6 Benefits & Uses of Sandalwood Essential Oil (Plus Recipes & Application Tips)



Sandalwood Essential Oil: Calmness, Clarity, and Exotic Sensuality

Sandalwood essential oil has been prized for thousands of years for its many benefits, including improving focus, calming the nerves, and creating a romantic ambiance. If you don’t have sandalwood essential oil in your oil kit yet, you’ll want to once you realize what a multitasker it is.

How is sandalwood essential oil produced?

Originally, sandalwood essential oil came only from the Indian sandalwood tree, Santalum album. However, it has been difficult for India to maintain sustainable growth of this species, and it is near extinction in its native locale. While the most aromatic and efficacious sandalwood still comes from India, it is now also grown in Australia and Hawaii, as variations of the Indian species.

The Indian sandalwood tree is an evergreen with small purple flowers. A parasitic plant, its roots invade other trees as it grows. It takes between 40 and 80 years for a tree to mature enough to produce root wood for harvest, with trees in the 80-year range producing both more scent and a higher volume of the valuable yellow-gold oil.

Unlike many other woods that are only fragrant when first harvested, sandalwood can retain its exotic aroma for decades. The wood of the sandalwood tree’s roots is cut into fine shavings, from which the essential oil is made via steam distillation.

Sandalwood essential oil contains two molecules in particular that give it its warm, woody smell and amazing health benefits: alpha- and beta-santalol. When you purchase sandalwood essential oil, look for one with a high percentage (about 80 percent) of santalol. Sandalwood essential oil from Mysore, India, is the best in the world.

What is the history of sandalwood essential oil?

Sandalwood and sandalwood essential oil have been used for more than 4,000 years. The Ancient Greeks and Romans used sandalwood in their temple construction, and the Ancient Egyptians embalmed their dead with sandalwood essential oil.

Sandalwood has long been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. In fact, the sandalwood tree is holy in India and nearby Eastern nations, and it is a sacred part of many Hindu religious traditions, from birth to marriage to death.

Sandalwood essential oil is used today as a key ingredient in incense, candles, cosmetics, perfume, and after shave tonics. Sandalwood is considered a unisex scent; when combined with other aromas, it can be quite feminine, but on its own or blended with certain grasses, woods, and citruses, it takes on more of a masculine note. Because of its scarcity, Indian sandalwood oil has become more expensive, but its devotees find the increased price worth it because of the oil’s versatility and unique, earthy scent that lingers on the air.

What are the health benefits of sandalwood essential oil?

As noted above, sandalwood essential oil can perform numerous roles. On the skin, sandalwood essential oil is astringent, tightening pores without drying the skin. This makes it popular in toners and after shave products. Its natural antioxidant properties also help sandalwood essential oil protect the skin from aging and damage. You can add five or six drops to your facial or body lotion for this benefit.

Related: 5 Essential Oil recipes for Dry, cracked and Flaky Skin

Sandalwood essential oil is also antiseptic and antiviral. When used on the skin, it reduces irritation, helps heal wounds, kills germs, prevents infection, and mitigates sores and pimples. It can relieve the itching associated with bug bites and eczema, and sandalwood essential oil even repels many insects. Studies have also demonstrated that sandalwood can be as effective as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) at quelling certain types of inflammation, due to its inherent anti-inflammatory properties.

Related: 7 EOs for Cellulite

Gargling with a few drops of sandalwood essential oil or inhaling it in a steam bath can help treat coughs, sore throats, asthma, and bronchitis. Sandalwood essential oil is a natural expectorant and can help the body rid itself of excess mucosal secretions.

Related: EO Based DIY Mouthwash Recipes

One of the most popular uses of sandalwood essential oil is to calm and focus the mind. Sandalwood has harmonizing elements to it, as well as those contributing to mental clarity. It is relaxing without causing drowsiness, so users can be present but tranquil at the same time. It improves mental clarity and cognitive function and can boost memory too. Therefore, sandalwood essential oil is frequently used for incense and other aromatherapy applications during meditation, prayer, yoga, journaling, and religious or spiritual rites.

Related: 5 EO Blends for Focus & Concentration

The aroma of sandalwood essential oil can decrease nervous tension and exhaustion and help insomniacs sleep better. The use of essential oils and aromatherapy is a new area of medical research, but early studies show that sandalwood is effective at lowering anxiety.

One thing many people notice about sandalwood is its exotic, sensual aroma. Sandalwood essential oil is also a natural aphrodisiac. For this reason, it is a popular ingredient in massage oil blends.

Related: 14 Aphrodisiac EOs for Romance, Sex & Libido

Some ways that you can include the calming effects of sandalwood essential oil in your daily routine are:

  • using it in a candle diffuser around the home, especially at the end of a fatiguing day
  • adding sandalwood essential oil to the bath or to a foot soak
  • applying drops of sandalwood essential oil in a carrier oil (grapeseed, almond, jojoba, etc.) to your wrists
  • burning a few drops of sandalwood essential oil on your fireplace logs
  • using it on a lightbulb scent ring to perfume your home
  • placing a few drops of sandalwood essential oil in your car’s ventilation system or on a compatible air freshener (jasmine, rose, etc.)

What other essential oils combine well with sandalwood?

One of sandalwood essential oil’s many features is the ease with which it can be combined with other essential oils for health, beauty, and psychological benefits. If you are just starting to experiment with sandalwood essential oil, try it with these other oils, and check out the recipes below for many ways to use it:

  • frankincense
  • myrrh
  • patchouli
  • cypress
  • palmarosa
  • black pepper
  • vanilla
  • benzoin
  • coriander
  • clove
  • clary sage
  • vetiver
  • rose
  • lavender
  • jasmine
  • geranium
  • bergamot
  • ylang ylang

What are some other ways you can use sandalwood essential oil at home for health and beauty?

spa massage temple head

Facial Serum

To combat signs of aging on your face and to reap the benefits of sandalwood’s antioxidant properties, try applying this facial serum every night before bed.


  1. Mix 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) of your favorite facial carrier oil (like jojoba, sweet almond, avocado, or rosehip seed) with two drops each of these essential oils: sandalwood, helichrysum, geranium, frankincense, lavender, and rose.
  2. Pour into a small dark glass bottle with a dropper top.
  3. After washing your face, dab onto problem areas on your face, and then massage over your entire face using your ring and pinky fingers.
  4. Apply moisturizer, as needed, over your facial serum.

Romantic Massage Oil

You’re going to want to buy those glass apothecary bottles in bulk, because here’s another DIY recipe you’ll love. And your partner will love it too because it’s for a romantic massage oil that will transport you to exotic bliss whenever you use it.



  1. Mix 8 drops of sandalwood essential oil with 1 drop of ylang ylang, 3 drops of orange, 2 drops of patchouli, and 1 drop of ginger essential oils in a carrier oil of your choice, like jojoba oil.
  2. Store in a dark glass bottle with a dispensing cap, so you don’t accidentally pour too much oil at one time.
  3. Allow your massage oil mixture to sit for a day or two before first using it, in order to maximize the aromatic synergy of the essential oils.

Sandalwood Candle Light Diffuser Blends

Soap Stone 14-15

Do you like using essential oils in a candle diffuser? This is a great way to scent your home and derive the psychological benefits of the oils at the same time. Here are some of the top sandalwood combinations to try for various emotional needs. You’ll find the sandalwood essential oil even more luxurious and lingering when a little heat is applied by the candle.

  • To relax at the end of a stressful day: 2 drops sandalwood, 6 drops grapefruit, 6 drops lime, 6 drops bergamot, and 4 drops ginger essential oils.
  • To fight off depression and feel happier: 3 drops sandalwood, 1 drop rose, and 1 drop orange essential oils.
  • To create a romantic mood for an intimate dinner or date: 8 drops sandalwood, 1 drop jasmine or ylang ylang, and 2 drops vanilla essential oils.
  • To drift off into restorative slumber: 2 drops sandalwood, 2 drops lavender, and 2 drops cedarwood essential oils.
  • To clear the mind for yoga or meditation: 1 drop sandalwood, 2 drops ginger, 3 drops grapefruit, 3 drops bergamot, and 3 drops lime essential oils.

If you like experimenting with different oil combinations and concentrations, you can play with these groupings to find the perfect blend for you:

  • sandalwood, lavender, mandarin, and Roman chamomile (to calm agitation or anxiety)
  • sandalwood, bergamot, patchouli, rose, jasmine, neroli, frankincense, lavender, cedarwood, bergamot, and Roman chamomile (to release fear)
  • sandalwood, basil, ginger, peppermint, bergamot, patchouli, clary sage, lemon, grapefruit, rosemary, jasmine (to ward off mental fatigue)

Natural Fragrance Mist

Do you love your hair to smell nice, or do you sometimes find unwanted odors clinging to your hair? Do you frequently restyle your hair between shampoos? Try a perfumed hair mist that will let you change coifs and smell like a dream too:

  1. Mix the following in a fine-mist bottle made of glass: 1/3 cup rose water, 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract, 5 drops sandalwood essential oil, 4 drops rosemary essential oil, 5 drops ylang ylang essential oil, 4 drops grapefruit essential oil, 3 drops lavender essential oil.
  2. Shake and spritz to try. You can add more of any of these essential oils to tweak the mist to your liking.
  3. If your hair is sensitive to the sun, the grapefruit essential oil may lighten it because it is a citrus oil. You can try replacing the grapefruit essential oil with another non-citrus ingredient, such as vetiver, clary sage, or palmarosa.

Your hair will take on a healthy shine, once you start using sandalwood essential oil on it regularly.

Sandalwood Body Lotion

You may remember that sandalwood essential oil is fairly unique in that it acts as an astringent while at the same time protecting and nourishing the skin. Here’s a body lotion recipe you can use that will leave your skin fresh and hydrated:



  1. Mix together jojoba or apricot kernel oil, emulsifying wax (for thickening), and vegetable glycerin in a double boiler. Warm the mixture slowly over low heat, just until the emulsifying wax is melted.
  2. Remove from heat, and add 5 ml vitamin E.
  3. Warm distilled water. (This will help your lotion blend better than if you use cold water.)
  4. Pour the water slowly into the double boiler oil mixture, whisking constantly to achieve a smooth, thick mixture.
  5. Stir in 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract.
  6. Add 20 drops sandalwood essential oil, 5 drops patchouli essential oil, 5 drops frankincense essential oil, and 1 drop jasmine or ylang ylang essential oil.
  7. Store the lotion in an 8-oz sterile container, such as a dark glass bottle, allowing it to cool before capping. As the lotion cools, give it a shake every few minutes to help the ingredients blend better and keep from separating.
  8. Keep your sandalwood body lotion in a dry, cool place. Enjoy!

Earthy & Seductive Men’s Cologne

For all you gents who like to smell divine (and for the ladies who love a fabulous smelling guy), here’s a DIY natural men’s cologne that’s masculine and earthy:



  1. Mix 1 tablespoon witch hazel and 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel with 5 drops sandalwood, 10 drops black pepper, 3 drops clove, 5 drops lemon, and 3 drops nutmeg essential oils.
  2. Pour this mixture into a 2-oz. glass spray bottle.
  3. Fill to the top with distilled water.

For a more urbane, romantic scent, follow the directions above, but use these scent ingredients:

Stretch Mark Balm

Are you pregnant and worried about stretch marks, or do you have stretch marks from a recent pregnancy or weight loss? This recipe is the ideal stretch mark balm to sooth itching skin and reduce the appearance of these unsightly lines:



  1. Melt ¼ cup cocoa butter, 1 cup coconut oil, 1/8 cup shea butter (or mango butter) and 1/8 cup almond oil (or grapeseed oil) in a double boiler.
  2. Once the oils are melted and blended together, let the mixture cool slightly and add 15 drops sandalwood essential oil, 15 drops patchouli essential oil, and 15 drops sweet orange essential oil.
  3. Store in a sterile container (you can recycle a container if you clean it properly).
  4. If you don’t care for patchouli, substitute neroli, rose, or lavender essential oil.

Once you start using sandalwood essential oil, you’ll find it so vital to your everyday health and well being that you’ll want to add it to all your home scent and beauty products!


steam facial inhalation

Hopefully you found the post helpful, any enjoyed the recipes! If you have any questions, comments or recommendations of your own please let us know in the comment section below!

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Hi. Glad to see you here. My name is Loren Elara and I run Essential Oil Sanctuary. I’d love to connect with you and share ideas. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please make yourself heard.

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1 thought on “6 Benefits & Uses of Sandalwood Essential Oil (Plus Recipes & Application Tips)”

  1. Kourtney Jensen

    I love the benefit you listed of sandalwood, that it can help with the itching of bug bites and eczema and well as acts as a bug repellent, which is a great advantage with the summer months ahead. My husband and I spend a lot of time outside and wanted to find a better alternative besides the typical bug spray sold over the counter. Do they make a bug spray specifically or do you apply sandalwood oil to you?

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