Base notes with benefits: Down Under expands wood oils portfolio to meet APAC consumer demands

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Down Under Enterprises has launched a collection of native Aussie wood oils. ©Down Under Enterprises
Down Under Enterprises has launched a collection of native Aussie wood oils. ©Down Under Enterprises
Australian ingredient provider Down Under Enterprises has launched a collection of native Aussie wood oils to cater to the increasingly complex demands of APAC beauty consumers.

The collection consists of locally-scoured Australian blue cypress oil, Australian buddha wood oil, Australian sandalwood oil, Indian sandalwood oil and Australian white cypress wood oil.

Phil Prather, head of marketing and operations at Down Under Enterprises, told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that the firm believed there was a need for more variety of oils that offer functional benefits.

For instance, Prather elaborated, buddha wood oil and blue cypress oil have anti-inflammatory properties while white cypress oil has demonstrated skin brightening properties.

“What we want formulators to understand is that these oils are more than just a base note. These oils can provide functional properties for their formulations. Properties that are based on clear science that has been published in clinical papers,”​ he said.

Since expanding into the Asian market in 2012, the firm has seen a massive shift in consumer behaviour. Prather believes the rapidly maturing Asian consumer will continue driving demand for these wood oils.

“[The Asian cosumer’s] appreciation for natural products is maturing. For many years, it was about price, about providing a product at the lowest possible price. Over the last seven years, we’ve seen a change in the demographics across Asia. They are now looking for higher quality, better ingredients and safety because of what has happened in the past, like the 2008 Chinese milk scandal.”

Sustainability and traceability

Additionally, Prather said its portfolio of wood oils offer formulators and perfumers an alternative to Sandalwood oil.

“Sandalwood is the most well-recognised wood oil but with the price of Sandalwood, many formulators and perfumers that are looking for wood oil at different price points. With our collection, we are able to offer formulators a range of base-notes... each of them with functional benefits,” ​he said.

The biggest issue with sandalwood oil is the shortage of Indian sandalwood oil from India.

“Previously, there was no sustainability or forest management in India… Now the Indian government has stepped up its enforcement, protecting the remaining trees. But that means there is virtually no supply of sandalwood oil from India any longer. Not until the plantations they’ve started reach maturity and it takes around 20 to 30 years minimum for them to be worth harvesting.”

Sustainability and traceability are rising higher and higher on the consumer’s list of priorities as they want products they can “feel good”​ using.

“Consumers now want to know the provenance of the ingredients. They want to know that the ingredients in their products have been obtained in a sustainable manner,” ​said Prather

He stressed that Down Under works very closely with its growers and partners to ensure sustainability and traceability.

“These oils are all produced under strict government regulations, they come from sustainable supply... harvesting is done slower than trees regenerate. In the case of Blue Cypress Oil, it’s harvested from large state forests, thinning out the forest in the process. This doesn’t remove the forest completely and opens up spaces so sunshine can reach the forest floor and allow for new trees to come up.”

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