Not all extracts and oils found in skincare need to be sourced from rare, exotic locations. For us Australians, sometimes the most powerful of nature’s ingredients are found right here in our own back yard.
At KIATA, we strive to discover the most exclusive, powerful natural ingredients and incorporate them into our skincare formulas. To capture the spirit of Australia, we’ve combined native ingredients with unique raw materials from around the world to share their incredible benefits with all women.
Discover one of nature’s (and Australia’s) most loved ingredients – Australian Sandalwood.
The spirit of Western Australia
Australian Sandalwood has played an important role in native Australian culture for thousands of years and is still an important part of Australia’s export economy. Traditionally, Sandalwood has been used in medicine for its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties (soothing irritated skin, upset tummies and bad breath!) and became one of Australia’s top exports from the 1840’s onwards, during the plantation era.
These days, Australian Sandalwood grows both wild and on modern plantations across over 14,000 hectares in Western Australia, where sustainable growing practices work to ensure there’s a never-ending supply of trees to keep up with demand, without destroying the environment in the process.
Australian Sandalwood (Santalum Spicatum if you’re being specific) is a bushy tree that grows around 2-3 metres high in what is known as the ‘wheat belt’ of Western Australia and is the only Sandalwood species that can grow in desert conditions without an artificial watering system, unlike its Asian counterparts.
The trees are hemi-parasites, meaning they require another ‘host’ plant to feed off in order to survive. That’s why you’ll find Sandalwood trees planted next to other native species (such as Acacia in Australia), because these provide vital extra water and nutrients in order for the Sandalwood trees to grow strong and healthy.
Getting the most out of it
Sandalwood is quite commonly used in beauty products, mainly for its fragrance. You may be surprised to hear that notes of this fragrant wood are found in over 47% of perfumes – that’s nearly half! Not only does Sandalwood add a pleasing scent, its oils help to preserve perfume smells on the skin by preventing them from evaporating too quickly – making your perfume’s fragrance last longer.
Since the wood of the Sandalwood tree is rather difficult to break down, essential oils are extracted from the wood and the tree nuts and incorporated into skincare and cosmetics products.
Unlike Cinnamon which uses the bark of the tree, the heartwood of the Sandalwood tree is of the most value. The heartwood, or the inner core of the tree, is full of sesquiterpenes (a range of essential oils) which create the scent that the Sandalwood is known for. These sesquiterpenes protect and sustain the heart of the tree, which is why they are found in the highest concentration in the bore wood and the roots of the tree.
To extract these essential oils, the heartwood of the tree is broken down into wood chips. The oils are then extracted using steam distillation. But what about the rest of the tree? Well, this is used to create Sandalwood carvings, incense sticks, insect repellents and much more. Nothing goes to waste!
Benefits in skincare
Australian Sandalwood oil has been used in skincare for its wide range of natural benefits to the skin. You’ve probably heard of Ayurvedic treatments – well, Sandalwood and Sandalwood oil are one of the main ingredients used in this practice. Sandalwood aromas provide a calming, mood-enhancing effect on the mind whilst also benefitting the skin – it’s not all about the fragrance!
Sandalwood oil is renowned for its antibacterial properties which help to prevent and treat blemishes by fighting bacteria and purifying the skin, while anti-inflammatory properties can help to soothe irritation and reduce redness. Acting as an astringent, the oil can also tighten pores and protect the skin from further breakouts by activating tiny contractions in the soft tissues of the skin, which is why you’ll often find Sandalwood as the main ingredient in toners and face masks.
Used as a topical antiseptic, Sandalwood oil can also soothe insect bites, sunburn and other skin irritations – fighting the bacteria at the source and reducing the inflammation that causes the burning, itching sensations.
Sandalwood oil can also help to reduce dark spots, acne scars and gently lighten sun tan –providing an anti-aging effect by smoothing the complexion and brightening the skin.
Sustainable practices and certified organic for KIATA
Continuing the sustainable practices of the original indigenous harvesters, the Australian Sandalwood used by KIATA is managed by a 150 Year Resource Management Plan to ensure that for every tree harvested, more seeds are planted to create a continuous supply.
A benefit sharing program has been developed to provide indigenous harvesters and communities with a royalty from indigenous-certified oil from the sales of their Sandalwood, alongside a grant to help these harvesters develop and build their businesses.
Here at KIATA, we use only use Pure Australian Sandalwood oil in our products – the only Sandalwood oil that is NOP and ECOCERT certified organic. Our suppliers not only grow the trees to these strict organic standards, they also extract the oil using sustainable, environmentally friendly processes using a biomass boiler, fuelled by waste products from nearby
You and your skin deserve only the best.
To learn more about our range, please see here.