Close up of a Totara tree

Totarol - Nature's Best Kept Secret

May 14, 2024

When you picture a skin-enhancing product, the mind doesn’t typically wander to images of gnarly old fence posts. Nor a mythical tree native only to New Zealand.

We’re taking a deeper look into our ingredients list and shining a spotlight on one in particular - Totarol. The benefits of this flora derived compound aren’t known to many but we believe this is all going to change soon. A fantastic natural ingredient like this can’t stay a secret for long!

What exactly is Totarol?

Totarol is a compound extracted from the Totara tree, a native to New Zealand. A giant of the New Zealand forest, the Totara tree has lived here for a long, long time. After the Kauri, it’s recognised as the longest living tree, having reached the ripe old age of 1000 years. This tree has definitely seen some things!

Its Totarol compound makes the wood extremely resistant to decay, due to its potent antimicrobial and antioxidant activity. In fact, the Maori people and early European settlers realised the tree’s potential long before we ever caught on. While they used the wood for housing, waka’s and more, their medicinal use for the tree was most fascinating. The smoke was said to be a cure for skin complaints, while boiled bark was used to reduce a fever.

Aleph Cheek & Lip tints

How does it improve natural beauty?

Totarol is nature’s super antioxidant. Its naturally occurring preservative qualities make it a perfect organic alternative to chemical synthetic preservatives, commonly loaded into our everyday cosmetics marked as “natural”. 

More than seven times stronger than Vitamin E, Totarol is a force to be reckoned with! Its powerful antioxidant properties neutralise free radicals linked to skin ageing. In other words, it slows down the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and spots. Youthful skin, here we come! Scientific studies have also proven the value of its antimicrobial activity. These studies show Totarol prevents a raft of bacterial infections like our old foe, acne. So, it’s hardly surprising that many skin brands are quickly adding this to their anti-acne formulas. Gentle, non-irritating and highly effective, Totarol is a winner in our books.

We’re not the only ones who think that. As it grows in popularity, more and more organic brands are seeking Totarol out for its almost magical, skin-enhancing qualities. Besides skin care, Totarol has joined the ingredients list for many natural dental, animal, and hair care products.

But the best thing about Totarol? It’s acquired sustainably. By using natural extraction methods, such as harvesting it from reclaimed wood, no trees are harmed in the making. This means little impact on the environment but maximum results for the health of our skin.

Model wearing Aleph Beauty makeup

Where can we get our fix of Totarol?

When it comes to Aleph’s own range, we are incredibly selective with the ingredients we choose to include. Only the best make it. Based on its proven natural skin-boosting capabilities, we decided Totarol was a must-have. The sheer fact we can attain this ingredient without hurting the environment is just another major reason we couldn’t miss it off our list.

That’s why you’ll see Totarol listed in many Aleph products (excluding Prep/Finish Powder and Serum/Primer). From Concealer/Foundation to Radiance, even the new Lift/Lengthen Mascara.

Responsible for nourishing your skin without causing the planet harm, it’s no wonder we - and our customers - adore it so much. Who knew a wood that refused to rot would become so instrumental in skin care?


We’re here to help! If you have any questions after reading this article, please contact us.

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