What is Sandalwood Soap?

Greer Hed

Sandalwood soap is a type of soap made with essential oils derived from trees of the genus Santalum. These essential oils are fragrant and aromatic, and are often used to make incense and perfume, as well as soap. Most sandalwood soap is all-natural and is often vegan as well, containing no animal products, although some soaps made with sandalwood may contain ingredients that are not vegan, such as goat's milk. Sandalwood essential oils are calming to the skin and therefore useful when applied to skin that is irritated, dry, cracked, or affected by acne. The oils are also used in aromatherapy to reduce tension, and also have antimicrobial and antiseptic properties.

Sandalwood soap can be used to treat athlete's foot.
Sandalwood soap can be used to treat athlete's foot.

Trees of the genus Santalum are used to distill essential oils that are used in making sandalwood soap. True sandal trees are grown primarily in India and Australia, and are protected species. A third variety of true sandalwood was once grown in Hawaii, but it was so widely used during the late 18th and early 19th centuries that the species eventually died out. The limited availability of true sandal trees makes their oil expensive and difficult to come by, so many fragrances, soaps, and types of incense are made with oil derived from a wide range of species, not all of which are in the genus Santalum.

Most sandalwood soap is all-natural and often vegan.
Most sandalwood soap is all-natural and often vegan.

Sandalwood essential oils used in soaps must first be steam distilled from small pieces of sandalwood. The process of steam distillation involves boiling the wood so that it releases steam, and then condensing and separating the resulting oils. Pure sandalwood oil is extremely strong and needs to be diluted with a milder base oil before it can be safely applied to the skin. Oils are added to a heated soap base, such as glycerin, and then the mixture is molded into individual bars of sandalwood soap and cooled.

The aroma of sandalwood soap is a bright, spicy, woody fragrance that seems to promote relaxation and reduce tension, which is why sandalwood oils are often used in aromatherapy settings. Sandalwood soap also soothes skin irritated by dryness or rashes, and sandalwood shaving soaps are effective at preventing or treating razor burn. Facial soap made with sandalwood is helpful in eliminating blackheads and other forms of acne, due to its antiseptic properties.

Sandalwood soap also speeds the healing process of burns, cuts, scrapes and other minor flesh wounds, again due to its antiseptic quality. Washing feet affected by ringworm or athlete's foot with a sandalwood soap can help eliminate the fungal infection. The antiseptic and antimicrobial properties of sandalwood oils are largely due to the presence of a chemical compound called Beta-Santalol, which also contributes to the characteristic woody aroma of sandalwood oil.

Sandalwood is also used to make incense and other aromatic products.
Sandalwood is also used to make incense and other aromatic products.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


Where do you buy the best sandalwood soaps?


The best brand of Sandalwood soap is usually found in Indian grocery stores. its brand name is 'Mysore' and can be bought in packs of three for about Aus $8.00. It's a richer, deeper soap and perfume than the HoneyBee Chinese brand. Sandalwood is also used in India in purification rituals. Sandalwood is very special and more than just a nice smell. --Purpleangel


What is the best kind of sandalwood soap? I want to buy a sandalwood liquid soap for my wife because that's her favorite smell, but I'm not sure which one to get. I saw somebody else had mentioned Bee and Flower brand sandalwood soap -- is that any good, or should I get another one?


One combination that I've found works particularly well is a little bit of lavender in sandalwood soap.

If you make your own this is easy to do, but even if you use a natural store bought one, all you have to do is put a few drops of lavender in the bathwater with you, or even drip it on top of your soap.

If you're using liquid sandalwood soap this is even easier, because all you have to do is mix a few drops of lavender essential oil into your sandalwood soap.

I've found that this combination works really well for bath salts too; all you have to do is get some sandalwood bath salts and mix in some dried lavender flowers.

Heaven in bath form!


I love all kinds of natural and organic soap, but I have to say that my abiding love is for organic sandalwood bar soap.

I usually use Bee & Flower sandalwood soap, but I'll pretty much use any kind of sandalwood bath soap, as long as it's natural and organic.

The smell of sandalwood is just so soothing, but energizing at the same time. By far one of my favorite fragrances.

Post your comments
Forgot password?