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Albert Einstein once said that “the intuitive mind is a sacred gift.” In the time of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, intuition—that is, the ability to understand something instinctively and without explanation—was imperative to our survival. The sixth sense; that gut feeling of unease or danger when the hairs at the back of your neck inexplicably stand on end could’ve meant the difference between living another day and being ripped apart by a predator. In an increasingly fact-driven and distracted modern society, though, we’ve largely discarded our intuition. (Also, because women are regarded as the more intuitive of the sexes, it doesn’t take much to make the connection between this tendency to brush off the unexplainable and centuries of patriarchal misogyny.)
Yasmin Sewell is on a mission to reignite that emotional self-guidance. Through her unisex fragrance brand Vyrao (pronounced vi-ray-oh, from the Latin word vireo meaning “to sprout”), she’s the first to fuse perfume and energy healing in this scent-mindfulness hybrid. Her latest scent, The Sixth, is designed to tap into that inner voice by embracing both spiritual and scientific elements. Vyrao’s resident psychic Katt Nicholson channels specific ingredients believed to exhume our intuition, like holy basil, peppermint, fennel and apple. An integral perspective came from the Science of Wellness program at International Flavors & Fragrance (IFF), which examines the brain activity related to smells and perfume—enter cypress and patchouli oils, which notably help to promote mindfulness. Finally, master perfumer Meabh Mc Curtin took these ingredients to create a scent that truly awakens the senses, even someone with skeptical tendencies such as myself. “We all need reminders to trust ourselves and even if the perfume is simply used purely as that reminder, that will do wonders,” Sewell tells STYLECASTER. “Most of us are leading quite hectic lives, caught up in thoughts, and anxiety. There is always fear; always has been and likely always will be, so we need all the reminders we can get to stay tuned in and listen to that inner voice, and fear is the fastest way to block that.” In addition to their carefully considered ingredients, each bottle of Vyrao fragrance contains a Herkimer diamond crystal energized by their healer, Louise Mita.
As someone who doesn’t really engage with astrology, manifesting or crystal healing, this all sounded a bit woo-woo to me at first. For close to a month, I trialed The Sixth and Vyrao’s other five fragrances: the bestselling Witchy Woo for courage and creativity; Free 00 for liberation and sensuality; I am Verdant for transformation; Magnetic 70 creates for attraction and protection; and finally, Georgette for self-love.
My first trial of Vyrao’s power was in back-to-back photoshoots for STYLECASTER when I desperately needed to optimize my ingenuity. To my delight (and surprise), Witchy Woo’s warm, musky, peppery and grounded scent did help me channel it. Ideas, even if small, poured out of me. I couldn’t exactly explain why, but the mystery, depth and complexity of this fragrance spurred me to explore and discover. Practically, it lasted all day with just two spritzes on my neck/clothes in the morning but I was so in love with its mysterious and captivating energy that I reapplied it in the afternoon.
On days when I needed a little more motivation, Free 00’s fresh and citrusy combination of orange flower and sandalwood helped me awaken some of that much-needed reserve energy; and for times when I doubted myself or felt frazzled, The Sixth helped recenter my self-awareness with its herbaceous blend of rosemary, peppermint and patchouli.
Call it witchcraft, but by being mindful and setting a clear intention for the day through fragrance had a palpable impact on focusing energy. Discussed at length among philosophers and new-age thinkers for millennia, the concept of setting intentions is also backed by numerous recent scientific studies in the fields of cognitive neuroscience and positive psychology. “Setting an intention is the initiation, the first step into your preferred story,” psychologist Jason Frishman once told Shape. “Particularly if your intention is solidly aligned with your values, then you have a powerful tool for moving forward and achieving your desires.” Every morning, I would cast a spell on myself with a fragrance designed to help me achieve my goals. And for me, it worked.
Some might shrug off what you’re trying to achieve with Vyrao as, ‘Oh, it’s just the placebo effect’, but the irony of that is the placebo effect is very real and scientifically backed. Your thoughts?
I’ve studied the placebo effect and it’s a very powerful thing. What the mind can do is huge, so if you just work with the placebo effects and there were no specific ingredients, no science-backed formulas, it will still work. So, why not use them all?
Women have long been regarded as the more intuitive of the sexes, do you think this devaluing of intuition has sexist undertones?
Gosh, where do I begin? I love this question. The number of women or just perhaps sensitive people who have been shut down for trusting or working with intuition I can’t begin to imagine. We can go back thousands of years. I’ve experienced this so much in my own life, but I’ve always used gut instinct and spoken publicly about it, and it has served me well.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t listen to that feeling—pretty much the whole time. I’ve always trusted that inner voice and I could never understand why some people didn’t. I feel a big part of that sexism comes from those people who just don’t know how to connect with that and are simply just closed off, and therefore want to put it down. It’s just fear really.
We are coming into a time when using intuition and working with compassion are what we are looking for in great leaders. There will always be an old school rigid thinking masculine guard who will never understand that, but there is a new generation who I think just get it naturally, they are more awakened and born with that openness and understanding. Oh, thank God for that!
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