skin. It’s often used in products for oily or combination skin to help control excess oil production and minimize the appearance of pores, says Petrillo. It also has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it effective in fighting bacteria and fungi that can cause infections and rashes.

A study in Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that it serves as an especially good auxiliary to salicylic acid. “This is because its antibacterial properties can help reduce the growth of acne-causing bacteria, while its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the inflammation that aggravates blemishes and makes them more painful,” says Dr. Yadav. That’s why these two ingredients seem like a promising combination. !

To reap the benefits:

Essential oil expert Roxy Saran recommends adding 1 drop of sandalwood oil and 1 drop of soothing lavender to your favorite facial moisturizer. Apply to clean skin.

Sandalwood Oil Can Help You Relax

Fans of sandalwood know that its rich, earthy scent is intoxicating, which is why it’s a favorite among perfumers. Petrillo says it’s also often added to products for its aromatherapeutic effects. “Calming oil can help reduce stress and promote a sense of calm. Science shows this is also true, as animal studies suggest it has a relaxing effect on the nervous system. (Click for easier ways to regulate your nervous system.)

Smiling young woman in bathrobe holding dropper and smelling aromatic essential oil while enjoying a skin care session at home

Sergey Mironov/Getty

What to Know When and How to Use Sandalwood Oil

If you’re planning to make your own recipes as mentioned above, Dr. Yadav says it’s important to dilute the oil with a neutral carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond oil.

And be sure to do a patch test before use to ensure you won’t have an adverse reaction.

How to make Petrillos: Apply a diluted drop of the oil mixture to the inside of your wrist or elbow and wait 24 hours to check for any adverse reactions such as redness, itching or irritation. If irritation occurs, avoid using it. If you do get permission to use it, he emphasizes avoiding sensitive areas, such as the neck and genital area, and avoiding sun exposure for 24 hours afterwards to avoid irritation.

Watch this video to learn other ways to use sandalwood essential oil to reverse aging:

Another way to reduce the chances of getting redness or a rash is to find the oil in ready-made formulas where cosmetic chemists have done all the work to find the correct percentages and quality of ingredients.

For example, you can find sandalwood oil in:

Clarins Santal Soothing and Moisturizing Natural Facial Treatment Oil (Buy at Bloomingdales, $65)

Forest Essentials Sandalwood and Saffron Night Treatment Cream (Buy on Amazon, $52.50)

Love Beauty and Planet Moisturizing Daily Shampoo with Coconut Oil and Australian Sandalwood (Buy at Walmart, $10.10).

And to enjoy the aromatherapeutic benefits, you can try fragrances like:

CK EVERYONE by Calvin Klein (Buy on Amazon, $70) and Promise by Jennifer Lopez (Buy on Amazon, $44.99).

To learn more about the beauty benefits of essential oils, click on these stories:

Add these essential oils to your shampoo for thicker, healthier hair

5 Ways to Use Essential Oils for Wrinkled Skin, Age Spots, and More

This $8 Essential Oil May Help Relieve Pain and Slow Down Signs of Skin Aging

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