I Fell for Le Labo's Santal 33 Just Like the Rest of the World and I Don't Care if That Makes Me a Sucker
I mean, even Justin frickin' BEIBER wears it.
Though I’m obsessed with fragrance, I’ve never ventured into the hippy-dippy world of oil blends. I have nothing against sandalwood and patchouli: I simply prefer my perfumes to be machine-manipulated.
But it’s time to break out of my mainstream-fragrance cocoon. To do this, I’ll bait myself with a good cause: self-healing. Because, lucky for me and my love of good-smelling things, aromatherapy is among the suggested forms of healing emotional, spiritual, and physical woes.
I’m testing three of G-Glo's Nectar by Ami oil blends, which are consciously sourced, plant-based, handmade, and claim to be generally amazing for you and your imbalanced chakras.
I wake up feeling really tired and annoyed after being plagued by dreams of post-apocalyptic cannibals (The Walking Dead does not make for good bedtime television). I need some healing energy, fast, so I dab on a few drops of Ami's Angel Wings nectar.
The scent immediately reminds me of my beloved Burberry Brit perfume, which, like Angel Wings, contains vanilla and tonka bean. But Angel Wings--counter-intuitively to its name--is earthier and muskier, reminiscent of hot sand sticking to powdery sunscreen. As I sweat through a yoga class, imagining airy wings floating atop my shoulder blades, I detect a sweet surge of raspberry that cuts through the wet-soil weight of the patchouli. I'm not sure if it’s the Angel Wings, the yoga, or the two cups of coffee I greedily swill, but I begin to feel a little lighter after the morning drag, tackling my workload without the usual dread.
AnandaClaim: "Promotes a meditative state, balances all chakras in body, helps one deal with grief and sadness."
I’m working on grad school applications and struggling to write my personal essay. One of my writing teachers, a radiant Earth goddess, believes that her writing flows the most naturally when her chakras are in balance--or when she’s feeling blissed-out. To do this without smoking weed, I decide I need a blend of grounding scents to promote focus; and higher-vibration scents to open up my third eye and crown chakras, the hubs of meditative inspiration. Ami's Ananda nectar, a swirl of wood resins and herbs, fits the bill. In Sanskrit, "ananda" means pure bliss and peace.
When I pop the vial open, a whoosh of spicy, nutty resin immediately induces deep breaths, like a muscle memory from woodland walks. Plus, the musky-sweet Mysore sandalwood and piney herbs remind me of my yoga teacher’s scent: I’m transported to my happy place, providing me with an extra boost of reassurance. As I sit on my couch watching Gilmore Girls, letting the mystical scent sink in, I feel compelled to grab my laptop and start writing. I can’t say I make great strides--after a 20-minute free write, I call it a day--but I credit the incense-like blend’s soothing warmth with helping me feel settled and unafraid to tackle the blank page.
I, like most people I know, struggle with anxiety. I live in New York, the least-suitable place for an anxious person to call home, so I need to sort that shit out. I nominate the promisingly titled Gaia oil to be my calming crutch, dousing myself in the woodsy blend before heading into the hellish mouth of the subway. The G-Glo website says that this scent is suitable for men: makes sense, as the cedar notes smell exactly like Barbasol shaving cream and my dad’s Jack Black aftershave. I do like clean, simple men's scents, but Gaia is too astringent for my tastes. I spritz some Diptyque Eau de Rose perfume overtop for a boost of estrogen, and the resulting fragrance is surprisingly lovely.
As a guy on the subway inches waaaay too close to my left leg, I catch a whiff of my tree-and-rose blend and call to mind Gaia’s promise of “energetic protection.” The cooling, minty undercurrent provides an olfactory meditation: I still vainly attempt to wedge myself further from the offending leg, but I at least remember to breathe as I wiggle away.
I do believe that, with any form of healing, the power of intention is your strongest ally. But scent is an undeniably potent force: each of these blends provided a constant reminder to breathe, to relax, to be cool. I’m not giving up my mass-produced perfumes anytime soon--but when I need some soul-soothing scents, I know where to go.