Totoral: The Story, The Secret, The Science

Totoral: The Story, The Secret, The Science

Unlock the Power of Totarol: Nature's Ancient Secret

Deep within New Zealand's ancient native forests lies a botanical treasure. Extracted from the heartwoof of the mighty Tōtara  tree, Totarol is a unique compound that harnesses the rejuvenating and protective powers of nature.
TWYG have harnessed the incredible properties of this remarkable ingredient, creating a transformative skincare range that defies the conventional boundaries of anti-aging.
Totarol is no ordinary botanical extract. Derived through an innovative, sustainable process that respects the delicate balance of New Zealand's ecosystems, this potent antioxidant and antimicrobial compound has unparalleled ability to combat oxidative stress, and inhibit harmful bacteria - ideal for balancing acne, and to protect and nourish the skin.
Below, we chat to TWYG co-foiunder Steph Davies about  the story behind Totarol, unraveling the secrets of its extraction and the cutting-edge science that underpins its remarkable efficacy. 

What is Totoral? 

A sustainably extracted compound found in the heartwood of the NZ Tōtara tree.

Firstly, it's only found in the Tōtara tree, a lineage that is 100 million years old and which is completely unique to New Zealand. Totarol grows inside the heartwood of the tree and after around 150 years of growth is in abundance throughout the tree. 

Totarol is a highly active compound that naturally preserves and protects the tree for hundreds of years. Totarol is a true natural superhero, providing a range of benefits including antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  It is a completely natural, unique and organically certified extract. It outperforms Vitamin E as an antioxidant, has targeted efficacy against a number of pathogens and can be used in almost any kind of personal care product formulation.

How do you extract it?

We only take fallen trees and mostly use off cuts from timber being used in other ways. It is collected from MPI sanctioned farms and forests across the central north island. There is an annual limit to the amount of Tōtara that can be taken, but we have amassed a large stockpile of Tōtara over the years which we keep topping up. There is an abundance of stock available as Tōtara grows readily across New Zealand. 

The off cuts get chipped and this chip is what we extract at a specialist facility in Nelson. We use a patented extraction method utilising high pressure CO2, negating the need to use solvents and allowing the final product to remain 100% organic (Totarol is BioGro & NATRUE Certified Organic). Totarol appears as a sticky, toffee like substance upon extraction. This gets freeze dried and then milled into a fine powder which is what the final product is.

Totara Tree's are a NZ native, and precious to our landscape - is this sustainable? 

The Tōtara we use to extract is green waste (off cuts of logs) which would never have had a use by anyone, but thankfully found a home with us! 

The logs retrieved must be only by a licensed practitioner who holds a registered Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) certificate. We only purchase Tōtara off-cuts from businesses that hold this certification. As mentioned there is a limit on the amount that can be taken in a year but our business and stock model means this is not an issue for us. 

Talk to us about the benefits of Totarol...

Through 20 years of R&D we know that Totaral has potent antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that can be utilised across health applications, including very effectively in skincare and oralcare where it has predominantly been used since its commercialisation.

By disrupting the bacteria cell, Bioactive Totarol™ creates an environment that starves bacteria of any environment for it to survive in, while not harming any of the other useful microorganisms. In the case of bacteria on skin, Totarol is active against acne causing bacteria and is one of the rare phytochemicals active against pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), Streptococcus (Strep) and Cutibacterium acnes (C. Acnes). 

Bioactive Totarol™ also strongly inhibits lipid peroxidation and scavenges ROS (reactive oxygen species); its high antioxidant properties have been tested and proven to be seven times more effective than Vitamin E, a popular antioxidant used across skincare. Antioxidants are molecules that neutralise free radicals, unstable molecules that can cause harm if their levels become too high in the body. They’re linked to multiple illnesses and are caused by oxidative stress caused by lifestyle and environmental factors like sun, UV rays, pollution and smoking.

Can you share how TWYG best utilizes Totoral for incredible results?

TWYG is a protection and rejuvenation range and this is because of the very high amounts of antioxidants that are in each product. Thats not to say the antibacterial properties of Totarol are not doing anything either - they are! But antioxidants really are the holy grail when it comes to helping fight off the signs of aging on skin. To be clear, we are not trying to ignore the inevitable aging process we must all confront as we get older. But we are fortunate that we have formulations that can really help protect and nourish the skin so that external factors (that cause the aging process to speed up) don’t have such a big impact on skin.

TWYG is a world first - When using Totarol as an antioxidant, between 0.15-0.2% is sufficient and typical. TWYG is using between 1.5-3.5% for maximum efficacy which is far higher and has not been done before, mostly because it is cost prohibitive.