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What Does Sandalwood Smell Like? | Scent Profile of Sandalwood Oil | DIY Recipes and Benefits

Disclaimer - The information provided in this blog, including any linked materials herein, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. For accurate and personalized recommendations, please consult with your specialists.

Sandalwood Essential oil is often referred to as “Liquid Gold” in the world of aromatherapy and perfumery, and is renowned for its captivating and unique fragrance.

It is extracted from the heartwood of the sandalwood tree, particularly the species known as Santalum album, which is native to India. The scent of sandalwood essential oil is a sensory journey that combines warmth, sweetness, and earthiness in a harmonious blend.

But What Does Sandalwood Smell Like?

Its distinct aroma is known to evoke feelings of tranquility and relaxation, making it a staple in aromatherapy practices worldwide. Beyond its olfactory charm, with an earthy base note, sandalwood essential oil offers a myriad of benefits, from soothing skin irritations to relieving stress and anxiety. Its versatility and time-honored appeal have secured its place in perfumery, skin care, and holistic wellness, making it a cherished and indispensable element in the realm of natural remedies and sensory indulgence.


Uses of Sandalwood Essential oil in Aromatherapy and Skincare

Certainly, here are some common uses of sandalwood essential oil in aromatherapy and skincare:


1. Mood Enhancement

Fragrance of sandalwood has been used to uplift mood and improve emotional well-being, making it a valuable oil for aromatherapy sessions. It is generally used in perfumes and incense and is often described as warm base note.


2. Meditation Aid


Sandalwood pairs well with a variety of essential oils. Sandalwood's grounding scent is ideal for meditation, helping practitioners achieve a deeper state of mindfulness and focus.


3. Sleep Aid


Diffusing sandalwood oil before bedtime can aid in improving sleep quality and combating insomnia.



 1. Skin Soothing


Sandalwood also has properties that can soothe irritated or sensitive skin. It is commonly used to address issues like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.


2. Natural Fragrance


Sandalwood's delightful scent makes it a popular choice for adding a pleasant aroma to skincare products like creams, lotions, and perfumes.


3. Anti-Aging


The oil's astringent properties can help tighten and rejuvenate the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


4. Skin Hydration


When added to moisturizers or carrier oils, sandalwood oil helps lock in moisture, preventing dryness and maintaining skin's natural glow.


Types of Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood is a valuable and fragrant wood, and there are several types and species of sandalwood trees found in different parts of the world. Some of the most well-known types of sandalwood include:

1. Indian Sandalwood (Santalum album):

This is perhaps the most famous and sought-after type of sandalwood. It is native to India and is highly regarded for its rich aroma and exceptional quality. Indian sandalwood is used extensively in perfumes, incense, and skincare products.

2. Australian Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum):

Found primarily in Western Australia, Uses of Australian sandalwood has gained popularity as an alternative to Indian sandalwood. It has a similar fragrance profile and is used in perfumery, aromatherapy, and skincare.

3. Hawaiian Sandalwood (Santalum paniculatum):

Native to Hawaii, this variety of sandalwood is known for its unique and somewhat sweeter fragrance. It's used in traditional Hawaiian practices and can be found in local products like oils, soaps, and leis.

4. New Caledonian Sandalwood (Santalum austrocaledonicum):


Found in New Caledonia in the South Pacific, this species of sandalwood has its own distinct aroma. It's used in perfumery and the production of essential oils.

5. Red Sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus):

Unlike the other sandalwoods mentioned, red sandalwood is not from the Santalum genus. It is found in India and is known for its rich red hue. Red sandalwood is used primarily for making traditional medicines, dyes, and carvings.

Fragrance Profile of Sandalwood | Characteristics of Sandalwood Scent Profile

The table below outlines the primary characteristics of the scent profile of sandalwood. Keep in mind that the fragrance can vary slightly depending on factors like the sandalwood species, age of the tree, and the part of the tree used for extraction.




Warm and woody 


Subtle, honey like sweetness


Smooth and creamy 


Mild hints of spice 

Floral undertones

Has occasional subtle floral notes


Factors influencing the Scent of Sandalwood Essential Oil

The scent of sandalwood essential oil is based on the following factors: 


1. Sandalwood Species


Different species of sandalwood trees produce essential oils with varying scent profiles. For example, Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) is prized for its classic, rich aroma, while Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) may have slightly different scent. It creates an aroma that is soothing with depth and complexity.

2. The Age

The age of the sandalwood tree when the heartwood is harvested can influence the aroma. Older trees often yield a more potent and complex scent.

3. Geographic Location

Sandalwood trees grown in different regions can produce oils with distinct fragrances. Environmental factors, soil composition, and climate all play a role in shaping the scent. The Indian sandalwood is considered to be of the finest quality for its aroma that is both soothing and earthy.

4. Harvesting and Extraction Methods

The woodiness of sandalwood depends on the methods used to harvest and extract the essential oil can impact its scent. Traditional methods like steam distillation often result in a purer and more authentic aroma compared to solvent-based extraction.

5. Part of the Three

The specific part of the sandalwood tree used for oil extraction can affect the fragrance. Heartwood, the innermost part of the tree, is most commonly used and yields the most potent aroma.

6. Maturity of Heartwood

Even within the heartwood, the maturity of the wood can influence the scent. Older heartwood tends to have a more developed and intense fragrance.

7. Storage and Aging

Like fine wine, sandalwood essential oil can improve with age. Proper storage and aging can deepen and enhance its scent.

8. Sustainable Sourcing

Sustainable and ethical sourcing practices can help preserve the quality and aroma of sandalwood oil over time. Overharvesting and illegal logging can degrade the quality of the oil.

9. Blending and Processing

Sandalwood oil is sometimes blended with other essential oils or fragrance ingredients to create specific scents for perfumes and skincare products. These additional elements can influence the overall aroma.

Benefits of Sandalwood Essential Oil

The following are the benefits of sandalwood essential oil:


For Aromatherapy:

1. Stress reduction and relaxation.

2. Mood enhancement and emotional well-being.

3. Meditation aid for improved focus.

4. Sleep aid and relief from insomnia.

For Skincare:

1. Soothes irritated and sensitive skin.

2. Anti-aging properties reduce fine lines.

3. Skin hydration and moisture retention.

4. Fades scars and blemishes.

5. Natural fragrance for skincare products.

Holistic Health:

1. Respiratory relief for colds and congestion.

2. Anti-inflammatory for muscle and joint pain.

3. Aphrodisiac properties enhance romance.

4. Natural deodorant with effective odor masking.

Emotional Well-Being:

1. Anxiety management for calmness.

2. Boosts self-confidence and mental clarity.

DIY Skin Care Recipes For Sandalwood Essential Oil

Recipe #1 - Soothing Sandalwood Face Mask


  • 2 tablespoons of sandalwood powder
  • 1 tablespoon of yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of honey with 2 drops of patchouli essential oil


  • Mix the ingredients to form a paste. 

  • Apply the mask to your face, leave it on for 15-20 minutes, and rinse with warm water.
  • This mask can help soothe irritated skin and improve complexion with an earthy woody smell.

Recipe #2 - Sandalwood and Rosewater Toner



  • Combine the rosewater, sandalwood and citrus essential oil in a bottle.

  • Apply the mixture to your face with a cotton pad after cleansing.
  • This toner helps balance your skin's pH and provides a gentle fragrance.

Recipe #3 - Relaxing Sandalwood Bath Salts


  • 1 cup of Epsom salts
  • 10-15 drops of sandalwood essential oil and 3 drops of jasmine essential o


  • Mix the Epsom salts, sandalwood and jasmine oil in a bowl.
  • Add this blend to your bathwater for a relaxing soak. 

  • It can ease muscle tension and promote relaxation

Recipe #4 - Sandalwood and Aloe Vera Gel Serum


  • 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel
  • 2-3 drops of sandalwood essential oil and cedar essential oil


  • Combine the aloe vera gel, cedar and sandalwood oil.
  • Apply a small amount to your face as a lightweight moisturizing serum. 
  • It can soothe and hydrate your skin.

Recipe #5 - Sandalwood and Jojoba Oil Facial Cleanser


  • 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil
  • 4-5 drops of sandalwood essential oil and 3 drops of vetiver essential oil


  • Mix the jojoba oil, sandalwood oil and vetiver essential oil.

  • Apply a small amount to your face, massage gently, and rinse with warm water.
  • This cleanser helps remove impurities and leaves your skin feeling refreshed. 

Recipe #6 - Sandalwood and Shea Butter Body Lotion


  • 1/2 cup of shea butter
  • 10-12 drops of sandalwood essential oil and 3 drops of bergamot essential oil


  • Melt the shea butter and stir in the sandalwood oil. 
  • Allow it to cool and solidify. 
  • Use it as a rich and nourishing body lotion to moisturize dry skin with a pleasant woody fragrance.

Recipe #7 - Sandalwood and Coconut Oil Hair Mask


  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 5-7 drops of sandalwood essential oil


  • Mix the coconut oil and sandalwood oil.
  • Apply the mixture to your hair and scalp, leave it on for 30 minutes, and then shampoo and condition as usual. 
  • This mask can help promote healthy hair and a soothing scalp.

Recipe #8 - Sandalwood and Lavender Night Cream


  • 1/4 cup of shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 5-7 drops of sandalwood essential oil

  • 5-7 drops of lavender essential oil


  • Melt the shea butter and coconut oil, then stir in the sandalwood and lavender oils. 

  • Allow it to cool and solidify. 
  • Apply as a luxurious night cream to nourish and relax your skin.

Recipe #9 - Sandalwood and Green Tea Eye Serum


  • 1/2 cup of brewed green tea (cooled)

  • 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel
  • 3-4 drops of sandalwood essential oil


  • Mix the green tea, aloe vera gel, and sandalwood oil. 
  • Apply a small amount around your eyes as a soothing and rejuvenating eye serum.

Recipe #10 - Sandalwood and Frankincense Facial Oil


  • 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil

  • 5-7 drops of sandalwood essential oil
  • 5-7 drops of frankincense essential oil
  • Combine the jojoba oil, sandalwood oil, and frankincense oil in a dropper bottle. 
  • Apply a few drops to your face and neck for a nourishing and anti-aging facial oil.

Safety and Precautions of using Sandalwood Essential Oil

The following are the safety and precautions to be taken care of for using Sandalwood Essential Oil: 


1. Skin Sensitivity:

Perform a patch test before using sandalwood oil topically to check for any adverse reactions or skin sensitivity.

Always dilute sandalwood essential oil with a carrier oil (e.g., jojoba, coconut) before applying it to the skin.

2. Essential Oil Quality:

Ensure you purchase pure, high-quality sandalwood essential oil from reputable sources to guarantee its authenticity and effectiveness.

3. Internal Use:

Sandalwood essential oil is primarily for external use. It is not recommended for internal consumption unless under the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist or healthcare professional.

4. Allergic Reactions:

If you have known allergies to sandalwood or related substances, avoid using sandalwood essential oil to prevent allergic reactions.

5. Phototoxicity:

Sandalwood oil is generally not phototoxic, but it's wise to avoid direct sunlight or UV exposure on freshly applied undiluted oil to reduce any potential risk.

6. Children and Pets:

Keep sandalwood essential oil out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion or misuse.

7. Pregnancy and Nursing:

Consult a healthcare professional before using sandalwood essential oil during pregnancy or while nursing, as it can have varying effects on different individuals.

8. Medical Conditions:

If you have underlying medical conditions or are on medication, consult with a healthcare provider before using sandalwood oil for any therapeutic purposes.

9. Inhalation Safety:

When using sandalwood essential oil in a diffuser or for inhalation, ensure proper ventilation and do not inhale excessive amounts for extended periods.

10. Storage:

Store sandalwood essential oil in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat, to preserve its quality and shelf life.

11. Dilution Guidelines:

Follow recommended dilution guidelines (usually 1-2% dilution for most skincare applications) to prevent skin irritation.

12. Discontinue Use:

If you experience any adverse reactions such as skin irritation, itching, or redness, discontinue use immediately and wash the affected area with a carrier oil.

Always use sandalwood essential oil responsibly and in accordance with safety guidelines to maximize its benefits while minimizing any potential risks.


In conclusion, the enchanting scent of sandalwood essential oil is a harmonious symphony of warm, woody notes, subtle sweetness, and creamy undertones, occasionally graced by delicate hints of spice and fleeting florals. This aromatic treasure, extracted from the heartwood of the sandalwood tree, offers not only a delightful sensory experience but also a myriad of therapeutic and skincare benefits.

Whether it's the soothing embrace in aromatherapy, the revitalizing touch in skincare, or the serene presence in meditation, the smell of sandalwood essential oil continues to captivate hearts and minds, inviting us to explore its timeless allure. So, the next time you encounter this aromatic wonder, you'll have a deeper appreciation for what sandalwood truly smells like—a fragrant journey that resonates with both tradition and tranquility.

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